Lotus Elan

MSD Ignition

PostPost by: JLescenski » Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:57 pm

Has anyone installed a MSD Ignition on their Elan? I restored an old Landcruiser years ago and it made a huge difference on the engine
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:47 pm

I think you will find MSD is made in China, and abut 32k

Also,
https://www.holley.com/products/ignitio ... rts/140001
probably made in china, but higher output about 60k.

Bosch blue 42k is good, not to be confused with bosch blue label 38k.
All those numbers are suspect, take however you want.
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PostPost by: elancoupe » Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:51 pm

On the recommendation of John McCoy of Onnitech, I fitted an MSD on my car. He curves the dizzy to suit the TC, runs them on his builds.

I am very pleased with mine. Billet distributor with ball bearings, bigger cap to minimize scatter. Easier to install in the motor, and timing adjustments are less of a hassle. Adjustable rev limiter and high quality wires. Parts are available at
most chain stores in the US.

The only downside was locating the ignition box, it’s not small . I put mine inside the car, out of sight.
Attachments
EC80FFBC-FB08-453D-A388-E61C4EC2CF2A.jpeg and
Last edited by elancoupe on Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:09 am

Hard to make out the photo.
Looks like a 6AL box, and older USA made coil.
Is there more information on the dizzy please?
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PostPost by: elancoupe » Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:14 am

6AL box, dizzy is for 2.3 L Ford products, widely available.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:11 pm

I am also using the same setup on a McCoy built engine. Very good. We ran thru two Pertronix systems first, which I unfortunately could not get to work correctly. That was unexpected as I had used a similar Pertronix for years with no issues. John mentioned several other clients had similar issues with the Pertronix, hence the change to MSD.

6AL Box Size
Length (in): 8.000 in.
Height (in): 1.875 in.
Width (in): 4.000 in.


I also installed the 6AL inside the car. The Plus 2 has plenty of room in a slot forward of the door opening; not sure for the Elan. John recommended making sure the box is not rigidly mounted; I used a small metal desk pencil basket from the Dollar Store and wrapped the unit in dense packing foam. Allows the unit to be inserted easily with the main plug installed.

The 6AL provides a grey output wire for a clean tach signal which works fine with my rebuilt tach. Not sure on this, but John called recently to check on my tach, as I think a client was having difficulty getting his un-rebuilt unit to work. The tach output works fine with a clip-on tach that came with my timing light.

One possible issue I am having. The dizzy body is hitting something if I try to advance it too far. I think I am OK for total advance of approximately 32 or 34 degrees, but the dizzy body seems awfully close to its limit of adjustment. Not sure if this is normal or I have not installed things correctly? Any feedback appreciated. The dizzy body is definitely larger than the stock Lucas unit or a Pertronix, but does fit the TC with the 90 degree cap.

I haven’t had a chance to actually record the installed advance curve yet, but it seems fine. I couldn’t find an exact call up for the dizzy John uses. As noted above it is compatible with a Pinto, but has a 90 degree cap and the curve seems tailored to the TC.

Definitely more difficult to install than a Pertronix, but appears more reliable. Quite costly. Happy with the setup now. Would also consider the 123 unit, as it apparently allows modification of the advance curve from your smartphone, which is kind of a cool feature I suppose. My thinking, besides relying on the engine builder’s recommendation, was that MSD spares should be easily sourced in North America, whereas 123 seems more difficult. Important factor for me as I use the car for extended touring throughout the US and Canada.

HTH

Stu
Attachments
15817229-D7CA-43C9-A2FE-AB780D778EEB.jpeg and
This is a picture I got from John. It shows one of his TC engines with an MSD system installed in a LoCort.
35FD9C46-8AB1-4C9A-8233-4F5F16140FB2.jpeg and
Shows MSD coil and custom loom connector in my car. Drilled a hole in the firewall bulkhead and mounted 6AL control box inside the cabin forward of the Plus 2 door hinges in a slot formed by the engine bay wall and inside fender wall. The box is completely out of the way essentially behind where the windshield wiper motor is mounted on my LHD Federal Plus 2.
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PostPost by: My72Sprint » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:36 pm

Talked to John McCoy this week he was recommending I upgrade from MSD 6AL to a Mallory control box.
Not MSD "plug-in" wiring but more reliable than MSD. (I'm not upgrading @ this time)

Also, a Ford 2.3 MSD PART# 8473 may not work with a twin-cam based on previous conversations with John.
The one McCoy supplied with my 1950cc looks similar but doesn't carry an MSN PN

I'd check with McCoy and verify before purchasing .

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PostPost by: My72Sprint » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:43 pm

McCoy Distributor Photo..
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MSD.jpg and
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:08 pm

Excellent info Tim. Mine did not have an exact MSD p/n either.

I see a mistake I made. From your picture clearly the cap connectors are straight and the high tension wire ends provide the 90 degree connection required for the TC. Had missed that detail. John also supplied my high tension wires as well.

Did you find the range of MSD timing adjustment to be a bit limited? I am pretty new to the whole timing exercise, let alone installing the MSD.

Cheers!

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PostPost by: mbell » Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:52 pm

stugilmour wrote:was that MSD spares should be easily sourced in North America, whereas 123 seems more difficult. Important factor for me as I use the car for extended touring throughout the US and Canada.


I believe the 123 Dizzy uses common/standard Bosch cap and rotor arm, which shouldn't be that hard to find in the US/Canada. I'd suspect most parts places would carry something similar, it might just take a bit of finding in their stock.

I'd doubt that most places (Autozone etc) would carry MSD caps/arms etc but might be wrong.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:44 pm

Good point. Had not looked closely at MSD spares availability, and it might well be tougher than I anticipated. A quick look on Summit Racing seems to only show listings for V6 and V8 caps and rotors. Based on your comment I may just buy a spare cap and rotor for the boot.

Originally my primary concern was the electronic module catastrophically failing rather than wearing parts like cap and rotor. I actually made up a conversation connector for my MSD ignition loom to allow substitution for my Pertronix, which uses different simpler wiring as the module is inside the dizzy. My plan was to try this connector out over the winter. A replacement 6AL module (the component that is of most concern for failure due to vibration or whatever) should be readily available, but yes, it would probably be a minimum over night availability deal. Even WalMart lists them for online sale.

If I still had a usable Lucas points unit I would heave it in the boot, but alas I think I priced a new replacement at about 350 GBP, which seemed a bit stiff for a belt and suspenders spare. Sure I could get something suitable on eBay for less, but haven’t got around to it. In any case, for the original poster this is the usual approach with any stand alone electronic ignition system. Essentially they all work until they don’t, at which point (no pun intended :D ) you are somewhat screwed. :D

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PostPost by: elancoupe » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:50 pm

The MSD cap #8434 and rotor #8470 come up in searches from Summit, Jeg’s, Autozone and others.

Btw, the cap also fits an MSD VW dizzy.
Last edited by elancoupe on Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:09 pm

Stu, I believe Concept 1 is in your town, Cowtown!

https://www.google.ca/search?q=concept1 ... nt=safari#

They are 123 dizzy distributors, last I checked. They dont stock Twink just VW, Ied take a set or two, and some LCCBC members have interest.
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PostPost by: My72Sprint » Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:50 pm

Stu.. Did you find the range of MSD timing adjustment to be a bit limited? I am pretty new to the whole timing exercise, let alone installing the MSD.

My Twin Cam was built 100% by McCoy, Dyno time only currently 190+Hp.
I won't be or need to adjust timing.

Recall McCoy performs modifications to an existing MSD distributor for work with Twin Cams.
MSD doesn't have a production product.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:55 am

My72Sprint wrote:Stu.. Did you find the range of MSD timing adjustment to be a bit limited? I am pretty new to the whole timing exercise, let alone installing the MSD.

My Twin Cam was built 100% by McCoy, Dyno time only currently 190+Hp.
I won't be or need to adjust timing.

Recall McCoy performs modifications to an existing MSD distributor for work with Twin Cams.
MSD doesn't have a production product.
Tim


I was in a slightly different situation Tim. My engine, similar in spec to yours IIRC, was originally supplied with a Pertronix unit which I had trouble getting to work in my car. I replaced the module and still no joy. It is possible the Pertronix is actually OK and the issues were with my car.

I then installed the John McCoy supplied MSD system myself, which worked fine to get started with a basic tune. That said, I am not sure I did everything correctly. John never dyno’d my engine with the MSD, he was using the original Pertronix.

I have noticed I have limited advance adjustment range. Not sure if I am simply trying to advance too much, but the dizzy housing will definitely contact something on the block. Perhaps I am advanced sufficiently and all is good. Just can’t be sure as I am pretty new to all this as well. Not sure if I can change the adjustment range by moving the plug wires on the cap, as I can retard way more than required.

Later I may play around with my ignition a bit more as I can see from the photos in this thread that the plug wires should be easy to move on the cap. I need to finalize my Weber jetting first, and I am currently waiting on a starter motor repair.

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