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DoctorD, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 763
Experience:  ASE Master, AAA State 1st place, Rotary Club, 20 years Exp.
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A new question is answered every 9 seconds engine- need to set timing when installing distributor

This answer was rated:

replacing with new engine- need to set timing when installing distributor
What engine do have there?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
5.7 vortec
The timing is not adjustable on this engine. But of coarse the distributor must be installed in the exact factory position. You do need a scaner to read data to set the cam retard value. Did you mark the distributor coming out of the old one? Tell me were your at in the procedure.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
intake and distributor are still in old engine and not disturbed yet... the truck is in sarasota by the way!!
Hey, Small world!!.
Ok I'll send you the procedure and just follow it as to marking the old one. That will get you running and then you can have someone scan it to adjust the cam retard if you throw a code.
Its comming your way, Just give me a minute as its long.
Give me a bit, my service manual feed is down. Should be back up soon, I won't forget you!
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
does the crank need to be postioned in a particular position like tdc on number 1 or something like that?
Yes, I'll get you a detailed procedure when the site is back up...soon..
My site is still down, I hope your not right in the middle of the repair and I'm slowing you down. There are many marking points to make and I have a good procedure with illustrations I want to get you so you get it right the first time. If its down much longer I'll get it right to you in the A.M. I'll stay with it till 12:00. -Sorry..
Ok, Here we are..Sorry about the delay.
NOTE: There are two procedures available to install the distributor.

Use Installation Procedure 1 when the crankshaft has NOT been rotated from the original position.

Use Installation Procedure 2 when any of the following components are removed:
  • The intake manifold.
  • The cylinder head.
  • The camshaft.
  • The timing chain or sprockets.
  • The complete engine.


IMPORTANT: Rotate the number 1 cylinder to Top Dead Center (TDC) of the compression stroke. The engine front cover has 2 alignment tabs and the crankshaft balancer has 2 alignment marks (spaced 90 degrees apart) which are used for positioning number 1 piston at Top Dead Center (TDC) . With the piston on the compression stroke and at top dead center, the crankshaft balancer alignment mark (1) must align with the engine front cover tab (2) and the crankshaft balancer alignment mark (4) must align with the engine front cover tab (3).

  1. Rotate the crankshaft balancer clockwise until the alignment marks on the crankshaft balancer are aligned with the tabs on the engine front cover and the number 1 piston is at top dead center of the compression stroke.
  2. graphic
  3. Align white paint mark on the bottom stem of the distributor, and the pre-drilled indent hole in the bottom of the gear (3). NOTE: The OBD II ignition system distributor driven gear and rotor may be installed in multiple positions. In order to avoid mistakes, mark the distributor on the following components in order to ensure the same mounting position upon reassembly:
    • The distributor driven gear
    • The distributor shaft
    • The rotor holes

Installing the driven gear 180 degrees out of alignment, or locating the rotor in the wrong holes, will cause a no-start condition. Premature engine wear or damage may result.

  1. With the gear in this position, the rotor segment should be positioned as shown for a V6 engine (1) or V8 engine (2).
    • The alignment will not be exact.
    • If the driven gear is installed incorrectly, the dimple will be approximately 180 degrees opposite of the rotor segment when the gear is installed in the distributor.
  1. Using a long screw driver, align the oil pump drive shaft to the drive tab of the distributor.
  2. Guide the distributor into the engine. Ensure that the spark plug towers are perpendicular to the centerline of the engine.
  3. graphic
  4. Once the distributor is fully seated, the rotor segment should be aligned with the pointer cast into the distributor base.
    • This pointer may have a 6 cast into it, indicating that the distributor is to be used on a 6 cylinder engine or a 8 cast into it, indicating that the distributor is to be used on a 8 cylinder engine.
    • If the rotor segment does not come within a few degrees of the pointer, the gear mesh between the distributor and the camshaft may be off a tooth or more.
    • If this is the case, repeat the procedure again in order to achieve proper alignment.
NOTE: Refer to Fastener Notice in Service Precautions.

  1. Use a grease pencil in order to note the position of the rotor in relation to the distributor housing (1).
  2. Mark the distributor housing and the intake manifold with a grease pencil.
  3. graphic
  4. Remove the mounting clamp hold down bolt.
  5. Remove the distributor.
  6. graphic
  7. As the distributor is being removed from the engine watch the rotor move in a counter-clockwise direction about 42 degrees . This will appear as slightly more than one clock position.
  8. Note the position of the rotor segment.
11.1. Place a second mark on the base of the distributor.
This will aid in achieving proper rotor alignment during the distributor installation.
11.2. The second mark on the distributor housing is identified in the graphic as number 2.
  1. If installing a new distributor assembly, place two marks on the new distributor housing in the same location as the two marks on the original housing.
  2. Remove the new distributor cap, if necessary.
  3. Align the rotor with mark made at location 2.
  4. Guide the distributor into the engine.
  5. Align the hole in the distributor hold-down base over the mounting hole in the intake manifold.
  6. As the distributor is being installed, observe the rotor moving in a clockwise direction about 42 degrees .
  7. Once the distributor is completely seated, the rotor segment should be aligned with the mark on the distributor base in location number 1.
    • If the rotor segment is not aligned with the number 1 mark, the driven gear teeth and the camshaft have meshed one or more teeth out of alignment.
    • In order to correct this condition, remove the distributor and reinstall it.
NOTE: Refer to Fastener Notice in Service Precautions.
  1. Install the distributor cap.
  2. Install two NEW distributor cap screws. Tighten Tighten the screws to 2.4 N.m (21 lb in) .
  3. Install the electrical connector to the distributor.
  4. Install the spark plug wires to the distributor cap.
  5. Install the ignition coil wire. The wire must not touch anything like the dip slick. Rubbing will make a ground/short after time of use.
  6. For V8 engines, connect a scan tool.
  7. Monitor the Camshaft Retard Offset value. Refer to Computers and Control Systems Camshaft Retard Offset Adjustment. IMPORTANT: If the Malfunction Indicator lamp is turned on after installing the distributor, and a DTC P1345 is found, the distributor has been installed incorrectly.

The ignition timing cannot be adjusted. The distributor may need adjusting to prevent crossfire. To insure proper alignment of the distributor, perform the following:

  1. With the ignition OFF, connect the scan tool.
  2. Start the engine. Allow the engine to idle until the engine reaches normal operating temperature. IMPORTANT: The Cam Retard Offset reading will not be accurate below 1,000 RPM .
  3. Increase engine speed to 1,000 RPM while performing the following steps.
  4. Use the scan tool in order to monitor the Cam Retard Offset.
  5. If the Cam Retard indicates a value of 0 degrees , the distributor is properly adjusted.
  6. If the Cam Retard does not indicate 0 degrees , the distributor must be adjusted.
  1. With the engine OFF, slightly loosen the distributor hold down bolt. IMPORTANT: The Cam Retard Offset reading will not be accurate below 1,000 RPM .
  2. Start the engine and raise the engine speed to 1,000 RPM .
  3. Use the scan tool in order to monitor the Cam Retard Offset.
  4. Rotate the distributor as follows:
    • To compensate for a negative reading, rotate the distributor in the counterclockwise direction.
    • To compensate for a positive reading, rotate the distributor in the clockwise direction.
  1. Repeat step 4 until 0 degrees is obtained.
  2. Turn OFF the ignition. NOTE: Refer to Fastener Notice in Service Precautions.
  3. Tighten the distributor hold-down bolt. Tighten Tighten the bolt to 3 N.m (25 lb ft) .
  4. Start the engine.
  5. Raise the engine speed to 1,000 RPM and view the Camshaft Retard Offset.

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