• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
351C Donor Distributors
I am piecing together a '71 351C, and one of the final pieces to the puzzle is a distributor.

I have been unable to find a 71-73 351C distributor at the boneyard. So I need to know what other motors/autos/years would have a distributor I can use.

I am using a stock 351 Boss Manifold and probably a stock air cleaner. So, I need to be sure the height of any donor matches the height of a stock 351C.

Thanks for the help.

[Image: 11jmcuc.png]
351C Bold Manners, Brash Attitude
Favorite Teams: Michigan Wolverines and Whoever Is Playing Ohio State.

When I drive past a herd of cows, the cows MOO at me
The (inferred) question is not as simple as it appears on the surface. Specifically, different distributors were utilized dependent upon whether the 351C was/is an automatic, standard, 2V, 4V, California, etc.

I believe I can safely say that the corresponding 1970/1971 Cougar, Fairlane, Montego or Torino will suit your needs. What I am saying is if you are dealing with a 1971 351C 4V with Automatic transmission, a 1970/1971 351C 4V with Automatic transmission from any of the four Models listed will be compatible.

BTW, when you have the opportunity please go into the "Introduction Forum" and announce yourself so that we can welcome you properly.

Hope this helps.


Do the RIGHT thing.
429/460 and 351M/400 will work.

73 conv. 460, D0VE large valve heads, Performer RPM manifold, Voodoo 227/233 cam, Holley 950 HP carb, C6 trans, 3.25 trak-loc.
I got mine from autozone. re-manufactured distributor.


My garage http://www.7173mustangs.com/forum-garage...rxt_uid=40

73 mach 1 351c 4v cc ported, torker2, 750 edelbrock,C6.
73 fastback 351c 2v,performer intake,600 edelbrock,fmx, 325 trac-lok.
If you want the real deal, all dialed in an rebuilt as necessary, call Distributor Dynamics at 530) 675-2522. They owner there is Chuck. He did a date-correct distributor for my '66 'Stang and did another one for my '71 Mach with the 351C. He does fantastic work, it was less than $100 (if I remember correctly) and you have your choice of preinstalled points/condenser or Pertronix unit. He has a couple of Sun machines to do all his checking on (I'll guarantee most distributor shops don't), and he is EXCELLENT! The distributor you get is ready to drop in an run, and he guarantees his work.
Thank you for the quick replies.

Cobra3073, Machman
To be clear, I will be rebuilding this distributor on my own to suit my engine application. As a result, it does not matter if the distributor is installed in a 2V, 4V, auto, stick, Comet, Fairlane, etc. I am strictly interested in the shaft, housing and plates, and will tune the springs and vacuum advance with my own chosen items.

This is the information I was looking for. I think my best chances are finding van or truck with a 351M or 400. Is there any restriction on the years I should be looking for?

To be more clear, I would prefer a distributor that has not been previously rebuilt. In the past I have found screw holes stripped, shafts that have been hammered, OEM items replaced with cheap stamped garbage, etc.

I am really kind of anal about these things. Although I can't fabricate parts(most parts anyway), I do as much assembly on my own as I can with parts of my choosing. And, I have to justify all my tools and equipment to the wife somehow. I am sure there are great guys out there that do great work...but when someone asks me who did my distributor, carb, trans, etc., I like to respond ME.

Keep hoofin'
TommyK;57733 Wrote:429/460 and 351M/400 will work.

I think my best bet is to find a truck/van with a 351M or 400.

Are there certain years I should be looking at?

Are there any differences I should note?


[Image: 11jmcuc.png]
351C Bold Manners, Brash Attitude
Favorite Teams: Michigan Wolverines and Whoever Is Playing Ohio State.

When I drive past a herd of cows, the cows MOO at me
I picked up two rebuilt distributors at O'Reilly for $40 each. They were rebuilt very well. Dropped right in and set the dwell. Have had no problems with them since.

Cardone Remanufactured Distributor - Part # 30-2813
Z, I agree with your approach you just need a good core. Post a WTB. I'm almost certain someone here has one they will sell or contact Don at Ohio Mustang Supply. Chuck
I have one from a 4bbl 351c we pulled down for my new shortblock.

Jeff T.

Low buck, touring style, '73 Convertible "rolling restoration", 351c, 2v heads with a shave and a haircut, Performer intake, Holley 650(ish), roller rockers, screw in studs, guideplates, stainless valves, Duraspark / Motorsports MSD, T-5 conversion. 1-1/8" front, 3/4" rear swaybars KYB shocks and some home brewed subframe connectors. Future plans; JGC steering box, Cobra brakes and... paint, interior, etc.

When I die I want to die like grandpa, peacefully in my sleep... not screaming, like his passenger.

[Image: 1_12_09_14_10_15_11.png]
This post revised 3/2/2012...

Based on my research(which is sketchy at best) the following donor motors have Duraspark I(California only) or II distributors hereafter referred to as Duraspark that will fit into a 351C:

Years 1974-79
Motors 351M, 400, 460
Vehicle Type Car or Truck. Not a factor

There may be later years that will work, but I have not yet found a reliable source. My understanding is the key to the distributor choice is to select an engine that is carbureted. Carbureted engines(old school engines) relied on parameters such as manifold vacuum or centrifugal force for timing adjustment. EFI engines rely on a variety of sensors. As a result, the timing adjustment parameters I need are not built into EFI distributors.

For those who need to know why I want this distributor....

The reason for utilizing the Duraspark distributor is to take advantage of the Ford Motorcraft electronic magnetic triggers(i.e. Hall Effect) Trigger. This trigger was the first electronic replacement for Ford's mechanical points and is known to be the gold standard for ALL triggers because it is:

1. Easily diagnosed
2. Easily bought over the counter at your local parts store
3. Cheap
4. Reliable(decades most likely)
5. Quick to replace
6. Great trigger signal
7. Compatible with most if not all ignition boxes...including HEI* modules.

This trigger is not the equivalent of mechanical points. Mechanical points were wired directly to the coil whereas the magnetic trigger module requires wiring to an ignition module which is wired to the coil.

Ignition modules are "smart" devices that allow the ignition coil to be charged more effectively than points. Points were limited for several reasons:

1. Voltage utilized by points was limited to prevent arcing.
2. Low voltage of points meant low voltage to coil.
3. Points wear over time..there was that little plastic guide you had to lubricate.
4. Once set, the dwell was fixed over the engines RPM range.

Most importantly, the ignition module stopped the ever popular: "Honey, I left the keys in the ignition and now the car won't start" issue. This occurred when the wife left the ignition on at a time when the points just happened to be closed, causing the coil to be charged and charged and charged until it got hot and melted the insulation of all of it's interior windings.

Contrary to popular belief, this distributor when coupled with a "high voltage" coil does not require use of a large diameter cap. The requirement for the large diameter of the cap was never based on electrical crossfire, but on the following:

1. Extra space was needed to mount the coil into the top of the cap as in early GM designs. This is really a stupid place for a coil, IMHO.
2. Allows easier routing of ignition wires between terminals than the smaller cap. This is why I use it.
3. Marketing...EVERYONE who sees a large cap thinks High Voltage Electronic Ignition regardless of actual performance.
4. I think every aftermarket "high" voltage vendor now sells their distributors with small caps to SAVE space without detrimental results.

Granted, the stock vintage Duraspark distributor is not a shiny billet, but it's not ugly. If you want to have a "stock" looking distributor with a true high voltage ignition system, this distributor is the way to go. The cap and rotor for this distributor are available everywhere and cheap(not sure this always the case for aftermarket distributors) . And if you rebuild it right, or buy a quality new or rebuilt version of this, it should last 200k miles without changing electronics.

Photo 1: Looking Down Into 351W Duraspark With Cap & Rotor Removed
[Image: tn_full_DaveRayHEIDistributorPhotoTopRotor.jpg]
The blue component is the magnetic trigger. There is no ignition module in this distributor(see Photo 3). It could be mounted opposite the trigger in a large cap distributor.

Photo 2: 351W With Large Cap Duraspark Distributor
[Image: tn_full_DaveRayHEIDistributorPhoto351W.jpg]
Here you can evaluate the size of the large cap for fitment.

Photo 3: Sample HEI Module
[Image: HEIModule.jpg]
This is just one of many ignition modules you can use with the Duraspark I magnetic trigger distributor. This style known as the GM HEI module, is small, cheap and available everywhere(keep a spare in the glove box...Pertronix guys know that). If you get the right one, it will deliver the proper amps and volts to energize your coil to its full potential.

The Ford equivalent of the small black HEI ignition module shown in Photo 3 is the Duraspark I or II ignition module. You would recognize this as the square, finned, aluminum brick typically mounted on a fender well of 1977+ Fords. I find them to be big, ugly, expensive and hard to find. It would be tough to fit one of those in a distributor. I also went through 4 of them in 10 years time. But, others swear by them.

I intend on testing/measuring spark voltage, spark duration, spark gapping, and the effect of heat with at least a few different coils and a few different HEI modules. I am curious what the difference in performance is, because there are big differences in price.

I also hope to actually cut into some of these coils to have a look. I have been told from a trusted source that round coils should be mounted vertically. As far as I recall, every stock Mustang I ever saw had the coil horizontal on the manifold. I never had any problems...200k+ miles. But then again, I never strayed from the stock ignition setup.

Note regarding Pertronix modules, of which I have 2 vehicles running with them. Pertronix modules that fit under your stock ignition cap SIMPLY REPLACE THE POINTS. These modules are not HIGH ENERGY. The current and voltage that flows through them is not adequate to provide a huge kick from the coil. They do help with dwell, no doubt about it. But this is tiny in comparison to using an HEI Module to up the voltage/amp input to the coil.

Here is a great resource for additional information:


*HEI means whatever the seller wants it to mean. A High Energy Ignition SHOULD MEAN ignitions which PROVIDE at least DOUBLE the ENERGY of the standard/mechanical point equipped ignition systems of pre-1970 engines as measured AT THE SPARK PLUG. But, with a single exception, I don't recall ever seeing any objective data in regards to measuring the voltage/spark duration at the plug that would justify calling an ignition system high energy.

Replaced Photos 1 & 2
Photos 1 & 2 courtesy of anonymous
Photos 3 & 4 generic photos

Revised 3/2/2012
Added Duraspark I(CA) and II.
Added great signal to advantages,
Deleted next generation Duraspark II.
Corrected information regarding hall effects.

[Image: 11jmcuc.png]
351C Bold Manners, Brash Attitude
Favorite Teams: Michigan Wolverines and Whoever Is Playing Ohio State.

When I drive past a herd of cows, the cows MOO at me
Share Thread:  

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  1973 351C vacuum lines and eventual other questions scottyrocks 14 288 08-12-2018, 11:53 AM
Last Post: Don C
  Correct 351C Power Steering Hoses? street rod mach 1 7 207 08-12-2018, 08:26 AM
Last Post: NOT A T5
  351c cam lobe ID. Have to measure lift Ryunker 8 294 07-23-2018, 06:04 PM
Last Post: Ryunker
  351c vs 351w Tnfastbk 11 5,906 07-14-2018, 02:57 AM
Last Post: MissingNo.
  Holley Sniper on a 351c Fabrice 45 5,451 07-01-2018, 01:54 PM
Last Post: Fabrice
  1971 351c m-code engine Meyer 8 496 06-23-2018, 06:14 PM
Last Post: keiths71
  351C M-Code engine Timing issue! Meyer 25 863 06-17-2018, 08:41 AM
Last Post: Stanglover
  Trickflow heads on 351c with flat pistons Robsweden 25 2,975 05-23-2018, 12:17 PM
Last Post: barnett468

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)