Thank you for your reply. Sadly many manufacturers seem to not be interested in dealing with jumping through the hoops that California has imposed to make aftermarket mods legal in the Golden State. I plan on driving this Jeep on the road so I'll go with products that comply.
I agree with your assessment of the CA emissions laws. I see the same thing in the planning department in our county. It is a large bureaucracy with layers of laws that seem to be in place to generate revenue to keep people employed. Obtaining a permit is a emotionally and financially painful process. I question what good all the regulations do. I have a friend that moved from Santa Cruz, CA to Gardnerville, NV. He erected a very large prefabricated steel building that he uses as a shop. I asked him about the permitting process. He said he walked in to the planning department expecting a long, expensive fight. He said he walked out after an hour with a permit that cost him $150. In Santa Cruz that would have taken a minimum of 2 years and at least $20k before breaking ground.
Getting back to emissions it is a sad state of affairs that many parts of the country are using CA as the "gold standard" for emissions testing. Like I said before if emissions were really the concern a smog test would consist of a tailpipe test and that is it. The concern shouldn't be what is under the hood but what comes out the tailpipe. I have a friend that bought a 1977 CJ-7 in Denver. The emissions test was a tailpipe test and a tailpipe test alone. They didn't even open the hood. That is how it should be.
I plan on keeping the stock 258 and modernizing it. I like the idea of keeping the original engine and I like the torque it develops. Fuel injection will increase power, torque, mileage, reliability and make smog checks easy. It's a no-brainer in my book. This is also a mod that is easily reversible although I can't think of a reason to go back to the BBD carburetor. Like I said the only way to do this legally in California is to go with a Howell kit so that's what I plan to do.
The 1980's are a time in automotive history that wasn't very good. The building EPA laws combined with underdeveloped technology made engine compartments that were packed with emissions components that weren't very good or reliable. I am thankful to have found a 1980 model year CJ-7 and not one later in the 1980's. I see the increased complexity under the hood year after year and I don't want any part of it.
The drivetrain is what sold me on this CJ. It has the 258, a T-18 transmission, a Dana 300 transfer case that has been twin-sticked and Dana 44s front and rear. The PO recently replaced the alternator, starter, starter solenoid and put on a brand new Chinese carburetor and steel fuel tank. It needs work but is a pretty solid base for a project. It came with 33" mud tires but has 3.73 gears. 4.10s would be better especially with the 1st gear that doesn't have a synchro. Lower gears are on the list for future upgrades. I guess they say a Jeep CJ is never done...
I have a question about the MSD ignition but first I'll go through some background. I bought the three components used. It turns out I made an error when I told you what I had. The box is a 6 Offroad model (6470) not a 6A. I realize these have a reputation for being unreliable but this one works for the time being and I got the package for less than 1/2 the cost of the distributor alone. If the 6470 goes out I'll buy a new 6 or 6A box and still come out way ahead.
Anyway, the PO had the MSD ignition in a CJ-8 that he is now doing a frame-off restoration on. He decided to abandon the 258 and go with a 4.0 swap so he was selling parts off the 258. Again, I have the Offroad box, a Blaster 2 coil and a 8516 pro billet distributor. Here is the question: The PO had the vacuum advance on the distributor locked out and removed. He said he used the mechanical advance alone and felt that using both mechanical and vacuum advance was too much. I'm afraid that I won't pass a visual inspection when I get is smogged without the vacuum advance connected. Have you heard of anyone doing this before? I wonder if he used the wrong springs for the mechanical advance and using both mecahnicl and vacuum advance caused the timing to advance too much. If that is true I could remedy the problem by installing the vacuum advance, removing the lockout screw and installing stiffer springs on the mechanical advance weights. MSD sells a spring and bushing kit: https://www.holley.com/products/ignition/distributors/distributor_accessories/distributor_components/parts/8464 and a vacuum advance kit: https://www.holley.com/products/ignition/distributors/distributor_accessories/distributor_components/parts/8463 I asked the PO about these parts and he threw them away :(.
I have a couple other questions I'll post here but expected to get answered by MSD/Howell. First, the GM ECU needs a tach signal to function properly. Do you know which tach adapter I need to put between the MSD box and the GM ECU? Also will this tach adapter work with an AMC tach? I don't have a tach yet but am looking for one.
Second, is there a way to setup a Howell TBI system and MSD ignition so that the GM ECU controls the spark advance? I would think this would increase efficiency. If that is an option I would like to take advantage of it.
Thank you for reading my posts and taking the time to reply to them. I enjoy the technical discussion and appreciate your sharing knowledge. I am a mechanical engineer who was educated in the Midwest. My degree was pointed at automotive engineering but I don't work in that industry. Instead I settle for being a weekend mechanic and that is fine with me. I'm happiest when my hands are greasy and I have an engine disassembled for repair.
I live in the mountains above Santa Cruz, CA so I have to drive to the desert. I'm not complaining - living in the redwood forest 10 minutes from the beach is a dream come true. Our group drives a long way to get to the desert but we are equidistant from northern Nevada and the Mojave Desert. e usually go out in a group of 2 to 10 friends when we overland in the desert. We have followed the Applegate-Lassen trail from Rye Patch Reservoir to 34 north of Gerlach many times. It is one of my favorite trips for the scenery and history. Desert 4x4 exploration is a very unique experience that is one of the things I enjoy doing most.
I enjoy researching an area then exploring historical sites in those areas. The 7 Troughs Mining District was a fun place to explore. We found evidence of the flash-flood at Mazuma, NV in 1912. Have you been to that area? The 4x4 trails aren't that challenging but the history and scenery is worth the trip.
Thanks for the enjoyable dialog and knowledge,