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Okay here's the story... When I bought my car last summer it came with a MSD 8350 distributor new in the box. I had been having a problem with the car missing so I decided to install the MSD 6 weeks ago. My car has the Holly Avenger EFI for what it's worth. When I removed the original distributor I discoverd that the vacuum advance had sheared one of the mounting screws and I'm thinking that was my miss problem. Anyhow I proceeded with the install of the 8350 and no matter what I tried I could not get it to work. When it would start it seemed to be firing every other time and would not rev. Not knowing for sure if it was the distributor or the EFI I repaired the the sheared screw and reinstalled the original distributor. The car fired on the first attempt. BAD P.O.S. distributor. I sent it back to MSD and they "repaired" it. I asked what was wrong and they stated it had a bad module. Well today I reinstalled it and wouldn't you know it it does the same thing. so now I'm done!!!!

I have searched the forum for answers and recommednations and it looks like the Ford Duraspark 1 is the way to go. My question is will a MSD 8577 wire up to the Duraspark? I see in one of the earlier posts that Cowboy from Hell said that if it worked it would be a really good setup. Has anyone done it? Another think to note is I have equiped my car with all the Pantera Electronics circutry including the Ignition controller if it makes a difference on how I should wire the Duraspark. I think that since the P.E. Iginition controller removes the load from the ignition switch I could follow the wiring diagram from the earlier post but do away with the relay?

I plan on calling MSD Monday to tell them what I think of the 8350 and their repair. That is unless one of you brings me to my senses before then.

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Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I have an 8350 and it has performed flawlessly for more than 5000 miles. I also run an EFI. The FAST EZ-EFI. My only complaint is that the 8350 is too tall to fit under the screen, but I solved that with a neat mod with a 2010 Mustang shaker scoop.

Did you bypass the ballast resistor when you changed to electronic distributor?
The MSD 8350 is a fine ignition. Lots of guys are running that ignition without issue.

The MSD 8477 Distributor (magnetic trigger & vacuum advance) will indeed function with the Ford Duraspark modules. You don't want to use the large diameter distributor, stay with the narrower version. There is no electronic module inside the 8477 distributor, just an advance mechanism and a magnetic trigger mechanism. Easier to calibrate than the Ford mechanism, and better working in my opinion. I'm a Ford guy, nobody questions that, I prefer Ford parts 90% of the time, but I don't like Ford distributors. And I am in no way the only person who feels that way. The performance of Ford's centrifugal advance mechanism degrades too quickly for me. And the taller narrower aftermarket distributors have fewer intake manifold interference problems.

To use the MSD distributor in conjunction with a Duraspark module you'll have to splice wires, or add connectors, or fabricate an adapter to convert from the MSD distributor connector to the Duraspark distributor connector.

Last edited by George P
Last summer i installed a MSD 8350 distributor in 6915 along w\blaster SS coil and 8.5mm wires. Same problem it would start and run on about 5 cyl.for about 10 sec. w\spark getting weaker as it stalled. Called MSD,they said"you probley got a bad module send it back".It came back three weeks later with a tag attached that stated"Tested 6 hours at 8,000 rpm no problem found.I was a little upset,I was ready to take a hostage and start my demands!.I reinstalled the 8350 distributor,no start,I hooked up the wire from the starter soleniod to coil pos. that gives it 12volts while cranking. IT had a points dist.w\balast resistor.I removed that prior to installing the 8350 and installed a relay w\12volt feed .It still needed the 12volts while cranking .IT runs prefect now. I read a post on this forum that said to use 1 light silver spring and 1heavy silver spring w\black advance stop bushing,ported vac, set timing at 20degree use the orange accelerator pump cam [it has a holley 600 ]i have rev limiter set at6,000 and it pulls strong all the way This 8350 kit came with a digital 6AL box also,so i installed that after i got it running runs the same i cant feel any diff. FWIW i feel the same about MSD they were useless,after alot of BS i am very happy with it now
If you have a green led on when the ignition is on, you have power to the coil.

This misfire to me sounds like one of three things. 1)bad ignition wire or cracked distributor cap. Start the engine at night in the dark. There will be a light show being put on by the cap and wires if they are bad. Bring your video camera.
2)The coil is intermittent. Are you using the MSD coil Jon recommended? I went with the Crane.
I simply have been screwed by MSD's lack of reliability and the kiss my a ss attitude that the company has. Your mileage may vary? Wink
3)You may still have a bad module in the distributor. I stayed with my Motorcraft solid state distributor. Simply put, you simply can't beat the dependability. Look at the IEC installation instructions again. Any of these distributors just need a two wire hook up.
The Motorcraft you can always get the module for if it broke on the road.
4)You may need to make sure that one of the wire tabs, Faston's, you installed on your existing wire harness to connect internally to the P-E built in tabs isn't loose or partially grounding on the case. It's a tight installation inside of the case and that easily could have happened to you.
Best of luck in your hunt...oops, four things! Roll Eyes
Last edited by panteradoug
I'm sorry Doug is right, it didn't sink in to my mind that your Pantera was equipped with the PE ignition controller. That throws an entirely new wrinkle into the situation. I edited my previous post so as not to mislead anyone in the future.

I'm not defending the customer service of MSD, but don't write them off because your distributor worked OK for them, but doesn't work in your Pantera. I doubt that the MSD distributor is the problem, it is very common for an electronic ignition to have problems operating in a 40 year old car when it is dropped-in to replace the old breaker point ignition. The breaker point set-up drew less current and could limp-along under circumstances where the electronic ignition can't, the electronic ignition needs full voltage and draws more current. A wonderful example, the motor in my friend Doug's Pantera, equipped with the 8350 distributor, would die when he used the power windows or turned on the head lights.

The PE ignition controller throws another wrinkle into this problem, because now you're not only dealing with a 40 year old wiring harness, you're dealing with possible controller issues and possible issues with your installation of the controller.

I have no experience with the PE stuff, perhaps Jon H will be your best source of advice regarding what the possible issues are.

Last edited by George P
Thanks guys for your input. My installtion of the P.E. circuitry is not the issue. I have 17+ years experience in the commercial HVAC controls industry as an installer, startup guy, service tech and now programmer and supervisor so I'm confident in my wiring and connections. I did speak to Jon Haas many times during the install to get his opinion on things and all worked fine prior to the MSD install.

Prior to sending the MSD back I had tried a 10 awg wire from the battery to the coil (new MSD Blaster 2) with no luck. I will try it again today and let you know. I suppose that could be the issue and if so what is the chances of my finding the resistor wire under the dash and removing/replacing it? Or do I need to run a new wire all the way back?

I did find a post on some other forum last night about using the MSD distributor connected to the Duraspark module. It did not work. The guy contacted MSD who stated the the MSD signal was too weak for the Duraspark. It works the other way though supposedly.
Last edited by tsolo
The P-E engine controller replaces the Duraspark control box.
I don't remember what we do with the pink wire in the installation, but as Jon would say to me in CAPS, "DID YOU READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL?", as well as some other well deserved superlatives. Big Grin

Not impuning your ability either. Just trying to help and having installed this P-E controller in my car too, where I can see there could be an issue. Sometimes I work so hard on a problem that I can be blind to the situation. Difficult to diagnose from here.
I think there is a misunderstanding regarding my P.E. parts. I have installed the ingnition switch controller and not the engine controller. And for what it is worth I also installed the fuse box, headlight controller, consol switch controller, and radiator fan controller.

I'm going to sinish my sandwich and cold beverage and head out into the garage to try the direct wire from the battery. Another thought I had was is my issue fuel related due to the signal from the distributor to the coil being different. the EFI had the option of selecting either a signal from the coil as originally wired or from a CD box similar to what the 8350 is outputing. I've tried both settings and both wiring scenarios with the same result. MSD makes a "Tach Adapter" I would need if running a 6AL box so I wonder if I need that?
Originally posted by T.Solo:
..MSD makes a "Tach Adapter" I would need if running a 6AL box so I wonder if I need that?

My EFI works fine using the grey wire output. No tach adapter needed in my case.

One thing to try is disabling the rev limiter, MSD specifically recommends this when using EFI. It sends a burst signal at start up and may confuse the ECU. Instructions at this link. Scroll down and look for a PDF.
I'm old enough and wise enough to know when something is just not meant to be. Me winning the lottery, that cute little red-head I met online, or 6512 having this MSD 8350 distributor. I'm also smart enough to know when I've been beat and am not too proud to admit it.

I tried the direct wire from the battery with limited success. The car did fire and attempt to run but ultimatly it did not work just like before. There is clearly something wrong between the disrtibutor not sparking right and the computer not sensing the spark. The sheet I received from MSD stated that they replaced a circuit board in it but did they actually or did they miss something else wrong with it? Regardless this distributor will never go back in my car. It's been apart for 6 weeks and I've waisted 3 weekends screwing with this distributor.

I reinstalled the dual points distributor but couldn't get the car to fire I believe due to the battery being weak. I'll try again tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for your ideas. Some things just can't be fixed.
I had an 8350, 6AL and tach adapter and I shorted a wrench on the back of the alternator.
the car would barely run (roughly and wouldn't rev). I removed the 6AL/adapter and tried to run the car with the 8350 alone. It wouldn't start/run. I checked the wiring 20 times.
I replaced the tach adapter and it ran fine.
Just fyi
So after some much needed away time from the car and 2 truckloads of firewood this morning I double checked and repositioned the dual points distributor one tooth, said a short prayer and hit the ignition button. She's alive again!!!

Dual points has served her well for 37 years so if by fixing the sheared vacuum advance screw and replacing the plugs and wires the miss is fixed I'll be content for now. I will be calling MSD tomorrow to see if they are willing to do anything for me. Maybe they will take the 8350 in part trade for a 6AL, 8477/8577 setup. On that note should the difference between the 8477 and 8577 is the vacuum advance. Which do I want considering I'm running the fuel injection?

Thanks again everyone for your help. Wish I could make to AZ. If its ever back in Reno I could bring my car up.

I've been running the 8477 problem free for about 10 years now. It's the one I'd recommend.

The 8350 should give the same service. Sorry to hear about your troubles. I've had similar frustrations that could've ended with gun fire.

If you haven't done it already, eliminate as many variables as you can from the msd system.
Temporarily wire it up with just the distributor and the coil(see page 7 of the msd instructions). No ignition box or tach. Make sure you have a good ground and if yours came with the rev limiter function make sure that wire is capped off. This could also be done on the work bench. Carefully that is. You'd need: battery, plug and coil wire, spark plug, and enough jumper wires to hook up the power and grounds.
Hope that helps...........J
Of electronic ignitions, the Ford Duraspark ll from a stock Ford 460 is the only one I'd consider. It is a drop-in conversion from a Ford 460 to a 351-C and has stock vacuum advance. No tach adapter needed either and the brainbox is about $45 at any auto parts store in N. America. The distributors never fail. The only downside is, it has a truck advance curve built in but all that can be adjusted; parts from your old dual-point distributor will fit a Duraspark.
FWIW, the Pertronix conversion is the only electronic ignition I've ever found that can sometimes PARTIALLY fail- the engine will often keep running and starts, but will not rev. All the others- MSD, Mallory, HEI etc- when they fail, you stop dead.
Also FWIW, I'm told MSD uses Ford parts in their billet distributors that do have better bearings, but their brainboxes are unique- and expensive.
Finally, ALL (100.0%) of these high-buck electronic aftermarket distributors for 351-Cs come with the same fragile crack-prone roll pin that you've already had experience with. They all need to be upgraded with dual pins or at least a bigger & better pin than what MSD, Mallory and all the rest supply. That includes the Duraspark.
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