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Old 03-04-2017, 09:11 PM   #1
garyd1961
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Cure For MSD Rust?

I have a MSD 85551 Pro-Billet distributor in my truck. It got to running rough and I took the cap off and found rust in my distributor. I cleaned everything up and put it back in but now it's starting to run rough again. I tried coating everything with wax but evidently that didn't work. I'm kind of disgusted with MSD as I actually own two of these distributors with 6AL boxes.
How can I stop the rust from coming back? Do you think MSD would take care of it if I called them?
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:23 PM   #2
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

It can't hurt to call. Sometimes a company will surprise you with good customer service.
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:24 PM   #3
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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Originally Posted by garyd1961 View Post
I have a MSD 85551 Pro-Billet distributor in my truck. It got to running rough and I took the cap off and found rust in my distributor. I cleaned everything up and put it back in but now it's starting to run rough again. I tried coating everything with wax but evidently that didn't work. I'm kind of disgusted with MSD as I actually own two of these distributors with 6AL boxes.
How can I stop the rust from coming back? Do you think MSD would take care of it if I called them?
It's ironized air causing it,
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:06 PM   #4
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

Buy a vented cap from msd or drill your own.
That'll help cure the 'rust'.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:10 PM   #5
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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Originally Posted by geezer#99 View Post
Buy a vented cap from msd or drill your own.
That'll help cure the 'rust'.
I just bought a new cap from MSD. It's only about six months old. It has the little black button on top, I thought that was a vent.

Last edited by garyd1961; 03-04-2017 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:14 PM   #6
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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I just bought a new cap from MSD. It has the little black button on top, I thought that was a vent.
Could be.
Make sure it's working.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:23 PM   #7
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

I'm going to pull the cap off tomorrow and verify that it is rust, then I going to give MSD a call. I'm pretty sure it is because it's running the same as before when it was rusted up.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

I cured mine by throwing it in the garbage.

James is right about the ironized air
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:42 PM   #9
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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James is right about the ironized air
Also known as Ozone. A powerful oxidizer.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:28 PM   #10
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

I use Deoxit to clean everything up and the Deoxit Fader Lube to keep it clean. Make sure your distributor grounding properly as well as engine to cab and engine to frame grounds. PS. Quit hoarding all the rain out there!
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Old 03-05-2017, 03:13 PM   #11
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

Yes the MSD cap for the ProBillet distributor are vented. It's not a 100% cureall for the ionization, but it shouldn't be causing much more than a hint of the red-oxidation on the steel parts.

If it actual 'RUST'...
First thing that comes to mind is.....quit steam / pressure washing the hot motor,, and / or using engine running heat to dry it off.
BAG the distributor when you pressure wash, Blow all of the water off with air, let it sit and air dry before you run it. Cooking the water out of the intake buy rnning the motor up to temp is just asking for a VERY humid environment underhood.

I don't like a nasty dirty motor either,,, but there is ways to do it that doesn't generate more issues.
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Old 03-05-2017, 03:30 PM   #12
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

I just checked and it is rust. My motor is clean maybe a little dust but no grease or oil anywhere. I haven't cleaned or washed my motor since I installed that's why it's a little dusty.
My truck usually sits all week and I drive it on weekends but no matter a distributor shouldn't rust. I have a cousin who had one to rust and MSD rebuilt it for free. I'll give them a call but I would rather fix it without sending them my distributor.
I may buy an aftermarket reluctor for it.
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Old 03-05-2017, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

Where's the pics??
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:42 PM   #14
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

I didn't take any pictures. It's just your ordinary everyday rust. It's on the reluctor wheel, the pickup coil and screws.
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Old 03-05-2017, 07:52 PM   #15
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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Originally Posted by garyd1961 View Post
I didn't take any pictures. It's just your ordinary everyday rust. It's on the reluctor wheel, the pickup coil and screws.
You need to find out where the water is getting in.
you need water to make rust.

You have an ionization problem and need to vent your cap more than you have now.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:55 PM   #16
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

There is no water getting in the cap just moisture in the air. I think all you need to make rust is iron and oxygen, water just speeds it up.
Do you think this would help?
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/msd-8627

Last edited by garyd1961; 03-05-2017 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:47 PM   #17
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

If you read the ad through they do make one for a Marine Application. It would have to be able to stand up to corrosion much more better cheddar!
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:34 PM   #18
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

When I worked in an auto shop in the 90's. My boss, who had been working on cars since the 50's, would fog distributor caps with WD 40.

When I say, "fog," that's what I mean. Just a light coat seemed to do the trick.
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:23 PM   #19
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

read the review and it say's common problem with msd dist. Like T-B chevy said get the Marine one if they fit the same.
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Old 03-07-2017, 03:11 PM   #20
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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read the review and it say's common problem with msd dist. Like T-B chevy said get the Marine one if they fit the same.
Any distributor with a tight seal on the shaft will get this..
As the air doesn't get pushed out the cap from the crankcase pressure.. that leaks into the housing with looser seals/bushings/bearings.

I have a vacuum hose on the vent of the cap and it goes to the air cleaner with a tiny hole in the connection ,, start engine and it sucks just enough air through the distributor.. ..

others add a small hole in the base, so air can flow through.. using foam from an ear phone (80/90's)type not ear buds) to filter the incoming air..

The MSd cap seals to well..
Most Marine distributors have this issue and why they coat the parts.. or made of s/s .. as the caps are sealed..

The one vent on the cap top isn't allowing air to flow.. It is there to keep moisture from collecting on the inside of the cap..
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:23 PM   #21
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

I've seen some gm hei's that were nasty looking in side also. I think my Mallory cap had a hole in it. Not sure as it was back in the late 80's. Ran a Mallory duel point with a high fire box ran great in my 67 nova.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:39 PM   #22
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

I ordered a coated reluctor wheel from Jegs. My plan to clean up my distributor, paint all rusty parts and add the coated reluctor. I also am going to drill 4 quarter inch holes in the cap.
I have two older caps and I may use one of these to drill. If it works I will do my other distributor. If it doesn't work I will look for a different brand distributor.
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Old 03-19-2017, 02:17 PM   #23
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

Well I screwed up my distributor trying to install a new reluctor wheel which was a piece of junk and didn't fit. I ordered a new MSD 85551 distributor but later I decided to go with a HEI so I ordered a new MSD HEI and melonized timing gear to fit. I'll just send the 85551 back and use the HEI. The only reason I used the 85551 in the first place was I had a hopped up 383 in my truck for a short while but took it back out. The 85551 was already wired in so I used it on my crate motor.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:51 AM   #24
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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Originally Posted by whitedog76 View Post
When I worked in an auto shop in the 90's. My boss, who had been working on cars since the 50's, would fog distributor caps with WD 40.

When I say, "fog," that's what I mean. Just a light coat seemed to do the trick.
I like this, the thought of doing it just makes me think how bright the idea is.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:24 PM   #25
garyd1961
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Re: Cure For MSD Rust?

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I like this, the thought of doing it just makes me think how bright the idea is.
I tried oil and even wax which works great on my guns but nothing worked. I'm tired of messing with this, I want to drive my truck so I'm going with the HEI distributor.
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