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Broken Ballast Resistor...

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Old 06-28-2007, 10:35 AM   #1
Thread Starter
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 143
Car: 88 Camaro Evoluzione Rebody
Engine: 350
Transmission: wc t5 swap completed!
Axle/Gears: 3.73 10 bolt

Broken Ballast Resistor...

Hey guys, I just finished my T5 swap (hallelujah). Most people tell you to remove the distributor cap so that the tilting engine doesn't break it. Well, I did that, but at the end, I already had the tranny installed and had to drop it again for some bolt clearance. Like an idiot, I didn't uncap the dist.

Luckily, the distributor is fine, but the ballast resistor was screwed in to the wall right behind it, so thats in two pieces right now. The car still runs fine, but I'd like to replace it.

I just can't figure out which ohm rating to get. I have a Mallory unilite dist, an MSD coil, and an MSD 6A(L?) box. I see that they come in resistance values from .8 ohms to about 1.8 ohms. Any recommendations?
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Chester County, PA
Posts: 233
Car: 88 Firebird - SOLD!
Engine: 2.8L

Re: Broken Ballast Resistor...

Congrats on the T5 swap - a commendable task. Anyway you can hold the resistor together and measure the resistance? This might be your best option at this point.
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:13 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Rio Oro de Santa Ana, San Jose, Costa Rica
Posts: 20,979
Car: 1984 Z28 Hardtop / 1988 IROC T-top
Engine: 383 Carb / 305 TPI
Transmission: 4L60 / T-5
Axle/Gears: 3.54 Dana 44 / 3.08 10 bolt

Re: Broken Ballast Resistor...

Hasn't been a ballast resistor on a GM car since 1974.
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:19 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Kansas, where the wind howls
Posts: 388
Car: 84 Z28 H.O. w/Megasquirt II
Engine: semi-stock L69
Transmission: T-5 non W/C
Axle/Gears: 3.73 open

Re: Broken Ballast Resistor...

This may seem off the wall, but does your tachometer still work?? I'm pretty sure your tach's signal runs through that part. I think its a capacitor.
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Old 06-29-2007, 02:08 PM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: 62656
Posts: 4,812
Car: 1991 S10 pickup 2700lbs
Engine: 4.3L Z TBI
Transmission: 700R4
Axle/Gears: 3.08 7.625"

Re: Broken Ballast Resistor...

it is the tach capacitor if you look at the wire where it goes you will see it is the tach wire
as already stated gm didnt use resistance in the distrib wiring since 74 and some 75

and in most all cases it was not a resistor but rather it was special resistance wire in which was not copper but was aluminum or some other light colored composition and was small diameter and usually pink insulated and alot of times a long length of it was bundled up under the dash

in order to get a certain amount of resistance so that the points wouldnt burn up

it was mostly chrysler that used an actual resistor per say, on porcelain, mounted on the firewall usually

ive bene getting away with running direct 12v to the points distributor in the 54 ford pickup but i dont run it for too long and its only temporary until we get a painless style wiring harness kit, the old original 6 volt cloth wrapped wiring in the truck is completely trashed lots of it bare and showing

good luck
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Old 07-03-2007, 05:01 PM   #6
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iTrader: (1)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 143
Car: 88 Camaro Evoluzione Rebody
Engine: 350
Transmission: wc t5 swap completed!
Axle/Gears: 3.73 10 bolt

Re: Broken Ballast Resistor...

Hey guys, sorry it took me so long to respond. I changed my email address on the forum, and since the forum email system isnt working, I got locked out of my account for a few days.

Anyway, i did some research, and it certainly is a ballast resistor.∂=ACC%2D150150&N=700+115&autoview=sku

Whether or not it should be on my car is the true debate, I guess. I found out that it was broken when I tried to start my car after the swap. It cranked for almost an entire minute without a hint of starting. so I checked under the hood, and sure enough, the wire that was supposed to be connected to one end of this thing got pulled out. I slid it back on the post and the car fired up on the first crank.

I just went ahead and bought a .8 ohm resistor. I figure that the car has been running well, and I had it tuned at a reputable race shop, so why mess with what is working.

So do you guys think I should bypass it (and remove it)?
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