MSD distributors for 1964 361 ?

jackster

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I am having a hard time finding an electronic distributor to fit my 1964 Newport. I am trying to avoid an ECU unit. Looking for something like the "Ready to Run " MSD 8386.
Cruising different suppliers I get all kinds of conflicting fitment info. Some say the MDS works, others say no. Same with Pertronix.

Even the Mallory distributors give me conflicting information. In theory anything fitting a 383 should fit a 361, correct? Yet I cannot find consistent fitment info to back that up.

Hoping someone has put a pertonix or MSD distributor in a 64 361.

Thanks, John
 

Dave6T4

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361 and 383 distributor is identical. It is just that nobody remembers the 361, or confuses it with the LA 360. There were very few performance versions of the 361. Likely a Pertronix unit would be fine. I use the Mopar Performance electronic conversion on my '64 Polara and '67 R/T with 440, and they work fine. I do not like the look of the orange ECU on the firewall, so I hide it on the passenger side front frame rail below the horns. I run the wiring harness along with the alternator/horns harness up to the distributor, and the conversion becomes almost invisible. Just don't put in some oddball system that you can't get parts for, if you are in the middle of nowhere.
 

PurpleBeeper

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Correct. If it fits a 383, it fits a 361. ALSO, there used to be some adapters available that would allow you to run a 440 (RB) distributor on 361 as well.
I'm no expert on Petronix, but if that's the setup that goes completely inside your distributor, then I think that's your only choice if you don't want an ignition box. Another possibility is to hide the ignition box in the interior above the glove box or something
 

jackster

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361 and 383 distributor is identical. It is just that nobody remembers the 361, or confuses it with the LA 360. There were very few performance versions of the 361. Likely a Pertronix unit would be fine. I use the Mopar Performance electronic conversion on my '64 Polara and '67 R/T with 440, and they work fine. I do not like the look of the orange ECU on the firewall, so I hide it on the passenger side front frame rail below the horns. I run the wiring harness along with the alternator/horns harness up to the distributor, and the conversion becomes almost invisible. Just don't put in some oddball system that you can't get parts for, if you are in the middle of nowhere.
Thanks. I think you're correct. I suspect anything fitting the 383 should work, but once I open the box I cannot return it. The MSD is $600, Pertronix $320, Mallory $480. Just trying to find someone who has gone down this road before and can tell they used XX distributor in the 361.

What is odd to me is the 361 from 1966 is listed as workoing in many of these distributors. I think a 1966 is identical to a 1964, yet the fitment on the web does not match. I suspect it is just wrong
 

jackster

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Thanks. I think you're correct. I suspect anything fitting the 383 should work, but once I open the box I cannot return it. The MSD is $600, Pertronix $320, Mallory $480. Just trying to find someone who has gone down this road before and can tell they used XX distributor in the 361.

What is odd to me is the 361 from 1966 is listed as workoing in many of these distributors. I think a 1966 is identical to a 1964, yet the fitment on the web does not match. I suspect it is just wrong
Also, there seems to be something about the 383 in a Chrysler 300 that is different than say a Newport or New Yorker. I can find a lot of distributor for the 1964 383 in the 300, but not the Newport or New Yorker. I think the block is the same?
 

1967coronet

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Just me but for what i think your after... grab a recon 383 points style distributor from a auto parts, napa ect. Order a pertronix #1 kit and their 1.5 ohm coil, 2 wire hook up just follow their directions.
Put the points and condenser and plate in the trunk for just in case.
 

toolmanmike

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Also, there seems to be something about the 383 in a Chrysler 300 that is different than say a Newport or New Yorker. I can find a lot of distributor for the 1964 383 in the 300, but not the Newport or New Yorker. I think the block is the same?
You are reading way too much into this. 361-383-400 distributors interchange although they may be different as far as advance. (both mechanical and vacuum) I have Pertronx in one of my cars and it has worked flawless for years now. Send your distributor off to Halifaxhops and he can freshen it up for you.
 
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jackster

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You are reading way too much into this. 361-383-400 distributorship interchange although they may be different as far as advance. (both mechanical and vacuum) I have Pertronx in one of my cars and it has worked flawless for years now. Send your distributor off to Halifaxhops and he can freshen it up for you.
I tslked to him today. Very helpful. Points are no longer available. They can be had but no longer produced. Nice to know your pertronix works well. I have one on the way
 

tonysrt

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There was a 383 RB back in 59 and up for 2 or 3 years in the Chryslers so of course won't fit the 361, you would need that spacer to install from a RB motor into a 350, 361 or low block 383.
 

jackster

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There was a 383 RB back in 59 and up for 2 or 3 years in the Chryslers so of course won't fit the 361, you would need that spacer to install from a RB motor into a 350, 361 or low block 383.
yes but most 383 were not RB, they were the standard BB. So why would a 383 for 300 be any different than a 361? The advance curve might vary but these have at least 6 different curves to choose from. So it seems like any distributor fitting a 383 or 400 BB would fit. But I cannot find anything to confirm that.
 

Geoff 2

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Just get a 383 Ch Elec dist. Buy a GM HEI 4 pin module, or go to a wrecker & get one for $20.
Mount on a piece of alum heat sink with heat sink compound. A piece of scrap alum about 1/4" thick, slightly bigger than the module is ideal. If thinner alum, increase surface area slightly to compensate. You can mount this anywhere you like. I have fitted them under the dash & under the battery. The heat sink must be grounded. If you upgrade to an E core coil, you will have a superior ign system in terms of spark energy; you can also use the stock coil for stock look. If you decide to do the above, come back & we can discuss the reqd wiring changes, very simple.
The MSD R to R is best left on MSD's shelf, it will do nothing electrically that the above will not do...
 

MoparLeo

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493 Mike

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I used the HEI module on my 65 (318 poly) and a mounting adapter (Mopar HEI Conversion) with a Ford E frame coil (Rock Auto) that I concealed on the right-side inner fender. Works excellent! Starts quicker than any of my late model autos.
Mike
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jackster

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Just me but for what i think your after... grab a recon 383 points style distributor from a auto parts, napa ect. Order a pertronix #1 kit and their 1.5 ohm coil, 2 wire hook up just follow their directions.
Put the points and condenser and plate in the trunk for just in case.
This is a good idea.
 

jackster

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Just wondering...why are you looking for the different ignition system ? Performance? Parts availability ? Something special about your 361 you have not talked about ?
The Mopar electronic ignition works well, is economical and parts are more available for less money than aftermarket.
MN1114 - 1960-72 Dodge, Plymouth; Electronic Ignition Conversion Kit; Big Block Chrysler 361-383-400 Engines
Mine is completely original. It was new when my GF bought it in 1964. So trying to avoid the ECU box and put in a 'ready to run' distributor. Seems like an easy thing to do, it is just a lack of information regarding fitment. I was hoping someone here had already dropped in a pertronix or MSD distributor. But I guess not
 

tonysrt

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The RB B distributor engines have a longer shaft because where it mounts in the block is further away from the cam gear that also turns the oil pump. Chrysler built RB 383's because the low block B engine was so popular, it gave Chrysler cars another option. I'm talking big Chryslers not plymouth or dodge, but who knows with Chrysler.
 

jackster

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The RB B distributor engines have a longer shaft because where it mounts in the block is further away from the cam gear that also turns the oil pump. Chrysler built RB 383's because the low block B engine was so popular, it gave Chrysler cars another option. I'm talking big Chryslers not plymouth or dodge, but who knows with Chrysler.
Well i found the actual shaft measurements. From the mounting surface to the end of the shaft is 3.5" on the BB engine distributors. Not the RB. This useful. The pertronix 7142710 has that length as does the MSD 8386. So even though both pertronix and MSD do not list and will not confirm when called, I rthink they work in the 361.

I'm about to find out because I've got the pertronix and am going to give it a shot
 

jackster

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So I installed the Pertronix D7142710 distributor. Even though it is not compatible with a 361 according to Pertronx, it fit just fine. Along with the MSD high vibration Blaster 2 coil and MSD spark plug wires. Needed to solder a copper wire in the ballast resistor to keep the wiring original.

The entire job took about 2 hours.

It woke up the Chrysler. It's like a new car. The acceleration and speed is vastly improved. I had it up to 100 mph without any effort and it was still accelerating. Much smoother and I hope better gas mileage.

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1663892815111.png
 

Dave6T4

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Good for you. It is always nice when time spent on an upgrade is rewarded with the expected results. Your research paid off for you.
 

toolmanmike

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So I installed the Pertronix D7142710 distributor. Even though it is not compatible with a 361 according to Pertronx, it fit just fine. Along with the MSD high vibration Blaster 2 coil and MSD spark plug wires. Needed to solder a copper wire in the ballast resistor to keep the wiring original.

The entire job took about 2 hours.

It woke up the Chrysler. It's like a new car. The acceleration and speed is vastly improved. I had it up to 100 mph without any effort and it was still accelerating. Much smoother and I hope better gas mileage.

View attachment 1346854View attachment 1346854
Good to hear
 
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