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Thread: MSD 6AL digital

  1. MSD 6AL digital

    Anyone out there have issues with their MSD 6AL? I was out for a spin the other day and after a moderately hard but not too fast right turn the car started to run badly. 447 super fe, pro billet dist, blaster 2 coil. I thought it was water in the fuel since the problem started immediately after the right turn, thought water may have sloshed over the fuel line. I went through the entire fuel system drained the gas even checked the inside of carb bowls and metering blocks and base plate,not a speck of anything. fuel levels are fine no vac leaks new filter. Coil and magnetic pick-up on dist check out with ohm meter. Everthing checks out. Car just will not stay running. You have to keep pedaling it to keep it going. If you take your foot off the gas at 2000rpm it will die. It also will pop through the exhaust when letting off from higher rpm. From 2K and up it seems to be almost normal I re-routed the dist wires to make sure they were even farther away from coil wires and running along a ground plane (frame rail) because MSD techs said you can get some rf noise if the dist wires are to close to the coil wires. Next step is to start checking all the grounds and connections, whooppeeeee! Battery is fine. maybe just a bad box but according to the LED it is "functional." Key on engine off you get 2 second light then 5 flashes, and when engine is running LED stays on.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Roseville, CA, USA.
    Posts
    2,431
    I just had a magnetic pickup go bad. No spark at all. I don't know if they can gradually go bad or not, but it is something to consider. Certainly a lot less expensive than a new MSD box. This MSD stuff is weird. My mag pickup tested good, but it wasn't!
    Phil

    427 Roadster, #4279436
    470/hp FE by FE Specialties
    3:31 and Toploader (wide ratio)

    Roseville (N.Cal)

  3. pgermond, thanks for the reply. I double checked everything. The magnetic pick up is within range ( .570 ohm ) The box however did not pass the MSD spark test. Key on, coil wire held close to ground and then shorting the dist signal wires produced a spark only once or twice then nothing for four or five tries the maybe a couple more then nothing for five or six then one or two more. Already sent the box back to msd for repair. If I still have issues I will replace the pick up. Modern electronics are great when they work but when they don't my brain electronics get tested.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Gadsden, Al , USA.
    Posts
    1,707
    Hopefully that will fix the problem. Normally a MSD box is either good or bad, no in between.

    Alan

  5. #5
    Is there a way you can check your fuel pickup in the gas tank? If it only happens on a right turn maybe something is shifting around.

  6. #6
    I know this opinion goes against the grain but I am not a fan of MSD. Forum members who know my car can verify that it is old school with the exception of Pertronix electronic points in my stock Ford distributor. I find that within a specific dwell angle a single well timed fat spark can yield spectacular results. When I'm at a car show, It's hilarious to watch other car show participants pouring over my car trying to figure where the "box" is. And then the look of disbelief when they find it's not there or even wanted.
    - Geary
    Last edited by Aggressor; June 30th, 2016 at 10:34 PM.

  7. Hey Guys thanks for the responses. MSD is sending the box back, it checks out good. I checked the magnetic pick up and found a flake of the magnet had flaked off ( 1/4" x 1/4" x about 1/16" thick ) the ohm reading was in spec. Replaced the pick up. Still runs like S@#%. I'm going through the process of checking and redoing all grounds and replacing the ignition switch since I had one of them go bad in the first few hours of having the car on the road back about two years ago. By the way I have a new spare MSD box and the car still runs like S@#%. I checked to make sure the dist didn't creep out of time, still tight, can't move it. Cap and rotor look fine even though I bought new ones. That will be one of the other things I will try. I have a hunch it is the ignition switch not allowing 12V to the box. I put the volt meter to the batt terminal on the switch to the ign terminal with the car not running and was not getting 12V. Since I am bald I can't pull my hair out so I will resort to stabbing hot needles into my eyes!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Roseville, CA, USA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldtimmc View Post
    Hey Guys thanks for the responses. MSD is sending the box back, it checks out good. I checked the magnetic pick up and found a flake of the magnet had flaked off ( 1/4" x 1/4" x about 1/16" thick ) the ohm reading was in spec. Replaced the pick up. Still runs like S@#%. I'm going through the process of checking and redoing all grounds and replacing the ignition switch since I had one of them go bad in the first few hours of having the car on the road back about two years ago. By the way I have a new spare MSD box and the car still runs like S@#%. I checked to make sure the dist didn't creep out of time, still tight, can't move it. Cap and rotor look fine even though I bought new ones. That will be one of the other things I will try. I have a hunch it is the ignition switch not allowing 12V to the box. I put the volt meter to the batt terminal on the switch to the ign terminal with the car not running and was not getting 12V. Since I am bald I can't pull my hair out so I will resort to stabbing hot needles into my eyes!
    Mine did the same thing after changing the pick up (and it tested good too) - I checked the timing and it was 20 deg off. Check the timing!
    Phil

    427 Roadster, #4279436
    470/hp FE by FE Specialties
    3:31 and Toploader (wide ratio)

    Roseville (N.Cal)

  9. pgermond, went through all grounds and connections, all good, box is getting 12V plus. New ignition switch. New pick up. Tried the spark test again but shorted the purple-green signal wire right at the plug six inches from the box. Weak spark, then no spark then great spark then back to weak then strong then none, very intermittent, which is what the fist box did. MSD called and said original box is good and will be sending it back. I had tried a pertronix coil that I know is good, even though the blasterII also tests good, the pertronix has the same spec, low .6 ohm coil same problems. I have a sneaky suspicion that either the signal wires going in to the box or the coil wires going to the coil aren't connected right in the main harness plug. Wherever or whoever makes the harness did not get the crimps on the internal connectors in the plug right. Also is it possible that the high voltage to the coil from the box could be arcing to the ground wire for the coil or maybe to the copper tubing for my water temp sender, even though it has a plastic covering, since I have them in the same corrugated plastic wiring cover? I have another harness since I bought a second box just to have a back up. Hate like hell to re-wire the harness but at this point I'm at my wits end.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Roseville, CA, USA.
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    2,431
    If its not the box or mag pick-up, I would focus on the coil. Could be breaking down. As far as wiring issues - if it came out of the blue I would focus on components (because wiring is a bitch being full of gremlins and such).
    Phil

    427 Roadster, #4279436
    470/hp FE by FE Specialties
    3:31 and Toploader (wide ratio)

    Roseville (N.Cal)

  11. Quote Originally Posted by pgermond View Post
    If its not the box or mag pick-up, I would focus on the coil. Could be breaking down. As far as wiring issues - if it came out of the blue I would focus on components (because wiring is a bitch being full of gremlins and such).
    Found the little B@$&%!* gremlin plus some other issues. I inspected the signal wires that are right out of the main plug at the box and lo and behold the female connectors in the little black plug were not tight fitting to the male pins. Since they were expanded out there was a gap so when I put the paper clip in, which was a very thin one, it got into the gap so when I shorted the wires the paper clip would not make contact every time. Talk about a one in a million thing. Squeezed them back to where they should be, tested again and all kinds of spark. Also ignition switch was not consistently getting 12V to the small red wire, sometimes only 7-8 volts hence the sometimes strong sometimes weak spark. put in new ignition switch. To sum it up there was a bit of distributor creep. Set the timing and all is good in Timmyland. Thanks again to everyone for their help.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Roseville, CA, USA.
    Posts
    2,431
    Happy to hear you found it. Congratulations on your find!
    Phil

    427 Roadster, #4279436
    470/hp FE by FE Specialties
    3:31 and Toploader (wide ratio)

    Roseville (N.Cal)

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