MSD Tech: Distributor Troubleshooting
Distributor Trouble Shooting
MSD offers several different styles of Pro-Billet Distributors, so our first step is to identify your model.
The most popular MSD distributor is our standard Pro-Billet model. This is easily identified by a 2-pin connector, with one Violet/Black wire and one Orange/Black wire that connect to the magnetic pickup inside the distributor. These distributors must be used with an MSD Ignition Control such as a 6-Series Ignition or a 7-Series Ignition.
For this style distributor, the only real specification is to check the resistance of the magnetic pickup. Use an ohm meter across the two wires and confirm that the resistance is between 400 and 1,300 ohms. If the pickup is out of this specification, it may not be triggering the ignition box. Confirm the operation of the ignition and coil by following the “How to False Trigger Your MSD Ignition” selection. If the ignition and coil check out as detailed, then the distributor pickup may be at fault.
Another popular distributor is the Ready-to-Run line. These distributors are easily identified by the three pin connector that has a Red, Orange and Black wire. In some models, there will be a separate Green wire that is used for a tachometer signal wire. These distributors do not require and external ignition control as they have a built-in high output ignition module.
To check the Ready-to-Run Distributor, confirm that there are 12 volts on the Red wire when the key is On and while cranking. It is important to confirm 12-volts during cranking as many older vehicles may have resistor wiring or ballast resistors inline which could affect the voltage needed to fire the ignition.
You can also check for 12 volts on the coil negative – remember, this is only on the Ready-to-Run distributors! Also, confirm that the black wire is properly grounded to the engine block.
MSD Tech: Coil and Spark Plug Wire Troubleshooting| 11/14/2013
There are not a lot of things that you can check to confirm that the coil is operating. Also, due to the number of different coil variations available, it makes it difficult for specific specifications. If you have an ohm meter, you can check the primary and secondary resistance of the coil.
MSD Tech: Ignition Troubleshooting| 12/03/2011
The following information will give you some tips to review during the installation of your MSD 6-Series Ignition Control. We will start by reviewing the wiring of the MSD ignition control.
MSD Releases Large Assortment of New Ignition Products| 03/01/2018
Black Ultimate HEI ignition kits, Chevy V8 caps and rotors, LS boot/terminal kits, HEI distributor timing lockouts, and Atomic AirForce intake O-ring kits are now available.
MSD Releases Cam Sync Distributor Plugs For Ford Engines| 02/15/2018
They're available for three different engines – 289/302s, 351C-460s, and 351Ws.