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  1. #1
    TerryMason's Avatar
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    TFI ignition upgrade

    Jeep 258 TFI ignition upgrade - Using stock Ford parts, you can upgrade the ignition in your Jeep, allowing much better performance, gas milage, and reliability


    Which engines can use this upgrade
    The Jeep 258 CID I-6 from 1978 to 1990


    Why would you want to do this?
    Before I did this upgrade my jeep would not idle, it would hesitate and die all the time. This upgrade gave my Jeep the feeling of a new engine! It idles fine (even with the carter carburetor) and has more pickup and no hesitation. I would imagine that my Jeep now gets better gas mileage and has less emissions (although I have no real proof of this). Plus this upgrade only costs about $100. The upgrade is said to be better than the HEI.

    What you need:Distributor cap, rotor, base (this distributor is a two piece type, with a base that mounts to the motor and a cap that clips to the base), spark plug wires, and ignition coil. All these parts are from a 1982 Ford F-150 Pick Up Truck With A 300 CID I-6 Engine
    OPTIONAL : Distributor centrifugal advance springs, these get installed in the distributor and give you more midrange pickup.
    Last edited by TerryMason; 04-01-2008 at 04:19 PM.

  2. #2
    TerryMason's Avatar
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Part Numbers of things you will need







    Rotor




    Cap




    Cap Adapter


    Borg WarnerD219C193C193A
    AC Delco





    F334
    NapaFA159


    FA136


    FA139


    Standard Ignition








    WellsF953F952F960
    NiehoffFF59AFF78FF78A
    GP SorensenFR106FR121FR109
    Autolite








    KEM















    Ignition Coil





    Ignition Wires


    Coil Connector
    Borg WarnerE92**CH857*


    AC DelcoF503Z





    NapaIC24700313ICC1
    Standard IgnitionFD479


    S-539
    Wells








    NiehoffFF-179





    GP SorensenGC407S





    Autolite


    86171


    KEM342FX11-6007M


    * CH857 is the wire set for a V8. The V6 equivalent is CH631. These are basically the same wires though, but with CH857 you get two extra wires
    **Evidentially, the E92 is a premium
    coil, the E92P is the non premium and cheaper version.
    Last edited by TerryMason; 01-26-2008 at 03:08 PM.

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    Jeep TFI install process

    How it's done: (click on the image to see a larger one)



    Start with the stock 258 ignition
    Take off the distributor and the plug wires
    Now screw down the new distributor base, it should line up perfectly with the old screw holes
    Put the new rotor and distributor cap on.
    Install new plugs and gap them depending on the chart below, if you Follow this article, you will use a gap of .045". Install the plug wires and coil, make sure you get the firing order right, its 1-5-3-6-2-4
    This is the TFI coil, which provides a big advantage over the stock coil.
    I made this connector, which is just a one foot of speaker wire with two female connectors on one end (the new coil end) and two male connectors on the other end (which goes to the old coil connector). I plugged one end into the new coil and the other into the old coil harness.
    Either get a bracket or make one, or you can just use the bold holes on the coil to bold it to the fender well.
    After possibly tinkering with the timing (you'll have to decide if you need this or not) You're done!



    Spark plug gaps



    stock canister type coil-0.035"
    HEI, TFI, or any of the high out put

    aftermarket coils

    -0.045"
    MSD module or other CDI ignition module-0.045" to 0.065"

    Last edited by TerryMason; 01-26-2008 at 03:10 PM.

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    Questions and Answers

    I've gotten several questions about this upgrade, and am in the process of compiling a list offrequently asked questions. If you have a question, please post here

    Here is the list so far:
    Q: Where did you get the background for this?
    A: From the Off-road.com BBS (posted by Team Rush) click here to see the original posts.


    Q: What vehicle are these parts from?
    A: 1982 Ford F-150 Pick Up Truck With A 300 CID I-6 Engine.


    Q: Do you need to start using premium fuel after this upgrade?
    A: Nope, After I upgraded my two Jeeps, I was able to stop using premium and use regular unleaded.


    Q: Does it work with the Nutter by-pass?
    A: Although I have never tried it, this should work fine.


    Q: Are there any other websites with info on this upgrade?
    A: Sure, try these:

    Trailhed.com a Jeep Information Web Site
    http://www.driveajeep.com

  5. #5
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Is the 258 distributor the same as the distributor for the 4.0L? Besides the Coil, what makes this better?

  6. #6
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    I don't know if the distributor is the same, but I'd guess not

    this system has a better coil, and a larger distributor cap - the terminals are farther away on the new cap (the stock cap is pretty small). This prevents the spark from your new hotter coil from jumping from one plug wire to the next. Also, the plug wire are better.

  7. #7
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    is there anything like this for a 1977 CJ7 V8 Jeep?

  8. #8
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    Re: Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryMason View Post
    I've gotten several questions about this upgrade, and am in the process of compiling a list offrequently asked questions. If you have a question, please post here

    Here is the list so far:
    Q: Where did you get the background for this?
    A: From the Off-road.com BBS (posted by Team Rush) click here to see the original posts.
    And I got it from racing AMC's for 30 or so years.

    Q: What vehicle are these parts from?
    A: 1982 Ford F-150 Pick Up Truck With A 300 CID I-6 Engine.
    '82 gets you the screw down cap adapter.
    If you try other years, you might wind up with a clip down adapter, and that won't work with the '78 to '86 Jeep/Motorcraft distributor.

    Q: Do you need to start using premium fuel after this upgrade?
    A: Nope, After I upgraded my two Jeeps, I was able to stop using premium and use regular unleaded.
    Will not require any different fuel, and in fact, you may be able to run cheaper fuel since the cylinders are actually getting fired when they are supposed to.

    Q: Does it work with the Nutter by-pass?
    A: Although I have never tried it, this should work fine.
    Works fine with the 'John Nutter Bypass'.

    Q: Are there any other websites with info on this upgrade?
    A: Sure, try these:
    Lots of 'Clones', but most of them have incorrect information...
    Since this is an evolving thing, the information changes when I get my hands on different parts...

    SOMETHING YOU SHOULD REALLY STRESS!
    Brass terminal caps!
    Nothing like a distributor with brass terminals instead of aluminum!

    Once aluminum oxidizes from the high voltage discharge, the aluminum is no longer a conductor...
    Hard to get a plug wire to fire if you take it's conductor out of the circuit!

  9. #9
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Thanks TeamRush!

  10. #10
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    just finished the tfi upgrade and what a rush (pun !) the 2150 carb and ford dist and nutter have transformed my jeep . the milage power and driveavbility are awesome. THANK YOU !
    Willy Mudd.slinger Fosbinder

  11. #11
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Great article! I'm thinking about doing this to mine. Is it necessary to change the gear on the distributor? I know with other conversions (Chevy HEI) they say that the gear is reversed and needs to be changed out. From what I read here though, it seems to be a direct bolt on swap.

  12. #12
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    You are really just changing the distributor cap, and adjusting the timing. No need to change out any gears.

  13. #13
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Ok, I misunderstood this completely then I thought that this was a complete dizzy swap. So I just put the cap on the existing distrib. and go from there? That's even better. I'm definitely going to give this a try.

    btw, I just registered here today. Awesome site! I've found a new home!

  14. #14
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Yep, you are swapping in a better coil. This better coil creates a bigger spark, so you need to upgrade the plug wires. The new distributor cap is larger, and keeps the spark contacts farther apart, so that it doesn't jump into more than one one plug at a time.

    the new coil, cap, and wires all hook up to the old stock distributor.

    Take a look at this dist cap, it's alot larger than the tiny stock one

  15. #15
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Ok, one more question and I think I should be good. Looking at your pictures, I noticed that you have the TFI coil mounted on the fenderwell, but then you've got what looks like the stock coil hooked up (5th and last pic) Did you just mount the new coil in two different spots for the pictures? Also, is there a provision for the tach signal on the TFI coil? I've converted mine to Howell TBI and it needs the tach signal to run. Sorry for all the questions!

  16. #16
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by josieg72 View Post
    is there anything like this for a 1977 CJ7 V8 Jeep?
    NO.
    '74 to '77 CJ's ('75 to '77 FSJ's) used the Prestolite distributor and ignition module.
    There are currently no upgrades for this system since it was discontinued and abandoned after AMC stopped using it.
    --------------------------------

    *IF* You have an AMC I-6 engine, you can switch over to a HEI distributor from a Chevy 250 CID I-6 engine,
    You will have to change the distributor gear and some other things, but a Junk Yard or Remanufactured HEI distributor will work in your AMC I-6 Engines.
    (I wouldn't buy aftermarket HEI distributors right now, too may problems with parts eating up engines and falling apart)

    OR,
    You can switch over to the distributor from a '79 CJ-7 with 258 CID engine, do the cap, rotor, plug wire upgrade and wire up your own choice of modules.
    (It's easier than you think!)

    If you have a V-8, there is no facotry GM HEI that will work for you, and the aftermarket HEI distributors haven't had a very good track record lately...
    (Bad import parts are causing REAL problems)

    That only leaves the Jeep/Motorcraft distirbutor used from '78 to '90 in AMC V-8 engines as a reliable, cheap replacment.

    Again, you have 2 or 3 module options you can easily use with the Jeep/Motorcraft distributor, and after a Cap, Rotor, Plug Wire upgrade the factory Jeep/Motorcraft distributor will run with any of the 'Factory Style' aftermakret distributors without the cost or problems they bring.

  17. #17
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    For those that are just lazy and want everything handed to them (like me!) I found a company that actually sells the "kit" for a little more than what you'd pay if you had to go to an auto parts store and cobble it together yourself. This kit comes with dummy proof instructions (speaking from experience), a lifetime warranty and has spiffy chrome parts.


    eBay Motors: Jeep 258 4.2L CJ YJ Ford TFI JUICEBOX GOLD 6 Upgrade (item 250290908038 end time Sep-11-08 08:08:49 PDT)
    '89 YJ, Howell TBI, 35"s, Lock'd & Load'd

    Build it, Wheel it, Break it, Repeat

  18. #18
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    I've seen several examples of the 'Juice Box' product, and I wouldn't use it.
    I prefer to use better quality parts than they do.

    As for 'Idiot Proof', if you can do a simple tune up, you can do this.
    It's nothing more than Cap, Rotor, Plug Wires, and if you are ambitious, the coil.
    I-6 engines gain very little by going to the E-core coil, and it's really not worth the effort unless you get the coil VERY CHEAPLY, like from a salvage yard.

    Ford used a VERY HIGH QUALITY of E-core ignition coil from the mid 80's through the 90's.
    If you find a Ford fuel Injected Vehicle in the salvage yard, find the distributor and follow the coil wire to the E-core ignition coil...
    Take not only the Coil, but the wiring plug and the coil bracket.
    Your average cost will be about $5 for all.

    A good quality E-core coil will run at least $50,
    The wiring connector will run $15,
    The bracket will have to be made.

    Stay away from the 'Import' coils that have the extruded Aluminum housings.
    These are knockoffs of US made aftermakret coils and the insulation breaks down internally after a very short period of time.

  19. #19
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    t3chn1c0 asked if this would work on a 4.0L jeep. I read this & I have a 92 ford w/ 300 l-6 & I have 89 xj w/ 4.0. I pulled cap off the ford & it fit on the jeep. My 92 has a small cap like the jeep. I am going to get the larger cap & it should work. I'll keep you posted.

  20. #20
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    Re: TFI ignition upgrade

    Terry. I just got a distributor & coil & wires out of a 1992 Jeep Cherokee, with a 4.0 Looks like it will drop right in my older point ran 258. Only thing I couldn't find the ignition module for it?? Any Ideas??

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