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1993-97 Gen II Small Block V8

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Old 02-20-2012, 05:34 PM   #1
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Default MSD vs Accel vs GM.....the opti debate.

Good evening folks, sorry to post yet another opti thread but i need some insight from those of you using various optis. Ive got a 94 Trans Am with a lot of work done to it. Block,heads,intake,cam,etc. etc. I put an Accel pos optispark in it and now Im paying for it.

It began a few weeks back around 1600 rpm the car would shudder violently and lose power. While this was happening I noticed the exhaust tone changed and there was some backfiring. As soon as I got above that rpm range the shuttering stopped and the power came back. As time has progressed the datalogs have shown nothing and there is no check engine light. I read on another forum that if the opti is crapping out it may feel as if you have some torque converter shudder which is how this feels. After checking the already new icm,tps,coil, wires,plugs I have narrowed it down to the opti. I've read reviews on several and cant seem to get a positive vibe about any of them. I've used MSD and now Accel and will not be going back to the Accel. I've read negative reviews on Chandler Racing and Summit as well. Right now I am leaning back towards a GM Performance one but can they handle about 480 hp? I need input on what the reliable optis out there are. I've dumped a boatload, I could have bought a boat, of cash into this thing and just want it to run.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:49 PM   #2
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There's no debate. Get a ACDelco (Delphi) opti. Most reliable and affordable. My stock one went 108k and was working fine when removed.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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You know of anywhere that sells them at a decent price other than the norm ie jegs or summit? Their mark up is crazy.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:04 PM   #4
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rockauto has delphi listed for 360
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:10 PM   #5
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I got a Delphi on Amazon.com for $248.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:55 PM   #6
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Delphi. Is a good opti and can handle your demands. I'm running a MSD in my 94. And the only reason is because it came with my car new in the box. So I put it in. Have not had any problems with it. But in all honesty Delphi would have been my choise if I had to buy. 500+ for a opti is retarded!
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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Delphi = good.
Everything else = ****.
Done.
End of debate.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrd1972 View Post
Delphi = good.
Everything else = ****.
Pretty much.
I've blown up my MSD twice, it looks like they started to locktite their rotors from the factory now. I still take them apart and do it to make sure.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:32 PM   #9
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Just found a new Delphi on amazon. 317 with free shipping. With the extra 200 may as well replace the waterpump while im at it.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:57 PM   #10
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accel is supposed to be terrible.

GM/delphi is usually the safest bet, but everything has the chance of having problems.

MSD owners usually don't have any problems, but the problems seem more prevalent in them than the oem ones from what I've read.

There's another company that's name is escaping my mind that makes high dollar opti's that are supposed to be very well designed and durable, but cost $600+ iirc
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
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There's another company that's name is escaping my mind that makes high dollar opti's that are supposed to be very well designed and durable, but cost $600+ iirc
Their quality has slipped in the past few years.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:14 PM   #12
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^whats the name of the company?

edit: I just remembered, it's Dynaspark.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:42 PM   #13
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I've had the "honor" of holding or running OEM, partsladi, MSD, and Dynaspark opti's all in my hands so I can at least compare build quality and product impressions. I only got to run the OEM and partsladi optisparks though...OEM one on my car lasted a fairly impressive 140k before I replaced it with a partsladi opti back when they were the hot thing out. 20k miles later its still on the car and works perfectly - but as soon as I got it I installed the then brand new MSD cap+rotor. The one it came with was a knockoff POS with tiny terminals and a wimpy rotor.

From what I can tell, a majority of the MSD opti failures were do to rotor screws backing out. They now Loctite them in from the factory, so in all honesty should still be a great choice. I had one that I was going to use on my car before once again decided to go 24x, and it was very well made. Everything solid, with a MUCH more robust rotor and thicker base.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

MSD knows their ignition ****, so if anyone can make a reliable optical sensor setup work as well as the OEM, its them.

I also have a Dynaspark that I am going to send back to Bob, the new owner, for a full inspection and rebuild before listing for sale since I don't need it anymore. The Dynaspark, on paper, is an amazing Opti. A few guys swear by them, and the older units are regarded as the best Opti replacement, period. They have extra seals, waterproof boots on all electrical connectors, revised harness, secure rotor, and upgraded venting systems. They really are works of art, but sadly it seems over the last 2-3 years they switched to a less reliable sensor then they used to use. Their customer service is impressive - I emailed them Sunday night with a couple questions and Monday morning had a polite and professional email response, with a phone number to contact him with any questions. I am going to examine the sensor it has now (its an older model), and compare it to the new sensor they install in the rebuild. They claim it is sealed so well that it will actually work submerged in water. Not sure who would test that theory on their $600 opti, but I guess it makes for good piece of mind.

Click the image to open in full size.

Notice how much better the harness connectors are on the Dynaspark then the MSD, and also the seal around the shaft to seal it against the timing cover.

With all that being said, I feel that for the money, most people would be best suited to an OEM opti, with the more robust MSD cap and rotor. Proven 100k+ mile reliability, and the high RPM benefits of the stronger MSD rotor with thicker cap terminals. As an added bonus, it adds venting to the older spline driven 92-94 optisparks.

Slightly OT, but I have a theory that an often overlooked killer of optis is from over-oiled air filters. The venting system check valve may eventually stick open or something, and when it pulls in fresh air from the intake tract it sucks up oil from the air filter and deposits a layer over the very sensitive optical sensor. Sounds feasible to me, and I know for a fact it is common to over-oil air filters since I have seen MAF sensors get ruined from it too.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:50 PM   #14
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Fuck an opti
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhenixTAGT View Post
Just found a new Delphi on amazon. 317 with free shipping. With the extra 200 may as well replace the waterpump while im at it.
Amazon also has ones for the 97 for 258$?
And then 344$ from a different company? Any reason for a near 100$ price difference from them?
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Amazon also has ones for the 97 for 258$?
And then 344$ from a different company? Any reason for a near 100$ price difference from them?
Just make sure they are the very same thing and you are not comparing new to a reman.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:12 AM   #17
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I got one of the first MSDs that came out 6 years ago, before they made the square O ring. I took out all of the screws and put loctite on them. Ive been running hard for 40k miles, car never saw a garage for the first 4 years, and I shift about 6200rpm. The past 2 years it has been strictly a track car, and pass after pass I havnt had a single issue. To make it worse, my dryer duct dumps into my garage now, so its humid as **** in there anytime my fiance does laundry and forgets to open the garage door. Half of my **** has started to rust because of it, but still my opti works fine. I vote MSD.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:20 AM   #18
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I thought thepartsladi sold AC/Delco optis. Was that not the case?
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregrob View Post
Fuck an opti
Amen brother... EFI 24x FTW

The best setup IMO is a Delco opti and a MSD Cap and Rotor Kit.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:16 AM   #20
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Another good point for the MSD is the ability to adjust the timing + or - 5 degrees, although I dont think Ive found ANYONE who has actually used that. I might use it for when I spray though, unless I can find a cheap 6AL
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:16 AM
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