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Thread: MSD Ignition on a 1970 304

  1. #1

    Default MSD Ignition on a 1970 304

    I have a 1970 1300 4x4 that has a 304. I am thinking of installling a MSD 6A electronic Ignition on it to see if it would help with power. Any body ever use an MSD on a IH engine.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Little Rock
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    from what I have heard, mallory has a much better set up. A friend of mine went through 2 msd's on his 78 sII. The pointless mallory set up is around 350, and well worth the money.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2009
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    Twin Falls, ID
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    I know of some failed MSD boxes myself.... Wonder if they are no good...

    Have you thought about using a later model IH electronic distributer?
    '06 Ram Cummins 3500 4x4 with all but 4 options. It has a few added on goodies and everything is 'Mega' sized!
    '73 1210 Travellete Cab: 392 is out of there and the Cummins 12V is lowering in there as you read this (I hope!)
    '76 Scout needing some work so it can be on the road also!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supercrewzer76 View Post
    I have a 1970 1300 4x4 that has a 304. I am thinking of installling a MSD 6A electronic Ignition on it to see if it would help with power. Any body ever use an MSD on a IH engine.
    It does not help with power. Hotter sparks will help with emissions, and they will help with plug life IF everything else is optimized, such as plug gap. It will also blow open anything that is already getting an arc. You will see better idling when the engine is cold on a cold day, but it won't make up for a poorly adjusted choke. Fuel economy might stabilize a bit.

    For the money, the pertronix modules are a good bet. The modules used on the IH distributor from a 304 in the light line application are available from the light line distributors or summit racing or NAPA or all sorts of places. You need to tell them the number from the distributor.

    The 304 engine is borderline for a 1 ton application because you aren't working it hard enough to create the horsepower you want. The rpm range for working that engine is 2500-3900 rpm, and we tend to drive the lighter rigs, like pickups and scouts, below 2800 rpm for fuel economy.

    The fact is, we drive slow rigs, and they are not designed to be fast. They are made to work hard. Load that 1300 up with 3000 lbs of sand or something and the springs will sag, but the truck will wake up. The 304 was designed to haul up to a 30,000 lb gross vehicle weight. If you are in a hurry, you're probably driving the wrong truck.

    The best thing you can do for economy on that engine is tweek the carb for best air flow and set the timing as far advanced as you can without ping. Ping ruins engines. The only advantage to the MSD is their variable timing module, an extra 80-100 bucks over the basic module. This allows you to advance your timing for the mountains, for example, and retard it for sea level.

    I have also found that when I advance the timing enough for a slight ping, high octane fuel takes it away and gives me better fuel economy. I actually get 15% better mileage in one of the scouts using high octane fuel IF I keep the timing advanced. Around the mountains, I'm fine, but I can't take it down into the desert unless I drop it back 6 degrees or switch to the good stuff. The 91 octane allows me to run it this way, and the price difference from regular to high octane is only 7% where I live. I come out ahead, and I get more power.

    With the extra weight of the truck, that might not be the case for you.
    Allan E.
    Curmudgeon Extraordinaire
    Charter Member, Old Hippie IH Club
    Old fashioned binder freak

  5. #5

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    I am never in a hurry driving this truck. I have had it up to 55 mph and that was pushing it I think. It has 4.88:1 gears I am not sure what my rpms were when driving that fast. It is just an old rusty truck that i want to tinker with every now and then. May use it as a tow vehicle when I get the bugs all worked out of it. I acctually bought 2 more internationals I was going to use to fix this one up but one of them is a 1/2 ton 4x4 with a 6cyl. I think I am going to use it as a daily driver instead of the 1 ton 4x4. I have talked to some people who have MSD in muscle cars. The one guy really liked it saying he has not fouled out a plug and he had it running very rich. The main reason I was using the MSD is I have one I pulled off of a bronco that I parted out. I didn't know if it would be worth while. Thanks for the input

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Aiken, SC
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    Yes, top speed with 4.88 gears and stock tires would be about 60.

    My guess is that if you have a good carb, the MSD is not needed. However, it won't hurt to run it. If you are getting a small amount of oil fouling, the MSD will help.
    Allan E.
    Curmudgeon Extraordinaire
    Charter Member, Old Hippie IH Club
    Old fashioned binder freak

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