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Old 05-19-2019, 02:53 PM   #1
gas man
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Default why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

so I bought a new rotor for my helmet style distributor a few days ago and just changed it out. I put the distributor back on the 59ab 39 merc and when I cranking over the engine I noticed the distributor was wobbling around. I'm positive the key was matched up with the slot in the cam . what did I do wrong?
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Sure sounds like it wasn't seated when the bolts were tightened down.
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

The slot in the cam is slightly offset from center as is the tab on the distributor. It is possible to put it together with the slot and the tab 180 degrees off. Have you checked that yet?
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:05 PM   #4
gas man
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

thats probably it. I guess it's a costly lesson learned .
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Sad, but most likely true.
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:25 PM   #6
gas man
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

I guess I'm in need of a new housing, I'm in SoCal. live in Corona but work in orange county if anyone is near by and wants to sell me one. thanks .
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

C&G is just down the road in Escondido. You can't get better than that.

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Old 05-20-2019, 12:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Installation error i'm guessing.



Send it off to bubba. He did two for me. One for now and one for whatever (always order two). Think charlieny,skip does them to.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

What style helmet ? 33-36 or 37-41? Try The Early Ford Store,San Dimas or V8 Garage in W Covina,Kennedy Brothers in Pomona.Lots of cores out there.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Quote:
Originally Posted by MGG View Post
The slot in the cam is slightly offset from center as is the tab on the distributor. It is possible to put it together with the slot and the tab 180 degrees off. Have you checked that yet?
Then - when you tighten the bolts, puts a heck of a strain on the case (as I believe the slot is about 1/16 offset). The whole reason Ford put the offset in the slot was to ensure that the firing order was correct when you took a distributor on/off the vehicle.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:33 AM   #11
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

I have found that nothing makes the job of installing the distributor as easy as using two studs to align the gasket and distributor. Turn the rotor and and when the tang aligns the distributor will slid back tight to the block, put in the third bolt to hold it in place remove the studs install the other two bolts and you are finished.
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Dont feel bad , i get them every week that are broken..........if ya cant find one out there we have a few boxes of them .................
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

I have an extra one boxed up that will be heading "Gas Mans" way tomorrow morning.
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Old 05-26-2019, 07:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Hope it's okay with Gas Man to share this update. He got the distributor housing I sent him and after transferring parts from his cracked one, installed on engine and it fired right up. If the earlier problem occurred because of installation you can bet that mistake won't happen again. Really like the idea of having some studs to help line things up and plan on doing that in future to prevent problems.
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Yes, good idea on the studs. I’ve always used studs for exhaust manifolds, clutches,etc. in big trucks. Never though about using them for a flathead dist.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

GaryU, You did a very nice thing to help with the distributor, and it's back on a car and helping gas man! Good on you!
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

If it might help anyone at all, I demo how a distributor ought to fit to the motor in one of my videos.
https://youtu.be/6UsbbUdAtCw
If you watch from about the 2 minute mark to just after the 4 minute mark, you can see me offering up and fitting the crab distributor on my 41 pickup.

A helmet type will offer up and clunk into place in the same way. If there is any resistance, something is probably wrong.

Mart.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:30 PM   #18
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Be sure you had the correct rotor. Also, it may have been one of the current offshore parts that we see today. It only takes one revolution of the distributor with the wrong rotor or defective to break it.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mart View Post
If it might help anyone at all, I demo how a distributor ought to fit to the motor in one of my videos.
https://youtu.be/6UsbbUdAtCw
If you watch from about the 2 minute mark to just after the 4 minute mark, you can see me offering up and fitting the crab distributor on my 41 pickup.

A helmet type will offer up and clunk into place in the same way. If there is any resistance, something is probably wrong.

Mart.
Thanks for the link. I could see myself installing this the wrong way as the OP.
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: why did my helmet distributor housing just crack? new rotor .

Quote:
Originally Posted by supereal View Post
Be sure you had the correct rotor. Also, it may have been one of the current offshore parts that we see today. It only takes one revolution of the distributor with the wrong rotor or defective to break it.

Yep a rotor that hasn't been filed to fit would easily crack a cap. Best to know what condition your condition is in .


Maybe a picture of said Dizzy. A 59a wasn't a helmet. Not saying that's not what is there. Just for clarification.


Think in 39 it was a 81a or a 99 block. Not sure.


See Gary straighten you out. Just curious on details.




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Last edited by Tinker; 05-27-2019 at 11:15 PM.
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