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Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Mon 27. Sep 2010, 10:14
by alternate
Note: Complete or part of old conversation copied from the archives and brought back to you by admin. New replies can be added if desired.

Originally postet by "Roland "

I would like to find an aftermarket distributor for my 1963 430. Are there more common Ford distributors from other engines that would interchange?

Re: Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Mon 27. Sep 2010, 10:15
Not 100% Sure...But...
Many internal parts of the FE dist also fit the MEL. There is no PN on the distributor housing itself as it can only be bought (or could) as part of an assembly. I recently purchased a 383 MERC dist asm. to see how difficult it will be to convert to DURASPARK II. When I get that FE 360/390 distributor in my hand, I will make the necessary comparisons. Just guessing, the only difference would (could) be the housing and possibly drive gear. The shaft itself is common to either. So many things are interchangeable from one to another that one would think the distributor is also.

Re: Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Mon 27. Sep 2010, 10:17
by Hawkrod
I believe the FE distributor is a direct swap....

I looked it up at one time and I am pretty sure all parts are interchangeable including the drive gear and housing thus an FE distributor will fit in an MEL. Hawkrod


39 Ford Deluxe Coupe
59 Tbird 430
60 Lincoln Premier
(2)62 Tbirds
(3)68 Cougar XR7-G's
69 Cougar 428CJ 4 speed
77 1/2 Ford F250 4X4 w/460 swap
86 SVO mustang

Re: Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Mon 27. Sep 2010, 10:18
by alternate
Originally postet by "Roland "

I understand that "MEL" stands for Mercury, Edsel, Lincoln but what does "FE" stand for?
I would like to eventually buy an aftermarket distributor but would need to know what common Ford model "FE" engine would have the kind of part that would fit my '63 Lincoln. I just don't know where to find this kind of interchange info.

Re: Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Mon 27. Sep 2010, 10:19
In 1958, FORD introduced three new engine families.

The FE (FORD-EDSEL) was introduced with the 332/352 assigned to FORD and the 361 asigned exclusively to EDSEL.

The MEL (MERC-EDSEL-LINC) 383/410/430

The SUPER DUTY Truck Series 401/477/534

The FE included the 332/352/361/390/406/427/360/410/428 and a host of off-spins (competition engines)

So looking for FE parts, you would look for 390/427/428 parts these days.

Re: Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Sat 28. Nov 2015, 21:12
by Chris430
I have a couple of distributors out to compare. The left distributor is FEU-12127-J from a 1958 332 FE, the right FEW-12127-H from a 1959 430 MEL. They use the same FEK-12378-B vacuum advance and seem to be the same internals. There is a difference in gear to seal distance with the FE being greater. The 332 gear is 1.042 o.d. The 430 gear measured 1.052. The shaft diameter was different by .0002, I don't know if there are different shafts or they are just on extreme ends of tolerance.

Early 58 MEL Distributor Removal

Posted: Sat 28. Nov 2015, 21:32
by Chris430
Hope this is ok, original poster is a member here. Although the 59 here was not effected, I thought I would copy and paste the below post from another site:

Difficulty Of Distributor Removal- Early MEL



On some early production 1958 Lincoln and Mercury engines it has been found that one of the longer front cover mounting cap screws was used to secure the engine front cover at the top left-hand location (front cylinder cover cap screw nearest the distributor). Use of the longer cap screw at this location prevents removal of the distributor assembly.

In the event a distributor cannot be removed from the engine, loosen the top left-hand cap screw which secures the engine front cover. If the distributor can now be removed, then this cap screw should be replaced with a 5/16"-18x2" cap screw, part number 20520-S8, whenever removal of the water pump is necessary. Until such time as the other work is necessary and this screw is replaced, loosen the cap screw to faciltate removal of the distributor.

Re: Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Sun 29. Nov 2015, 08:30
by Partsetal
In the comparison of distributors, one thing that was not mentioned is the difference in the number of teeth on the gear. The top one has 15, and the bottom 16. FWIW

Re: Distributor Interchangability

Posted: Thu 10. Dec 2015, 20:12
by keithol
Checked this out about a year ago ,found that the machined housing diameter is also different .

update to HEI Distributor using stock parts

Posted: Sun 2. Apr 2017, 09:39
by benzladen
For anyone wanting to ditch their points. If you can get a parts car like a late 70's ford truck or 460 lincoln town car you can swap all the ignition system into your old mel. The distributor parts all fit in the old housing as they just fit the new system into the old body as a retrofit. A lot of those old hei systems are still intact and even those big blue ford silicone spark plug wires are fine after a 100 thousand miles. You can hook up the ignition control unit ,hei coil and the plug wires and have yourself a very reliable stock ford system for cheap. And it's a 1 wire hook-up to your existing ignition hot wire. These early hei systems had a couple of variations but all are I think usable.Have done 3 or 4 conversions several years ago so hoping I haven't left anything out. Happy motoring with no more points to adjust.Also a real strong spark. Oh you can also go to a speed shop and get a kit to change your advance springs. Also a cheap upgrade. Last conversion I did was to my brothers 1960 MK5 coup. Cheers,Kelly