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Urgent: 1974 396021F Motor: HEI or no HEI?

Urgent: 1974 396021F Motor: HEI or no HEI?

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Old February 12th, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Urgent: 1974 396021F Motor: HEI or no HEI?

Hi guys,

I have a stock 74 olds 98 w/ all stock 455 engine code 396021F.

Do I have HEI or non HEI Ignition? How can i see the difference? It's urgent I need to go to the shop and get plugs+wires!

Regards
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Old February 12th, 2011, 07:35 AM
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Look at the distributor, if there is one wire (that looks like a spark plug wire) in the middle of the distributor that leads to a coil then its points. If there is no wire in the middle, just the 8 plug wires, then its HEI. I believe they started using HEI in 74

Last edited by Beob; February 12th, 2011 at 07:46 AM.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 10:17 AM
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Well- you could have either points or HEI in 1974.

Beob makes an easy distinction. A separate coil with wire from coil to center of the distributor cap is a points ignition system. If your cap is large, with a square coil mounted in the center, it is HEI.

If still not sure, pull one of the plug wires off the cap. If the cap has a metal "tower" that the wire snaps on to, it is HEI. If the wire has a metal terminal extending out of it and the cap has a recess for the wire to plug in to, it is a points style.

I keep forgetting that as hard as it sometimes is for us to find these parts in North America, the guys in the rest of the world have it even worse.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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HEI:


HEI:


Points:


Ignore the colors - parts can be any color.

- Eric
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Old February 12th, 2011, 11:18 AM
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That video sounds like Falco signing in Spanish!
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Old February 13th, 2011, 10:24 AM
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K, thx, then I have a points distributor!
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Old February 13th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by oldscruiser View Post
Hi guys,

I have a stock 74 olds 98 w/ all stock 455 engine code 396021F.

Do I have HEI or non HEI Ignition? How can i see the difference? It's urgent I need to go to the shop and get plugs+wires!

Regards
If you want proper date coded wires, here's a link: (its for my 72, but they also can advise you if they have 74)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...TQ:MOTORS:1123

MDmechanic: Great photos. No guessing for a newbie there.
Also, if you do convert to HEI, you will not need the coil, and you will need a different air cleaner housing. The stock one will not fit after you install HEI. There are a number of points of view about which system is better or more reliable. I personally like the HEI for reliability.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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Great link thx!

I just placed an order at Summit. Searching local shops for comparative parts is too hard. I will do a carb+ignition rebuild because my engine doesnt accept the gas pedal correctly and sometimes goes off. (Sorry didn't know how to translate properly, hope you understand).

I will rebuild everything to stock. The carb&complete ignition are the original ones from 1974 so it's not a wonder it has some problems!

I made the experience, that when you start tuning your engine it loses reliability, many of my friends (from the video for example) are building or have built performance engines but I am the only one from our club without bigger defects (Olds POWER!!!). I drove the Olds at more than 100mph

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Old February 14th, 2011, 05:23 PM
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My 74 Cutlass I bought from the original owner in 1986 was a points car.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 08:01 PM
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Excellent, OldsCruiser!

Remember, these cars were rock-solid reliable back in their day, and can be today with the proper maintenance, just like, for example, a BMW Bavaria or a Mercedes 280 (and does anybody drive those around with their original points and condensers, and with untouched carburetors?).

- Eric
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Old February 15th, 2011, 01:44 AM
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Hehe, what a fortune you mention the Mercedes 280! My brother and I partially restored a 280S (W116) as a birthday present for my father last year! It is a 1978 all stock. It has 190k miles and runs like new! You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEsU-Q333GQ
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