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Who was making the 308 custom distributors?

Discussion in '308/328' started by Slim, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
    1,735
    Pacifica, CA, USA
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    richard
    In the days before the forum design changed, there was a guy making distributors for the 308. He'd take a modern distributor and adapt it for use and then one could buy cheap distributor caps at any autoparts place, and have electronic ignition trigger etc. He did at least one for the 206/246 dino motors and I posted about it on my website and have recently received two emails from guys asking me how they can contact this guy and get one of those distributors, but I don't have his contact info anymore!

    I believe his name was Ben but I could be wrong. Does anyone remember his name and have his contact information?

    thanks,

    Rich
     
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  3. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    3,003
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    Sean F
    There was somewhat of a bruhahaha over that. He took deposits, made and delivered a few, then didn't deliver some. Some didn't work quite right and those guys were left to figure out how to make them work. Some worked great and those guys were estatic.

    Norwoods will make you an adaptor and drive cog to fit a Mallory 8-cyl distributor for ~$800 + the cost of the dizzy. Also, you have to get the direction reversed ($25) and then have the factory also set the advance curve to your liking ($15) and you're set. Not a cheap option, but the $20-plug wires, $10 cap and $5 rotor make life easier and things seem to run better with an ignition that works correctly. Also, you either have to get a splitter for the tach signal, or send your tack off to have it converted to a 8-cylinder unit in lieu of the 4-cylinder you now have. You can put and MSD on pretty easily as well. Honestly, that seems the best option.

    Don King in California will put two pertronix units into on distributor and rebuild that distributor so it advances correctly for ~$600 total. A good option as well but you still have the $200 rotor and million dollar caps (this also limits the coils you can run to 20,000 V or less - unless of course you want to damage the ones you've got by going hotter).
     
  4. chrismorse

    chrismorse Formula 3

    Feb 16, 2004
    2,149
    way north california
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    chris morse
    My 77 points were giving me trouble, so i looked at a lot of posts, started to go the optical route, then thought it out a bit more and decided to go the Norwood route:

    They take both distributors, make one good one, set it up on the distributor machine for a proper advance curve, machine the body to accept a chevy 8 cyl cap, make an adaptor for a ford rotor, and here is the best part, mount a chrysler magnetic pick up to replace the f%^$g points. They take your tachometer and have it converted to an 8 cylinder pulse, (instead of being triggered off one 4 cyl distrib).

    I installed an MSD 6AL unit. I thought i could reuse one of the MSD5 units the po had installed but found out that this only works with an old points system. You need to upgrade to at least an MSD6 unit for it to work with the magnetic pickup. The MSD6AL unit gets you an adjustable, (soft) rev limiter.

    IMHO it is either the norwood set up or one of the high dollar multipul coil units, (Haltec??).

    This looks like a Euro single distrib unit.

    My hunch is that the beefier spark and the multipul spark aspecets of the MSD unit is a big help for the rich idle, low speeddifficulties of the carbed 308.

    If i may continue this hijack a bit further, I have two small areas where Norwood might improve their conversion.

    1) come up with a better solution for the elimination of the second distributor. Having a customer grind down a small soft plug and having them either epoxy or weld the piece in place is a bit of a stretch for a home mechanic, given the potential of a failed seal.

    2) Provide a bit better cap retention clip. It works just fine, it is just not permanently attached to the distributor.

    On balance, these are very small areas of improvement, I would buy the Norwood set up again, in a heartbeat.

    Here is what you get:

    SET IT AND FORGET IT no point wear or rubbing block wear.

    $16 dollar cap, not a 225-400 Ferrari cap.

    Inexpensive rotor.

    Set one distributor for timing, not two.

    Parts available in any smnall town across the us of a.

    I can live with a small change in the appearance for a big gain in reliability, lower parts cost and partrs availability.

    my .03
    chris
     
  5. snj5

    snj5 F1 World Champ

    Feb 22, 2003
    10,213
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    Russ Turner
    #4 snj5, Sep 20, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Here are the three currently mass marketed Ferrari V-8 single distributor conversions that I know of: Superformance (www.superformance.co.uk), the Norwood (www.norwoodperformance.com) Marelli conversion, and the Norwood Mallory conversion (my car).
    As for mine, the Norwood adaptor was $500, and the Mallory distributor was $230, the coil $32. That's really all you need, unless you want MSD for about $150. The original Marelli ecu still runs the tach just fine. See old threads for documented conversion.
    Best
    rt
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  6. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    3,003
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    Russ the original Marelli on our cars will not run our tach b/c it sends a 4-cyl signal where as your's sends an 8. Also, the adapter parts are ~$700 as quoted from Norwoods to me. I think you said they did it for you at closer to cost sort of as a favor. I still have the quote on my PC and honestly it seems like the best option.
     
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  8. snj5

    snj5 F1 World Champ

    Feb 22, 2003
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    #6 snj5, Sep 21, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Sean is correct for carb cars. For Bosch cars, I just left the Marelli ECU in place with the sensors using the flywheel sensors, disconnected the ECU leads to the coils then used the coil power to run the Mallory coil. I think any injected car would be the same. With carb cars, you are right that the tach will need converting to the 8 cyl signal.
    Here's a schematic of what I did below; best to all - rt
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  9. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
    1,735
    Pacifica, CA, USA
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    richard
    Thanks for all the replies guys. I'll tell people who ask me to forget about the earlier guy and explore one of the new options mentioned. Thanks for the photos/diagrams Russ!
     
  10. scorpion

    scorpion Formula Junior

    Jan 19, 2004
    469
    Kentucky
    FYI, I think the person you were refering to was Ben Millerman - I believe he is out of the Ferrari thing as he sold his 308 on Ebay over a year ago.
     
  11. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
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    Kansas
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    Russ,

    I'm still not clear on how your new dist. attached to the cam. I understand Norwoods made you a drive cog, but my current dist. has a long shaft with a splined end on it to attach to the cam. HOw is the new on attached? Is that little cog splined on one end and the other attaches to the new dist. and I jut can't see it?
     
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  13. Doug

    Doug Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
    1,467
    Louisville KY
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    Doug
    I sent my tach to Palo Alto to recalibrate it for a '76. Originally it was $180 but they had to upcharge me because it needed a different chip or something. I think it was another $50 or so for a total of $230-$240. Tach now runs spot on even measured against a timing light that has a tach hooked up.

    My conversion was done with an original Distributor and a Mallory Unilite (@$100)mounted inside. There is then a machined plate to cover the Mallory and place a Mallory Ford style cap($11) and rotor($9). This conversion was done by the previous owner and it works like a charm. Starts right up every time in extreme hot or cold.
     
  14. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
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    Pictures man, we need pictures. How did they attach the mallory unilite inside the original unit and is the advance mechanical or vacuum?
     
  15. Doug

    Doug Formula 3

    Nov 13, 2003
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    #12 Doug, Sep 22, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Here are some pics.
    I don't want to pull the dizzy to open it because everything is currently timed perfectly. But I removed the cap and you can see how the machined plate looks. The Unilte and the trigger reside under the plate and the original advance mechanism remains. Again, this was not built by me so I don't know the details. However, as you can see from the pics, the tune-up parts can all be ordered from Summit. Timing is as easy as loosening the 3 bolts, putting a timing light on it and rotating it until you get it correct.
    After getting my tach back from Palo Alto, I simply hooked up the brown wire and it works perfect. Before the re-calibration, it read double the rpm.
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  16. Dave

    Dave F1 Rookie

    Apr 15, 2001
    2,722
    Little Rock
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    David Jones
    I have the Norwood single dizzy conversion.
    I opted for it due to the fact that it looks closer to a Euro single dizzy model.

    If I had it to do over again, I would probably go with the Electromotive or similar unit.
     
  17. snj5

    snj5 F1 World Champ

    Feb 22, 2003
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    #14 snj5, Sep 23, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    the cams have a set pin that holds the drive in. Are the splines part of the cam itself?
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  18. snj5

    snj5 F1 World Champ

    Feb 22, 2003
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    That is one slick conversion piece.
     
  19. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
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    No, the splines are the exteranl part on the end of the dizzy drive and I assume the inside of the cams. Remember you have a 4 valve. car and I have a 2-valve.

    To bad Doug doesn't know how the Mallory unit is mounted inside his dizzy.....
     
  20. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    3,003
    Kansas
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    Sean F
    I see what they did. The cog/drive thing actually goes INSIDE of the splines (the OD of the small part of the cog is smaller than the splined hole). That's why Mike told me I had to index and drill a hole in my cam to hold it together (at least I think that's what he said).
     

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