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How To Swap Distributors

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The new distributor showed up yesterday and I took some time to install it.  I thought it would be nice to do a quick write up!


Here is the removal:


I took the time to chalk the marking on the balancer so I could see them better.  I used the 15/16 socket, short extension and rachet to turn the motor over until the timing pointer was at 0* / TDC.  I made sure that the distributor rotor was at the #1 cylinder, and noted the orientation of the distributor harness.  Then I pulled coil wire off the cap and unlatched the cap.  I removed the distributor hold down, unplugged the harness and removed the harness from the bracket it was mounted to.  Then I held the cap (with all the wires still attached) out of the way and pulled the distributor out.




Still holding the cap and wires out of the way, I installed the new distributor so that the orientation of the distributor harness was the same.  I also made sure that the rotor was pointed to the #1 plug wire (rotor turns clockwise as the distributor gear and cam gear align).  I installed the hold down and plugged in the harness.  I then put the old cap on the new distributor, and installed the coil wire.  I jumped in the car and it started right up!  I shut it off.  Next I transferred the wires from the old cap to the new cap, one by one, and latched the new cap and wires to the new distributor.  I pulled the spout connector out of the harness on the passenger side fender.  I set up the timing light and started it up.  It was running really rough!  While setting the timing, I realized it was way off.  The distributor wiring harness was not in the same position as the stock one once I found 10* BTDC.  At this point I realized I was 1 tooth off on the distributor.  It ran just fine, but it had to come out for me to be able to sleep at night.  I shut the car down, set the balancer at 0*, pulled the cap, pulled the distributor hold down, unplugged the harness and slowly lifted the distributor up with one hand on the rotor.  I kept pressure on the rotor (to the left) until it was free of the cam gear, then I moved it one tooth over and pushed it back down again.  It never even came fully out of the engine.  I plugged it back in, installed the cap and hold down and started it up.  Perfect!  I set the timing at 10* and it was all set.

Also updated on my blog:  http://geargambler.blogspot.com/
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i always secretly hating messing with dizzy's lol  

Agreed!  I've had some horror stories myself.  This episode went pretty smooth, except for the part of being 1 tooth off and having to adjust that.  


I once pulled a stock distributor where the oil pump drive shaft was practically welded to the distributor.  It left that drive shaft retaining washer somewhere in the engine - that was many a mustang ago!  

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