Register now to get rid of these ads!

Plymouth 218 distributor removal - What the hell am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Barsteel, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Barsteel
    Joined: Oct 15, 2008
    Posts: 726

    from Monroe, CT


    Todays project was to pull out the old distributor from my '52 Plymouth's 218 and drop in an electronic one from Langdon's. Bolt-in operation...what could be easier, right? I read the factory manual, and there were not specific directions to removing the distributor, so I figured that it's like most other distributors I've ever dealt with...undo the bolt to the hold down tab and lift it out.

    So...I unfastened the bolt from the hold-down tab and tried to lift the distributor our. No go. Tried to gently twist it. No go. Tried to not so gently twist it. No go. Climbed in the engine compartment, grabbed onto the distributor body with both hands and twisted till my face turned purple, blood vessels popped out in my forehead, and I saw stars. Nothing.

    Got under the car and used a piece of 1/2" rod stock to tap against the distributor body with a 4lb sledge. Firmly. It moved. Maybe 1/8". Hit it with some PB Blaster. Tapped again, more firmly. It moved a little more.

    Continue for the last hour. Back and forth. I can get maybe 90 degrees of movement out of the distributor, but I still have to tap it firmly with the hammer and stock to get it to move.

    My hands are shaking. I have PB Blaster in my hair. My forearms look like Popeye from swinging the damn sledge under the car. Everything hurts.

    This car was last registered in '91, and it's been in storage ever since, judging from the huge mouse nests I pulled from underneath the headliner and the heater control box, so it's possible there's just a buildup of sludge and rust

    Am I doing something wrong if is this just a REALLY STUCK distributor?

  2. honeyman
    Joined: May 24, 2010
    Posts: 330

    from Steiner

    Wow...nothin' goes easy anymore! We're talking flathead 6 cyl., right? I'm guessing just REALLY STUCK. Last time I pulled one was 1977, in a 1951 Plymouth Business Coupe that I put a rebuilt engine in. The end of the shaft has tip on it like a regular screwdriver that fits into a "slot". It will go in "right" or 180 degrees "wrong". SHOULD just pull right out. Hope you got it out by now...
  3. James Curl
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 370

    James Curl

    The distributor body must have rusted in the block. All that holds them in place is the single bolt into the block. Remove the bolt and the distributor should just lift out.
  4. 34toddster
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 1,481

    from Missouri

    I have used a crowbar a couple of times on something that old that seams like it was never removed...proceed!

  5. Not sure on that motor, is there a screw into the "bump out" on the block where the dist. goes? Some may use such into a groove on the shank to prevent accidental removal .
  6. Barsteel
    Joined: Oct 15, 2008
    Posts: 726

    from Monroe, CT

    POP goes the distributor.

    It was just REALLY, REALLY stuck in there. After posting, I got some lunch and went back at it. More tapping and rotating. Then lower the car on the lift, grab the damn thing with both hands and twist like a MF'er. Slowly, it turned, back again, other way, back again, all the while pulling.

    Then it came out.


  7. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,767

    from CenCal

    I had this issue on an old car once. I could not turn it by hand at all when I first removed the clamp & bolt.

    I tied a 2lb slide hammer to the distributor body with about 10 wraps of bailing wire. Then I just jerked it out the top with several serious slams. This was after soaking all night in JB-80.
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,448

    Rusty O'Toole

    They are supposed to come right out, they were made easily removable so you could replace points and condenser on the bench. One bolt holds the hold down bracket to the block, pull the whole works out and you don't even lose the timing adjustment.

    However, things grow together over the years. If it hasn't been out for 50 years or more there could be quite a buildup of sludge on the bottom. If you can get it moving and get some penetrating oil in to dissolve the sludge, it should come out.
  9. yetiskustoms
    Joined: May 22, 2009
    Posts: 1,930


    Glad you got it out. That's crazy, not much holding them in there. I'm sure you know by now, that Langdon's hei is the greatest thing you can do for that 6er. I love mine!

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.