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Discussion Starter #1
I Have a 1977 Chevy Nova with a Basically Stock 305 that is Fitted with an Edelbrock Performer Series Intake Manifold & a 600 CFM Edelbrock 4 Barrel Carburetor # 1406(3) w/An Electric Choke.

I Have been Advised by a Local Auto Shop that My Distributor is The Reason that I'm Experiencing My Current Starting & Dying Problems & that I Need to Replace it with a Better Quality & Higher Output HEI Distributor than The One that I Currently Have & I was Advised to Purchase a $150.00 MSD Distributor from Jegs or Summit.

My Nova isn't a Hot Rod or a Race Car, it's My Daily Driver & My Only Car.

I've been Told that MSD Doesn't Have a Good Warranty or a Good Reputation for Standing Behind Their Products.

Other Brands I Have been Told to Purchase Consist of:

A-Team Performance, Mallory, Accel, Proform & Spectra Premium.

The Proform is Chinese & Has a 1 Year Warranty.

The Spectra Premium is Also Chinese, but it Has a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

At This Juncture, Anything Up to $180.00 Won't be an Issue, I just Need to Find The Best Distributor for My Nova that Has a Good Warranty.

Suggestions & Opinions?
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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I would definitely recommend the Proform HEI shown in the link below.
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/pro-141-682

This Proform distributor is licensed by Chevrolet and I think it is the same distributor as the GM Performance distributor... but cost a lot less.
This Proform distributor also comes with the melonized steel distributor gear already installed and appears to have a decent set of mechanical advance weights and centerplate.
397320

It's also a good idea to purchase an HEI advance curve kit to help "dial-in" your mechanical advance curve . You will only need the springs from the kit. Do not use the weights & centerplate that come with the curve kit ... they are cheap (keep the centerplate and weights installed that come with the distributor in the above link).
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/pro-66948c/overview/
or...
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-g5212?rrec=true

If you are planning to hook the distributor's vacuum advance canister up to a full time vacuum port, I highly recommend getting an MSD Vaccum Advance Stop Plate to limit the amount of advance. The MSD Stop Plate is very easy to install.
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/msd-84281
397321


You can also use the Crane Vacuum Advance Limiter Plate to control the amount of vacuum advance... But, do not install the Crane limited plate the way they say in the instructions. The plate must be installed so that all it does is limit total advance. Not change the starting point. To do this, the attachment arm of the vacuum advance unit must be drilled and tapped so the plate can be installed on the canister side.
397323
 

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If the motor is basically stock why do you need a high output distributor? Did the shop give a reason why? There has to be a need for the extra spark power such as high compression or a big cam.

The stock GM HEI unit is decently powerful and normally more than sufficient for stock-to-mild street engines. It is a great distributor for a daily driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was told I needed a Higher Output, Higher Performance Distributor, that would allow the engine to continue running without dying.
 

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Jegs PN 555-40005 is a complete drop in HEI, including the base gasket. no spark plug wires. Here's my recent install
https://www.stevesnovasite.com/threads/73-hatchback-fun-or-is-it.634449/page-14 scroll to #276.

Make sure this will fit your Nova. suggest you measure your current distributer cap diameter and compare. some applications the HEI 7" diameter won't clear the firewall. IDK if this would effect you...
Maybe your current distributer just needs a cap and rotor, maybe a new coil? A coil, wires, cap and rotor can cost as much as the entire distributor.
What exactly did they say was failing?
 

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The 555-4005 can be purchased with different colored caps under other pns if that's a concern.
It is plug and play, and has adjustable vacuum advance, which you may want to adjust later..
Right now your concern is to get/ keep your DD running.
based on the symptoms you relayed, I'm thinking it may be your coil failing, or a cracked distributer cap, but as I found out buying a coil, cap and rotor was almost as expensive as the entire distributer.
Proform GM Licensed Distributors 141-682 suggested by Rif raf is also a plug n play unit It is licensed and undoubtedly a better made item than what I suggested. Summit states it has 50 deg total advance, that may be to much, it can be adjusted . In your case it probably comes down to $, and ease of install/ adjustment. In my case I simply installed it and fired it up. Now that the car is running better I can work on the advance adjustment if needed as I learn more.

GL hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Kim, I've been looking at The Spectra Premium from O'Reilly's with its Limited Lifetime Warranty for $135.00, but I can get it Cheaper Online, it's made in China & I've seen both Good & Bad Reviews.

Will that Carbole Distributor Fit in My 77 Nova's 305?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Jegs PN 555-40005 is a complete drop in HEI, including the base gasket. no spark plug wires. Here's my recent install
https://www.stevesnovasite.com/threads/73-hatchback-fun-or-is-it.634449/page-14 scroll to #276.

Make sure this will fit your Nova. suggest you measure your current distributer cap diameter and compare. some applications the HEI 7" diameter won't clear the firewall. IDK if this would effect you...
Maybe your current distributer just needs a cap and rotor, maybe a new coil? A coil, wires, cap and rotor can cost as much as the entire distributor.
What exactly did they say was failing?
Thanks Rupert, I Need Something More than 42K. My Nova Starts, Runs, Dies, won't Start, wait a few Minutes & Repeat. It does this several times until it warms up & then it runs great. Auto Shop Diagnosed it as a Bad, Low Power Distributor.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, for Better or Worse, I Ordered That First One that Kim Suggested.

I Hope I did The Right Thing.
 

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Well, for Better or Worse, I Ordered That First One that Kim Suggested.

I Hope I did The Right Thing.
The one I got from Skip White seems to not be available any more... but the one in ebay also has a lifetime warranty of some type. When I ordered mine I figured if it didn't work out or last, I wouldn't be out much money and/or would be able to get another one for free. But it immediately boosted performance and has been great for 2 or 3 years. Hopefully yours will be as good.
 

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The new one should fit as it is replacing an HEI... My original distributor was swapped from my original 305 when I went to the 350. The new distributor and cap I got were identical in size. I would think fit should be fine in your 77.
 

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Thanks Rupert, I Need Something More than 42K. My Nova Starts, Runs, Dies, won't Start, wait a few Minutes & Repeat. It does this several times until it warms up & then it runs great. Auto Shop Diagnosed it as a Bad, Low Power Distributor.
well, you made your choice and it should be fine hope it solves your problems. Keep us posted.
42k is plenty Stock HEI in 1977 put out about 24k .
 

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DO NOT buy a Skip White, or any other no-name brand, from E-Bay, or any9one else, they are the EXACT same as the totally junk Pro-Comp. Now, do you all see why Peter called his distributors "Pro-Comp"? Did any of you know the differences between the completely junk Pro-Comp, and the one that is really good, Chevrolet authorized "Pro-Form"? I doubt it. ALL ZZ series Chevy crate performance engine distributors are Pro-Form. What did you expect for a dealer cost of $22.00/US funds, shiping included, shipped from Sydney Speed & Marine, in Australia, where Peter is located? The Skip White, and other almost free HEI's seen on E-Bay and other places, are the same as the Pro-Comp junk, built by the same people in China Peter used, and are the same absolutely dismal quality. The company had to do something after Peter stopped buying those Pro-Comp, and Skip White disasters so, now, they make a single model, sold by everyone from China, to the MIR Space Station.

Crane 99619-1 vacuum advance degrees stop plate IS the one to use, and there are complete instructions readily available, for absolutely free, from me, at [email protected] There are even pictures of the install and adjust process included, FOR ABSOLUTELY FREE. The MSD stop has problems, in both adjustment, and in the possibility of damaging the end hold down screw for the vacuum advance.

Now, to fix the impending "that HEI module failed FOR NO APPARENT REASON". To stop the module after module failures, change the coil cover and remove the epoxy junker coil in the cap. Use MSD p/n 8401 coil adapter cap. This removes the problem prone in cap coils, ALL OF THEM, INCLUDING AFTERMARKET ONES, to use a simple, remote mounted round oil filled coil. Fixes ongoing module failure issues when the in cap epoxy filled coils LAYER SHORT internally, and kill all those modules "for no apparent reason".
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Did any of you know the differences between the completely junk Pro-Comp, and the one that is really good, Chevrolet authorized "Pro-Form"? I doubt it. ALL ZZ series Chevy crate performance engine distributors are Pro-Form.
I knew about the difference between the Pro-Comp and the Pro-Form HEI distributors... but it's only because I read several years of posts that were written by Ignitionman on other car forum sites (I have a feeling that you know each other). That was the reason why I recommended the Pro-Form HEI in post #2 of this conversation.
I would definitely recommend the Proform HEI shown in the link below.
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/pro-141-682
This Proform distributor is licensed by Chevrolet and I think it is the same distributor as the GM Performance distributor... but cost a lot less.
Anyway, I am glad to see that you are a contributing member on SNS!
 
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