1955 HEI Tach Drive Distributor

C
Joined
Oct 20, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1955
I have recently noticed (on EBAY) that an HEI tach drive distributor is now available for the 55-57 Birds fitting 272, 292, and 312 engines. I have a '55 that has had the '57 style intake and 4160 Holley installed. It also has the '57 style distributor installed. I found this out the hard way when I ordered '55 ignition components and they didn't fit. My question is, does anyone have any experience installing and running one of these distributors? Was the wiring relatively easy? Does in perform well? Does the factory tach cable fit directly into the distributor? Any comments and other info would be greatly appreciated.
 
55birdman

55birdman

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Thunderbird Year
1955
I'll assume the one you're looking at is from CRT Performance. I have one of their non-tach drive distributors that I purchased about 8 years back. Itcame with coil, wires, etc. That said i'm also running a FiTech EFI system which requires an electronic dstributor that could provide a tach pulse. Had the tach drive been available at that time I surely would have purchased it as it would have saved the expense of converting to an electronic tach.
I've had my ups and downs with both but I'll put the blame more on me as I'm at best, a shade tree mechanic.
I had to replace the ignition module on the distributor last summer as the magnet cracked. This comes as part of the ignition module. I believe this a custom piece and not a GM part. But these distributors seem well made and replacement parts are available (from CRT) and affordable although they seem a little difficult to contact.
Good luck!
 
Machinehand
Joined
Oct 6, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
I have a CRT performance HEI distributor in another vehicle, a 390 so I cannot comment on the tack drive.
It was a simple hook up. You will need a 12v system. I’ve had no issues with it whatsoever. It runs so much better than I did when it had points. It also seems to be a very high quality part. Although, I’m guessing it’s made in China.
I plan on going with a CRT tach drive distributer for my 292.
 
Ward 57

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
CASCO has a tach drive replacement electronic distributor With coil. Part # 12127R $395. I'm sure they have done their homework.
 
C
Joined
Oct 20, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1955
Shows you pricing according to demand. I'll stick with my old school points & condenser. Simple and has worked over the ages. It's not a hot rod after all. Just a reliable old machine.
One thing I forgot to note in the original post is that whoever did the intake, carburetor, and distributor changes did not spend the money for a '57 style tach drive distributor, so I have no operable tach. That is really why I am considering the less expensive new HEI type tach drive distributor. Good rebuilt tach drive distributors are quite pricey.
 
Ward 57

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
One thing I forgot to note in the original post is that whoever did the intake, carburetor, and distributor changes did not spend the money for a '57 style tach drive distributor, so I have no operable tach. That is really why I am considering the less expensive new HEI type tach drive distributor. Good rebuilt tach drive distributors are quite pricey.
Now that makes a lot of sense. I wonder if they sold the original on the side. If it's a driver that you want to enjoy the windshield time, I'd go with the CASCO distributor or if you can find the makers numbers to shop around but I think a good choice.
 
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