Best HEI Distributor for 350 Chevy

Apart from being super easy to install, the best HEI distributors for 350 Chevy are incredibly durable and are available in an affordable price range. These units produce a high voltage at bigger RPMs and therefore improve machine performance.

What’s more, most of them offer a one-wire hook to reduce the time you’d spend with them under your vehicle’s hood. They also have high-output models that enable them to fully support your General Motor engine for faster machine workings.

To further sweeten the deal, almost all the models you’ll see listed below offer a direct fit for General Motor application. They do that thanks to their 4-pin ignition module, which is specifically designed to fit seamlessly in your engine.

Best HEI Distributor for 350 Chevy

MSD 85551 Pro-Billet Distributor

MSD 85551 Pro-Billet Distributor

Those of you who drive a racing or luxury car and regularly test the speed limits in your area will find plenty to like about the MSD 85551 Pro-Billet Distributor. It is a mechanical advance product that comes into play when the load on the engine is excessive and drives RPM to higher limits.

As you press the pedal to the metal, this unit forces its built-in rotor to operate quickly. This causes the rotor to activate the advance. The whole scenario ends up benefiting you by increasing the pick of your vehicle. That means your car will be the fastest to get off once the red light on the signal turns green.

Apart from helping realize all your high-speed fantasies, this model offers maintenance-free magnetic pickup. It has a precision reluctor that ensures that the signals it sends throughout the RPM range are stable. The polished steel of this HEI distributor is QPQ coated and resists wear and tear well.

On top of everything else, both its weights as well as advance plates have been given a double coating of Chromoly steel and QPQ. Your mechanic will tell you that both these materials are the gold-standards when it comes to resisting rust. They, therefore, enhance this distributor’s operating life.

Pros

  • Maintenance-free magnetic pickup
  • Shaft is polished with steel and QPQ coated
  • Sends stable signals throughout the RPM range

Cons

  • Must be used with an MSD Blaster ignition

MAS Ignition Distributor w/Cap & Rotor

MAS Ignition Distributor w/Cap & Rotor

MAS distributor parts are famous among car mechanics due to their sturdiness and durability. This HEI distributor isn’t any different. It boasts a unique outline that will give full support to your 350 Chevy. The engine will, therefore, run smoother and faster with this distributor.

You might also find it pleasing to note that this model has strong and durable terminals. They offer maximum conductivity for their material of construction and provide a simple assembly. You can therefore count on them to make your engine run better.

Another notable feature of this equipment is its cost-efficient price. It offers a perfect amalgam of a perfect design, adjustable advance and a durable cap at an inexpensive price point. This is what makes this unit doubly worthy of your attention.

Together with the HEI distributor, both the cap as well as the rotor are hundred percent compatible with OEM parts. They meet original equipment manufacturer standards, with the electronic module components offering a double benefit of being computer tested before and after installation.

Pros

  • Computer-tested electronic module components
  • Fully compatible with OEM parts
  • Available at an affordable price

Cons

  • Poor customer service

MSD 8362 Street Fire HEI Distributor

MSD 8362 Street Fire HEI Distributor

There is one thing that has always impressed us about MSD HEI distributors. Whether they are as expensive as this one or cheap as the one mentioned above, all of them come with a respectable one-year warranty. That might not seem much but it’s still more than what other distributors come with.

Part of the reason why MSD is so sure about the quality of its products lies in their construction. Take this HEI distributor as an example. It features a heavy-duty distributor gear that is made to withstand vibrations emanating from the engine, internal and external heat as well as corrosion.

Similar sturdiness is on display with its weight pins. They are welded tight and are coated with rust-proof and corrosion-resistant materials. The entire distributor, meanwhile, has an adjustable vacuum advance that lets you tune it as per the demands of your engine.

Pros

  • Comes with a one-year warranty
  • Able to withstand the harshest conditions
  • Lets you fine-tune its adjustable vacuum

Cons

  • Installation might require some expertise

Dragon Fire High-Performance HEI Distributor

Dragon Fire High-Performance HEI Distributor

Those of you who are brand conscious might be disappointed to note that this equipment doesn’t come from a reputed manufacturer. Others who aren’t stand a chance to exploit its hassle-free installation, heavy-duty construction and high-end features at an affordable price point. Here’s how.

Start with its installation. This equipment offers one wire hook up that minimizes the time you’d spend with it under your hood. You won’t have to spend hours fiddling with your engine provided you have some prior experience of working with similar devices. The entire procedure will be seamless.

Next comes its construction. It has provided its vacuum canister bushing with bronze coating and the brass terminals of this model are (almost) rustproof. This helps them to withstand the test of time and keep on providing stable spark for longer.

Then there are its sought-after features. Dragon Fire has equipped this equipment with Mechanical TachDrive hook up that runs alongside your stock tachometer. Its volt coil, meanwhile, is capable of producing 65,000 volts.

Pros

  • Simple one-wire hookup
  • Adjustable vacuum canister
  • Corrosion-resistant bronze bushing

Cons

  • Little pricey

ACDelco 93440806 GM Original Equipment Ignition Distributor

ACDelco 93440806 GM Original Equipment Ignition Distributor

What’s the 2nd best thing for your 350 Chevy? All of us know that the best thing is for it to use factory-installed parts. The 2nd best thing, meanwhile, is using those parts that aren’t stock but are recommended by its manufacturer. That’s precisely what the ACDelco 93440806 offers.

This HEI distributor does everything you can think of to earn its ‘GM-recommended’ tag. It offers the reliability, durability and quality of the company’s OE. The specifications, fit, form and function of this product also matches that of GM’s products.

Lastly, as far as its assembly is concerned, you get everything one might expect in an HEI distributor. Most important among them is the switching device that helps the ignition coil switch on/off at the correct moment by providing it the signal. That’s how it take cares of issues like a misfiring engine.

Pros

  • GM-recommended replacement part
  • Extremely reliable
  • Offers huge durability

Cons

  • Pricey

PerTronix D1001 Flame-Thrower Red Cap Distributor HEI

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Here’s another sought-after HEI distributor whose price tag might blow a hole in your pocket. But like the model we saw above, it too has the features to justify its asking price. Start with its housing. The aluminum alloy casing is not only rugged and friction-resistant but also lightweight to ensure maximum ease.

Then come the high-quality bronze sintered bushings. They are aligned and honed in such a manner as to reduce friction and extend shelf life. Equal durability is on offer with the center-less corrosion-resistant shaft whose concentric operation allows it to keep friction at bay.

You might find it pleasing to note that the distributor gear is ground in such a way that it exacts maximum tolerance when fit tightly with camshaft. That’s probably the reason why this HEI distributor is capable of operating without misfires beyond an enormous 7,500 RPM.  

Pros

  • No misfiring beyond 7,500RPM
  • Faster spark breakdown time
  • Ensures more efficient combustion

Cons

  • Expensive

Performance HEI Ignition Distributor for Chevy GM 350

PerTronix D1001 Flame-Thrower Red Cap Distributor HEI

Most HEI distributors you see on the market offer either/or compatibility. Either they ask you to use them in everyday applications. Or they are built for racing cars. You’d be hard-pressed to find a model that can offer both facilities. The Performance HEI Ignition Distributor, as it turns out, provides both facilities.

Start with its utility for racing applications. This model’s full CNC machined aluminum body houses a 75,000 high voltage coil spark that is capable of operating without any misfires beyond 9,000 RPM. That’s the power and racing rating that racecar drivers dream of.

Equal utility is on offer for everyday drivers. The high output coil of this unit produces a 65,000 volt spark through a range of 7,500 RPM. That range is more than enough for neighborhood road drivers or those that drive on roads where the speed limit is always below their liking.

 Pros

  • Upgrade for racing application
  • Full CNC machined aluminum body
  • Comes with a 100% moneyback guarantee

Cons

  • Plastic distributor cap

MOSTPLUS Racing HEI Distributor

MOSTPLUS Racing HEI Distributor

Almost all models that you have seen thus far are compatible with a plethora of Chevy engines. This Racing HEI distributor is a bit different. It limits its utility to only three. They include Chevy 350, Chevy 305 and Chevy 400 small blocks. You can therefore count on its installation instructions to be more specific.

The kit in which this model will be delivered to your doorstep will contain everything you’d need to get it up and running. Apart from the ignition module, there will be the cap, coil and rotor. Basically everything that you might feel a need for will be in there. You won’t have to purchase anything from the market.

One thing that disappointed us about this product is the lack of installation guide. There are no installation or mounting instructions in its package. You’ll either have to do it all by yourself or, if you want to save yourself from the frustration of hit-and-trial method, we recommend that you hire a mechanic.

Pros

  • Fires up right away
  • Sturdy construction
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • No installation instructions included

A-Team Performance Complete HEI Distributor

A-Team Performance Complete HEI Distributor

One of the best features of this HEI distributor is its plug-n-play installation. You only have to open your hood, locate where the HEI distributor will go, and set up its coil. The unit will take things forward from there on by smoothening your engine’s ideal and improving its starting.

Yet another area where this model impresses is its RPM range. Most budget models you see on the market won’t go above 5,000 RPM. They cite design and construction limitations for this range. Not the A-Team HEI distributor. You can count on this model to support up to 7,000RPMs.

Wondering why that is the case? That’s because it is made from steel gear and is housed in an aluminum casing. Both the materials are corrosion and rust-proof and are able to withstand the extremes of temperature. Little wonder, then, that A-Team provides a respectable warranty on this HEI distributor.

Pros

  • Extremely easy to install
  • Made from steel gear
  • Housed in an aluminum casing

Cons

  • Some users have reported problems with it getting damaged during delivery

Best HEI distributors - Buying Guide

Here’s what you should look for when selecting the best HEI Distributor for 350 Chevy:

Type of HEI distributor

One of the primary functions of HEI distributors is to advance vehicle ignition timing. This is done to ensure that the air-fuel mixture ignites at just the right time for best engine efficiency and performance. The timing therefore is extremely crucial for the mileage of your car.

Depending on how they advance ignition timing, HEI distributors can be categorized into two types: mechanical advance and vacuum advance. Both advance ignition timing but differ in how they do that, the speed at which they come into action and other various counts. Here’s how.

Operating principle

Mechanical HEI distributors alter the shaft position of the timing sensor using the springs and weights in the distributor. Vacuum units operate slightly differently.

They rely on a manifold vacuum that reacts to the distributor’s position sensor mounting plate’s rotation. That’s why these units let the timing advance return to its base at higher engine loads.

Speed

Mechanical HEI distributors only come into action when the engine has achieved high RPM. At that point, they force their distributor to rotate quickly to activate the advance.

Vacuum HEI distributors, on the contrary, offer excellent timing advance at low engine RPM by sensing the changes in the load placed on the engine by the vehicle’s speed.

Benefits

Mechanical HEI distributors offer more benefits in high-speed applications, such as car speed driving, as they only come into play when the load on the engine is excessive.

Vacuum units offer better engine performance and more fuel economy at low speeds because their timing during such periods is raised. They also increase the ‘pick’ of your vehicle.  

Applications

You might already have guessed it by now that mechanical HEI distributors aren’t made for everyday scenarios. They are a better choice if you are a race- or luxury-car driver.

That isn’t the case with vacuum units whose utility lies in everyday driving, mainly because these distributors ensure high fuel efficiency and better engine performance at low speeds.

Must-have Features

Following are the features on which you shouldn’t compromise when choosing an HEI distributor:

  • Trouble-free installation: The best HEI distributors for 350 Chevy are undoubtedly those that offer painless installation. Such models minimize the time you spend under the hood trying to connect the distributor’s wires to your engine.
  • Hard-wearing parts: Know what is common between almost all the HEI distributors you saw above? All of them are hard-wearing. Know what’s it that made them hard-wearing? Their CNC machined housing and stainless steel finishing.
  • Reduced friction: Apart from having a seamless design, units that offer reduced friction have a polish coating and are (mostly) made from Chromoly steel. This raises their shield in the face of corrosion and allows them to last longer.
  • Ignition module: Models that come with an ignition module offer two benefits vis-à-vis those that don’t. They give a higher RPM range to let you drive at high speeds at maximum fuel efficiency and provide smoother workings.  
  • Safety caps: The majority of HEI distributors you’d find on the market will be the ones that come with protective caps. These caps look useless but they are great for keeping your parts and the wires safe from permanent damage.
  • Extended warranty: Most of us don’t intend to drive the same vehicle for life. That gives the manufacturers of HEI distributors the excuse to load their models with meager warranties. You shouldn’t settle for this excuse and demand a lifetime warranty.

FAQs

Q: What is an HEI distributor?

A: High energy efficiency distributors constitute an electronic ignition system that was introduced on some General Motor vehicles in the early 1970s. This system fits an ignition coil inside the distributor cap, with a control module and magnetic pickup already included inside the distributor.

The arrangement described in the last sentence offers many benefits. It helps the engine produce a better spark, burn the fuel better and get increased combustion. This, in turn, helps the vehicle achieve enhanced gas mileage and achieve lower emissions.

Q: How do I know if my HEI distributor is bad?

A: Following are the signs that your HEI distributor is bad and may need replacement:

  • Engine is missing or failing to start
  • Vehicle’s fuel efficiency and suddenly nosedived
  • Engine takes long ignitions to start
  • Vehicle has failed a smog check

Q: Are HEI distributors better than points?

A: Even if you decide against spending hundreds of dollars on a high-end HEI distributor – and return home with an affordable unit, you’d still end up with a product that would require less maintenance and will be more reliable than points.

The main reason as to why that’s the case has to do with construction. Points, when they are brand new, provide rival HEI in performance. However, they start to deteriorate over time, whereas HEI distributors stand tall. That is what makes them a better choice.

Q: How do you adjust the vacuum advance on an HEI distributor?

A: Provided you have selected a vacuum HEI distributor, you can adjust its advance by inserting a 3/32-inch Allen wrench into its canister port. Turn the wrench two turns in a counterclockwise direction. Start your vehicle and check if the spark knock is eliminated. If it isn’t, repeat the adjustments.

Conclusion

Assuming you have already searched the market for the best HEI distributor for your 350 Chevy, you might already know how difficult it is to find the ideal product among the innumerable options that are currently available on the market. That isn’t where the bad news end.

Most equipment that are available out there promise the sky but do nothing. Either their construction is faulty or their features low-end. That even though they charge the same price on which you can get any of the best HEI distributors mentioned above.

The equipment that you see in this model are not only trusted by our experts but they are also the preferred choice of thousands of mechanics and drivers like you. They also offer extended warranty periods and high-end features to justify their selection further. You have therefore nothing to lose apart from the poor performance of your engine if you end up choosing them.

Ivo Gievski
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