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Old 09-18-2010, 07:45 PM
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gr8fulabe gr8fulabe is offline
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Default multiple distributor questions?

Hi all,
I have a late 74, "F.5" (or whatever they call the transitional model F engine). It has what I have been told is a vacuum retard dizzy in it, but it recently broke. The parts that physically hold the advance/retard mechanism in place broke off, and I'm told it isn't repairable. I've also been told that it is basically the worst dizzy that Toyota made. So rather than replace, it seems like its time to upgrade. So:

1. What would you use for the upgrade if it were you?
2. If there is a massive consensus of the best option, do you have one available for sale?
3. Can I just stick that Dizzy in, or do I need a whole new spark system, etc... for it?
4. Do I actually have to find top dead center & all that, or can I just make sure it is aiming in the same place, pull the one, install the other & be done with it?
5. I've heard of the issue with making sure it is seated all the way to engage the oil pump, but are the other important things I should know of too?

Thanks to anyone & everyone for any advice you can give, or parts if you have them for sale....!
Best,
Abe
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:58 PM
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Rzeppa Rzeppa is offline
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Originally Posted by gr8fulabe View Post
Hi all,
I have a late 74, "F.5" (or whatever they call the transitional model F engine). It has what I have been told is a vacuum retard dizzy in it, but it recently broke. The parts that physically hold the advance/retard mechanism in place broke off, and I'm told it isn't repairable. I've also been told that it is basically the worst dizzy that Toyota made. So rather than replace, it seems like its time to upgrade. So:

1. What would you use for the upgrade if it were you?
Depends. I have had great success with the "non-USA" vacuum advance points type unit. I have bought a couple of them new and they are only a couple hundred bucks. The 1978 (first year of fully electronic) is excellent and is what is in my...1978. The 1980-1987 is even better but there are two disadvantages to these - you can only get them used, and for the later version you need the side cover with the indent because of the larger diameter.

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Originally Posted by gr8fulabe View Post
3. Can I just stick that Dizzy in, or do I need a whole new spark system, etc... for it?
The "Non-USA" version wants the ported vacuum on the carb to work best. The electronic versions need the matching coil and ignitor to work.

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Originally Posted by gr8fulabe View Post
4. Do I actually have to find top dead center & all that, or can I just make sure it is aiming in the same place, pull the one, install the other & be done with it?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8fulabe View Post
5. I've heard of the issue with making sure it is seated all the way to engage the oil pump, but are the other important things I should know of too?
That's the main thing, but see above about connecting the advance to the proper carb port (your 74 won't have it from the factory, it will need to be added).

If you go with the later electronic versions, be aware that the cap is vented; it needs inlet inside the rig and outlet on the dirty side of the air cleaner. You won't have this on the 74 and will have to add it.

I am not a fan of ANY non-Toyota distributors and will NOT recommend DUI, HEI, or any of the others.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:04 PM
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RicardoJM RicardoJM is offline
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Bummer about losing your distributor. I have yet to have a vacuum advance setup in my truck, but have not been disappointed with how it runs. I do run a toyota electronic ignition and like it very much. If I were in a pinch, I would run a points distributor and not fuss too much.

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Originally Posted by gr8fulabe View Post
1. What would you use for the upgrade if it were you?
I went for most convenient/cheapest.

All things being equal, in the ideal circumstances I would walk into the junk yard and find an FJ60; I'd pull the dizzy ($15), coil/igniter ($20) and side cover ($10) and put in "the best" toyota electronic ignition setup. As my engine is desmogged, I would send the distributor out to Jim C. for a re curve. That said, if I were to come across an H.E.I. that had been set up for an F engine; I wouldn't have an issue with running it. Fact is that would be the least amount of work to upgrade to.

I fell into my upgrade. The distributor was in an engine that I bought. I found the coil/igniter in a junk yard truck. After doing a bit of reading, I decided to pop the stuff in and start running an electronic ignition.

Quote:
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2. If there is a massive consensus of the best option, do you have one available for sale?
Not really a massive consensus. I don't have a set up for sale, but post up in the For Sale/Wanted and perhaps someone will have something for you. If there is a junk yard close and convenient, walk the yard on a regular basis until you find an FJ60 before someone else does.

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Originally Posted by gr8fulabe View Post
3. Can I just stick that Dizzy in, or do I need a whole new spark system, etc... for it?
You could grab another points distributor in good shape, slap it in and be up and running.

If you go with the Toyota electronic distributors, there are two "vintages"; 78-79 (small cap) and 80+ (big cap). Both will require a coil/igniter change from what you have. You can use any coil/igniter setup from a carbureted Toyota (land cruiser, mini-truck) or put together the "GM Ignition". The big cap will also require a side cover change.

The HEI route is closer to a slap in. The coil/igniter are built into the cap of the distributor, so all you have to do is hook up power. Of course the spark plug wires for an HEI distributor are different but that is not a big deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8fulabe View Post
4. Do I actually have to find top dead center & all that, or can I just make sure it is aiming in the same place, pull the one, install the other & be done with it?
If you are very careful to match up the new to where the old was at, the pull and stab will work. That said, if there is any doubt at all, find TDC. It is pretty easy to put a piece of tissue in the #1 spark plug hole and start turning the engine, when the tissue "pops" (cool sound) you are on the way up to TDC and you can stop when the BB is aligned with the pointer.

When I did my upgrade, I ran into issues and ended up needing to replace my valve cover. When you get around to doing the work, post up to see if one of the more experienced members might be able to stop by. This is one aspect of being involved with Rising Sun that I really appreciate and make an effort to pay forward.

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5. I've heard of the issue with making sure it is seated all the way to engage the oil pump, but are the other important things I should know of too?
For swapping the dizzy, that is the big one. If things are not working after the swap, there are some debugging steps you will learn that help to isolate where the break down is. While the basic steps are the same, the specifics depend upon the components involved.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:44 AM
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Thanks for the tips guys! I guess my first step is finding a new distritubutor. I do currently have another 40 that I could pull the dizzy from short term, as I destroyed the clutch pressure plate in it so it isn't going anywhere for a while. That could get this truck running now & buy me time for a permanent fix. THe tough part there is that is a 7640, that the PO put a 70-71 F engine into, with a mix of F & 2F parts, so i have no idea additional of distributor it is. Would I be better off leaving that one alone since it is running in a truck, and finding one I know the origins of, or does it really matter?
Also, Especically thankds for the TDC tip. I have tried to find it in my v8 '65 convertible in the past & seem to end up 180 degrees off on it more than half the time (even though that seems to go against the odds).

Thanks a bunch!
Abe
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:09 PM
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I have an HEI distributor in my 74 F.5 motor. They are simple to install, very reliable, and give you a much hotter spark (plugs can be gapped to .055). This last part helps with older motors to start easier and idle smoother, less plug fouling, etc. As long as you get one made specifically for an F/2F motor they will fit and work perfectly.

Nice thing is they are virtually waterproof and if you need parts you can get them at any Checker/Autozone, etc as they used std GM parts. They last forever as they have dual bearings supporting the shaft versus 1 or 2 bushings in a stock distributor.

Most of them come with a more aggressive timing curve built-in which especially helps at our higher elevations. You will see a smal performance improvement, nothing huge but mostly snapper throttle response.

The biggest negative is you will spend about $275 for one from MAF plus you will need to buy the hi-perf plug wires for about $50. It is a simple 1 wire (switched 12v +) hook up to install and you can toss all of the old ignitor/coil stuff away. Most of them also come with a tach hookup too.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Air Randy View Post
I have an HEI distributor in my 74 F.5 motor. They are simple to install, very reliable, and give you a much hotter spark (plugs can be gapped to .055). This last part helps with older motors to start easier and idle smoother, less plug fouling, etc. As long as you get one made specifically for an F/2F motor they will fit and work perfectly.

Nice thing is they are virtually waterproof and if you need parts you can get them at any Checker/Autozone, etc as they used std GM parts. They last forever as they have dual bearings supporting the shaft versus 1 or 2 bushings in a stock distributor.

Most of them come with a more aggressive timing curve built-in which especially helps at our higher elevations. You will see a smal performance improvement, nothing huge but mostly snapper throttle response.

The biggest negative is you will spend about $275 for one from MAF plus you will need to buy the hi-perf plug wires for about $50. It is a simple 1 wire (switched 12v +) hook up to install and you can toss all of the old ignitor/coil stuff away. Most of them also come with a tach hookup too.
It is very important you swap the drive gears on the bottom of the HEI to the metric Toyota one. The one off the f/2f distributor will work with some minor modification.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:05 PM
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A fully electronic upgrade sounds like a great idea, but I'm not too sold on the idea of having to modify it to make it work. I know that is easy for most of the guys here, but when I see that I can imagine getting online to order a second one after I ruin the first one...
At the moment I have pulled the broken dizzy & the other one out of my other, currently not running 40 for an immediate fix. With minor changes, they look almost the same (shorter than I expected actually), but I seem to be unable to get the dizzy back in for the last half inch or so. It just seems like it is a really tight squeeze. Any idea if I'm doing something wrong, or should I just wiggle & force until it goes? Any tips here?
At the moment I'm trying the, "pull & stab" as so named above, but I think I have it pretty well lined up.
thanks,
Abe
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:27 PM
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... but I seem to be unable to get the dizzy back in for the last half inch or so. It just seems like it is a really tight squeeze. Any idea if I'm doing something wrong, or should I just wiggle & force until it goes? Any tips here?
It sounds like the slot in the oil pump is not lining up with the blade at the bottom of the distributor shaft. As you are stabbing, you can see how meshing of the gear on the shaft with the gear on the camshaft causes the works to rotate? Keeping that in mind, use a long flat blade screw driver to line up the slot in the oil pump so that as you stab the distributor shaft slides right in.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:05 PM
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You do not have to modify the distributor at all if you buy it from DUI or MAF. Both are made specifically for the F/2F and already have the metric drive gear in place. You drop it in and hook up 1 wire, thats it.

Also, an easy way to get the dizzy to drop into the oil pump is, once you are engaged into the gears and are holding light down pressure on the dizzy, have a helper bump the ignition key once or twice, it should drop right in.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:28 PM
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My humble opinion:

A "hotter" ignition is not "better". Well it might be better for a high compression race car engine, but for our tractor engine F/2F series, it will cause more problems than it might solve. For example, there used to be a popular "upgrade" called a flamethrower coil. I have personally seen where it caused all kinds of unintended adverse consequences, such as arcing from plug wires and arcing inside the distributor cap. You do NOT NEED anywhere near the 50kV advertised for "high output coils" for our F/2F series engines!

I spent many years designing high voltage power supplies so I know a thing or two about sparks. At sea level, 10kV will arc about a centimeter in dry air. Under (modest) compression with a fuel air mixture you can factor that down by an order of magnitude. So 1mm = about 0.40 spark gap. With the stock 20kV coil with the stock points distributors you have about a 2:1 cushion.

You start getting up above 20kV and all kinds of bad things start happening. Inside the cap and through the wires. I have spent a lot of years observing this stuff. I have never, ever, ever seen an oil fouled plug caused by an ignition problem in an F or 2F motor. Plenty from broken rings, but never caused by anything to do with the ignition system. I've seen fuel fouled plugs when the ignition was not making any spark, and when there was a totally bad plug wire.

I have never, ever, ever, ever seen any improvement in performance or fuel efficiency in any aftermarket distributor or ignition system over a properly set up stock Toyota system, and have seen many more problems from non-Toyota systems. I have seen improvements with a properly set up FI upgrade though.

I had an HEI in the Chevy V8 in my old Chevy van. It worked fine, had no complaints except when it failed, but hey, it had a lot of miles on it. On a chevy V8, it's in a great location to keep it out of water and debris on top of and at the rear of the engine. Kind of a PITA to service, but that's the tradeoff. Unlike the Toyota electronic ignition distributors, the HEI is not vented and is subject to occasional condensation inside the cap.

I know lots of people who run (converted) HEIs on their F/2F and are happy with them. As long as it has the right gear to mate to the cam, more power to ya.

I have seen and driven a number of DUI systems as well. Again, I have never seen any real improvement. The main improvement in going to any fully electronic setup is not having to deal with the points. I get that. You don't have to tweak the timing every 10k miles or so as the points wear. I only got 80k miles out of my last set of points in my 71, you get get more with a fully electronic setup. I really like my stock 78 with the full electronic setup.

At the end of the day, whether it is aftermarket or stock, something that you put in that is new, or just working and isn't broken, is generally better than something that is old and worn out or not broken.
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