How To Replace The Distributor (Timing Disturbed)
If you've removed the distributor and you've lost the engine to distributor timing, you can still pretty easily sync everything back and get the engine started.
In this section I'll show you how in a step-by-step manner.
Also, if you're replacing the distributor with a new one and don't have the old distributor, don't worry since you don't need it for any type of reference.
This is what you'll need to do:
- Place cylinder #1 on its compression stroke's top dead center (TDC) position.
- This first step is important. You can find the step-by-step instructions here: How To Find Cylinder #1 Top Dead Center (On Its Compression Stroke).
- Grab the distributor cap and on its outside, mark the location of the rotor contact for cylinder #1 with a bright color marker (preferably an oil based marker).
- What is the rotor contact? This is the metal terminal under the cap which channels the spark from the distributor rotor to the spark plug wire.
- IMPORTANT: The rotor contact on the inside of the cap and the tower where the #1 spark plug cable connects to, on the outside of the distributor cap, do not line up directly (like in any other conventional distributor type ignition system) and are offset in relation to each other.
- Mark the location of the rotor contact for cylinder #1 on the distributor's housing. You'll be aligning the distributor rotor to this mark in the next step. Here's how to make the mark:
- Place the distributor cap on the distributor.
- Make a corresponding mark (of the mark you just made of the rotor contact on the distributor cap) on the housing of the distributor, where the cap meets the distributor housing.
- When done, remove the distributor cap.
- As you install the distributor into the engine:
- The distributor rotor should align with the mark you made with the oil-based marker on the distributor's metal housing (where the distributor cap meets the distributor) as the distributor shaft seats into the engine.
- The distributor hold down bolt slot (on the distributor shaft's base) should align to the distributor hold down bolt hole in the engine (see image 2 of 2 in the image viewer).
- If the distributor rotor DOES NOT align with the oil-based marker mark and/or the hold-down bolt slot (on the base of the distributor shaft) DOES NOT line up to the bolt hole on the engine:
- Remove the distributor.
- Slightly move the distributor rotor clockwise or counter-clockwise and re-insert the distributor.
- Once the distributor is fully seated, all marks should match up.
- If the marks do not line up, remove the distributor and repeat the process.
- Once you're satisfied that the rotor aligns to the oil-based marker mark (on the distributor housing) and the hold-down bolt slot (on the base of the distributor shaft) lines up to the bolt hole on the engine, you can now tighten down the distributor.
You are now ready to start the engine and set the ignition timing to specification with a timing light.
Where To Buy The Ignition Distributor (and Parts)
You can find the distributor and its components (spark plug wires, cap, rotor, etc.) in just about any auto parts store but you'll probably pay more for them there.
Check out the bottom links and comparison shop. If you're not sure if the following parts fit your particular vehicle, don't worry, once you get to the site, they'll make sure it fits and if it doesn't, they'll find you the right parts.
More 3.0L Chrysler Tutorials
You can find a complete list of tutorials in this index: Chrysler 3.0L Index Of Articles.
- How To Test Engine Compression (1987-2000 3.0L Chrysler).
- How To Test The MAP Sensor (1991-1995 3.0L Chrysler).
- How To Test The Throttle Position Sensor (1991-1995 3.0L Chrysler).
- How To Test For A Broken Timing Belt (1998-2000 3.0L SOHC Chrysler).
- Ignition Distributor System Tests 3.0L Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth (at: easyautodiagnostics.com).
If this info saved the day, buy me a beer!