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Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

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View Poll Results: Are all ICMs the same and just thrown in different boxes?
Yes, they're all the same. Stick with a lifetime warranty through a local autoparts store.
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Nope, you still get what you pay for quality wise. AC Delco for the win!
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Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Old 01-10-2019, 02:23 AM
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Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Well, I have warrantied yet another Ignition Control Module through AutoZone and I also discovered that O'Rielly's is claiming they have no record of me having a lifetime warranty through them.
I went on RockAuto and am tempted to buy a Delco or Delphi unit in hopes of getting off the warranty merry-go-round but I've heard from multiple members, articles and YouTube videos that most all older electronic parts come from the same factory and are just put in different brand boxes and sold at whatever price point that brand is at. Is that the consensus among members here as far as ignition control modules go and so I am better off sticking with a lifetime warranty module from a local parts store? Or do you guys think there still is a difference between the Wells brand (bottom of the barrel, AutoZone sells it and gives a lifetime warranty) and the AC Delco or Delphi? Looking on RockAuto, the features and benefits statements between brands sound very similar and to me gives credence to the modules coming from the same factory. I have searched this topic but most of the applicable threads were 10-15 years old and much has changed in that time.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:53 AM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

These guys sell modules (and whole distributors), and they are reputable with good reviews:

http://performancedistributors.com/

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Old 01-10-2019, 01:03 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Here’s a good thread on the topic

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tech...who-using.html
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:11 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Does your coil have high resistance on primary or secondary windings ?


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Old 01-10-2019, 01:29 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

I bought a Delphi ICM from Rockauto about 2-3 years ago believing it was the second best to AC Delco. I thought it would be reliable as I was using my Iroc as a daily driver and about 6 months later I had to replace the Delphi with the old one my car had. Luckily this happened while the car was parked at home. What I did recently is bought the BWD from Oreilly(also junk) but took a picture of my receipt for the warranty for the same reason that later on they "can't find it on their system." I have heard the local stores sometimes change the part numbers just to void the warranty but if you have a copy of your receipt no excuses there.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:09 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by Tuned Performance View Post
Does your coil have high resistance on primary or secondary windings ?


I have an MSD 8207 blaster coil. Does this make a difference as to which part number I should use? I see AC Delco has three part numbers for the same module. . I've also had a module go bad that was an "msd" brand ignition control module and looks identical to everything else according to pictures.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:24 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
These guys sell modules (and whole distributors), and they are reputable with good reviews:

http://performancedistributors.com/

GD
I know nothing about them, I'll give them a call and see if they can tell me who makes the module or how it would last longer than a standard or Delphi module. Thanks.

EDIT: Just spoke with them and they wouldn't say who manufacturers their modules. They only went as far as to say that they were built and programmed to their own stipulations. I asked if the hardware or build quality was better and he could only say it was built to OE specs. So not to put them down but it's possible that it's a reprogrammed wells or standard module. I'm also worried that this increased dwell time could adversely affect it's life span.

Last edited by Tibo; 01-10-2019 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:09 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

I've had a Duralast (Autozone) module for over a decade and the first 4 years it was on the car it was my daily driver probably put 60k miles on it (engine since swapped to LS1)... I'm not going to claim its the best but to have gone through the number you have says something is killing them.

Are you using the thermal transfer grease between it and the base of the distributor? If not the heat they create will kill them. Also too much/little resistance in the diagram posted above can do it. Also too low system voltage/bad ground. A leaky EGR or exhaust can heat up the area also. A wandering spark from something insulated or cracked in the distributor could be zapping it also.
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:30 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by Aviator857 View Post
I've had a Duralast (Autozone) module for over a decade and the first 4 years it was on the car it was my daily driver probably put 60k miles on it (engine since swapped to LS1)... I'm not going to claim its the best but to have gone through the number you have says something is killing them.

Are you using the thermal transfer grease between it and the base of the distributor? If not the heat they create will kill them. Also too much/little resistance in the diagram posted above can do it. Also too low system voltage/bad ground. A leaky EGR or exhaust can heat up the area also. A wandering spark from something insulated or cracked in the distributor could be zapping it also.
I've had a variety of different efi systems, oem, modified oem, MegaSquirt 1/2/3 and I have multiple grounds on the block, both cylinder heads and transmission. The problem with bad icms always occurs every 1.5-5 years. I have a cowl hood and the engine has never seen north of 220* and usually sits at 200*. I was a manager for Autozone during and right after college so I know all about the quality of Wells modules. It was SO BAD that for a while it became policy in our region to test every module before it left the store. Plenty of members (myself included) have received them dead on arrival. I do not trust the reliability of Wells/autozone, I've only used them because of the lifetime warranty. I've used the thermal paste and it always dries out, with this latest module I've switched to dielectric grease. Fairly certain they are both just silicone based products anyway.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:03 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

No you need to use electronics grade thermal paste. Such as for processor heat sinks, etc. Like this:

Amazon Amazon

Silicone grease is definitely not the same thing at all.

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Old 01-10-2019, 11:50 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
No you need to use electronics grade thermal paste. Such as for processor heat sinks, etc. Like this:

https://www.amazon.com/ARCTIC-MX-4-C.../dp/B0795DP124

Silicone grease is definitely not the same thing at all.

GD
Not needed, if you look at the 3M online product literature 3m says theirs works as a heat transfer membrane between heatsinks.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:01 AM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

It's not as efficient as proper high quality purpose made heat sink compound. Anyone that has built PC's can attest to this.

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Old 01-11-2019, 12:09 AM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
It's not as efficient as proper high quality purpose made heat sink compound. Anyone that has built PC's can attest to this.

GD
100% agree

Also in response to the thread question, my accell ICM lasted longer than the genuine one. Moving away to another distributor for my carbd application has outlasted all of them put together.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:45 AM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
It's not as efficient as proper high quality purpose made heat sink compound. Anyone that has built PC's can attest to this.

GD
Ditto, Arctic Silver for me.

(PC) #TECHFORLIFE
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:28 AM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by Aviator857 View Post
Are you using the thermal transfer grease between it and the base of the distributor? If not the heat they create will kill them. Also too much/little resistance in the diagram posted above can do it. Also too low system voltage/bad ground. A leaky EGR or exhaust can heat up the area also. A wandering spark from something insulated or cracked in the distributor could be zapping it also.
Making sure to thoroughly clean the baseplate before reinstalling new heat paste is important, too. Alcohol,and a rag do wonders, making sure the surface is completely clean helps with thermal transfer.

On full size HEI caps, make sure the little ground strap that goes from the connector in the cap to the body of the coil isnt missing. Ive encountered several of these that a previous owner left off...and that ground is very important.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:11 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by no new tires View Post
Ditto, Arctic Silver for me.

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The arctic silver is about half silicone and half alumina oxide. If you compare the msds of that and antisieze the only appreciable difference is anti sieze is petroleum based and that is silicone based. If there weren't any plastic around for the petroleum to Degrade then antisieze would work just as well. Makes me wonder about why not just mix some aluminum dust into the dielectric grease?

Last edited by Tibo; 01-11-2019 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:44 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by Tibo View Post
The arctic silver is about half silicone and half alumina oxide. If you compare the msds of that and antisieze the only appreciable difference is anti sieze is petroleum based and that is silicone based. If there weren't any plastic around for the petroleum to Degrade then antisieze would work just as well. Makes me wonder about why not just mix some aluminum dust into the dielectric grease?
Because you couldn't f*uck around with aluminium dust, random chemicals and untested concoctions for less than the $10 that proper, tested, high performance heat sink compound will cost you. You buy the right stuff, you do the job once the right way, and move on with better things in your life. Reinventing the wheel is a waste of time.

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Old 01-13-2019, 11:37 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
Because you couldn't f*uck around with aluminium dust, random chemicals and untested concoctions for less than the $10 that proper, tested, high performance heat sink compound will cost you. You buy the right stuff, you do the job once the right way, and move on with better things in your life. Reinventing the wheel is a waste of time.

GD
5 Stars - Would Read Again
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:01 AM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
Because you couldn't f*uck around with aluminium dust, random chemicals and untested concoctions for less than the $10 that proper, tested, high performance heat sink compound will cost you. You buy the right stuff, you do the job once the right way, and move on with better things in your life. Reinventing the wheel is a waste of time.

GD
We're not talking pharmaceuticals here. It's silicone and aluminum as the MSDS shows. Other compounds (the white stuff) use Zinc Oxide. Just a little searching reveals several people that have tested Arctic Silver 5 against Vaseline, toothpaste and Diaper rash cream and found that the the results were negligible. One of the frequently referenced pages that tested these various concoctions closed with this:

"If you think any particular grease is going to cause your CPU to run more than a few degrees Celsius cooler than any other grease, though, then assuming the grease is properly applied, you're dreaming.

If your PC's so marginal that a CPU running three or four degrees Celsius warmer will crash it [or, for modern CPUs, cause the processor to auto-throttle itself and substantially reduce system performance], the solution is not to try to edge away from the precipice with better thermal compound. It's to make a big change to the cooling system, or just lower the darn clock speed.

Such a computer will crash when the room ambient temperature rises a lousy four degrees. It will crash when its intake fan filter gets clogged with dust. If it has no intake filter, it'll slowly fill its innards with dust instead. That may not crash things outright, but it can, if a dust blanket insulates some other component and causes it to overheat. And, furthermore, if you know your computer will crash at CPU temperature probe reading XC, then allow me to assure you that running the CPU at temperature probe reading X-4C is notlikely to give you a rock-solid stable machine at the best of times.

Is fancy thermal goop as good as the manufacturers would like you to believe, and as various Junior Overclockers do believe? Nope.

Is it, therefore, a complete waste of money? Absolutely not.

Just be aware that it's not magic, and don't expect the most expensive stuff to work very much better than generic grease."

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Old 01-14-2019, 11:55 AM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Matching the ICM brand to the Coil brand is the best advice I ever received on this topic. AC Delco Coil? buy the AC Delco ICM. MSD? buy the MSD. etc.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:13 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Again - for $10 why would you bother to not use the pre-made highest quality product you can get?

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Old 01-14-2019, 12:24 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by RedLeader289 View Post
Matching the ICM brand to the Coil brand is the best advice I ever received on this topic. AC Delco Coil? buy the AC Delco ICM. MSD? buy the MSD. etc.
I hadn't heard that but I ran an MSD 8207 with an MSD distributor that had their Ignition Control Module inside. Lasted a few years but I probably only drove 3,000 miles on it. I wasn't impressed. I'm going to buy either an AC Delco or the Dyna Mod control module but I'm on the fence since I have no idea who makes the Dyna Mod ICM. Dyna Mod representative said that their module covers all (3?) part numbers of the AC Delco.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:44 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
Again - for $10 why would you bother to not use the pre-made highest quality product you can get?

GD
Originally Posted by Tibo View Post
I hadn't heard that but I ran an MSD 8207 with an MSD distributor that had their Ignition Control Module inside. Lasted a few years but I probably only drove 3,000 miles on it. I wasn't impressed. I'm going to buy either an AC Delco or the Dyna Mod control module but I'm on the fence since I have no idea who makes the Dyna Mod ICM. Dyna Mod representative said that their module covers all (3?) part numbers of the AC Delco.
Yeah, I'm not saying that MSD or anything is better than the AC Delco, I was just saying consistency makes a difference.
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:49 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

The question I would have for them would be can you give me the correct ICM offsets to put into the ECM. Deriving them yourself, while possible, isn't exactly fun and exciting.

GD

Last edited by GeneralDisorder; 01-14-2019 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:26 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Originally Posted by GeneralDisorder View Post
The question I would have for them would be can you give me the correct ICM offsets to put into the ECM. Deriving them yourself, while possible, isn't exactly fun and exciting.

GD
I can post a question like that on the MegaSquirt forums, those guys love oddball hardware parameter question like that.

I came across another thread on thermal compound. Some of the guys were remarking that they reapplied thermal compound (yes, your Arctic Silver 5) every year because it was drying out. One of the other pages referenced how the thermal conductivity drops once the paste hardens. I know every time I've removed an ICM the thermal paste came off like paint chips. Maybe the best practice would also be to reapply the thermal paste to the underside of the ICM every year. It's only a 10 minute chore anyway.

Last edited by Tibo; 01-14-2019 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:22 PM
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Re: Ignition control module, any difference in brands?

Probably a good idea. It gets baked. If you really want to go apeshit on it - install a temp probe directly on the unit and monitor the temp with a process controller.

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