DAVE's small-body HEI's

Home of "IgnitionMan" small-body HEI, MSD Trigger Only, and EFI-HEI Conversions

24 Buffalo Lane, Yerington, Nevada, 89447

Phone: (775) 722-3294

Distributor conversion orders, ignition system questions, email: info.davessmallbodyheis@gmail.com

Vacuum Advance Degree Stop Info email: gmvacuumadvancemodifications@gmail.com

Please visit the GALLERY page for pictures of a very few of the conversions I have done

If you don't see yours, or, have questions, please contact me at the above contacts

DAVE's small-body HEI's is a service that converts older American engine point type distributors to one of three different electronic ignition specifications. This service was begun in 1977, by myself, David Ray, to meet the needs of those that want to utilize an HEI ignition system, where the size of the large, coil in cap HEI will not fit without severe clearance/interference issues, and/or problems, or, to retain the appearance of a stock point distributor, and, still use a better HEI ignition system. I am the longest running service for small-body HEI conversions, 40 years. DAVE's small-body HEI's is at the forefront of small-body HEI design, development, technology, and conversion construction within the industry

Conversions offered are:

Regular High Energy Ignition for Carburetted Engines. These systems are a complete, stand alone ignition, with an electronic HEI module, magnetic pickup, and a remote mounted, off the distributor, round, oil filled ignition coil

MSD Trigger Only. This conversion is, simply, a conversion that mounts an MSD magnetic pickup fitted into the point distributor, and uses a dedicated MSD style two wire plug that connects directly to any MSD type 2 pin connector from any after market, performance ignition "box". No module is fitted, as this conversion is dedicated to triggering an aftermarket performance ignition unit, such as an MSD

**EFI-HEI is the same basic conversion as the Regular HEI conversion, but differs in that it uses an 8 pin General Motors Electronic Fuel Injection High Energy Ignition module. The distributor has "locked out" mechanical advance, and deletes the vacuum advance unit, so that the specific EFI computer handles all timing calculations

**NOTE: Although I offer the 8 pin EFI-HEI for all make and model engine point distributors, I am an honest person, and would advise that if you are installing EFI on a Chevrolet small, or low deck big block engine, there is an alternative that can be used. The late 1980's/early 1990's Chevrolet V8 and V6 engines used a dedicated 8 pin, small diameter, HEI spark plug wire terminal cap EFI distributor, and, they are plentiful in wrecking yards and parts stores just about everywhere. However, if you are building a hidden EFI system and wish your distributor to look like a points distributor, but converted for the EFI, I can do one of my EFI-HEI conversions for you to your point distributor. If in doubt, please contact me and discuss it.  

In today's ignition system world, there are many choices. Some systems are no more than 'drop-in' electronic point level output replacements. And, of them, some very few are adequate, many others are not. It seems most all drop-in point replacement electronic ignition units have been, and are still erroneously identified, and, referred to as higher performance, higher spark level, and claimed to be a General Motors HEI performance level High Energy Ignition system, when they are clearly not. High Energy Ignition was created by General Motors in the early 1970's for use as a system that met United States Environmental Protection Agency vehicle emissions requirement parameters of no changes to the timing, nor maintenance needed for 50,000 miles, minimum. The ONLY real and true HEI ignition systems use the General Motors design HEI modules. 

Drop-in electronic point replacement systems, and new build distributors that use drop-in point replacement lower performance level electronics are NOT an HEI, no matter what coil, and/or input voltage those systems use. 

HEI Distributor Development. As U.S. EPA  emissions regulations became more strict, air-fuel mixtures got leaner, with less molecules of fuel in the chamber, further apart from each other, which made it a lot harder to "light of" the mixture with a weaker spark. To allow the spark to 'catch a molecule to light off', spark plug gaps needed to be opened up further, to allow the reduced volume of fuel molecules to get into a larger spark plug gap area. To accomplish that, General Motors designed the HEI module to make significantly more spark energy, to bridge the increased spark plug gap. Thus, creating the "High Energy Ignition" (HEI)

Another ignition system that needs to be outlined, is the Capacitor Discharge (CD) system, as used in some aftermarket ignition "boxes", and especially MSD Multi-Spark systems. In a point, drop-in electronic, or HEI ignition, those systems charge the coil with current (dwell saturation time), then, fire the coil to ground to make a spark. Of all the inductive systems, the GM design HEI is the only system to significantly increase dwell time, to load the coil with increased current, for a larger spark. The CD systems charge a capacitor inside the ignition box, with considerably more spark energy production, then, fires that charge directly into the coil, to make a significantly higher spark output. 

Along the way, there have been other individuals, and/or companies that have come onto the small-body HEI scene, some still remain, more are gone. Please look closely when thinking about a small-body HEI conversion, there are significant differences in some conversions done by others.  As far as those other systems and persons, I don't follow their efforts for the most part, and all too often, I eventually see those systems here, to get changed over to one of my conversions.

The General Motors High Energy Ignition was not designed as a purely performance ignition system, it was designed to be a robust system that didn't fail, worked well, and lived long to retain emissions standards. Along the way, with very little change along their way, the HEI has proven to be an excellent upper middle level ignition system, one that works well in applications from fully stock, mild to moderate performance. Only adverse issues, they are big and bulky, and do not fit in a lot of areas, coils are not the best for the ignition system. My small-body conversions overcome those issues of fit, coil failure, appearance.  

I have been doing my conversions, and specialty ignition work for the past 4 + decades. Of course, others are free to do it any way they wish. I will simply continue to do it the way I have proven to work the best, time, and, time again.  I do not ever want DAVE's small-body HEI's to "get so big" that I cannot have direct, one to one contact with every one of my customers, so, I choose to continue to operate as a one person conversion service. 

It may well be you were directed to me by friends, customers, or, others speaking well of my conversions. I have many happy customers that do just that. 

No matter how you arrived here,


You are in the right place.

How might I assist you?

David Ray

Owner, Designer, Developer, Engineer

Conversion Services Offered

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Pictures Gallery Information

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Large diameter, coil in cap HEI services

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General Motors vacuum advance degree stop information

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Basic Pricing Information

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Conversion Times

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Obtaining A Conversion: Pictures Package & Specification Sheet

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General Motors Distributor Gear Information

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Vacuum Advance Stand Alone Degrees Stop Plate information

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Electronic Fuel Injection Conversion Information

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Why Only An Oil Filled Coil?

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RUMORS, Future Plans, Health

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Holley Sniper conversions

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  •  +1-(775) 722-3294
  •  info.davessmallbodyheis@gmail.com
  •  For ignition conversions - tech - ordering: info.davessmallbodyheis@gmail.com Or, use Contact Form to the right For GM vacuum advance degree stop plate info: gmvacuumadvancepacket@gmail.com Copy and paste into your email address area to create message PLEASE NOTE: THE CONVERSION SHOP IS STILL TEMPORARILY CLOSED DOWN, AND LOOKS LIKE IT WILL REMAIN CLOSED UNTIL HIP SURGERY REHAB IS COMPLETED. POSSIBLY, LATE JUNE, 2023. IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A CONVERSION FROM ME, AND NEED TECH HELP, INFORMATION, OTHER INFO ON IT, PLEASE USE THE TWO MODES ABOVE, TELEPHONE, EMAIL TO CONTACT ME DIRECTLY, I WILL SUPPORT YOUR CONVERSION.