258 TFI Super Coil/ignition upgrade - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-10-2020, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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1980 CJ7 
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258 TFI Super Coil/ignition upgrade

A cool trick is this TFI ignition upgrade that I found sometime around mid-Sep 2002. It involved swapping the stock AMC stuff for a Ford Super Coil, an adapter for the distributor cap, distributor cap & rotor, plug wires, and re-gapping the plugs to a more open setting. The website I first saw this on mentioned .045" as the good setting. I've learned by virtue of stumbling onto a comment in the 4WD Hardware catalog way back then, that there's a kit available to do the very same thing I did, using the same components, and they're running their plugs at .065"!!

Sourcing the parts through a local parts store is a cheaper way to go, and you'll always know where to find replacement parts when the time comes.

After the initial lukewarm performance gain at .045", I regapped mine out to .060" and it's running much better now and pretty much corrected the 'rich' condition from the factory Carter 1bbl that always seemed to be needing a rebuild. The toughest part of the mod was making a mounting bracket for the TFI coil - but I'm sure one could be procured from any '80s-'90s Ford truck with an I-6.

I highly recommend this simple upgrade to anyone with a 6-cylinder looking to squeeze a couple more ponies out of the engine without having to blow all your locker money. My buddy Jim and I also performed a similar mod on his '75 CJ-5 with a 304, using the V8 equivalent distributor adapter cap & rotor, of course.

A couple of pics - the old AMC factory stuff (smaller cap, Permatex'd wires) and the upgraded stuff is newer, of course. Sorry for the messy engine, it's since been cleaned up drastically.

Part Numbers of things you will need (pick your favorite brand - you won't need one of each ):

Cap Adapter: Borg Warner C193A; NAPA FA139; Wells F960; Niehoff FF78A; GP Sorensen FR109
Cap: Borg Warner C193; NAPA FA136; Wells F952; Niehoff FF78; GP Sorensen FR121
Rotor: Borg Warner D219; NAPA FA159; Wells F953; Niehoff FF59A; GP Sorensen FR106
Ignition Coil: Borg Warner E92/E92P; NAPA IC24; Niehoff FF-179; GP Sorensen GC407S

Coil Connector: NAPA ICC1 (a couple of blade connectors to go between the AMC plug and the Ford Super Coil - I didn't use one, made my own: white wires with blue plugs)

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post #2 of 6 Old 03-30-2020, 12:15 PM
Nathan Hill
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Cool trick. Might as well note this down for when I need to do it as well.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-09-2020, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! It works great with the factory ignition module, since it's a Ford Duraspark system. A lot of people swear by the GM HEI coil-based systems, but when I actually tried making an HEI substitution, it wouldn't even fire up for me. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but that day cost me an HEI coil and a new Duraspark box for the effort (Hey - we try these things and sometimes it just doesn't work out). I think I still have the HEI hybrid box I made in the garage, which I might try to figure out another day. But I look at it like this: HEI modules and Duraspark modules are about the same price, and all you need to do to replace the Duraspark module is 2 bolts and unplug/replug - the HEI module needs to have the box removed from the firewall, dismount and remount the HEI coil, then reinstall the ignition box back on the firewall. A couple more steps.

Besides, my '71 Mach 1 has the same ignition system, so I only have to keep one spare module on the shelf for both cars (and they almost never go bad).
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-11-2020, 06:43 AM
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An accel super coil and MSD6A ignition box can't be beat for any carbed engine!

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post #5 of 6 Old 04-11-2020, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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They also can't be had 'off the shelf' from most parts stores.

I'm not knocking that combo in the least, my Mustang has a traditional 'cannister style' Accel Super Coil, actually - but it also looks stock in appearance. The MSD has some creative wiring requirements as well, whereas the Duraspark is literally plug-n-play (a LOT cheaper, too - which is the theme of this particular forum section).
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-27-2021, 09:03 PM
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Well, brother, you've hit the big time ... I found this post via googling doing research on making sure I didn't have to re-gap the plugs.

While I could get the HEI to work with the Howell EFI (work = start, run, but not optimally), I could never get the timing right. Ported, manifold, vacuum can adjustments ... either TOO much timing, or not enough. On the top end, manifold vacuum at 17 psi and HEI retarded as far as it would go, IDLE was pulling nearly 25* advance (yeah, that ran like ****e). Ported vacuum, HEI can at max advance, the most I could get out of it was an additional 17*, for 25* total (the engine currently likes 6-8* static). Again, ran like ****e.

So, as my emails have stated, going back to this setup pictured here. Though, the engine looks a bit different; I don't remember the cover being that dark. Unless it was part of the cleanup/repaint on the Day of the Steel Beard?

At any rate, glad of the archival info, and look for an email soonish.

Mesa, AZ

"Grinders and Paint Make You The Welder You Ain't!" -- from a t-shirt
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