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Put an HEI dist on my 351W in a '65 F100

I also have an edelbrock 4v on the engine. The new Accel wires are arcing at the spark plugs, and arcing across the other plug wires as well.

Unrelated the dist is binding up against the temp sending unit.

Did I get a set of bad wires? The engine grounds are all there and seem fine.
where the spark plug cap slides down and snaps onto the spark plug, there are arcs, mostly on the passenger side, cyl,1 2 3 4. I did not even think it was possible.


Staff member
I guess you have bad plug wires... Never heard of that happening but I have had lots of parts defective out of the box lately so nothing would surprise me
It was new one on me too! I could not get it to run right and it was spitting back through the carb a lot. It was also backfiring under deceleration going down hills. So I waited until dark, started the engine and the fireworks began. Blue sparks at the plugs and where the wires came in contact with each other. I even got some sparks off of the dist.


Staff member
They have carbon tracking. The power is high enough that the electricity will also follow carbon paths, which is a common issue actually. I always use dielectric grease to try to cut down on that, plus it helps keep the boots from sticking the next time you need to remove them. I even used to see that on the old points type ignitions. It is generally also a good sign the plug wires are breaking down.
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Charter Member
Once upon a time, several decades ago, Accel was a viable option when using HEI because......lots of options did not exist. Today, and since HEI has been pretty much OEM on all new cars equipped with a cat converter since 1975 (first year), there are many great brands to pick from. With that said, IMO, ditch the nostalgic yellow from 1979 and try some Motorcraft wires. Shop for a grande wire size and routing the wires carefully when installing so as to minimize the possibility of arcing. If you don't have the right wire looms, you need to get and use them.
Sounds great, but I am new to HEI, and my old Ford wires do not fit the cap. Which wires would you recommend? What would they fit? Part number? Thank you, F O T


Staff member
Being the GM style cap, you should be fine with a 70's 454 or small block 350, as they were practically the same.

As to the wires, you could try to see if they would return them. The arcing is definitely not a good thing... It is possible the wires are old or something, hard to say but they are definitely not working properly.