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Distributor rebuilder


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I have a mid thirties Delco distributor along with a starter and generator to go through and thought I would see if anyone has a favorite place that does nice work in a reasonable amount of time ( notice that I did not say I wanted it fast, perfect and cheap).  Would like to find someone that uses a a sun machine as a final test.  I know that there is AER that is well liked but I worry about the comments about being slow to call back, I understand what it is like to run a small business including a few of the pitfalls ( ask me how I know) I appreciate all those that take time to respond,

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A fellow on this forum does distributor rebuilding.  His screen name is tom_in_nh and people who have used his services seem to have positive experiences with him.  You might want to contact him.

 

Terry

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Most good shops are very busy, and require advance notice to get a time slot to get any major service done. Correctly rebuilding a Delco distributor isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. The biggest problem is plating. Time, lost parts, missing and worn parts......it all adds up to more work and costs than one would expect. Add in rivets, data plates, paint, bad pot metal on some units.......and you can spend quite a bit of money. I spent the day setting up two 1930 V-16 Cadillac distributors. Both cars were restored and serviced by “one of the top restoration shops in the country”. They had incorrect modern points and wrong condensers. The gap was not correct for them, and the  syncnaratizon was incorrect. They also glass beaded the internals, and didn’t replate them, so they were rusty. Doing thing right takes time and money, and many people just don’t even know how to do things correctly anymore.  It’s the small details that make the cars run, and more often than not, they are overlooked.

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Just thought I would add a little history.  I started this project when I was 12 years old , I am now 59.  I started out by subscribing to Cars and Parts and then Hemmings when there were less than 20,000 subscribers of course I knew right away how to restore a antique so I spent my thirteenth year totally taking this rather rare vehicle down to the last nut and bolt and became a little overwhelmed! Over the years I would work on it a bit at a time without making any real progress.  Two years ago I realised I needed to either finish it or it would someday end up in a dumpster, time to make up for the sins of youth, my goal is to get it done by the end of this year.

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OK, so I've had my starter and distributor/generator restored by AES (Advanced Electrical Rebuilders) in Michigan and yes the wait was very long. Almost a year for my generator/distributor and about 8 months for my starter. Now the distributor had some frozen parts and the distributor mounting bracket had to be made via 3d printing method since the original was pot metal and had numerous cracks.  The restored version is almost too nice to put on a car and get oily and greasy. A work of art. But I'm finding all restoration of antique parts usually takes a long time since not everyone is doing this anymore.  I sent my 28 Durant radiator to The Brassworks for rebuilding, and the quote was 12 weeks to get the parts and another 4 to finish the restoration. My radiator emblem was sent off for restoration and the quote was 3 to 6 months depending on difficulties.  I took my differential down to have it blasted and painted and the guy has had it 6 months.  One thing I've learned is you can't be in a hurry when your restoring a car that's for sure.

  IMG_0454.thumb.jpg.8e95ad198da1d938ac1c01f901f9e949.jpgGeneratorDistribpicture1.jpeg.297c98b41e1b919635b5db6aec9c608a.jpeg

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On 3/22/2018 at 12:03 AM, ramair said:

I started this project when I was 12 years old , I am now 59.

Not bad just one inch at a time . you will win I am sure as long as you don't "-----------" that word is not in my vocabulary . As a kidd my Father told me quitters never finish what they start ! work like you make 100.00 A hr. and one day you will !! My favorite--" Make Jesus proud of you is all that matters to me.  "    Off to a grate start . don't slow down now.--kyle

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If you do it all yourself - 

- You learn a lot

- It is finished in your time

- It costs a lot less - (maybe, see next point)

- You get to buy a lot of tools that you never knew you needed :rolleyes:

- There is the satisfaction that you that did it

And when you get in trouble - There are incredible experienced experts on this site that are more than willing to guide you every step of the way. 

Just saying 

Paul

 

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6 hours ago, sligermachine said:

Not bad just one inch at a time . you will win I am sure as long as you don't "-----------" that word is not in my vocabulary . As a kidd my Father told me quitters never finish what they start ! work like you make 100.00 A hr. and one day you will !! My favorite--" Make Jesus proud of you is all that matters to me.  "    Off to a grate start . don't slow down now.--kyle

Off to a grate start? How do you start a grate? Something like the fire under a grate in a BBQ? OK. Great. :P Dandy Dave!   

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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Paul

 I agree with you about doing it yourself and in my case I'm restoring two cars at the same time. My 1928 and my TR6. I live in a home owners association controlled community that limits what can be done in my garage and house. Small parts I blast, paint and restore myself, but painting large items like a frame etc I have to farm out. I dismantled my 28 down to the frame, and I am now reassembling it piece by piece like so many others can. But sometimes you just have to reach out and let someone else do it, if you don't have the time or expertise. Why not?  Could I re-wire a generator, probably, a starter probably, although I have no experience in that.  In my case and to me it just makes sense to farm some things out and get it done and ready to be installed while you work on something else.

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I think I have found someone to rebuild my distributor, its on its way several thousand miles away, I was surprised that very few shops that advertise distributor repair even own a distributor machine, I feel lucky and thankful that we have this forum to find help, thank you all that responded,

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8 hours ago, ramair said:

I was surprised that very few shops that advertise distributor repair even own a distributor machine, I feel lucky and thankful that we have this forum to find help, thank you all that responded,

 

Its cammon that many shops do not have the required equipment or skills to do may things today. Fact is many shops sub contract out more than fifty percent of the car......which causes delays, increased costs, and warranty issues. Distributor machines are an absolute requirement if working on any car pre 1970......... I bought my first one at age 16 and have owned a total of four different ones over the years, upgrading to a better unit each time. I recently put a dual point distributor off a multi cylinder CCCA on my machine after a recent restoration from a known good shop........not one that I have ever used....... and the points were out of synchronization, and were not even correct for the application.......either the shop didn’t want to spend the money to get the right points, or were not even able to realize they had the wrong points in the distributor. Attention to detail is what makes a great restoration, and a good running car. Sadly today, lots of shops can paint and assemble cars, but most can’t make them run right. 

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Dustys electric in fox lake il. He rebuilt the gen and starter for my 38 flathead . I work on old Harleys as well and he’s who rebuilds all the generators for me . Extremely knowledgeable ,honest and won’t take you over the coals on price 

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I think that some shops do not have the floor space for extra machines so they say they do not need it and they think that if they rebush a distributor that will fix 99% of distributor problems. I have argued with some that the need for the distributor machine is even more important now as the aftermarket parts are marginal at best and the cam is made out of unobtanium. 

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