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MSD vs ICE ignition

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#1 _benster208_

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:42 PM

I'm putting together a motor for my UC and now its time to buy an ignition system and I was wondering if any one can tell me if the MSD system is any good. I have been told ICE is the best but its also about five hundred dollars more expensive and this motor has already cost me plenty. But I wouldn't like to fit the MSD and find that it can't do the job. The motor isn't extreme and I'm hoping for around 400- 450HP. Any advice would be great thanks

#2 _tryhard_

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:21 AM

I use msd on all my cars speedway and street also fit to cars I build engines for I know a few people who have tried ICE and where very disapointed they went back to a standard hei and had more success. MSD is a good price and a good product Very easy to fit they have a great web site with all the wiring diagrams to suit most cars

#3 _benster208_

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:34 AM

ok thanks for that.

#4 _434LX_

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:38 AM

I don't think you would notice any difference between the brands.
I have friends that use the ice ignition and love it other mates msd and swear by it.
So both would do the job well, but if the msd is cheaper, run with it.

#5 myss427


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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:02 AM

I think for the power you are chasing you will not notice a difference between brands. Most engines only benefit the extra when we are talking huge horsepower with mega dollar systems.

#6 rexy


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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

I use msd on all my cars speedway and street also fit to cars I build engines for I know a few people who have tried ICE and where very disapointed they went back to a standard hei and had more success. MSD is a good price and a good product Very easy to fit they have a great web site with all the wiring diagrams to suit most cars

Michaels success at the engine masters competition speaks volumes.
His stuff is expensive but very good.
A recent winner at engine masters was quoted as "we use the ICE system because it made measurably more power"
Will that matter on a relatively low powered streeter?
Who knows.
You didnt mention what the engine is - this may make a difference to your choice.

#7 _AD_75_

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:47 PM

^ You get what you pay for. If you're on a budget and want something good, buy MSD or a HEI? if you want the very best, buy ICE.

Edited by AD_75, 11 January 2013 - 02:48 PM.

#8 Statler


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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

Max. plz excuse me for posting on your thread, but it is related.

Does anyone make a HEI type dizzy cap to suit the stock VN V8 dizzy?

#9 _gmlj6_

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:56 PM


#10 _oldjohnno_

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:15 PM

Interesting question; you could take it one step further and ask whether to use CDI (like MSD) or inductive (eg ICE etc). Over the last decade or so there's been a pronounced swing away from CD back to inductive systems in nearly every form of competition as well as in performance factory engines. The exception of course is in US based pushrod engines where MSD still has a huge chunk of the market. But even here, over the last few years many of the sharper guys are swapping their MSDs for good inductive systems. Take a look at the big pointscorers in the last couple of EMCs; mostly they have used high-end inductive ignitions (often Australian ICE) even though they are much more expensive and there is much less available in the way of fancy controls. The bottom line is that many have proven a measurable power advantage using the top inductive systems. On the OEM front massive gains have been made in the last few years. Factory systems like the GM LS units with the D585 Delco coils have more energy than anything short of Promag 44 (and easily out spark a 7 series CD) - they've been described as being able to "damn near light up tap water".

Personally I'd rather not go back to a CDI, and I've always thought the whole multi spark thing was mickey-mouse. If there was any truth in advertising they'd admit that the reason for the multiple sparks is that it's the only way to avoid fairly severe misfiring at low rpms, because the CD spark has such a short duration. Still, MSD will be around for a long time yet; one thing they are good at is marketing. And they have a very wide range of accessories for nearly anything you can think of. But really, for the types of engines most of us here are using, either type will work just fine.

#11 _gmlj6_

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

Good point.

#12 _434LX_

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:05 PM

Scott Shafiroff and Nelson race engines leave the workshop with MSD gear on them, so it can't be too bad ;)
Agree that the ICE gear is better though.

#13 ozyozyozy


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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:53 PM

ICE is the go, more adjustment to fine tuning of the distributor advance curve
i use MSD, had problems trying to reduce the total timing. generally with mild to wild holden v8`s, they like lots of intial timing to get them to idle and get good off idle performance, when you increse the intial timing this affects total timing and most holdens iv seen dont like more than 30-32 degrees total, or they torch head gaskets and rattle main bearings.
i modified my MSD dizzy, had different size advance stop bushes and modified the mounting plate to accept them to allow lower total timing.
the ICE ignition box has muiltiple switches to change this instead of springs and bushes.

MSD does have a programmable ignition at more of a cost tho.

#14 _gmlj6_

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:33 PM

buying a msd distributor and using one of there programmable ignition boxes like the 6al2 to make any curve you like would alot cheaper than a ice system which would still be mechanical.

#15 lcv871


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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:53 PM

I haven't used msd for a while now but current engine I've gone for ice and I'm very happy with it

#16 _oldjohnno_

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:54 PM

Something worth noting about inductive ignitions is that they are much more suited to distributorless, multi-coil setups. Which might have something to do with why the CDIs are still so prevalent among the old school engines with dissies. It's hard to make a single coil inductive system maintain its output at very high rpms. But this just makes the efforts of the ICE guys even more impressive, making an ignition that works so well in a format that it isn't really suited to.

Some of the late model OEM multi coil systems are very powerful, more so than probably 90% of the aftermarket stuff. You could build a very good system for an old engine from modern OEM components, and getting rid of the bloody dissy is always a good thing....

But again, for the average 7000rpm street/strip engine, there'll be nothing in it.

#17 Bomber Watson

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

Gas motorsports Supra runs stock Toyota coil packs.......So i think you may be right there oldjohnno.

#18 _Circlotron_

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 03:13 PM

This something I know a bit about.

CDIs including MSDs push the energy through the coil in a very short time period and as a result the losses in the coil are VERY high. I was measuring a MSD6 with a MSD 8253 coil and even though 100 millijoules of enery comes out of the box only 38 millijoules on average leaves the coil and actually arcs across the plug gap. and that was with a very low resistance plug lead about 200mm long. If you have typical length V8 leads of 5000 ohms resistance you can halve that millijoule figure again.


With a 10 amp ICE setup using a 4200 Pro series coil I measured 165 millijoules out of the coil. The losses in the plug leads are way less too because inductive ignitions put out less current but over a much longer period of time. The MSD put out 350 milliamps for 0.12 miliseconds, the ICE put out 150 milliamps for 1.5 milliseconds, both arcing into 1800 volts, typical of a running engine.

#19 N/A-PWR



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Posted 11 June 2020 - 07:41 PM

Nice conclusion Circlotron, both MSD/ICE equal.  :spoton:

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