John Jacques

Distributor problems

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Good Morning to all, I am a new member to this forum and am in need of HELP. The question I have may sound like it's being asked by someone that is inexperienced in auto repairs which I am not, but on the other hand, I am in no way an expert. Here's my question, I am having difficulties in installing a distributor in my 1937 Buick 46S. I previously have removed, then reinstalled the distributor a number of times successfully, but now all of a sudden I can't seem to have it fall into the correct position. It does drop but not all the way, stopping about 3/8" from its final resting position. Anybody out there with a cure to my sudden stupidity?

Thanks, Jakes

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1 hour ago, John Jacques said:

Good Morning to all, I am a new member to this forum and am in need of HELP. The question I have may sound like it's being asked by someone that is inexperienced in auto repairs which I am not, but on the other hand, I am in no way an expert. Here's my question, I am having difficulties in installing a distributor in my 1937 Buick 46S. I previously have removed, then reinstalled the distributor a number of times successfully, but now all of a sudden I can't seem to have it fall into the correct position. It does drop but not all the way, stopping about 3/8" from its final resting position. Anybody out there with a cure to my sudden stupidity?

Thanks, Jakes

 

The drive tang on the bottom of the distributor shaft isn't aligned with the oil pump drive shaft. Use a flat blade screwdriver to turn the oil pump drive shaft slightly to align with the distributor drive tang.

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I am aware that the drive tang must be in alignment with the oil pump shaft. I have inserted the distributor to where the tang falls into the oil pump shaft and the distributor shaft will not move (by hand), but like I mentioned, its about 3/8" from seating. I'm able to raise the distributor just enough out so that the tang is out of the oil pump shaft then I can rotate the shaft slightly. Any position that the distributor is installed it always fall short by 3/8" from being correctly installed. I set the timing (on the flywheel) at "Advanced" and made sure #3 exhaust valve started to open prior to dropping in the distributor  to #1 plug wire. I am not that familiar with this straight 8 motor and wondering if there is something I'm missing.

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Had three other car guys try to install this distributor without success. Even with the distributor installed 3/8" from being seated, when the engine is rolled over by hand and the rotor turns (like it should), it still doesn't seat. With the distributor out, the oil pump is pumping oil up and to each rocker. If it wasn't pumping then I might suspect the oil pump. Oh yeah, and when I had the distributor out, the oil pump shaft did not wobble sideways or up/down. I'm stumped!!

Jakes

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I'm taking a leap, but cannot be anything but failure of the distributor shaft and oil pump shaft to key together, typically a 3/8' overlap. As mentioned key is getting the tang into the poon! 

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Any possibility it only goes in one way and won't go in 180o out?

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My distributor is offset in my Dodge truck engine... one way only will it drop into the intermediate shaft.

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This is definitely getting to me. The distributor shaft does fall into the oil pump shaft, but I do not know why it doesn't drop all the way down. nothing damaged in the distributor or oil pump shaft to prevent it from dropping all the way down.  Yes, the distributor can be installed 180 degrees off. I have try positioning it tooth by tooth and alway 3/8" shy of seating. As mentioned earlier, I have had this distributor in and out a few times without any problems.

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Are you allowing for the rotation of the shaft as it goes down.  Sometimes the simplest thing can stump us.

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Why did you take it out and what did you do to it while it was out?

 

 

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Could there be some debri in the slot?

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I purchased this car from a gentleman who had been restoring it for nearly 30 years, unfortunately he passed away. That said , he had had the engine completely rebuilt and there was no oil in it. I removed the distributor to prime the oil pump. Installing distributors is nothing new to me as I have done it many, many times in the past. There is zero debris in the slot, nothing to prevent it from seating. Thanks for all of your thoughts and comments. Who knows maybe someone out there might know the cure. Thanks again, Jakes.

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On one of my cars, the '35 Auburn, the distributor's male drive slot drops down into a female slot that is part of a round collar attached via a screw to a removable shaft with a tapered end. The shaft extends down to the oil pump and/or camshaft drive gear (I don't remember which). The idea is that it is adjustable; loosening the screw enables you to turn the distributor to the position you want, and then adjust the position of the rotor as needed, then take the distributor back out and retighten the screw and reinstall the distributor. Seems like I did just that when I restored the car 25 years ago. And the slots are offset, so they go together only one way. If your engine has a similar setup, it is possible that the screw has come loose and is sticking up too far, blocking the slot engagement. Or, that the collar held by the screw isn't fully seated on the taper of the removable shaft. Or that the screw has been replaced by one with a head that sticks up too high. It is also possible that your distributor doesn't go with this particular engine. If you can find someone with the same engine, perhaps you can exchange specifications/pictures, or even compare everything side by side. Also, again if similar to the Auburn, the adjustable external plate that when loosened allows you to turn the distributor to set the timing could be in the wrong vertical position -- too low or too high.   

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Jakes, you said you had previously had the distributor out and back in several times. IF nothing was done to the distributor and/or oil pump, there is no logical reason it will not seat. Did you change or modify ANYTHING.? We are assuming here you are using the SAME distributor.  

 

  Ben

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Just a thought.  What if the oil pump shaft slipped up some ( out of the gear ) could take a long screw driver and turn the pump shaft and at the same time applying downward pressure to try to reseat the shaft.. or check the depth from the face of the block to the bottom of the slot in the pump shaft that way you would if the problem is in the oil pump or   the distributor. Just thinking.  Mike

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Thanks Mike for the thought. That was my thinking also. As mentioned, with the distributor out I checked the oil pump shaft for play. There was no play up/down/sideways and the oil pump was producing pressure to lube the top end on the motor. As far as measuring the distances in relationship to the matching up of the shaft and the distributor, I also did that. All seems to be correct, so my question is "Why is there that 3/8" preventing the distributor from seating". Mystery!!! Wish I had a diagram of the working inner parts of the oil pump. Perhaps that might shed some light on this subject.

Thanks again!!

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Hi Ben, thanks for your response. Yes, this is the same distributor, and the correct one for this engine (Delco 663Y), the only distributor that I have. I, and other people that attempted to install this distributor are saying the same thing "WHY"! No modification were made, this is 100% original.

 

IMG_1912.JPG

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James, I really do appreciate your thoughts and what you discovered was the problem with your 1935 Auburn., and wish that was my case here. This Buick engine's set up is different from your Auburn. No type of shaft adjustment on this Buick. It would be great to find someone in my area (Detroit) with this engine to compare too.

Thanks, Jakes 

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Try measuring down into the drive slot with a long screwdriver. Mark where the screwdriver shank lines up with the seat for the distributor. Compare that distance to the distributor shaft. If there is a difference, you have a problem with the drive shaft not being fully seated.

 

Paul

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Give us a few pics of the distributor and if you can get one down the hole, with and without tape measure.  Remember, pictures are worth a thousand words.  When you measured down the hole and the distributor shaft were the measurements the same?  Maybe it will take a bigger hammer????  LOL

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Well, let me try again. Back in the '70s I restored a '64 Lincoln Continental. Pulled the distributor before sending the engine out for rebuild. When it came time to reinstall, I never could get it all the way in -- close, but not all the way, maybe 1/8th inch short. But when I started the car, the distributor popped right down into place. That has been the case a couple of other times over the years. Don't have an explanation, unless it was just the wear pattern on the gears preventing complete initial meshing. I've since put 100,000 miles on that car.

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Paul, Dale, James, thanks, you all have good idea's, that got me thinking. Perhaps what James stated that it wasn't until he started his engine is when his distributor dropped. Well maybe (and from how my distributor stops dropping short of seating ) the distributor gear and the cam gear just aren't lined up correctly. I'm not going to start the engine, but I will slowing hand crank the engine and give the two gears a chance to mesh correctly. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Dale attached are the photos you requested.

Thanks, Jakes

 

photo 1 - oil pump shaft

photo2 - tape on top of oil pump shaft -3"
photo 3- tape in slot of oil pump - 3-1/2"
 



 

IMG_1918.JPG

IMG_1919.JPG

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Try submitting them after you back out of this thread and then coming back in.  I have had problems uploading photos also, but once I leave the thread and come back I can upload more.  File size is too big.

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Not sure if this instruction has been said for getting the Distributor to drop into place:  ( 2 persons & plugs out.) "Push the distributor down by hand while cranking the engine, when the two shafts are aligned, the distributer will drop into place."  

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