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Old 10-26-2010, 06:57 PM   #1
Leebo!
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Default Can a distributor "go bad"

THis might be a dumb question, but can a distributor go bad? I have been having a trouble for some time, and am ready to throw my truck and myself into a wood chipper. I can get it running, and get it running smooth by vacumm gauge. WHen it gets warm, it starts popping and misfiring. If i try to restart it, it wont, and cant turn it to any position to restart it. I thought my coil might be bad, but changed coils and it didnt help.
Its a Mallory Unilite if that makes a difference.

Im a shade tree mechanic at best, but have never had this much trouble!

Thanks!
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:03 PM   #2
fitzee
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

I have had them half wore out and still work. I have to ask what model are you talking,Ford,dodge, chevy?
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:05 PM   #3
old lady's mad
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

they go bad all the time, unilite is a points dizzy right. most likely the bushings are worn in the top and expnding when hot , in turn not opening the points enough to fire the coil . try this close the points up to about 10 instead of 18. if that cures it , guess what . its worn out.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Wow, forgot important details.
350 SBC. cams not stock, but not super lopey.
How does the advance (vac) work? Would that make any diff when warm?
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:07 PM   #5
Leebo!
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Old ladys mad-
Can you elaborate what you mean by "closing" points 10 instead of 18?
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Unilite should be electronic.Could be a bad module
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

yes. most people do not even realize it. I have changed several for customers here of late.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Agree, sounds like the module gets flaky when it warms up.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

throw in a junkyard hei, only takes a minute to know for sure. I have 2 or three around.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:12 PM   #10
Leebo!
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

IS the module replaceable on a Unilite? I have changed them in stock HEI's
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagerbomb View Post
IS the module replaceable on a Unilite? I have changed them in stock HEI's

Yes
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Can a distributer go bad? Hell yea! theres not one part that cant go bad on any engine. Your block can even go bad when it cracks or has a rod come out the side. Ive replaced a distributer on my dads truck and it was only 5 years old. Dont make them like they used to.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

sounds like a job for GMCBUBBA! http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/member.php?u=15923

Contact him, he can help.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:27 PM   #14
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagerbomb View Post
THis might be a dumb question, but can a distributor go bad? I have been having a trouble for some time, and am ready to throw my truck and myself into a wood chipper. I can get it running, and get it running smooth by vacumm gauge. WHen it gets warm, it starts popping and misfiring. If i try to restart it, it wont, and cant turn it to any position to restart it. I thought my coil might be bad, but changed coils and it didnt help.
Its a Mallory Unilite if that makes a difference.

Im a shade tree mechanic at best, but have never had this much trouble!

Thanks!
The most trouble I've had was with the "Mallory" uniltes... everything from bad bushings to bad sending/receiving units. The bearings would get so bad the shaft would death wobble and take out the senders as well as the cap and rotor.

I never had any issues with their dual points except for one time a wire came off the spade post by the points!

For race applications I pony up for MSD or if you can afford it... the Mallory
Mags are a hefty unit!
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:31 PM   #15
Leebo!
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

YEah, Im leaning towards a new module, based on some of the stuff I have just pulled up on the net. I have been saying for a bit now that I felt the dist was the culprit. Hell, I have rebuilt or replaced everything but the air in the tires trying to trouble shoot this. Im out of things to change if this doesnt fix!
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:37 PM   #16
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Another thought, is the engine an older rebuild? Could be a timing chain issue. Have you put a timing light on it to see if it is 'dancing' around? Also, I had a BB chev that the cam went flat and it did that too. Just have to do a process of elimination.

I'd do a dist. swap first and go from there.

Good luck!

Later,

Mike
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

get rid of the Unilite Module and replace it with a Pertronix unit. And yes they make a Pertronix to fit the Malory dist. The Unilite modules are not very good and one just cost me a 155 mile wrecker bill.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:42 PM   #18
old lady's mad
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

well evedently its an electronic unit not points. one other thing to look at as a posibility . if you have a tach . unhook it . they can go bad and ground out the neg. side . there are ways to test and see whats bad. with out waisting money just throwing parts at it . unless you have spare parts laying around or can borrow some from freinds.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:42 PM   #19
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

Unilites are very susceptible to voltage spikes. Mallory sells a filter to protect the module.Make sure all of your grounds are good. A bad ground will cook the module.
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:52 AM   #20
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Default Re: Can a distributor "go bad"

The uni-lites usually fail when hot and work when cold. Change it to a pertronixs replacement unit.
OR we can supply you with a built "bubbas" unit if needed......
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