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Hot Rods SBC distributor - stuck in block

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bantam, Aug 13, 2020.

  1. bantam
    Joined: Oct 16, 2006
    Posts: 327


    A couple of weeks ago the sbc in my 1932 RPU started ran for a few seconds and died like normal because it was the first start in about a week or two. On the second attempt it would only crank.

    - Checked for spark. No spark
    - Checked for pulsing current on negative side of distributor. Only getting a solid 12 volts. No pulse.
    - Figured ignition module in distributor died. Replaced module. No change.
    - Ordered new distributor.
    - Went to pull old distributor and replace it, but it will pull up about an inch, and then stuck solid as can be. Can lower it back down in the hole no problem.
    - Hand crank over engine a 1/2 a revolution. See that rotor is turning with distributor.
    - Try to pull out distributor again. Same problem. Cannot pull the dog gone thing out of the block Will pull up about an 1" and then will not go any further.

    This engine only has 2500 miles on it. So not full of sludge.

    Is there anything that would cause me to both lose spark and also not be able to pull the distributor?

    Are these two unrelated issues?

    Ideas on next steps?

    thanks - Bantam
  2. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,245

    from Indiana

    Will the distributor pull far enough to disengage the cam/ distributor gear? The only thing I can think of would be the cross pin that holds the distributor gear to the shaft has come partially out and won't let it pass. I'm not sure that is even possible, but I've never seen one that would come loose then stick. If the gear is spinning on the shaft, that would cause it to lose spark.
  3. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,524

    from Michigan

    Oh, shit!.... :(
    I'm sure someone will come up with an idea to get that thing out.....;)
  4. You’ve got a F O R D
    Force only removes distributors :D:p

  5. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 6,717


    Oh yes it will:)

    I'd suggest modding up a slide hammer. Distributor might become the sacrificial lamb.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  6. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,554


    I've never seen a drive gear pin come loose on one but there is a first time for everything.
    You did completely remove the retainer and not just loosen the bolt several turns and slide it back?
  7. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,974

    from Berry, AL

    Probably the O ring has swelled up and has too much resistance to pull it out by hand. Gonna have to pry with a bar or something.
    studebaker46 likes this.
  8. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,749


    How did it run before,
  9. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 1,478


    IF it is the roll pin, which seems rather unlikely, try hand turning the engine which will also turn the distributor shaft. Try pulling it up in different positions. Maybe turn the rotor 45 degrees between stops and attempts. If the pin is sticking out and perhaps hanging on the cam gear there might be a position it will clear.

    Truckdoctor Andy and X-cpe like this.
  10. What O ring?
  11. Try loosening up the intake, or unbolting it completely. It will come out with ease then.
    pitman and ClayMart like this.
  12. bantam
    Joined: Oct 16, 2006
    Posts: 327


    Ok guys - took the advice provided:

    - Turned the engine by hand another 45 degrees
    - Put a pry bar under the distributor mounting base and pried upward. With more force than I really wanted to put on it, the thing popped loose.
    - No noticeable wear or damage to distributor gear. Pin still nice and tight.

    - Next problem, spent an hour trying to stab the new distributor in. Cannot get to go the last 1/4-1/2". Normally that is due to misalignment with the oil pump drive. However, regardless of what I did to align, including the method of putting downward pressure on the distributor while turning the engine over by hand, I could not get the distributor to seat.

    Spent an hour trying.

    Got frustrated.

    Shut off the lights.

    Hobbies should be fun. Hobbies should be fun. Hobbies should be fun. Had to repeat that to myself a few times.

    Will try again this evening or this weekend.

    Thanks for the input.

    catdad49 and wheeldog57 like this.
  13. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,364


    Sounds like something is off. What intake manifold is on the engine?
  14. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 2,038


    Deep breaths bro. You can beat this, good luck and keep us posted
  15. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,107

    anthony myrick

    Do you think it’s not engaging with the oil pump drive?
    Or is it hanging up before it reaches it?
  16. Kind a hard to say because it was going up and down an inch with the old distributor (shaft fine) now it goes in except for the last quarter inch.

    Is there any witness marks from some sing making it hang up on the old distributor
  17. bantam
    Joined: Oct 16, 2006
    Posts: 327


    When I get home I am going to measure the distance between the top of the intake and the top of the oil pump drive. Then mark that stance out on the distributor shaft and see if I am relative to that line and the top of the intake when I try to re-stab the distributor.

    I did verify that both the old and new distributor are the exact same length. They are.

    Running an older Edelbrock tri-power intake. The one with the breather tube on the front. Can't remember exact model.
  18. loosen up the intake. that is what is causing all you problems. When you put an intake onto a small block you should always set the intake on, start all the bolts in the holes and then put the distributor in, making sure it goes in an out with ease, and nothing binding up on it. Your intake is shifted a little front or rear not letting you get it all the way with ease.
  19. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,382

    from illinois

    Get a different hobby Get a different hobby Get a different hobby .......
  20. Ericnova72
    Joined: May 1, 2007
    Posts: 463


    Nailhead Jason may be right on this....I know all your current aftermarket intakes have a bigger than stock distributor hole in them, probably for that reason since the distributor doesn't need some tight tolerance alingment at the top end...that double-banded section at the botton controls all the locating needs....the intake hole and anchor point just keep it from wobbling around and turning, altering the timing setting.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
    catdad49, Truckdoctor Andy and jaw22w like this.
  21. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 749


    Recently had the same problem trying to stab a new Holley Dist. into a 305, would not drop down the last inch or so no matter how much force applied. Pulled out and I could clearly see the scrape marks on the aluminum lower part of shaft. I knew it would'nt take much to clearance it so I used strips of crocus cloth to sand it down a bit, lubed it up and it dropped in. You may have the same problem but clearencing it might be hard to to if it;s stock cast. Ralphie
  22. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,364


    The scrape on the lower shaft is most likely caused by misalignment up at the intake. You want a good fit at the bottom for oiling, and oil pump / spark scatter. I would not be grinding on the lower distributor shaft. Fix the real issue.
  23. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,974

    from Berry, AL

    Brain fart. I was thinking it had a o ring for some reason.
  24. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,608


    Saw one of those very low cost aluminum intake several years back. The distributor hole was not drilled exactly inline as it should have been.
  25. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 544

    from grandin nd

    you have the same problem for both issues-oil pump shaft stuck in the bottom of the distributor-when you trying to pull it up ,the shaft was pulling off the pump instead and the guide sleeve[probably steel and pinned to the shaft ]would let it come up about 1/2 inch till it hit the main used enough force to get the shaft to finally pull out of the distributor and now the damaged shaft [or/and] distributor won't slide together easily.get the flashlight out and check to of shaft and bottom of distributor
  26. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 544

    from grandin nd

    P.S. this usually happens when something momentarily stops the oil pump-metal,trash etc
  27. You got it out. But next time that happens if ever. Spray WD-40 or equal product onto distributor housing below the retainer collar and down into engine block. Then with a twisting motion pull up.
  28. bantam
    Joined: Oct 16, 2006
    Posts: 327


    Thanks for the input on the intake. I tried once more tonight to get the distributor in. 30 luck. Going to pull the intake and reset it after checking for distributor fit and also pulling the oil pan to check out the oil pump and shaft.

    Since I am doing all of that I decided to do a cam swap. Never been happy with the cam I chose. For too high of an RPM range relative to the tire size, gearing and converter that's in it. Going to tone it down and get more low-end power.

    As I need to talk to Lunati or some other cam manufacturer on Monday, place the order, wait for the cam to come it will be a while before I report back on the issue that was hosing me up in the first place with the distributor.

    Thanks for all of your help.

    pitman, catdad49, chopped and 2 others like this.
  29. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,052

    from oregon

    While you have the pan off, unbolt the oil pump cover and check for scoring.
  30. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Sure the "new" distributor is't for a 348/409 W-block engine? Clean and lube the hole in the intake manifold and block; might be varnished up and the reason the "old" distributor was stuck. If you first don't succeed, try, try a,d try again. It'll drop in when you least expect it. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.

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