The 350 Chevy has been used in some of the most prominent General Motor cars since 1967, with the first car being the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Since that time, users have learned how important it is for their engine to have proper calibration, including the ignition timing and firing speed of the engine. This can be controlled through adjustments to the distributor shaft found in the 350 Chevy.
The distributor is used in mechanically-timed engines with an ignition coil and spark plug wires. This is what makes up the ignition system as it relates to distributors. The distributor will do exactly what its name suggests. It will distribute the energy (voltage) that it receives from the ignition coil, sometimes called the ignition system, to the spark plugs in the correct firing order, time, and speed. With a 350 Chevy, there are 8 total spark plugs that the distributor will need to send the voltage to.
In 1974, General Motor designed and released the HEI (high energy ignition) distributor to give users a more powerful spark in the spark plug wires when the energy is received from the coil. This allows the user to create a bigger gap in the spark plug than a normal distributor allows. General Motors believed that this type of distributor created a more reliable fuel ignition system in the ignition module.
Because of this improvement in older technology and original equipment, such as points and condensers, the HEI was frequently upgraded in many older General Motor cars and non-General Motors cars, including Cadillacs and Buicks for high performance.
|AcPulse Chevy GM HEI Distributor||MOSTPLUS Racing HEI Distributor||A-Team Performance HEI Distributor|
|Best Overall||Best Value Option||Best Runner-Up|
Table of Contents
How We Tested and Compared These Products
The first thing we did was make sure that all of these HEI distributors fit the 350 Chevy. Some HEI distributors are designed for small blocks, while others are designed for big blocks. We only tested and included HEI distributors that fit the 350 Chevy.
We also tested both mechanical advancing and vacuuming advancing HEI distributors. It was important for us to include both options on our list so that readers could decide which is the best HEI distributor for them to choose.
Some of our final considerations for a Chevy distributor included the total weight of the performance distributors, including its construction and housing. It was important for us to choose only durable options made of quality materials, including an aluminum housing.
Our Pick: AcPulse Chevy GM HEI Distributor – Best Overall
- Weight: 2 lbs.
- Construction: Aluminum
- Color: Red
- Type: Mechanical
Our top pick for the best overall HEI Chevy distributor is the AcPulse Chevy/GM HEI distributor. It is red and has a full CNC machined aluminum housing construction to withstand the high heat emitted from the engine. It has a 75,000 high voltage coil and will provide consistent ignition over 9,000 RPMs.
It is a mechanical advance HEI distributor. It has an ignition module timing control mechanism built into the Chevy distributor that will be pushed outwards as the RPM increases. It is easy to install in any 350 Chevy and will provide between approximately 22 and 25 degrees of mechanical advance once installed.
What needs to be said about this new HEI distributor and why it is our top overall pick is how affordable the distributor is and how easy it is to install. Essentially, you shouldn’t have to worry about wasting your money with this pick.
- New HEI distributor for small block/big block Chevys. Standard size...
- Direct fit for GM application utilizing the 4-pin ignition module.
- 65,000 high voltage coil spark through 9,000 RPM, upgraded for racing...
MOSTPLUS Racing HEI Distributor – Best Value Option
- Weight: 6 lbs.
- Construction: Aluminum
- Color: Red
- Type: Vacuum
Our choice for the best value option is the MOSTPLUS Racing HEI distributor. It’s slightly cheaper than some of the other options but doesn’t lack any of the quality or features.
We like that this HEI distributor is made of fully CNC machined and polished billet aluminum housing. This allows the distributor to stand up to the high temperatures that can come from the engine when it’s running.
What we really noticed from this particular option is the instant throttle response. It has a true spark alignment that causes the throttle to instantly respond, creating an overall faster and better performance.
The distributor comes with everything that you need for assembly. The distributor cap, rotor, and coil are all included with this new HEI distributor. Once assembled, it uses a vacuum advance to ensure it fits perfectly to create the best performance.
- 【Application】--- HEI Distributor compatible with Chevy SBC...
- 【Interchange Part Number】--- 1035001 HEI, PC6001A, HEI, JM6500R,...
- 【Including】--- Complete unit including ignition module, cap, coil...
A-Team Performance HEI Distributor – Best Runner-Up
- Weight: 5 lbs.
- Construction: Aluminum
- Color: Red
- Type: Mechanical
The best runner-up option that we chose is the A-Team Performance HEI distributor because it fits big block and small block engines, comes in blue or red, and is made of high-quality steel and aluminum.
One of the reasons we chose this option as our runner-up pick and not the best overall is because of the cost. It’s slightly pricier than the best overall pick, which can be a downside for some.
We chose this option as our runner-up pick because it does not include the coil that you need for the distributor. We feel that this is a disadvantage of the distributor as a whole and, therefore, drops it to our runner-up choice. With that in mind, you’ll need to have an ignition coil to set up this distributor.
But, let’s talk about what this distributor does have that makes it our runner-up pick.
It’s made of steel gear and aluminum housing that will withstand the extreme heat that can come from the engine. It’s also extremely easy to set up and install. It also has an adjustable mechanical advance for you to be in complete control of the ignition curve of the distributor.
Overall, it’s a great choice for an HEI distributor, which is why we chose it as our runner-up pick.
- Ready-To-Run Distributor— Easy-to-install, includes ignition module...
- Specifications — Multi-Pole Reluctor (Hulls Effect) Trigger Style,...
- Construction — Made from steel gear and aluminum housing materials
How to Choose the Best HEI Distributor for 350 Chevy – Buying Guide
Choosing the best HEI distributor for a 350 Chevy is more than just finding a distributor that will fit the engine year. A few pieces of information are critical to know before making your decision.
One of the first considerations on our list was construction. It is important to choose only HEI distributors made of quality materials. This includes aluminum housing and steel gears. Aluminum housing and steel gears are important because it ensures that the HEI distributor will not wear out prematurely. This is why you should consider only choosing an HEI distributor made from durable materials like aluminum and steel.
There are two types of advancing: mechanical and vacuuming. We tested both on our list, and both have advantages
- A mechanical advance can create an overall faster performance; this is ideal for racing cars or trucks
- A vacuum advance creates overall better fuel economy and engine performance
If you need an HEI distributor to increase your speed and performance, you should choose a mechanical advance. If you need an HEI distributor simply for your engine to perform better (including to improve fuel economy), you should choose a vacuum advance.
You should look at how easy the HEI distributor is to install, including assembly, and if everything you need for the distributor comes included with it. As you’ve seen in some of the options on our list, not everything that you need is included with the distributor. Make sure you look at what’s included with the distributor to know if there’s anything additional that you need to purchase, like a coil.
How do I know if I need to replace the HEI distributor on my 350 Chevy?
You need to look, feel, and listen to the performance of your engine. If your engine fails or is slow to start, you likely need to replace the HEI distributor. There is likely a weak spark being created in the distributor’s spark plug, causing the engine to perform poorly. Replacing the HEI distributor will improve the strength in the spark and cause the engine to perform better through correct firing order, time, and speed.
Can an HEI distributor overheat?
HEI distributors are designed to distribute voltage at high temperatures and should not overheat.
The original distributor on my 350 Chevy seems fine; why should I upgrade to an HEI distributor?
It’s sometimes a misconception that upgrading to an HEI distributor means you want your 350 Chevy to be faster. While that can certainly result from upgrading to an HEI distributor, that doesn’t have to be the only reason you upgrade.
You should upgrade to an HEI distributor to improve fuel efficiency and create an overall better fuel ignition module performance within the engine.
If you’re in the market for an HEI distributor, take a look at our top pick, the AcPulse Chevy GM HEI Distributor. It is affordable, easy to install, and even has a 100,000 or 5-year factory warranty. This choice, as well as any of the other options on our list, should be exactly what you’re looking for in an HEI distributor for a 350 Chevy.