Bad Ass Cars

How To Re-Curve A Distributor, And Why!

How To Re-Curve A Distributor, And Why!

In this tech tip I'm going to show you how to get the absolute best performance out of your engine by re-curving your distributor for instant throttle response, much better idle vacuum, and increasing toque and overall power the instant you mash the gas! It's one of the cheapest, best "bang for the buck" things you can possibly do that will give you results that you'll actually feel!

You can't buy a new performance distributor, take it out of the box and install it without re-curving it or you'll lose performance. I don't care if you just bought a brand new $500 billet distributor or not, I can pretty much guarantee you that it isn't set-up for the best performance right out of the box. 

If you want to do something that only takes a few minutes that you can actually FEEL the performance gain by doing, then recurving your distributor is the way to go. 

How To Re-Curve A Distributor, And Why!

One of the keys to a car's performance is getting the power to come-on at the right time. Performance engines need advance (timing) as soon as possible in order to launch hard and accelerate quickly. Without getting advance soon enough, it makes the engine sluggish, it'll have less idle vacuum, less throttle response and will generally just be a turd. No one wants their car to be a turd, right?

The key is getting the distributor to give the engine all of its mechanical advance early in the RPM range, but most distributors do the exact opposite and won't allow full advance until about 4,500 RPM. If you want your car to launch hard, have much better throttle response, have better idle vacuum, get better gas mileage and even make the cam sound a little more radical, then you need the advance to be all-in by about 2,000 to 2,500 RPM (+ or -). 

competition products

The way to do this is to replace the advance springs to lighter ones, and replace the bushing, if your distributor has one. Stock distributors don't have bushings, but brands like MSD do and they're easy to replace and make a BIG difference when you do. 

Performance brands like MSD distributors come with kits that contain several sets of springs and bushings to tailor your advance curve. Out of the box these distributors come with the biggest, strongest, most gawd awful springs anyone has ever seen on a distributor that for performance purposes, need to come off immediately. They do this because of warranty issues in that they want YOU to re-curve it because timing can either make your engine run great, or it can make it run bad, and even cause damage if you have too much of it or not enough, so they send their distributors out the door set-up to be "safe"... not that it's "dangerous" or anything, because changing the curve of your distributor doesn't add or take away any of your overall timing. It simply changes when it comes-on in the RPM range. You want it to come-on more sooner than later, which means you need to re-curve it. It's why they supply you with the kit. 

To see an in-depth tutorial on how to re-curve your distributor, including how to modify a stock one, check out the video I made showing you how to do it.

Hey, if you liked this tech tip then please be sure to share it with your fellow gear head friends and on your favorite car forums by copying the URL at the top of the page and sharing it with them. Thanks! 


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