70-79 TA: HEI swappability?

Hey folks, I have a 1970 Trans Am with a recently rebuilt 400 in it. I'm still using a points distributor in it (stock afaik), and I've been told to get rid of it in favor of an HEI. A couple of friends recommended that I
go to a junkyard and pull an HEI out of a later model TA, then replace the coil and a couple of other components in the distributor.
My big question is, what year did TAs have HEI distributors? Using 1975 as an example answer, would I be able to pull a distributor out of any 1975-1979 TA with a 400? Are they all the same/ok to use in my car?
This is my first time ever posting to/reading this group, and I hope I can find some help with this.
Thanks in advance, Amrit
--
1970 Trans Am.
http://transamrit.net/transam /
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On 08 Aug 2003 03:24:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Bigjfig) puked:

I recently put Crane Cams' module in my 327 and it works great. It even has a rev limiter, if you're interested in that kind of stuff. Cost around $70 if I remember correctly.
-- lab~rat >:-) Do you want polite or do you want sincere?
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I have owned both Pontiacs and Chevrolets and I can tell you for a fact the distributors are not interchangeable. The shaft of the Pontiac is much shorter since the distributor mounts directly to the block behind the intake rather than through the intake. I once did an HEI swap into a '72 Ventura II with a Chevy engine. Because of the increase in the diameter size of the HEI over the original distributor I had to hammer the firewall in just a bit with the round end of a ball peen hammer. Not much, in fact you couldn't even tell once the distributor was in place. I have no idea if the same procedure would be necessary on a Firebird. Also you will need to find another source of voltage to run an HEI because breaker point distributors use a ballast resistor built into the harness. I ran a 10 gauge wire directly from a switched circuit in the fusebox under the dash. I hope this helps. - Gary

Pontiac
anything
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Gary - KQ6RT wrote:

It sure does, thanks for the help everyone!
Of course I would have compared distributors shafts/gears once I brought one home, but now I know that that could have wasted a lot of my time if I picked up, say, a Chevy one. Also, thanks for the tip about the 10ga wire that I'll need to run in place of the resistor one, this will all help.
Looks like I'll be a subscriber here, I look forward to answering others questions (if possible!).
Amrit
--
1970 Trans Am. http://transamrit.net/transam /

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Pontiac specific distributors are getting a little harder to find since they have not been made since 1981 with the demise of the Pontiac V8.
Again, this is a nice 1970 Trans Am. I'd go for the original look of the conversion with the reliability no one can see but you'll know it's there.
It would be like if I did an engine rebuild on my 79. It would look bone stock but have internal tricks that would improve it. Joe--ASE Certified Parts Specialist & 10th Ann.Club Tech Director '80 Carousel Red Turbo T/A, 26k orig. '79 "Y89" 400/4 speed 10th Ann. T/A, 57k orig '84 Olds 88 Royale Bgm 2 dr, 307 "Rocket" (lol), 141k and still going.... '80 T/A project car...
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I have to admit, I would be a bit hesitant to take a hammer to the firewall of a nice '70 Trans Am. - Gary

one
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Pontiac
anything
The Chevy distributer will turn your exhast manifolds bright red. They are designed to turn the opposite direction.
I have the Delco points/condensor replacement in my 400 and Bigfig is giving you good advice. The Delco replacment is optically breakered, so you get away from those worn out point cams and crappy popints available today. I got to the popint where Standard blue streak points were lasting about 2 oil changes and gave up on the old set up.
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Still glad to see that the TV tech hasnt killed himself on a flyback and is still offering out the hilarious advice that brings a smile and a laugh to those that know better than to listen to his pile of steaming shit.
Johnny Tarver, Poster Boy For The Ignorant..1999-2003

mentioned
are
giving
oil
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CBHvac Spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed

I thought it was longer. <shrug>
NOI
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to
as
Any Pontiac HEI through 79 will work but as others have said you will need to run a full 12 volts to the distributor. You might be able to use an IGN lug on the fuse box with a heavy wire to bypass the resistor wire. Keep in mind the later distributors had less mechanical advance built into them so you may have to run the initial timing up to get the total advance you need. You can replace the distributor weights with earlier year weights and even grind them a bit to increase the mechanical advance to suit your engine setup. If you install the HEI, the points coil is removed and you will need to install HEI type plug wires. The HEI uses an internal coil and a unique distributor cap.
The drop in electronic units are fairly easy to install and may be cheaper than a parts store HEI. I think Summit sells a good HEI distributor for Pontiacs. If you are set on an HEI unit, buy a spare module so you won't be stranded in the middle of nowhere without a parts store in site. I normally carry a module, ignition switch and a neutral safety switch in the glovebox.
If the points distributor isn't giving you any trouble, I'd leave it alone and carry a spare set of points and a condenser.
Dave
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