How to Hook Up a Hei Distributor

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The HEI distributor, or high energy ignition distributor, was produced by General Motors in 1971 and used in all of their vehicles until the late 1980's. It is different from older distributors because of its inclusion of ignition coils and a distributor cap as opposed to using coil wires. Installing the HEI distributor in your GM vehicle is fairly simple, as you only need to make sure the distributor aligns perfectly with the engine before pushing it in. However, the distributor's plug towers do need to be properly connected with the correct spark plug wires. If they are not hooked up in the right order, your engine may not start.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench
  • Open the vehicle's hood and use a socket wrench to disconnect the battery. As the distributor handles the initial high voltage spark from the battery, it can cause serious injury if there is an accident.

  • Connect the bottom-right spark plug wire of the engine to the very bottom plug tower on the distributor.

  • Connect the bottom-left spark plug wire of the engine to the plug tower to the right of the first, bottom-most, plug tower. From this point onwards, you will be connecting the plug towers in a counterclockwise direction.

  • Connect the middle-right spark plug wire to the plug tower to the right of the top-most plug tower.

  • Connect the middle-left spark plug wire to the top-most plug tower.

  • Connect the top-right spark plug wire to the plug tower situated to the left of the top-most plug tower.

  • Connect the top-left spark plug wire to the final plug tower. Reconnect the vehicle's battery and close the hood.

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References

  • "General Motors Full-Size Trucks 1988-1998 Repair Manual: Chevrolet/GMC Pick-Ups, Sierra, Blazer, Tahoe, Yukon and Suburban"; Chilton Automotive Books; 1998
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