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Old 03-05-2004, 12:53 PM
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I have sent the following email to '' TWICE in the last 3 weeks, but have revieced NO response. Perhaps I can get some help here.


I recently installed a 6A ignition unit and a Blaster SS coil in my vehicle and they have been causing some huge problems. Every few days, the coil/ignition fails to provide spark, and either the car wonít start or it will STOP RUNNING while I am driving. Any attempt to start it after this happens will fail or the engine will run so incredibly rough that it canít hold an idle or be put in gear. This is obviously a serious problem as it has already failed me in several very inconvenient places.

I left the stock coil/ignition setup in my vehicle and made it possible to switch between the two in case something like this were to happen. When the 6A/Blaster SS does fail, I switch back to the stock setup and there are no problems; the engine runs great (better than with the 6A/Blaster SS). However, after running the stock coil for a short period of time, switching back to the 6A/Blaster SS setup will work. I have, however, also noticed that my engine seems BOGGED DOWN when I get on it when using the 6A/Blaster SS (as compared to the stock coil). Additionally, gas mileage has dropped significantly when using the 6A/Blaster SS, and this obviously should not happen.

All of this leads me to believe that there is something wrong with the 6A unit. Please let me know what can be done to resolve this situation. This problem has rendered my NEW 6A and Blaster SS useless until a solution is reached.

Thank you,
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Old 03-05-2004, 10:51 PM
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Well, I can't exactly help you on this. But, I've had the same problem with suddenly dying in the middle of the street or cutting out. I have the 6A with the Blaster 2 coil.

It is driving me crazy. I'm getting 7.5mpg with a setup that should be getting me 12-14mpg. Every response I've read as a reply from the MSD tech is the same--If it doesn't work once, it'll never work. Can't be coil, 6A or any MSD ignition problem if it ever works. Sort of an either or not.

I disagree. I think there is a break down in the coil or the 6A ignition unit. Maybe it over heats, maybe the weather or humidity change affects it. However, it is SO arbitrary. Just three months ago the ignition stalled me in the street 10 times. Just driving along and NOTHING. The motor would go lean. (Like the timing would suddenly jump 10 to 20 degrees advance.) The motor would shut down. I replaced fuel pumps, carbs, wires, plugs because everything I got from MSD was: "if it is a bad 6A or a bad coil,,,it will not run at all."

If I sit in traffic with my flashers on for 10-15 minutes, it usually starts. I've tried the "pull the coil wire from the tower a couple of inches." If you hear the distinctive spark, it will start. Otherwise, no wire shaking, extra primer fuel poured in the carb, NOTHING would get it to work.

Then after the policeman pushes me to the side of the road, I wave and thank him and not dare look into the eyes of the other drivers, I casually and just as arbitrarily turn it over and it starts.

Go figure. The promises made on the web site and everywhere I've read are really not true.

A little over a year and a half ago, I had my 351W motor rebuilt, gas tanks flushed. fresh gas with the original Motorcraft 2bbl, and I got 14 mpg on the fill up of my two tanks. I put the MSD 6A and coil on and it dropped to 10.5. It has steadily dropped for the last 20,000 miles. Now about 7.5.

I don't use MSD wires. But I do have the inside timing control +or- 8 degrees with a manual control. Makes absolutely no difference except at -6 degrees retard, motor runs like crap. At +6degrees advance, motor leans out so much it pings, over heats, sputters, etc.

I am using the Bosch Ultimate Mag Core wires. I've changed plugs 6 times in 30,000 miles, quite contrary to the advertised length I should be getting for plugs. And they ALWAYS come out of the motor looking slightly used, light to medium tan.

I'm now a little fearful of adding a $100 MSD wire set on a system that is probably flawed. I think if MSD had some guarantee that I'd get improved gas mileage. Compared to what I get now, I've invested probaby $3000 in lost gas mileage since I've installed the system.

The irony of it all is: regardless of the Very poor gas mileage, if it is running right and not sputtering, I can really REALLY zoom. However, I've added the Flowmaster muffler, a Helix tower that I know add 15 hp maybe more.

And the other convoluted irony is: I just keep thinking IT IS GOING TO WORK.

Al Harrison
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:57 PM
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spy88 / bigal

I apologize for the delay in response. The best way to diagnose the problem is next time the problem occurs try this test. Remove the coil wire from the Distributor side and lay it next to ground. With the key on touch the white wire from the MSD box to ground. You should see a spark ark from the coil wire to the vehicles ground. If the box dose not fire that is your problem and will need to be repaired. If the box fires let me know and we will take it from there.

Msdtech 13
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:43 PM
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This is me again.

I may have a little egg on my face. I've just discovered that I've had the magnetic coil wires reversed polarity (probably the entire time I've had the system on). I follow instructions very well and can not understand how I possibly could have done that.

However, I remember that when I went from stock to MSD, I really had to change timing (probably retard it 20+ degrees--in fact, it caused my carb to backfire and the Motorcraft 2bbl uses the 2 stage power valve and it blew it out first thing--$27 bucks). Finally, since I hadn't enough movement space for my distributor, I remember changing my wires around one hole each.


I started the other day going through hundreds of these messages on this board to get some clue as to my problems, ONE in particular happening just as yours is. There are times that the system just shut down,,,got no spark,,,wouldn't run or start,,,stranded me in traffic.

Well, I've found several issues of problems that could occur. And, as I've found the issues on this board, I began changing them. AND my lean running problem has suddenly stopped (though there have been many other times it stopped, then just as abruptly began again).

First, I wanted to check my wires to be absolutely sure they'd run on MSD. I thought they were solid core wires. But they are the Bosch Ultra Premium Mag Core wires, and these are wound core.

Second, in checking the wires, which were new as of last December. I discovered that my coil to dist wire was not of the same set. Some reason, I had put the old wire back on.

Third, I checked the resistance of the old coil wire. It was 1500 ohm for an 8 inch wire which would make it run at around 2000 ohm per foot. That's way too much for the MSD. I DID FIND THE BOSCH COIL WIRE, AND NOW THE MOTOR'S RUNNING BETTER.

Fourth, I checked the polarity of the magnetic coil. I had them reversed. Green to orange. Violet to violet. They should have been green to violet, violet to orange. (This of course threw my MSD timing out 20 degrees retarded.) I can't believe I'd done two dumb mistakes as this.

Fifth, I checked the ohm reading of the magnetic dist. coil and new ones at the parts store. Mine and the new ones read 200 ohms. So, I'm within that needed by MSD.

Sixth, I put new connectors on my MSD to coil, magnetic pick up, and wiring.

But, I still don't think I'm out of the ditch yet, even though my horsepower has greatly improved. And, changing the polarity of the pick up coil and correctly setting the timing to it has INCREASED my idle rpms by 200, which is something really POSITIVE.

I filled my tanks with gas and am going to check my mileage after around 200 miles (city driving). Then, I'll do the things below, probably one at a time to try to isolate the issue.

Now the following may be critical to MSD systems. After reading other Tech responses and printing out .pdf trouble shooting pages and installation pages, I'm finding out that --

the MSD system is EXTREMELY, I MEAN EXTREMELY SENSITIVE to stray voltage, especially from damaged wires, wire caps, connections, and etc. And, a bad or problem magnetic pickup on the distributor is very critical to poor performance. (You may need to understand, I went from a new motor getting 12 to 14 mpg to a motor getting 7.5 to 10 mpg.)


I'm checking the resistance of all the remaining wires. (My #1 wire, which I could get to was 400 ohms on 2' length which is about 200 ohms/foot. My coil wire I just put on was 200 ohms for its 8 inches.)

I found by reading these messages that if any of the plug wire reading are off from each other by a medium to large degree, the motor WILL run poorly.

I found also that if the magnetic pickup up coil resistance is off, the motor will run poorly. AND this is a critical piece-- If the pickup coil is damaged or susceptible to changing if heated up, the motor COULD immediately cut out or run bad or back fire.

I found that if wires close to the same firing order and next to each other on the motor CAN jump fire by the very presence of electricity across them. This could also be VERY CRITICAL. I've read at leat a half dozen messages where the owners had misfiring on certain cylinders, did compression checks, checked wires and ohms and plug changes, finally pulling heads, cams, everything to check tolerances. I've got a feeling that they had wires next to each other in the firing order and next to each other on the motor.

Apparently, the best way to correct this problem is isolate the wires and get them several inches apart from the distributor to the plugs. The interesting thing I read on these messages, each person would swear to a damaged MSD system.

So as to your problem, I'd check the signal going to the MSD from your pickup coil. You probably are not getting anything, so the capacitive discharge system will not work.

Use the trouble shooting guide on MSD .pdf, where you jump the green/violet wires and pull the coil wire off and lay it 1/2" next to the + connection on the coil. Turn your keyswitch on. If you hear a "pop," then it probably IS the magnetic coil pick up that's bad. If you don't, then its probably the coil.

I found I had the same problem, run or not run, strand me in the street. If I jump started it, it would always start. If I just did the "pull the coil wire from the coil and turn the key on" trick, if it popped, I'd run out with the switch still on, put the coil wire back, and it'd start. (just take care, one day I got 45,000 volts throught he hand).

But no amount of cranking would get it to start, unless I jump started it, or let it sit for 10 minutes. But, then it would start. It might run terrible for the remainder of the day, or just fine.

But when it does die, it smells of a extremely lean motor--like I ran out of gas.

Most critical are also the MSD wire connections, the distributor pickup (signal), and the need to avoid stray voltage that will arbitrarily send a signal that will discharge the coil into a wrong plug or at the wrong time.

I think MSD would do well to warn users and self installers of these issues.

To solve the poor running and occasional misfiring, I'm going to separate my wires from the distributor. I may buy the RF noise suppressor that MSD sells which will reduce the possibility of mis discharging.

I believe that the arbitrary problems with your system may be a break down in the distributor pickup coil, or a stray voltage charge from a wire or poor ground.

I'm determined to make my system work.

A hot rod is usually void of all the other electrical connections found on a motor. The motor is often exposed so isolating plug wires is easy as well as other wires.

My problem may be from the fact that my coil is only 5 inches away from my distributor cap and many of my plug wires are around and on top of each other.

Other problems I've read is the RAPID break down of wires and distributor caps and rotors and magnetic pickup coils and plugs in systems because of the high heat and voltages.

This is especially accelerated if the system is working incorrectly.

So, the way I understand it is that by the time you get one issue solved, something similiar comes on (that is really another problem like wires going bad) and you think you never solved the first issue you were working on or believed was the problem.

This is why MSD is nearly impossible to work out the bugs. It's like you have to change everything out all at once, rather than do a, then b, then c, then d. Because by the time you get to c or d, a may have gone bad.

At least this is what I've read in the messages, reading hundreds of them the last few days.

A stock system isn't nearly as critical with the wires running at 500 ohms per foot and the plugs running hotter and able to run so much longer. Of course the coil discharge is 15,000 volts compared to the 45,000 volts on the MSD coil. And stock systems don't run on capacitive discharge where a voltage field built up from two wires next to each other causes the voltage to jump and plug to misfire.

Once you get it running, separate wires, coat the plug wire caps with electrical goo. Move your coil away from any plug wires (say 6" to 1 foot). Keep any magnetic pick up wires away from the coil, or any plug wires. Voltage could be induced much like an inductive timing light causing a

I think that is the reason so many people complain that the misfire ALWAYS occurs in the same cylinder, but the wire, plug, everything they seem to put in new. And it STILL misfires. Some of the messages I've read is they even go so far as checking cam clearances, removing cams, and removing heads thinking a bad valve or bad cam. And every message I read says the mechanical parts were correct===so it must be the MSD.

I believe MSD ought to come up with a leaking voltage pickup device where you could run it along the lengths of wires on a running motor and see where some voltage field exists around the wire(s) or there is some field around the coil causing the MSD to misfire, or the distributor, or dist. cap.

Most every message I've read were from people with newly rebuilt motors. I see the frustrations of them reading the advertisements on MSD and in other locations and thinking how good this system would make their vehicle run, the improved hp, the better mpg....

They spend all this money and it runs like crap.

Surely someone reading this message is having success with their MSD.

I have not read one message that said, "I had this problem...and this is what I did... and it is gone." Or one message that says, "It took me 2 hours to install and I'm getting 5mpg and 20hp more with my MSD."

I've got 200 + total man hours, and hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and it runs like crap.

However, I have done the things above (changed the wrong coil wire out and reversed the wrong polarity of the magnetic pickup coil) and my van is running the best it has in 1 1/2 years. There is still a distinct miss. But, I'm pulling all 8 plugs in a few days, checking them, checking ohm readings of all the wires, rerouting and separating plug and MSD wires, and while my plugs are out doing a dry & wet compression check of all cylinders, to make sure I'm not having valve or ring problems. (about 10,000 miles ago I readjusted all my valves and the truck did run better afterwards). But, I don't want to do all that until I am near 100% certain that my electrical problems are solved.

I'm going to send this message as well to a Tech. They really need to UPFRONT tell their customers how critical these electrical problems are to this system.

Al Harrison
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Old 03-09-2004, 04:01 PM
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the above message was for David. The tech person replied to my comment on David's board.
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Old 03-26-2004, 12:11 PM
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Side note on your initial request. The address is a dead address and is no longer in service. This is due to the volume of junk mail being received. To send a request in via e-mail you will need to go back to the web site and fill out the section to submit an e-mail.


MSD tech4
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