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why did buick put the dist. in the front?


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I was working on a friends 77 Buick LeSabre with a factory equipped Buick 350. When he told me it was a 350, and even at first glance I thought to myself, "Ahhh, another SBChebby 350, this outa be a slice of pie", but then I discovered this was no Chebby motor, this is a friggin' Buick! Exciting it was; it was the first time I'd ever actually worked on a Buick 350! I noticed the distributor is in front of the carb as opposed to behind. Any paticular logical reason why Buick did this, or just another oddball engine design cue?

Dohknow, thought it might somehow be a better design as opposed to the traditional dist. placement.

Thanks for any input,

~Oldsmobuick~

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With the "real" Buick engine, both six and eight cylinders, the oil pump is in the timing cover making it a lot easier to service the pump as you do not have to drop the oil pan to work on it. Also, if you have to service the distributor (try reaching back to rear of the engine from in front of the bumper on a '73 Electra), the front location is much easier. Just a couple of thoughts to throw out there.

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actually, chevrolet is kinda in the minority for having a rear distributer, as i believe fords and mopars have theirs in front too. the only advantage i can think of to a rear distributer is if the timeing gears go out or the cam breaks the engine dies right away thus [maybe] saving the valves and piston tops. in another odd fluke of bad luck, it also keeps more water out of the distributor cap if you go through deep water and it splashes up on the engine. i am not sure of the advantage or disadvantage of power loss due to the added stress on the engine power train, but i think it is all symantics anyway. i like my distributer in front. thanks

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I think that the engine's intended application is the deciding factor for distributor placement, dictated by oil pump and sump placement. If you have done many engine swaps between manufacturers you will find that (for example - I know this is a buick discussion) chevys are rear sump (generally) fords are front. I think this is to clear the front crossmember on the car or truck they're intended for. Just an observation?

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I alwys liked the rear distributor (as in my nailhead). The front mounted distributor (as in my 64 Skylark) tends to have a habit of getting wet in the rain. Of course we don't tend to worry about these things, as, for the most part, our old buicks aren't daily drivers.Steve

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