In this article, I will talk about a part of the vehicle that we take for granted but does a lot under the hood. It is the High Energy Ignition Distributor or Electronic Ignition System.
This type of distribution system is preferred over points type ignition for its flexibility, high performance, and low cost. If you have a Chevy 350 engine in your vehicle, I can help you find the best product.
Here, I have reviewed different aftermarket parts and described the parameters to check while buying. So, don’t skip any part, and choose the best HEI distributor for 350 Chevy. It would prevent problems like misfires, loss of power, and increased fuel consumption than usual.
What Is an HEI Distributor for Chevy 350?
The need for a change of the decades-old 70’s point-type ignition system has motivated GM engineers to make HEI distributors. The full form of HEI is High Energy Ignition, an electrical distributor that can support engines above 5000RPM. All credit goes to the Delco-Remy Division of General Motors.
Among different models, there are 4-pin, 5-pin, 7-pin, and 8-pin modules for different vehicles. Here, I have reviewed the 4-pin models which are intended for Chevy 350 engines. If you have an older GM car with a point and condenser type ignition system, buying an HEI distributor will significantly upgrade the performance.
Best HEI Distributor For 350 Chevy: My Honest Review
I have selected such products for the Chevy 350 engine that perfectly matches the OEM standards. Apart from the compatibility issue, you can order any one of them with full confidence.
Bang4buck HEI Distributor Fit for Chevy – Top Quality and Performance for the Money
Like the brand name, this product is really the best value HEI distributor for the money. The utilization of a 4-pin ignition module, up to 9000 RPM support, 75K coil, brass terminal, magnetic trigger, and cast aluminum body have stunned me.
Actually, what got me into reviewing this model is the price. Usually, such specs and features don’t come with such low pricing. The product next to this is far better but costs a lot of money.
Now, let’s talk about more features and specs that would justify my selection. For small or big block Chevys, it has 65K coils and operates at a maximum of 7500 RPM. But you can upgrade and use it for 75K coils and 9000 RPM, which is usually seen in racing applications.
According to the manufacturer’s claims, this HEI distributor’s output energy is 30% higher than the OEM one. It is assuring that this model features magnetic triggering.
I also like the build quality and materials used to manufacture it. The housing material is cast aluminum, and the terminals are made from brass.
What is the significance of those? Well, cast aluminum is one of the strongest and most rigid materials that can withstand harsh environments and protect internal components.
On the other hand, the brass terminal is necessary for maximum conductivity and less contact resistance. As a result, the loss of the ignition voltage gets reduced dramatically. The CNC machined heavy-duty gear, and bearing fit perfectly, which means less vibration and noise.
Summary: The balance between price and specs of Bang4buck GM HEI Distributor is a pro-choice for vehicle owners with a Chevy 350 engine. Check out more details, the list of compatible vehicle models, and customer reviews from the link.
- More durable
- More output energy
- More efficient
- Fits perfectly
- Easy installation
MSD 85551 Pro-Billet Distributor – Great Durability and Premium Quality
Are you looking for something that exceeds the quality of the top pick? Do you have no budget restriction? If the answers are yes, MSD 85551 will be the perfect choice for you.
Any other model on this list can’t beat its capability of increasing fuel efficiency and durability. That is why it is my second best HEI distributor for 350 Chevy.
Feature-wise, there are not many differences between this one and the previous one. The reason for MSD 85551 being so expensive is the build-material and advanced design that ensures consistent performance.
The housing is made from a billet of 6061-T6 aluminum utilizing the advanced machining of CNC technology. Its manufacturer uses a .5″ steel shaft so that the distributor stays stable at the maximum RPM. To support the shaft, there are sealed ball bearings and long sintered bushing.
For reducing friction and improving corrosion resistance, the part comes with a QPQ coating. However, you should be aware of one thing. This distributor does not accept a vacuum advance canister.
Summary: If you are looking for a reliable and durable product, you should buy msd HEI distributor chevy 350. Easy installation, maintenance-free pickup, and long-lasting build are enough reasons to buy this one.
- Tig-welded weight pins
- Strong and durable housing
- Very expensive
High Performance Professional Racing Hei Distributor– Best Budget HEI Distributor
It is not a crime to search for a model that would cost less than its competitors. Now, the best budget product in my review has no lacking if you carefully look at the specs and compare with the top-rated ones.
So, why can’t I recommend it with full confidence? It is because this HEI distributor is maxed out at 7500RPM. If you want to use it in an upgraded engine with racing applications, the ignition system won’t support it.
But what I, along with other customers, like is its performance that matches the high-end ones. It is 100% compatible with the 350 Chevy engines that meet all of the standards.
As the parts and components of this ignition system are computer-tested, you don’t have to worry much.
The previous model doesn’t support vacuum advance canisters. You don’t have to compromise that by buying this one. For the price, aluminum housing and other component quality are praise-worthy.
Summary: If you are never going to need a system for racing applications and have a budget issue, you can buy this one from King Auto Parts. For regular uses, you won’t find a better option than this distributor matching the price.
- Computer-tested components
- Easy to install
- Not compatible with racing applications
Voltstorm Performance HEI Ignition Distributor – Preferable for Its High-Performance Upgradable Features
Voltstorm HEI distributor costs a few bucks from the first one but doesn’t even have the same quality. The main complaint is regarding the coil quality according to the customer reviews. If you are lucky, it will last longer than your expectation. But what would you do if it fails to start your car in the middle of nowhere?
So, why should you choose it if the reviews are that bad? Well, the complaints I saw were close to insignificant compared to the good ones. For consistent high-performance, you can rely on this one because of its 75K-volt coil. As a result, it can provide enough voltage up to 9000 RPMs.
Also, it supports more GM vehicle models than the top pick. Managing a few bucks more than the first pick can get you a near-perfect HEI distributor for 350 Chevy.
This 4-pin ignition module has a fully CNC-machined aluminum body and durable components. So, vibration won’t be able to damage anything or decrease the overall performance.
The manufacturer is so confident about their product’s performance and material quality that you can get your money back if you are not satisfied. So, give it a try if you own a fast car.
Summary: A versatile HEI distributor supporting more vehicle models and consistent performance in high-speed cars is the deciding factor for choosing Voltstorm over others.
- Consistent performance
- CNC-machined body
- Compatibility with racing applications
- Adjustable mechanical and vacuum advances
- Coil quality doesn’t match the pricing.
A-Team Performance HEI Distributor – Good Value HEI with Magnetic Trigger
While researching, I came across this unit has high-performing features and specs like the first one. I was excited, but the customer reviews got me into rethinking. The build quality is not so satisfactory, and it can give you extra trouble sometimes.
Also, the manufacturer needs to improve their assembly line and ensure a proper QC check. This distributor has features close to the best budget model with no support for 9000RPM applications.
However, I place it above the budget model because of its build quality, brass terminal, mechanical and vacuum advances, billet aluminum housing. Due to CNC-machined precise-fit parts, you won’t face a problem during installation.
You would also love the hardened steel gears that last almost the same as the high-end ones. The shaft is made from aluminum, which is polished and corrosion-resistant. Considering the limited capabilities and a reasonable price, it is one of the best ignition systems for small block Chevy.
Summary: Those who want slightly less costly than the high-end models, and almost the same quality can buy this one. It has the features, performance, and build quality that is worth the price.
- Strong steel gears
- More durability than OEM ones
- Vacuum advance
- Polished aluminum shaft
- Not compatible with 9000RPM engines
What to Consider Before Buying the Best HEI Distributor For 350 Chevy
There are not many OEM compatible HEI distributors for Chevy 350 engines. Also, you can’t find many differences between them. So, budget plays the most significant role in choosing one. Let’s see how I selected the 5 products.
Like I said, checking the compatibility of the selected aftermarket part is the main part. Here, check the Amazon listings, and look for the list of supported vehicles. If your car is on that list, you can look for other parameters.
Coil and RPM
In my review, there are two types of distributors. One has a 65000 coil that can operate at a maximum of 7500 RPMs. And the other type has a 75000 coil with support for 9000RPM engines.
Build quality or the used materials to manufacture the product is the next vital factor to consider. For the housing, you can either choose affordable cast aluminum or expensive 6061-T6 aluminum. Both are strong and durable enough.
However, the premium one is the best option, but it doesn’t add much value to performance or longevity. Also, look for the material of the gears, shaft, wire, coil, and terminal.
By now, you have probably short-listed 2 or 3 models. Set your budget, and select the one that is offering the best value under your budget. Also, check whether you can get a better HEI distributor by spending a few more bucks than the selected one.
How to Install HEI Distributor on Chevy 350?
As long as the spark timing is perfect, you won’t have to worry about the HEI distributor’s position or orientation much. Still, let’s see how a proper HEI distributor installation 350 Chevy looks like from the following steps.
- First of all, note that the wiring for power and tachometer is on the driver’s side. On the passenger’s side, there would be a vacuum advance.
- Now, locate the serial of the spark plugs, and connect them to the respective cylinders. Starting from the power wires, count clockwise, and the second one is the wire for number 1 cylinder.
- Find the number of the cylinders and connect the right wires on the distributors. At this point, keep the distributor’s orientation as you see perfect for Chevy 350 distributor wiring.
- Once all wires are connected, correct the timing, and it would be all.
Is an HEI distributor better?
Yes, HEI distributor is better for over-the-road cars and other vehicles for its self-contained design. Easy installation and minimal wiring also play a significant role in its widespread popularity.
How do I know if my HEI distributor is bad?
By noticing some issues like failed start, reduced fuel economy, weak spark, electrical arcs, etc. can help you detect a bad HEI distributor.
What happens if the ignition timing is too advanced?
In short, advanced ignition timing causes overheating of the engine. By igniting the fuel and air mixture too early spikes, the amount of heat generated during the combustion process.
The earlier versions of this improved ignition system were not perfect. But they have overcome the issues, and I can confidently recommend the best HEI distributor for Chevy 350.
Among all five products, Bang4buck produces a preferable one. But there are other expensive and high-performing variations from other aftermarket manufacturers too. I have enlisted distributors from expensive to economical, and high RPM to low.
Efficient combustion, fuel efficiency, and consistent engine performance depend on the quality of the ignition system. So, which one do you think performs the best or has the best value?More to explore
- What Size Cam Is In A Stock Chevy 350?
- 7 Best Valve Covers for Small Block Chevy
- Best Spark Plug Wires For Chevy 350 With Headers
- Best spark plugs for chevy cruze 1.4 turbo
- How To Reset Transmission Control Module Chevy
- How to Replace Rear Main Seal Chevy 350
- 5 Best Camshafts for Stock 350 Chevy