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Electronic Ignition Buyer's Guide BannerElectronic Ignition Buyer's Guide Banner

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Replacing your old points distributor with an electronic distributor will bring increased performance and reliability to your vehicle. An electronic distributor has fewer moving parts and a more efficient method of producing a hotter spark. Points were used on many older vehicles, and even though most are easily filed or sanded to get that barn find back on the road, converting to an electronic ignition module or complete electronic distributor will keep you on the road for many miles to come. When it comes to bringing your ignition up to date, Speedway has many options, no matter your engine or application.

What Is an Electronic Distributor?

Simply put, an electronic distributor is one that features an ignition module instead of points. Instead of replacing your ignition system’s points with an ignition module, you can replace the complete distributor for a drop-in installation. We have HEI distributors, SBC distributors, BBC distributors, many Ford distributor options, and many other aftermarket distributor choices from which to choose. We have an electronic distributor for everything from a flathead Ford distributor to an Oldsmobile 425 to a GM Stovebolt inline-six, and everything in between.

How Does an Electronic Distributor Work?

So, a points distributor is mechanical in that the points open and close thanks to the rotation of the distributor shaft on which a multi-pointed lobe exists (one lobe for each cylinder in the engine) that one side of the points assembly rests upon, breaking the points contact each time it reaches a high point of the lobe. That opening and closing is how a spark is created, as the points opening turns the ignition coil on and off. An electronic distributor produces spark electronically via transistors, modules, a magnetic pickup, and the like. Most use a magnetic pickup, but an electronic distributor still relies on the distributor shaft’s rotation. With an electronic distributor there are reduced moving parts compared to a points system, and thanks to that, electronic ignition components tend to last longer and be more dependable than their mechanical counterparts, especially at higher rpm.

What Does HEI Mean?

HEI distributors made their debut back in 1974 on many GM vehicles. HEI stands for “High Energy Ignition,” and a GM HEI distributor is designed to deliver increased ignition power and a longer lasting spark. GM HEI distributor offerings are available for many different engine applications today thanks to the aftermarket, so it is possible to take advantage of the technology even if you don’t have a GM engine.

Is An HEI Distributor Better?

A GM HEI distributor, because of its higher spark output and duration, promotes increased performance and reduced emissions because this system promises a more efficient and complete combustion process. That’s because they’re better than original style, points distributors. HEI distributors increase spark and duration, and those are the keys to increased performance, improved throttle response and decreased emissions. For all these reasons, yes, an HEI distributor kit is ideal for a performance application. For an aftermarket distributor, you can’t beat an HEI distributor.

What Does an HEI Distributor Do?

Any number of HEI distributors can replace factory style distributors. Replacing your factory distributor with an HEI distributor is a straightforward way to improve overall performance because that’s what they do. An HEI distributor, whether within a Ford distributor, or in SBC distributors and BBC distributors, deliver a hotter spark for a longer duration, and that’s why they’re so popular. Billet distributors are available with HEI technology in a Flathead Ford distributor, a SBF distributor, SBC distributors, BBC distributors and many more engine applications.