Distributors 302 HO vs. 351W vs. MSD 351W


it's built for speed not longevity, woman
Dec 26, 2006
Thomasville, ga
Throughout the past few weeks I have been trying to figure out what distributor I need to use for my 351 swap. I have had so many different answers that I decided to do a little research and this is what I came up with:

I purchased a distributor from MSD. I also have the one out of my H.O. 302 and measured them with a caliper. The base collar to gear length is the same on both pieces. The only difference is the shaft thickness. I thought maybe I'd gotten the wrong part so I called MSD's tech support and the guy was nice enough to go pull the parts and measure them while on the phone with me. He got the same measurements I did. The shaft is thicker on the MSD. The stock piece measured .40625 O.D. with a .21875 input ( a little more than 3/8" O.D and a little less than 1/4" I.D). and my new MSD for the 351 shaft measured .53125 O.D. roughly a 1/4 inch difference or 1/8th all the way around. with a .3125 input (a little more than 1/2" O.D and little less than 3/8" I.D) so

I have installed my MSD piece and it fits nicely. If you are on a budget and need a cheap 351w distributor for your swap you can pick one up from advanced auto parts for $79.00 or buy a direct Ford replacement distributor for $129. Neither will come with a T.F.I. module. Neither of these distributors comes with a steel roller motor gear. They can be purchased however, through Summit Racing.

I will include all part numbers at the end of this thread. Gear removal is quite simple. On after market distributors such as Mallory or MSD the shaft might be a little long and require some minor trimming. You need some end play but not much; just enough for oil to pass to the gear. My MSD unit didn’t need any but each application may vary.

Contrary to popular belief you can not use a lightning distributor. The lightning’s used the 1990 and later EFI distributor. On those models, the P.I.P. module is controlled separately while on the 87-93 5.0 and 1989 ford truck (5.8 only), the P.I.P. is controlled through the T.F.I. and has only one harness. You might be able to wire up a newer modle distributor to work but why do that when you can purchase a direct replacement. Well that about sums it up if I missed anything guys let me know.

1989 Ford F-150 5.8 distributor. Advance Auto Parts #30-2884
Distributor from Ford-#D7TZ-12127-D
Distributor from MSD #8453
The T.F.I. module is #EL1ZZ. Advance can cross reference this number.
Summit racing steel gear for roller motor is #FMS-M-12390-F


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BK -
How does the size of the oil pump driveshaft compare between the 302 and 351w?
Does the 351w dist require a larger diameter oil pump shaft?

I guess what I am asking is...
Would a 302 dist accept the 351w oil pump shaft?

to small

the 302 has a .40625 O.D. shaft with a .21875 input ( a little more than 3/8" O.D and a little less than 1/4" I.D) and the 351 has a .53125 O.D. shaft with a .3125 input (a little more than 1/2" O.D. and little less than 3/8" I.D) because of the hex shape it might fit but its not gonna last long before a corner rounds off and it strips out. the bigger numbers are for my H.D. oil pump but im about 99% sure the stock pump has the same shaft measurements. my old pump and input shaft is in the back of my brothers truck i will get it tommorrow and measure it to make sure. i dont see why it would change. but as to the question yes they are different.

EDIT: sorry i had it backwards the oil pump shaft fot the 351 is to BIG not to small i was thinking a 302 shaft into a 351 distributor.