MSD’s Coil-Near-Plug Ignition Brings Classics Into The 21st-Century

Upgrading and modernizing hot rods has been going on for as long as cars have been on the road. One area that gets a lot of attention is the ignition system. For years, point’s-filled distributors were all that was available. Then, someone added a second set of points to a distributor. That was high-performance. After that came the electronic distributor. If that wasn’t high-tech enough, multiple-spark ignition boxes then improved the electronic distributor. But now, there is an even a better option from MSD Ignitions. The DSI kit (in black or red) removes the bulky distributor and coil used with HEI distributors, and delivers a coil-near-plug ignition system for classic Chevy engines.

coil-near-plug

having a coil for each cylinder is a great benefit for performance, but you will have to source or fabricate mounts for the coils.

Coil-near-plug systems are being used on modern cars for a number of reasons, including performance, emissions, and ease of maintenance. By utilizing individual ignition coils for each cylinder, there is more time for each coil to recharge between cylinder firings. With traditional single-coil distributor systems, the coil fires twice for every revolution of the crankshaft in a four-cylinder engine, and four times in a V8. With a multi-coil system, each coil only has to fire once every other revolution of the crankshaft. This provides more saturation time for a hotter spark, especially at higher RPM when firing times are greatly reduced. The result is fewer misfires, cleaner combustion, and better fuel economy.

Coil-near-plug

Cut-to-length high-energy wires allow you to mount each coil where you desire.

On late-model Corvettes and Camaros, a coil-near-plug ignition is used because the spark plugs protrude from the side of the cylinder head and there isn’t room to mount a coil on the end of each plug (just like a traditional small block).

Coil-near-plug has several advantages over conventional distributor type systems:

  • Less voltage-loss from the coil to the plug. The elimination of the distributor rotor-to-cap air gap.
  • Can be used in conjunction with injector control to have the ECM perform misfire diagnosis.
  • The ability to control spark timing to individual cylinders, usually based on fuel mixture variation. Leaner cylinders need earlier spark timing.
  • Fewer maintenance-related misfire issues. No crossed wires or poor connections resulting in lower emissions.

The MSD Direct Ignition System (DIS) controller greatly simplifies the conversion of conventional distributor-type engines to a coil-near-plug configuration. The benefits include the elimination of distributor cap and rotor wear, reduced spark energy losses caused by long spark plug wires, and the ability to optimize your ignition tuning parameters. The integral 2.5 Bar MAP sensor, and optional temperature sensor input mean you get the most power and reliability out of your naturally aspirated or forcibly fed engine. Nitrous-fed engines benefit from the included step-retard feature. Drag racers will appreciate the two-step rev limiter and launch-retard features. Real-time DIS configuration and tune-up changes are a snap with easy-to-use MSDView software.

coil-near-plug

You still need to use a “distributor,” but now it is just for timing. There is no cap accepting spark plug wires or rotor.

Thanks to the real-time monitor feature of MSDView, and 8mb of internal data storage in the DIS controller, data monitoring and logging have never been easier. The clearly labeled wiring harness and full-line of supporting components and accessories, takes the difficulty and guesswork out of converting traditional distributor-type engines to a modern and efficient coil-near-plug ignition system.

Features:

  • Easily convert to a coil-near-plug ignition system
  • Pre-programmed timing maps
  • Fully Programmable 2D and 3D timing maps provide complete timing control
  • Individual Cylinder Timing (ICT) allows precise tuning
  • Built-in 2.5 bar Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor for boosted applications
  • Optional temperature sensor input to control timing based on temperature
  • Fully potted electronics and sealed connectors for maximum durability
  • Easily programmable through a Mini-USB communication port
  • Programmable Max Rev and Launch RPM limiters provide engine protection
  • Consistent hole shots thanks to a Programmable Launch Timing Retard
  • Single Timing Step Retard is ideal for retarding timing for nitrous applications
  • On-Board Data Acquisition
coil-near-plug

With the DIS box, timing is digitally controlled, ensuring precision accuracy at all RPM. The DIS has advanced timing and rev-limiter functions such as individual cylinder timing, timing retards for boosted and nitrous applications, a two-step rev-limiter, and launch control to get your car out of the hole. There is even data acquisition to keep everything in check.

If you are looking to really modernize and add functionality to your classic distributor-fired hot rod, ditch the cap and go coil-near-plug with MSD Ignitions.

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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