distributor replacement best practices?

Dan Cordon cord4530 at uidaho.edu
Sat Apr 10 00:01:01 EDT 2004

> Does anyone have a handy writeup for 3B distributor replacement? The
> archives reveal mention of a tamper-resistant cover and difficult-to-reach
> clamp nut, along with the alignment issue. Nothing specific on SJM or
> Miller's site. Is it not really that hard of a job, just a bit difficult to
> reach things without removing intake manifold? I have had a metal-geared
> distributor kicking around for couple years and would like to get it in
> there to see if it fixes the intermittent cutout issue (darn plastic gear).
> Henry Harper

First, the instructions that Bernie is going to send you are great. I 
used them when putting in my replacement distributor and was happy to 
have them. Once you've done the process though, you'll find the 
instructions *far* more clear.

If equipped, getting the tamper-resistent cover out of the way is a big 
PITA. Heck, just locating the cover and hold-down nut is a pain. I found 
it helpful to remove the cap/wires to get a better view of things. I 
also found that one of my cheap distributor wrenches (designed for 
domestic V8's) fit perfectly over the nut on the audi. That tool was a 
blessing...especially since I've never had to use it on a V8 :o)

When putting my distributor back in, I found it very sensitive to 
position. Even if you line things up just how they were, there's a 
chance you'll have to make very slight adjustments to the distributor 
rotation to get it to run again. I rotated mine probably 1° at a time, 
until it started, then I locked it down there. However, mine has very 
temporarily stumbled maybe 6 times since then, so I should rotate it 
another degree or so. Actually, I should probably do the timing belt and 

Dan Cordon
Mechanical Engineer - Engine Research Facility
University of Idaho

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