2nd-Gen Camaro Project
Why should we all make the same mistakes? Let me make the mistakes, we can all learn from them!

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Project Updates

6/26/05 - Sunday

"Gears and Ears at the DuPage County Fairgrounds!"

"The weather was HOT but so were the cars! Check out the 71 Camaro SS's first trip to a Car Show!"
View the full article here

Points No More!

"Time to replace the old Points with a new MSD-8361 Pro-Billet Distributor! What Better timing, since the power is out!"
View the full article here

6/25/05 - Saturday

Finally, Resolution to the Passenger Door Panel Restoration!

"With only hours to spare before the Car Show, the Door Panel came together. Now for a Midnight Wash & Wax"
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6/24/05 - Friday

Round and Round we go!

"OK, so it could have been anticipated better. But what would the fun in that be? "
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6/23/05 - Thursday

New Lessons Learned?

"...the quote un-quote easiest part of the door's reconstruction was the weatherstripping, right? Wrong..."
View the full article here

6/22/05 - Wednesday

A Minor Job takes a turn for the worse:

"...little did I know, that a piece of window felt would cause such problems. Take my advice..."
View the full article here

6/21/05 - Tuesday

Interior Remodeling Begins:

Passenger Door Panel & Weatherstripping Rebuild in progress

Oops...didn't have the retaining clips!
View the full article here

Upcoming '71 Projects

Next Up-

  • Driver Door Panel & Weatherstripping (Currently in development)
  • Interior Carpetting
  • Stereo System
  • 4th Generation Center Console
  • 4th Generation Dash
  • TH-350 --> T-56 Transmission Swap
  • Engine Modifications
  • Fuel Injection Retrofit


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    1971 Camaro SS Distributor Upgrade:

    Removing the Points, Installing an MSD Pro-Billet Mag-Trigger Dist.


    After the sweltering heat of the car show, I was more than ready for the Air Conditioned house! When I arrived at home, I began building one of the previous pages on this website as I had gotten a bit behind! Unfortunately, right in the middle, the power decided to go out. Good old ComEd! Well left with nothing to do, and time to spare, I decided that now would be a great time to begin preparing the MSD Pro-Billet Distributor for installation into the '71 Camaro SS.

    I had put up with the Dual-Points distributor since I bought the car when I was 14...and I had pretty much given up on them. As soon as I took it on the road with a fresh set of points, the ignition was already beginning to degrade. A matter of a few thousand miles later, it would barely run. Not the best system in my opinion. For as long as I owned the car, I had planned on removing the points, and now the time had finally come! Armed with a great MSD Pro-Billet Distributor from Summit Racing, I set forth to bring the '71 Camaro's Ignition into the 20th Century.

    '71 Camaro SS Ignition System Parts List:After finding D&R Classic Industrieslkkkkk

    • MSD - 8361 - MSD Pro-Billet Distributor
    • MSD - 8860 - 6-foot 2 wire extension wire

    Setting up the Mechanical Advance on the MSD Pro-Billet Distributor

    6-26-05 - Yes, on the Livingroom Floor (No Wife to Yell at me yet!)

    After carefully studying the MSD Pro-Billet Distributor Setup manual and discussing the implications of the advance curve with my father, who was responsible for the last engine rebuild before my Uncle bought the car (see History) I began to modify the mechanical advance curve.

    Note: The MSD-8361 Distributor can only be used in conjunction with an MSD Ignition box (like the 6AL which was already installed)

    The Magnetic trigger was definately a site for sore eyes, and brought back memories of leaving the points just a little too long in between changes...Never Again!

    Working with my Father, we determined that the best starting point would be the 2 Light Silver springs, the quickest implementation of the Centrifugal advance. This arrangement allows maximum centrifugal advance at ~2500 RPM. With the modifications to the engine that had been previously made, this would help provide the most power without pre-ignition.
    Note: Your application may be different...

    Removing the springs proved easy, even though the stock springs were fairly high-tension. The Light-Silver springs provided by MSD with the distributor were even easier to install.

    The MSD Pro-Billet Distributor was now almost ready to install. Now I also changed the maximum advance bushing, which determines the maximum centrifugal advance that would be applied.

    Based on the chart above, we selected the Silver bushing, to provide a maximum of 25 degrees advance. Combined with the base timing, this would match the advance of the previous distributor.

    All set up and ready for installation. Now I am getting excited, as I have planned on this upgrade for a long time!

    Installing the MSD Pro-Billet Distributor

    A quick glance at the Installation wiring diagram to verify what wires from the old points distributo can be cut out of the circuit, and I am ready to go. Will have to manually open the garage, as the power is STILL OUT (Thanks ComEd). But what better way to make use of the time?

    In no time flat the old dual points distributor was off of the engine and laying on the floor where it belongs.
    No problems this far (Oops, just jinxed myself)

    Got to pre-lube the gear with the supplied break-in lube, to allow the distributor gear to break-in properly.

    Still no problems, slid right into place just fine. At this point I still haven't started cutting out the extra wires from the Points distributor, as I want to make sure that everything will work with the new Mag-Pickup unit first.
    Note: The condensor is even still present if you look real close.

    Boy that looks pretty...but wait!! There it is...I knew there would be a catch somewhere! The distributor cap is a different style from the original. These wires won't plug into it!

    Luckily the new distributor accepts the same distributor cap as the old unit. I was able to transfer over the distributor cap for the time being.

    "I knew something would happen."

    Now all that is left, is pairing down the wiring to eliminate the extra ballast resistor (was required to prevent run-on with the points distributor), and all of the extra coil wiring that was required, seperators, tach lead (which was re-wired to the tach output of the MSD 6AL Box). The Engine fired and ran perfectly! Now to set the timing...oops again, the old timing light I had decided to stop working, that's ok, I will have to set it by ear and pick up a timing light tomorrow.

    Another successful upgrade, and much more consistent ignition now...with less maintenance!

    The MSD Pro-Billet Distributor install was a significant success!

    The timing ended up being a little bit off, the dangers of installing by ear, but I corrected that quickly with a new inductive timing light the following day!

    Return to Home Page

    On to the Driver's Side Door Panel Restoration

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