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Old 02-08-2006, 06:25 PM   #1
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Please explain the Jacobs and MSD ignition systems

In a quest for greater reliability (more power and better fuel economy would also be nice) I have been considering an ignition upgrade. I already have super- duper plug wires but the rest of the system is stock.

Could someone explain how each of these aftermarket systems work? I'm not looking for algorithms, just sort of a block diagram. Which components of the stock system are replaced? What is better about the new stuff. I am particularly interested in whether these systems use the stock distributor, rotor, cap, capacitor, ignition module? If so, it would appear that I would be adding points of failure, not eliminating them.

I HAVE search the web for the kind of explanation I am looking for but obviously I haven't succeeded. Pointers would be welcome. Thanks.

Guy
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:03 PM   #2
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................When I rebuilt my 1977 400 (6.6liter) , f250 4x4 I completely chucked the factory ignition system . I considered two systems for my ignition , Crane and MSD . I opted to use Crane for my cam, lifters , pushrods , and rocker arms . I chose an MSD billet distributor and 6A ignition module . The 6A module will double fire each sparkplug up too 3,000 rpm . They build a very reliable product in my opinion . You can configure your distributor curve with various amounts of weights to suit your particular timing preferences . In my particular case the install of the 6A module involved one hot wire from the ignition switch to energize the module and that was about it .The module was then interfaced to the the MSD distributor with their factory hookup . If your MH has some form of factory fuel injection it maybe more of an "INvolved Hookup" than my situation Was .
I am biased in favor MSD as I feel they build a very good product and their tech staff will visit with you over the phone IF you have any problems . r66
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy99
In a quest for greater reliability (more power and better fuel economy would also be nice) I have been considering an ignition upgrade. I already have super- duper plug wires but the rest of the system is stock.

Could someone explain how each of these aftermarket systems work? I'm not looking for algorithms, just sort of a block diagram. Which components of the stock system are replaced? What is better about the new stuff. I am particularly interested in whether these systems use the stock distributor, rotor, cap, capacitor, ignition module? If so, it would appear that I would be adding points of failure, not eliminating them.

I HAVE search the web for the kind of explanation I am looking for but obviously I haven't succeeded. Pointers would be welcome. Thanks.

Guy
Guy,
Let me first tell you that the Jacob system is fantastic. I first put the Ultra Team system on my '92 Chevy Z71 4X4 standard cab truck with 5.7 litre engine, 5 sp. manual and 3.42 rear end ratio. I noticed an immediate improvement in the low end torque. Where I might have gotten into the clutch a little too soon and stalled the engine prior to the Jacobs system (it happens), it was extremely rare that it ever happened again. The hotter spark at low end took care of it. I did not really notice an improvement in gas mileage but then I kept the plugs changed out every 35,000 miles whether they needed it or not, I was getting 21 mpg on the highway. When my truck was rolled by my son, I transferred the Jacobs unit to a '92 Camaro RS and when I sold it, I transferred it to my son's '90 Chevy 1500 4X4 Sport. As you can tell, I really like what the system does. I just got a phone call so I'll post particulars in a minute.
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:17 PM   #4
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r66,
What is inside of the distributor, Rotor? Points? Solid State Module? What device makes the high volatge (eg. coil) and where is it? The GM HEI ingnition is known for ignition module failures as well as laying down carbon tracks on the rotor so that it shorts. How is the MSD different/better?
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:19 PM   #5
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Craig,
Thanks for the endorsment for the Jacobs system. I eagerly await you detailed description.

Guy
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy99
r66,
What is inside of the distributor, Rotor? Points? Solid State Module? What device makes the high volatge (eg. coil) and where is it? The GM HEI ingnition is known for ignition module failures as well as laying down carbon tracks on the rotor so that it shorts. How is the MSD different/better?
..............Well , I never had the top off the distributor but it Doesn't have points rather I believe that it has some form of magnetic pickup impulse . The coil is external to the system , as I used an MSD high output coil . I drove this truck for 3 years and Never had any problem . MSD is made in ElPaso and Jacobs is made in Midland , tx unless it has moved . I purchased all my "parts" from Summit Auto as they seem to have good prices . MSD makes alot of very specialized racing\drag ignition systems besides what it offers to the mild performance market . The best thing to do is call both Jacobs and MSD and interview both over the phone and see if they will take the time to explain their products Too you . This will also indicate how well they'll "help" you After you have purchased thier products . Jacobs is a first rate ingnition system as well but maybe a little more expensive than MSD . r66
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:40 PM   #7
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Jacobs Ultra Team was their top of the line full ignition package. It consisted of the Energy Pak, Ultra Coil, Energy Core Spark Plug Wires, Wire Markers, Wire seperators and a Valet system as an anti-burglar system. A switch is mounted under the dash which you can flip to off or on. When on, if someone starts your vehicle, it only runs long enough to drive down a short driveway then shuts the vehicle off. Any attempt to restart will set the unit back a few minutes more. You can move the switch from on to off after you start the vehicle or just leave it off if you do not want the anti-theft feature.

The Energy Pak (Mileagemaster) is the brains of the system which is an on-board computer which continuously senses electrical resistance across the sparkplug gap, thereby making each plug an "in-cylinder sensor". I gapped my Champion Truck plugs to .060 and the system was perfect. The Energy Pak then uses this information to optimize each spark on each and every stroke of the engine. The unit is encapsulated, making it completely water and contamination proof. It has diagnostic LEDs, built in anti-theft system, magnetic pick-up and multi-strike capability should the plug not fire.

The Ultra-Coil automatically adjusts spark to meet engine demand, highest spark energy of any coil available.

Energy Core Wires are metal core with no radio noise <250 ohms/ft resistance and are 100% silicone jacketed. They come with wire markers and separators (looms).

As previously posted, I have used the same system through 3 GM vehicles and there is probably 300,000 miles on all components except the plug wires which were replaced at around 200,000 miles.

Check with Jacobs Electronics for RV specific systems using the above components and I think you will be pleased with them.
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:48 PM   #8
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Call Jacobs at 1(800)627-8800, I think they still use that # and ask for their full line catalog. It also explains the differences between some of the systems on the market or at least my latest catalog does. They were always helpful over the phone with me.
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:59 PM   #9
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Guy, I'm sure you've followed my upgrades via post here. I've done exhaust, carb, air intake. And now I have a MSD Electronic spark module ready to install. I'm going with MSD because I can keep my stock distributor, etc. and use the "box" to make multiple spark vs. one spark per firing position. Mulitple spark is supposed to translate to more complete fuel burn.
My bottom line as I'm at almost 10mpg is, if I can more completely burn the fuel rather than dump it out the exhaust I'm a happy camper.
If you are using regular gas vs. a higher octane, then the advantage you, we, all seek is longer duration, or more complete burn of the fuel under presure at the moment of combustion. I am hopful that the MSD box will help me to acheive this.
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Old 02-09-2006, 08:00 PM   #10
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Guy,
I wanted to add that Jacobs makes an ignition specifically for motorhomes as well. It includes an inclinomter which sense when you are moving uphill and retards the spark. There is a classic moho owner on the forum who uses one and loves it.

Bottom line on both systems is; more spark voltage (MSD also adds sparks per fire) + greater timing accuracy = better performance.

When faced with an ignition replacement on mine I opted for a stock HEI replacement. Nothing fancy, but it was an unplanned replacement and happened right after I spent a bucket of money on my 345....so I'm kind of kicking myself now. I think I would go MSD if faced with the choice again.
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