It doesn't matter if you call it the Bumpside Build-off or the Bulletside Build-off (see Classic News in this issue for more information), there is one thing for sure, we definitely have two schools of thought at work in this competition. Of course, since Grant at Classic Trucks '68 Flareside was on its last legs with a bad rod knock and a host of other terminal conditions, he didn't have much of a choice whether or not he was going to drive his truck before it was torn down. Thankfully, in Custom Classic Trucks' corner, our '72 Styleside was in good enough condition that we have and will be able to drive it as work progresses. This is not to say the truck didn't have some reliability issues when we first got it, because there were a few breakdowns. It seems like nine times out of 10, when an engine has problems running, it can usually be traced back to the ignition.

First things first, we popped off the distributor cap and discovered everything inside was junk. With all the really great electronic ignitions on the market today, we didn't even consider rebuilding the points-type ignition, but just for giggles, we hooked up a dwell meter and confirmed our suspicions when the erratic readings (jumping needle) indicated the distributor had a tremendous amount of slop due to wear.

Since this was our first engine tech on the '72 F-100 project, we figured it would be a good idea to make a baseline run on the dyno to establish where we were starting from. We went to see our friend Mark Dibella at MD Automotive in Westminster, California, where anyone with an interest in running on a dyno can buy time on their Dynojet floor dynometer. We made two pulls; the second one was the best. In the stock configuration, the power peaked at 4,500 rpm at 195 lb-ft of torque and 117 horsepower to the rear wheels. With our baseline run out of the way, we drove the '72 back to the house and installed a Street/Strip DUI distributor from Performance Distributors in Memphis, Tennessee, along with a set of Live Wires spark plug wires. After we installed the DUI distributor, our little 302 Ford motor fired right up and ran a lot crisper. We could hardly wait to get the '72 back on MD Automotive's dyno. Unfortunately, in our enthusiasm for our newly discovered power, on the return trip we blew the clutch and lunched the transmission. After we get the driveline problems cured, we'll make another run on the dyno and publish the results in an upcoming issue.

For those of you who have never installed a new distributor or perhaps tried and ended up with disastrous results, we'll share some tips that we discovered work quite well. The first thing we learned was it worked best to install the DUI distributor as if it was going into an engine that had never been fired. This means we started at zero and set the initial timing. To make sure we weren't 180 degrees out, we removed the valve cover and made sure the intake and exhaust valves were closed. The next step was to ensure the pre-fitted Live Wires would all reach their corresponding spark plug. This meant we had to locate where we were going to position the number 1 spark plug terminal on the DUI distributor cap. With the initial timing established, we then had to make sure there were 12 volts to the distributor's hot wire. With the initial timing set and the DUI's installation completed, the 302 fired right up. The final steps were to set the timing at 12 degrees BTDC (bottom top dead center) with the vacuum advance disconnected, and then to where we could run as much advance as possible without pinging.

In addition to eliminating the externally mounted coil, ballast resistor, and ignition points with condenser, Performance Distributors' one-piece DUI with its one-wire hookup is designed with more dwell time, producing a hotter spark. As are all DUIs, ours was curved on a distributor machine specifically for our engine.

With a super smooth curve, our 302 had instant throttle response and ran like a champ-right up until the added power blew the transmission, that is. CCT

Performance Distributors
MD Automotive
  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • View Full Article