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Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????'s

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bobsurf, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. bobsurf

    bobsurf 1/2 ton status

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    Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    When I first bought my 73, I found out that the distributor was installed incorrectly. Instead of #1 on the cap being front driver side, it is shifted two spots (counter clockwise I think). The firing order is the same, it just starts in a different spot.

    Obviously I'd like to fix this to alleviate all future headaches, but I've never removed/replaced a distributor before. I've been reading a lot about it in my service manual, but those instructions essentially just tell you to put it back the same way it was removed. My main question is, can I just pull it and then put it back rotated 2 spots so that my #1 is on the correct cap position? Or do I need to start from scratch finding TDC on the #1 cylinder .... etc.?
     
  2. zakk

    zakk 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    starting from scratch would be the best idea if you have no clue where it is at.

    Pull the distributor, bump the engine till the #1 cylinder is "Up" you can put your thumb and feel the pressure to get a ballpark feel for it.

    I am assuming you have a timing tab. make sure the engine is at the begining of the cycle, not 180* off (i am not too good at explaining that part, just make sure it is around TDC or a few degrees BTDC)

    Plop the distributor back in, with the rotor "pointing" to the #1 cylinder. that should be enuff to get you in the ballpark.
     
  3. GMslave

    GMslave 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    You need to get #1 piston on TDC in order to put the distributor in at #1. Trace your #1 spark plug wire to it's place on the distributor, then line up your timing marks on the balancer. Pull the cap off and see where your rotor is pointing to. IF it's pointing at the tower you traced #1 to, then go ahead and loosen the hold down for the distr. Slide the whole distributor out. You'll have to disconnect the rest of the spark plug wires. You'll see the rotor move as it disengages from the cam gear (important!). Then get a reeeeaaaaalllly long screw driver to rotate the oil pump to line up with the bottom of the distr.(this will take some trial and error) Now rotate the rotor to just before the #1 tower(it helps to mark the distr. housing with a marker), and lower it in there. It will move as it engages the cam gear. This may take a few tries, so be patient. Some guys will lower it down at #1 without lining up the distributor with the oil pump, and once the cam gear/distr. gear are engaged, they will hit the key to bump it over and the distributor will drop right in. Just make sure to bump the engine all the way around to be sure that it fell in where you want it (#1). If the rotor is not pointing at the tower that is acting as #1 before you pull the distr.(180* out)you need to spin the motor over one more time, and line up the marks again. Hope this helps.
     
  4. bobsurf

    bobsurf 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    Thanks for the input guys.

    Right now, everything works. So, I do know where things are, it's just that the distributor is rotated 2 spots. In other words, they put the distributor in wrong, but compensated that by shifting all of the wires plugging into the cap (order still the same).

    I'm thinking that if I keep the cap in the same relation to the dist., and simply pull out and correct the dist. postion with relation to the motor, it will still give spark to the same wire, but now that wire is in the correct "spot" in accordance with a stock diagram.

    I know that's a pretty convoluted expalnation, but it's the best I can do. Did it make any sense?

    EDIT - GMSlave, I see what you're getting at. If I do simply rotate the distributor, I'll run into a problem with the oil pump position. I'll probably give it a shot with the BFScrewdriver as opposed to bumping the engine. - EDIT
     
  5. GMslave

    GMslave 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    I'm not sure we're on the same wavelength here bro. The distrib. cap only goes on one way. If you pick the distrib. up and rotate it and drop it back down to where it's supposed to be, without bringing up the #1 piston to TDC, I doubt you'll be very happy. Besides, you have to have the spark plug wires going from the cap to their corresponding cylinders, according to the firing order. Or am I not understanding your explanation?
     
  6. bobsurf

    bobsurf 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    Yeah, we might not be on the same wavelength, or I'm just an idiot. Here is how my plug wires are supposed to look coming out of the cap:

    __________6___5_____
    _______3_________7_____
    _______4_________2_____
    __________8___ 1_____

    But here is how they look now (runs fine)

    __________4___3_____
    _______8_________6_____
    _______1_________5_____
    __________2___ 7_____


    The difference is just how they sit in relation to the engine. The wires are of course all going to the correct cylinder, just rotated two spots on the cap. I think that's the best I can do. However, if I understand you correctly, I can't just pull up the dist. and rotate two spots in order to make the bottom diagram look like the top diagram?

    Thanks for helping me out.
     
  7. chulisohombre

    chulisohombre 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    you have it right i think.what you want to do is mark the distributor housing where #1 is now.take off the cap off and turn the engine over till it hits where number 1 is on the distributor.now you are in the correct firing position.you can now take out the distributor and rotate the distributor to the right spot on the cap.you will also have to take a long flathead screwdriver (about a foot long)and rotate the oil pump counterclockwise the same amount that you turned the distributor so it will match up when you drop in the distributor back in.then you need to plug the wires back into the correct firing order and probably rerout them so they will fit right.i think that about sums it up.i had to do this when i changed to hei from points distributor.
     
  8. GMslave

    GMslave 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    I can't believe they got it to run. Why the hell would anybody do that? It seems like more work than doing it the right way. If it was me bro, I'd just take the weekend and pull the whole damn thing out and start over. Good time to put in a good cap/rotor/plug wires. I promise you, if you do this operation a few times, you won't forget how it's done.
     
  9. bobsurf

    bobsurf 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    Yeah, that will probably end up being the plan. I was kinda wondering if there was a quick and easy way to do it, but I'm better off starting from the beginning. I'll probably end up pulling the 350 anyway.

    Thanks for everything.
     
  10. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    Hey bob, theres no reason you can't pull the distributor up, rotate it so the rotor is positioned two spaces back (or to the number one position if you first set the crank at top dead center on the compression stroke), then move your plug wires back two spaces making sure to keep the orientation. Most people pull the whole ditributor out and line up the oil pump slot about 1/8" rotation off to account for the rotor twisting as it engages the cam gear. If you get it a tooth off, you'll know when setting the timing becasue it will place vacuum advance at an awkward position. If you place a plug in the number one plug wire and turn on the ingition key (dont start it..) you can rotate the cap, back and forth, and the plug will barely spark showing you where to initially set the timing. A timing light will take you from there.
     
  11. bobsurf

    bobsurf 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    Thanks Mike, I think what it boils down to is starting from TDC on #1. I thought there might be a way to pull the dist. and slide it back in without cranking the motor. I think it would work, but if the rotor spun a little bit, I'd have to start from scratch.

    Sub question - I realize that you have the gear at the bottom of the distributor shaft, obviously to drive the whole column. But is there a separate part of the shaft that hooks up/lines up with the oil pump (a slot?)? Once I pull it I will have answered my own question, just curious now.
     
  12. BorregoK5

    BorregoK5 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Distributor Installed Wrong, need to rotate ?????\'s

    At the very bottom of the distributor, just below the gear, the main shaft is machined down to a rectangular pin which resembles the end of a large flathead screwdriver. This drives the oil pump and can be a little tricky to get lined up since the distributor shaft will want to turn as it drops down, engaging the cam gear. If you get it close, sometimes you can wiggle it in but they tend to be stuborn. If you get the rotor approximately where you want it, tapping the ignition over drops it into the slot for you.
     

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