Special Thanks to:

Jack Collins of "The Mustang Six Site"

For this article.

Bang for the buck, the Duraspark II is hard to beat as a triggering device for an electronic ignition system. Coupled with either the stock ignition box or an
aftermarket control box, it is a tough, readily available, reliable distributor. 

Ford began using the Duraspark II system in 1978. The system consists of a magnetic reluctor and pickup in the distributor, and an ignition module to trigger the coil.
Typically, the distributors have both mechanical and vacuum advance mechanisms. The curve is easily reset by using inexpensive springs and adjustable advance
units. They can be found on both 200 and 250 engines and are interchangeable.

They are a direct fit on older 200/250 engines as well. Pictured above is a Duraspark from an '81 Fairmont 200 ci engine, installed on a '73 Maverick 250 ci engine.

The Stock Ignition Module

The stock ignition wiring diagram looks daunting but all of the wiring is contained within the harness. This leaves only two connections which have to be made: a red
wire which is connected to a switched 12V source and a white wire which goes to the start terminal of the ignition switch. The white wire is optional. When used it
retards the spark a couple of degrees to reduce the load on the starter (an enterprising hot rodder might hook this up to a nitrous switch to retard the spark when the
juice is on).

When selecting the module, the one to ask for is the one with a "blue strain relief".


Using an Aftermarket Control Box

The Duraspark distributor is easily wired to an MSD or other aftermarket ignition system. The MSD can be used as a stand-alone or in conjunction with the stock

Wiring with stock module


Wiring the MSD as a stand alone


Spark plug gaps may be set much wider with the Duraspark. Using the stock module, set plug gaps between .045" - .060". With an aftermarket module, check the
manufacturers recommendation. On my coupe, I am using the MSD6A as a stand-alone with plug gaps of .054".

Be sure to visit Jack's great Ford site!