MSD Ignition has recently received MSD 6AL ignition units to be repaired that were counterfeit.
The striking detail to which these units match real 6ALs warranted a further examination into the problem. The two counterfeit MSD units that were returned to MSD ignition are very difficult to identify from an external inspection. To the untrained eye, it would be nearly impossible to identify it as a counterfeit.
The labels, color, shape, wiring colors, housing design and cylinder select cover are all near perfect copies. Externally, the largest difference is the quality of the wires, protective sleeves, and connection terminals used.
Another clue is that both counterfeits used the same serial number - 682013.
The counterfeit boxes are inferior in these respects to the real MSD units. Other small clues as to the counterfeit include using the wrong style mounting screws and reversing connection outlets on the side of the box. On MSD's real 6AL boxes all terminals, such as the rev limiter module holder and the cylinder select cover, use Torx style screws. The counterfeits use Phillips headed screws to hold
Second, one end of the MSD housing holds the wire outlets for the Mag-Pickups and Tach Outputs. When looking at the right side of the real MSD box, the Mag pickup wires are on the left with the tach output to the right. The counterfeit boxes have the tach output on the left with the Mag input on the right.
Once the units are opened, the differences are obvious. MSD's printed circuit board (pcb) and other internals are neat and identical from one unit to the next. The fake boards have a "BK" marking on them, which is believed to be linked to the board maker. The first unit received has a blue pcb where MSD's are green. The second unit is covered in a hard, black potting material but chips in the potting show the board to be blue as well.
The components and layout of both counterfeit units are similar to each other but are not like any recent MSD unit.
Although these units have been caught by the experts at MSD Ignition, there is no doubt that other units are in the hands of the public. Counterfeit 6AL boxes that reach the level of replication detail such as these examples could easily be passed as an authentic MSD Ignition product to the public.
The counterfeit MSD 6AL Ignition is visually nearly identical to the authentic unit. A close inspection will reveal subtle differences.
Both counterfeits MSD 6AL's received by MSD have the same serial number - 682013.
This does not rule out other serial numbers on other counterfeit units.
The authentic MSD 6AL Ignition has the Mag pickup wires on the left with the tach output to the right.
The counterfeit MSD AL6 ignition has the tach output on the left with the Mag input on the right. This is opposite the authentic product.
On authentic MSD 6AL boxes, all terminals, such as the rev limiter module holder and the cylinder select cover, use Torx style screws.
Counterfeit MSD 6AL boxes so far have been seen with Phillips headed screws to hold these mounts, not the Torx screws used on the authentic boxes.
The counterfeit MSD 6AL has unfinished wires and over-the-counter connectors on some wires.
Internal differences are significant. MSD's printed circuit board (pcb) and other internals are neat and identical from one unit to the next.
Counterfeit units have been seen with "BK" marking on the fake blue colored circuit board, which is believed to be linked to the board maker.
Authentic MSD circuit boards are green