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Pertronix Distributor Help!!!  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 04-20-2007 11:53 pm
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flatlanderep
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I'm in the middle of installing the pertronix distributor in my 74 JH.
Everything is at TDC, the old one is out and I've positioned the new one in place with the rotor arm in the same direction as the original.
It doesn't want to seem to go all the way in though.
There is about 1/4" of the shaft exposed (note picture). Is that how its supposed to be or is it just that the clamp sucks?

Also, do I need to transfer over the vaccuum canister from the old dist. to this one? Or is it not even necessary with the pertronix?

Thanks guys,

Paul

Attachment: pertronix.jpg (Downloaded 88 times)

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 Posted: 04-21-2007 01:36 am
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Judson Manning
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Notice the distributor is protruding just about the exact height of the drive dog?  You just don't have it lined-up properly in the shaft.

Remove the cap, and while pushing the distributor into the accessory housing, rotate the rotor until the dog engages into the shaft.  The dog is slightly offset, so it only goes in one way, and my guess is that you have it 180^ out of rotation.  The fun part is getting the cap back on and remembering to keep the retaining clips accessible.

BTW there is precisely zero chance the new distributor will line up with your old one.  Plan on rotating the engine by hand a number of times and mixing plug wire locations to get the correct firing order.  Above all, take your time (no pun intended).

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 Posted: 04-21-2007 01:56 am
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flatlanderep
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So once its installed timing is going to be way off?

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 Posted: 04-21-2007 04:01 am
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Jensen Healey
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It will be way off. Do a static timing before you try to start the engine.

Kurt

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 Posted: 04-21-2007 04:36 am
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flatlanderep
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Jensen Healey wrote: It will be way off. Do a static timing before you try to start the engine.

Kurt

This may be a totally ignorant question, but I'm new to all this. What is the exact procedure for this?

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 Posted: 04-21-2007 03:39 pm
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Judson Manning
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You really need to remove the timing belt, but if you are not comfortable doing that, it is possible (but difficult, time consuming, and rather annoying) to recover static timing by another method.

Your first limitation will be fitting the distributor under the manifold.  There is not a lot of room under there so do what you can to fit it such that you can rotate the distributor body as much as possible.  Next you have to identify which terminal on the distributor cap best lines up with the rotor (i.e. #1 plug wire).

Once you attach the plug wires to the cap (1-3-4-2), oh, and BTW you WILL install them backward at least once!  then you can take a reading to see just how far off you are.

I suggest you get another set of cheap plugs, install them to the wires and lay them on the intake manifold where you can see them.  Label 1-4.  When you rotate the engine by hand you can see (and hear) each plug fire.  Note the timing when 1 & 3 fire, 2 & 4 will be 180^ out of rotation (that is IF you installed the plugs to the rotor correctly!).

Now comes the fun part...you have to rotate the distributor and possibly reset the plug wires on the cap in order to get static timing for  1 & 3 to approximately 10^ BTDC.  This will be a very frustrating and time consuming process as you iterate to a solution.  Each time you move the distributor, you have to rotate the engine several times to check and re-check the timing, your knuckles will NOT be happy.

At the end of the day, there may simply not be enough room under the manifold to rotate the distributor enough to make it all line-up.  Then you're back to removing the timing belt.

Again, take your time and you'll do just fine.

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 Posted: 04-22-2007 06:04 am
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flatlanderep
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Thanks Judson for all the help!
The distributor is out and I'm trying to get the new one in.
Like you said my knuckles won't like it. And they definately don't.
I have the new pertronix aligned perfectly (or so it would seem). I have it going in just like the old one, it snaps in, but then there's that freaking 1/4" that still remains outside.
I'm stumped.
Any tips for actually getting this thing to get in there perfectly?
Out of ideas.
Thanks,
Paul

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 Posted: 04-22-2007 09:01 pm
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flatlanderep
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After a few more hours of fruitless effort and frustration I still have yet to get the new distributor in.
It's quite unbelievable.
So I decided to examine both the old and the new closely. And they look like they could be different enough to cause me the troulbe of not being able to get it in that last .25 inch.
I attached a few pictures to illustrate the problem here.
Is it a manufacturer defect, machined wrong, or am I just an idiot?
Please helP!

Attachment: compare.jpg (Downloaded 63 times)

Last edited on 04-22-2007 09:02 pm by flatlanderep

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 Posted: 04-22-2007 09:02 pm
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flatlanderep
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A picture showing the gap that just wont' go in.....

Attachment: dist-gap.jpg (Downloaded 326 times)

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 Posted: 04-22-2007 09:03 pm
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flatlanderep
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And some random spring that fell out of the hole that the distributor goes in.....
what is this?

Attachment: spring.jpg (Downloaded 322 times)

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 Posted: 04-23-2007 01:33 pm
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Judson Manning
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The spring fits into the auxillary shaft.  Another tip, remove the distributor clamp from the housing and install (loosely) on the distributor prior to re-assembly.  It tends to deform easlily and is probably is out-of-round just enough that it's blocking that last bit of distributor from going in.

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 Posted: 04-23-2007 05:58 pm
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Greg Fletcher
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The distributor install can be a real annoyance and is indeed is one of the "black arts" on the Jensen Healey. I know it must seem incredible, but I think you still have the drive dog in the wrong spot. You need the cap off, apply slight presure to the housing sideways and VERY slowly rotate the rotor. I'd keep the clamp only slightly snug on the uppermost shaft and not attached to the oil pump housing at all right now. Just get it in place and worry about adjustment later.

As you turn the rotor, sooner or later, you'll feel the drive dog hit home and the entire assembly with go into place. Rotate the clamp to line up with the stud on the housing and tighten up everything enough to keep it in place. Now you can worry about how it should be adjusted.

The first time I did this it took me hours also, I thought I was going crazy. I came back the next day and tried again and it went right in- seemed bizarre at the time, but there's nothing like experinece to save the day. Once you've done it a few times and have "the touch" you'll have no problems. Keep in mind this new distributor is just that, new, the drive dog will not have the wear that your old unit has and it's going to be an even more of a precise fit.

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 Posted: 04-23-2007 06:43 pm
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flatlanderep
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Thanks Greg for the insight.
I guess its the same experience we have going on here because I'm on the verge of crazy.
But I'm going to try again tonight and I'll keep everyone posted!

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 Posted: 04-23-2007 07:44 pm
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Judson Manning
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It only took me about 10 years to get it figured out myself!

I think Madame Currie said an 'expert' is someone who has made EVERY possible mistake possible in a very narrow field.

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 Posted: 04-24-2007 02:04 am
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flatlanderep
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Alright fellas, with your advice I was able to get the pertronix in that last 1/4"!
Got the cap on after some struggle and am now in the process of the whole setting the plugs on the manifold, turning the engine, watching them fire, etc.

And man are they firing wierd. Some runs it will go as intended 1342. Then next rotation only one or two will fire and then none will fire.
I checked all the connections making sure they were tight and all is well.
What would cause some to completely not fire in the rotation?

I also might add that after fitting the distributor in I noticed a slight play within the rotor arm. Now, it wasn't spinning freely, but I'd say about 1/4" play back and forth.
Could this cause the random no spark?

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 Posted: 04-24-2007 04:21 am
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Judson Manning
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The 'play' is the tension caused by the mechanical advance springs - it's doing what it's supposed to do.

With regard to some of the plugs not firing:  verify good connections, but more critical is that you must maintain a constant rotational speed at evey firing point (i.e. TDC & BDC).  Unlike the mechanical 'switch' of standard points, the magnetic reluctor is speed sensitive and downright unreliable if you rotate too slowly. 

Again, unlike points, it is almost impossible to 'sneak-up' on that exact firing point when using a magnetic p/u.  Watch the crank, listen to the spark, and do your best to get it close to 10^BTDC.  In lieu of getting it dialed-in perfectly with a timing light and CO meter, make adjustments for good idle, the road test and re-adjust till you are happy with it.

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 Posted: 04-25-2007 01:51 am
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flatlanderep
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Got everything put back together after the inevitable time consuming process.
Plug 1 and 3 firing perfectly at 10 BTDC.
But the engine won't crank......argh. Adjust the dist. body ever so slightly advance/retard/advance/etc....still nothing.
Then I realized that the 3+ hours I was putting the key in the ignition to check the spark order, that the fuel pump was running. Could this have caused the engine to flood with fuel, causing it not to start?
I mean, the engine rotates, but doesn't start. It coughs once or twice and thats it.

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 Posted: 04-25-2007 02:19 am
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Jensen Healey
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Insulting post deleted

Last edited on 04-25-2007 05:01 am by Jensen Healey

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 Posted: 04-25-2007 02:42 am
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flatlanderep
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Last edited on 04-26-2007 11:46 pm by flatlanderep

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 Posted: 04-25-2007 02:45 am
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flatlanderep
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Last edited on 04-26-2007 11:47 pm by flatlanderep

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