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Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 1,393
I agree with you, GM put them in millions of vehicles. Sure some went bad, it happens. Think back in the early 70's I was in sales and on the road, a lot of the national sales companies used the f#$d vehicles. They were always on the side of the road with ignition problems, the little box on the fender well.

59 apache 1/2t
261 short stepside
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,851
Shop Shark
No Les in both cases, I used the pertronix coil that was for the unit I was using. The factory said it worked on their machine, but it didn't work in my truck, which is where I am concerned about it working. The stock units installed in modern vehicles I would have no problem using, as I run them about 200,000 miles before I sell them, with zero problems. The pertronix on the other hand I can't say that.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,736
Shop Shark
Yes, I think most any 12V coil of 45-55000V will work with the HEI's. It isn't necessary to match the vendors to have a good unit.

Mallory cost way too much and you can get a just as good result at lower cost so there won't be as many of them used. Not sure they even offer a unit for a 235 era engine.

Pertronix is the most popular and is lowest cost so naturally it "could" have a little bit higher failure rate but that is pure conjecture and unproven. I've heard those stories about carrying old points crap in your glovebox for years. Just a lot of BS in my opinion. Hell, anything can break.

As for the "Langdons doesn't look original" thing it seems to me the only visible difference is the absence of the flip tabs to hold the cap on. The twist screw tabs are better anyhow. So if that is your deciding criteria then fix your old point dizzy and keep on smiling.

1953 Chevy 5-window 3100
In the Stovebolt Gallery
More pix on Picturetrail

Engine & Driveline Moderator

If you can't make seventy by an easy road, don't go. ~~ Mark Twain
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 169
Wrench Fetcher

I have followed your pictures and story. Personally it seems a shame for you to put all this work into your own vehicle to look nice and original just to go with a modern ignition because you will have to put a little time into it every once in a while. I get it but there will not be noticeable difference. We tried it on the neighbor's truck and ended up taking it out - just felt out of place.

If you drive only your old P&C trucks a combined 25K miles a year that is between 5 and 8 times you will have to fool with them. It's your truck so it is your call but if you are looking for opinions beyond performance I vote to keep the originality.

Let us know if you do any sort of performance/gas mileage tests as I am curious about those as well.


36 Chevy 1.5 ton - rusting away
52 Chevy 3100 - in progress
72 Chevy K20 - DD


NEVER watch another man eat a banana.
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,566
ODSS President
Here you go kids.... Bubba does a school that a Midwest man I've trade with attended, you do your own distributor conversion, learn theory, advance curves, etc. Wish I was rich and closer.




" good horse Rocinante ('49 Chevy Half Ton), mine eternal and inseparable companion in all my journeys and courses." ...Don Quixote, Cervantes

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."...Yogi Berra

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength." ...Eric Hoffer

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,543
Deve Offline OP
Gas Pumper
Good input ALL. What I keep going back to is, all these years after the 60's HEI was used and vehicles ran hundreds of thousands of miles without ever even thinking about the distributor. So, there should be ZERO, NONE, absolutely nobody contentious about this issue. You should hear... Deve, you dumass, everyone has known for thousands of years now that HEI is just a no-brainer. It should then be a question of LOOKS. I want the new HEI to emulate the looks of the old style to give us vintage enthusiasts our due.

So maybe I am really slow, but what I am hearing is, Pertronix hasn't done its job in making a retro fit HEI work in our 235/261 engines. THEY have the right look, but apparently, they haven't used the 60 years of technology to improve and perfect their system? I mean HELLO? I'm wrong tho right? LOL!


1950 Chevy 3100 Deluxe Cab
1950 Chevy 3100 Standard Cab
In the Stovebolt Gallery
The Think Tank
More info and tips at Deve's Technet
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 31,682
Bubba - Curmudgeon

You draw interesting conclusions.

Did you obtain answers for your other questions?

How does the vac advance work on these?
How is fuel economy?
Mostly, how is performance affected?

Tim []
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [] - part of the family for 15 years
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. []
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,543
Deve Offline OP
Gas Pumper
60 years of success is pretty hard to argue with. But the problem comes in that we are talking about the 235/261. It has its own nuances, and you guys are all the go-to guys for that. Thus the discussion.

I would assume mileage and performance would be the same as a very perfectly adjusted set of points from what I have gathered so far. Now, key here is... a perfectly adjusted set of points perfectly adjusted through the entire life of the engine. This is why I started this thread. I am wrong of course, I am just trying to understand why.

Last edited by Deve; Tue Feb 25 2014 02:21 AM.


1950 Chevy 3100 Deluxe Cab
1950 Chevy 3100 Standard Cab
In the Stovebolt Gallery
The Think Tank
More info and tips at Deve's Technet
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,658
Shop Shark
I know that if you are running a generator with Pertronix ignition it can cause gremlins at times. A constant and stable voltage supply is needed to make it function good. I don't know how a Langdon / GM hei functions with a generator.

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 223
Shop Shark
Hi, Deve, From my experience I have found out that when points systems begin to fail they give you some warning signs such as misfiring, hard starting,ect. When electronic ingitions fail you lose all spark and leave you dead in the water as they say. It does not cost much to carry a spare set of points and a condenser in the glove box, also when installing new points, use a VERY little bit of point cam grease on the point cam. With new points set to .020" and after 1000mi. check points and set to .018" (check timing both times). I have found that after about 5000 mi. the point setting does not change much. have fun Brian

Keep the 216's running. 1949 1/2 ton model #1314 (US 3104) Brian
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