Customer(can I call you J?), welcome back.
Long day, but it sure is beautiful this time of year. Hope your day was just as nice.
Distributor index goes something like this. I'll actually plagiarize an earlier Chrysler TSB and insert my own cautions as required. Remember that this procedure places the distributor (and the cam sensor within) to an operating medium with the crank sensor. The variance allowance is fairly large, something in the neighborhood of 12 degrees, either before or after the crank signal. That's pretty large. I hope we can put the index closer to the ideal zero degrees, but that can only be confirmed with a factory scan tool. I'll include my tips in italics.
- Connect a voltmeter to the distributor sensor (cam sensor) connector by removing the end seal and carefully backprobing the connector. Connect the positive lead to the sensor output pin (pin 3, a tan/ yellow wire). Connect the negative lead to the sensor ground pin (black/blue). I use neither. From experience, I noted the activation of both the ASD and fuel pump relays when the cam sensor changed states. I simply use their clicking as my signal to stop turning the distributor.
- Rotate the engine clockwise as viewed from the front, until the number one mark piston Top (TDC) compression on the vibration damper should line up with the zero degree (TDC) mark on the timing chain case cover. (Not identified in the TSB. You would need to take the distributor cap off to view the rotor coming around to the #1 cylinder firing position. It's a pain, because of the obstructed view. I take all plug wires from the engine left side off for this procedure. The firing order for the engine is 18436572. The distributor turns in a clockwise fashion. The #1 cylinder is at about the 9:00 position, often identified by a cast-in #1 number in the distributor cap.
- Continue to rotate the engine slowly clockwise until the V8 XXXXX XXXXXnes up with the zero degree mark n the timing chain case cover. The V8 mark is 17.5 degrees after TDC. It's important to continue to rotate the engine in the clockwise direction until you see the V8 mark. This keeps all mechanisms loaded in the normal direction of rotation. If you go past the V8 mark, back the engine up considerably and bring it back to the V8 mark. Timing chain slack starts at engine birth. This eliminates that slack.
- With the distributor clamp bolt loose and the ignition switch in the ON position, rotate the distributor slightly in either direction until the voltmeter switches between the sensor transition point of 0 and 5 volts. I mentioned earlier that I normally don't use the voltmeter for reference. For one thing, it might involve turning the distributor in a direction contrary to normal relation to rotation. My advice is to initially turn the distributor a great deal clockwise. This takes the cam sensor farther from the intended switch point. I position it so and then rotate it back (CCW) until I hear the relays click. This is the exact point of cam sensor state change. It matters not at all how slow the transistion happens, so take your time. ONE CAVEAT... The relay click will happen only once per ignition cycle. That means if you hear it once and you would like to check your work, you would need to turn the ignition key to the off position and then back on (no crank!). The distributor also needs to be rotated a sizable distance back to the clockwise position to prepare it for the next maneuver. Repeat it as described earlier. Using the Factory's method, you would encounter a defined "dead area", where the distributor can be turned with no change in cam sensor output state. My method always puts the distributor rotation against the normal direction of engine travel. The difference is no more than a few degrees, which will probably not matter. I just choose to improve on the spread and place my adjustments closer to zero.
- Adjust the distributor as close as possible to either side (split the difference using their method) of this transition point and tighten the distributor clamp bolt to 22 ft/ lbs torque.
Either way, you should be within a few degrees of perfection... easily enough to prove or disprove my theory.
Loosening the distributor may be the biggest obstacle. It's not easily accessed.
But be careful to first position the engine (no backing up!) to the V8 mark on the crank balancer. There is also a V6 mark, but it isn't anywhere near the TDC mark on your balancer. Don't be fooled. Clean the balancer marks if needed and set the engine position using the V8 mark at the timing cover TDC mark.
Then, you can either use the 5v-0v-5v transition point by turning the distributor (works) or my method of backing the distributor considerably past the switch point and then rotating the (CCW) back until the sensor switches (as identified by DVOM or relay click). Either works.
J, make sure and let me know how this comes out. I mean it. Distributor index problems aren't common anymore, but it can still happen. I use modeling for my diagnoses, where it might or might not pan out. If we need to go forward, it's all good.
I'll be here. Remember the light's on.
One last thing. If you'd like to read the original TSB from which I paraphrased this post, type in Dodge TSB 18-08-93 into your search engine. The original TSB involved replacing parts your truck won't require.