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Anyone know if condensers are interchangeable?

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Anyone know if condensers are interchangeable? Empty Anyone know if condensers are interchangeable?

Post by David V. Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:41 pm

Local auto parts store only had one condenser on the shelf, except for the color of the plating it looks exactly the same as the one I'm replacing. I know my old one was rated at 600V and 28MFD (Mallory 401 part number). I can't find specs on the new one to compare, it's an Echlin RR176. Any of you old-school hotrodders know if it should work?
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Post by Jerry & Lisa Mills Mon Aug 09, 2021 10:49 pm

Sounds like a question for Hotrod, but i do remember
some about that.
Yes, most all those are the same in a standard 12 volt system.
Might be reason they only stock one. I've swapped some by changing the wire connector and had success in my youth when a couldn't afford a new one.
Try it - can't hurt.

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Post by Hotrod Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:02 pm

Other than the length of the wire and the shape of the end connector, I don't think it matters on a standard automotive application. Now for high performance parts, I can't tell you. Been a long long time since I fooled with points in a car.
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Post by David V. Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:01 am

Thanks to both of you guys for the replies! I was thinking worst case it's worth a try and it might fry a set of points, but it's nice to have someone back you up. I've been running out of patience with aftermarket ignition components. Never got my MSD 6AL box to work right either, otherwise I wouldn't need the condensers. Cheers!
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Post by Jerry & Lisa Mills Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:22 am

Dang - sorry to hear that. My Pertronix is 20 years old and i was going to look into the MSD unit. Just talked to two different guys last weekend touting it's merits.
Next time i'm in the area, i'm going to a HUGE speed shop near me to ask. Will report back.
Meanwhile, points and condenser in the trunk.

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Post by David V. Tue Aug 10, 2021 12:58 am

Ah in that case don't let me dissuade you Jerry. MSD stuff does for all intents and purposes seem like a quality made product from everything I've seen. I believe the application I was using it for is faaaar towards one end of the bell-curve of intended uses. I can't know for sure but I think the really small size of my Mallory distributor cap makes the higher current/voltage/etc that the MSD box puts out misfire onto the wrong plug terminal from the rotor when the ignition advances at the 3000rpm mark. I went through every other possibility with their tech support line on many occasions and always left them stumped.

The main issue I'm running into (aside from every ignition component I buy having some sort of bad Karma), is that when something aftermarket does break here in Canada the car is side-lined for 2 weeks while I wait for the spare to arrive from the states. And for some brands continued spare parts supply becomes non-existant after a few years.

If you're using an MSD Box on an MSD distributor with an MSD coil I shouldn't think you'd run into problems. That being said keep in mind that any electronic component is prone to failure of its microscopic spot welds after repeated heat cycles, so about the same failure rate as modern car ECUs (I.E. don't stick it on the firewall next to a hot engine). Whether or not you gain any significant benefit from running a CD ignition box on a street car (outside of a rev-limiter) is up for debate. They aren't cheap and they aren't cheap to replace in the unlikely event something does go wrong.

You could also look at going from a pertronix to an HEI, but at this point if it ain't broke.... Whatever you do keep your old distributor as a backup.

Hope that helps. I'm just over here using very peculiar parts in a very peculiar way.
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Post by Jerry & Lisa Mills Tue Aug 10, 2021 1:13 am

Seems you saved me a trip. Have not had any problems and an not going to buy a new distributor. Am slightly concerned about the age and the things you pointed out.
Originally planed to get a spare Pertronix, but have read a number of reported failures of the newest version. I hate calling for a tow truck.

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Post by Hotrod Tue Aug 10, 2021 9:54 am

I'm not sure if it's still a big issue, but a few years ago MSD was having a lot of problems with cheap knock-offs of their stuff.  This wasn't just a case of someone off shore making something similar, either.  The knock-offs were scam counterfeits.  They were painted and marked to duplicate the appearance of the real thing.  You had to have the scam parts side by side with the genuine parts to even have a chance to tell them apart.

The counterfeits were absolute crap on the inside, as you can imagine.  If they worked at all, they failed quickly.  

I don't know where you sourced your MSD parts, but there are probably some of the counterfeits still around.

Counterfeit auto parts are definitely a problem with other brands too.  Since most companies are just interested in getting the cheapest price from their suppliers, they are ripe for unscrupulous scam artists.  Even some big parts companies have been scammed into buying junk parts.
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Post by David V. Wed Aug 11, 2021 4:58 pm

Aye that makes sense, definitely have to be careful buying from eBay. Just a heads up, I believe the AEM air-fuel ratio gauges sold on Amazon by certain 3rd party sellers may be counterfeit, some things didn't add up when I was comparing features between the Amazon one and the Summit one. 95% of the time I get my parts from Summit since they seem to deal directly with the manufacturers when sourcing their stuff.
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