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Reinstalling Distributor Chevy Small Block

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 64impala, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. 64impala
    Joined: Sep 14, 2012
    Posts: 79


    I just completed installing a new intake manifold, I'm now re-installing my distributor on my chevy small block.

    I dropped my distributor back in (aligning it to the #1 cylinder), but my
    distributor stops short of dropping to the bottom by about 1/2 inch.
    How or what do I need to do get the bottom flush?
    I have not yet installed the distributor mounting plate with the one bold, not sure if that will make up the difference?

    I have not turned the engine over in any way during the install of parts.
  2. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962


    it just needs to be tapped in. get a bigger hammer.

    (I'm kidding!)

    pull out the distributor and look at it from the bottom up. See that wedge in the shaft? that's what drives the oil pump. that's what's stopping you from going right in.

    You need to align the distributor with the oil pump shaft.

    And, I hate to say it bud- but if *I* know this, then it's all over google...
  3. Or better yet, just lightly put some pressure on the distributor and turn the motor over and it will drop into the oil pump drive. Not Too Much pressure or you'll turn the drive as well.
    Been doing it this way for 40+ years
  4. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 1,894


    Any chance you took the gear off the diz and reinstalled it backwards?
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  5. racemad55
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,149


    Get a helper and do what HRD says.
  6. cshades
    Joined: Sep 2, 2011
    Posts: 452

    from wi

    When you go to drop it in lift it up and move it a tooth at a time until it falls in.Then lift it up turn it 180 drop it in and repeat until it lines up with where you want it.I know it sounds stupid but once you get the hang of it you can actually get it the right position within a minute.All you are doing is moving the oil pump shaft tang inthe right postion.

  7. i seen a guy install a torque convertor that way !!!! ouch...
  8. isky1843
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 157


    I just use a long screwdriver down the distributor hole to turn the oil pump shaft. Look at the bottom of the distributor when it's pointed at #1 to see where the slot in the pump shaft should be pointing. Then give it just a slight bump counter clockwise( the oil pump shaft, not the dist.). When you stab the distributor, as the helical gear engages it starts to spin towards #1 and should engage the oil pump shaft a little bit before pointing dead on #1(hence the little bump CCW) and right before bottoming out. Easier said than typed but be patient and it will work.
  9. isky1843
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 157


    Hold on, I just re read your post. You said that you did not rotate the engine while you were swapping intakes. Was the engine at top dead center when you pulled the distributor? If not you have no idea where it needs to be pointed.If this is the case then you will need to bring the motor to TDC of the compression stroke on the #1 cylinder, and then stab it to point at #1.
  10. Isky is right. Before you pulled the distributor, you should have pulled the cap to see which way the rotor was pointing. Then take a sharpie and mark the distributor. Also make a mark or use a piece of tape on your firewall & the back of your distributor. After you change the intake all you have to do is line up the marks you made. It should drop right in. If you drop it in and the rotor turns past your mark, you are probably off a tooth. Pull it out and slightly turn the rotor and drop it back in again. Your marks should line up.
    Of course this doesn't matter if its already been pulled out with out marking the original position.
    Since it sounds like that's the case, you'll have to set the engine up at TDC & start from scratch.

    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  11. rocksolidnate
    Joined: Feb 4, 2013
    Posts: 121

    from Viroqua Wi

    you need to get #1 on tdc on the compression stroke remove drivers side valve cover turn it over clockwise as you look at the front timing cover and watch the #1 intake valve you will notice it open and close when it closes watch the timing mark finish coming around and line it up, the dist. should be ready to install you may still need to bump the starter to get it completely done as the oil pump shaft may need to slip into the bottom of the dist.
    hope that helps
  12. wolfie1961
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 78

    from Utah

    This is how I do mine.
  13. Jay Tyrrell
    Joined: Dec 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,631

    Jay Tyrrell

    This is good info if this is your first time which it sounds like it is.
  14. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,748

    Drive Em

    It doesn't actually have to point to the number one cylinder, just to the terminal on the distributor cap with a plug wire going to the number one cylinder.
  15. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    Done this many times. Almost as easy as dropping in a Mopar distributor.:D

    Assuming of course that the engine hasn't been turned over while the distributor was out.
  16. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,310

    from USA

    pointing it does not mater
    as others have said
    long screwdriver and TDC are your friends.
    the no thinking part, it can fire (in what some think as being POINTED in any of the
    8 cylinder positions) wew as long as TDC (on comp. is where you start.)

    ya getting this so far.... probably not...

    anaway the happy combination of the long screwdriver and (dropping it in ) WHERE ---YOU --- want it is possible

    what most think is the rotor has to point ---lets say--- to the front of the engine---
    no ...
    it can be at ANY of the 1 8 4 3 6 5 7 2 (cap locations) as long as it points to #1(on / in the cap)

    its just to easy so many may not get it...
    wish i was there to make it easy and
    show you
    just like setting them lifters (that hotshotenginebildersjustdonotget)
    good luck

  17. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,228


    A long screw driver in hands that don't know what they are doing has a great chance of damaging a piston when it is too damned easy to just bump the engine over on compression and bring #1 up on tdc and line up the timing marks.

    You just crank the engine over as Hotroddin said and let it drop.

    Then bring it around and up on compression on #1 and line the timing marks up on the damper and timing tab and make sure that the rotor is pointing to the spot on the distributor where it lines up with the terminal on the cap that number one wire goes in.

    To bring the engine up on compression on number one cylinder pull the number one plug. That is the front plug on the drivers side on that engine.

    Make sure that you have the timing marks on the damper and timing tab clean so you can see them.

    Have a helper bump the engine over with the starter by using quick turn release motions on the key. A remote starter button really helps here as then you can bump it over with your left hand while you put your index finger on your right hand over the spark plug hole on number one cylinder.

    Tap the engine over so the compression blows against your finger. Stop and check to see if the marks are lined up or close to lined up. Repeat until you get it up on compression with the marks lined up.
    Then check your distributor to get the rotor lined up right by turning the distributor a bit. the cam on the distributor should have the points open in the right spot. Tighten the bolt on the distributor clamp, put the cap back on, put the plug back in and fire up the engine.

    When I was teaching Automechanics in a high school we would have a contest every year to see which team of students could put our Ford 289 training aid engine in time and fire it up. They started with the distributor laying on top of the engine with the engine out of time and the points out of adjustment. I had one pair of kids who cold pull number one plug, put the engine in time, drop the distributor in and set the points and fire the engine in just under 50 seconds with several teams that did it under a minute and a half.
  18. 64impala
    Joined: Sep 14, 2012
    Posts: 79


    Forgot to mention that I'm running an HEI setup, no points! Would that make a difference in setting up the #1 on tdc?
  19. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,166


    Nope, TDC on marks, rotor pointing to #1 wire
  20. Here is where most people get confused: point the rotor at #1 plug wire on distributor cap when #1 cylinder (DRIVERS FRONT) is at TDC! What people do is point the rotor at the actual #1 cylinder and wonder why it won't run because this is wrong and easy to get confused if your not familiar with the process. Something i did 35 years ago and was shown the correct method to install distributor.
  21. isky1843
    Joined: Feb 3, 2011
    Posts: 157


    Mr48- the screwdriver shouldn't get anywhere near the piston. It's for aligning the oil pump shaft.

    It seems like there are a lot of people who prefer to drop the distributor in and bump the engine over with the starter to get the pump shaft engaged. I am probably going to get flamed for this but to me that is a half assed way to do it. I don't mean to offend anyone by saying that but why not teach a beginner the "correct" way to do it before showing him the little tricks used in the pits when in a hurry between rounds, which is where I have seen the starter bump thing done a bunch. Just my .02

    64impala- it would be a good idea to get a book on rebuilding small block Chevys. It will be a good reference to have in the garage.
  22. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    from Noo Yawk

    When installing my dizzy in my 283, I simply rotated the oil pump drive slot into the proper position with a long screwdriver. It took me 2 seconds.

    What is wrong with this approach? Why bump the engine?
  23. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,188

    from Michigan

    Bingo!.... You win a cookie....:D
  24. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Lots of ways thrown out on this one but if you didn't mark the dist. and rotor position when you pulled the dist. Just start from stratch and retime the engine as described above.
  25. henryj1951
    Joined: Sep 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,310

    from USA

    rotor cap and wire, align, then its GTG
  26. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771


    mainly cuz its a quick and easy way to get the job done....and so this simple thread doesn't go on for 3 pages.

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