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Author Topic: Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?  (Read 372 times)

Offline cls12vg30

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Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?
« on: 06:44:44 PM / 24-Mar-19 »
So my distributor seems to be 180 off.  I have no idea how.  The car was parked 8 years ago.  It ran then.  I've been trying to get it running again.  I decided to confirm that cam timing so I pulled the plugs and turned the engine by hand.  Got it to TDC according to the marks.  Then I pulled the distributor cap and the the rotor was pointed to the 3:00 position viewed from the front of the car.  That's the contact for cylinder #4.  So the dizzy is 180 degrees off.
Now since the car last ran, the distributor has not been removed.  Neither has the timing belt.  So how in the holy hell is the distro flipped?
« Last Edit: 06:44:56 PM / 24-Mar-19 by cls12vg30 »

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1988 200SX SE V6
2015 Jeep Renegade 1.4T


Offline rednucleus

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Re: Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?
« Reply #1 on: 10:40:24 PM / 24-Mar-19 »
rotate one more time; confirm tdc corresponds to #1 piston up on compression stroke

Offline iceageg

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Re: Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?
« Reply #2 on: 09:40:52 AM / 25-Mar-19 »
rotate one more time; confirm tdc corresponds to #1 piston up on compression stroke

This for sure as the first step.  Ignore the marks and confirm #1 compression stroke.

That said, when I rebuilt the EA engine in my 86 subaru last year I found out that the distributor was assembled 180° off in it's housing.  I spent 45 minutes quadruple checking the alignment of everything, checked the FSM against forum content, etc.  Finally just tried rotating the dizzy and things got better.  Rotated some more and it was better still.  Decided to try a full 180° and it started first crank.  Of course, that was after a rebuild.  Not sitting unchanged for years.  Just saying that the dizzy COULD be wrong, but it would be the second time I've heard of such a thing in my 41 years of breathing.
I was afraid all the five gallon buckets of pain stacked four high were going to fall over

Offline cls12vg30

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Re: Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?
« Reply #3 on: 10:22:19 AM / 25-Mar-19 »
So you guys are saying it's possible that, when the left-most crankshaft timing mark and both camshaft marks are lined up, I'm not actually at TDC, aka top of compression stroke on cylinder #1?  So all the marks are wrong?  That seems even less likely than the distributor flipping itself.  I can shine a light in the spark plug hole to confirm piston travel, but I'd have to pull the valve cover to confirm the valves are closed for the compression stroke.
1988 200SX SE V6
2015 Jeep Renegade 1.4T


Offline iceageg

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Re: Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?
« Reply #4 on: 11:43:23 AM / 25-Mar-19 »
just pull the #1 spark plug and loosely plug it up again with something that will allow airflow or will pop loose.  I've used my finger (probably not long enough to reach the VG plugs), compression tester, screw the plug back in 0.5-1 turn, the rubber boot on the end of the plug wire, rubber screwdriver handle . . . probably a few other things too.  You just need enough of a seal to either hear or feel the piston forcing air out of the plug hole.  Then you remove whatever you were plugging it with and shine a flashlight into the cylinder and watch for the piston to be all the way stopped at the top.

As long as your timing belt did not slip this IS top dead center (vs 180° off) regardless of any other indicators.  Hopefully all the timing marks line up on the sprockets/belt.  If your timing belt slipped/jumped then you have more of a mess.
I was afraid all the five gallon buckets of pain stacked four high were going to fall over

Offline rednucleus

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Re: Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?
« Reply #5 on: 12:30:24 PM / 25-Mar-19 »
If it ran before, and no one has been under your hood, the dizzy is not going to be 180 off

Offline weitrhino

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Re: Distributor hasn't been touched - 180 off?
« Reply #6 on: 07:24:58 PM / 25-Mar-19 »
So go ahead and pull the valve cover, it's only 10 screws holding it on. Then you'll know for certain when you have TDC on compression for #1. Why guess?