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Old 05-09-2020, 01:59 PM   #1
shew01
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Default Distributor stuck

Iím still working through Les Andrews, page 1-101, to remove my distributor, and it appears to be stuck. The book says, ďLoosen the distributor locking screw jam nut (9/16 wrench) located on the side of the cylinder head. Screw out the locking screw far enough to allow the distributor and shaft to be lifted out of the head.Ē

I loosened the screw, and the distributor did not budge. 5 turns later, the screw is totally off the engine, and the distributor does not budge.

Iíve never pulled the distributor before; so, Iím in uncharted territory. On page 1-105, there seems to be some sort of locking pin.

What can I do to free the distributor up without breaking anything?


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Old 05-09-2020, 02:03 PM   #2
johnbuckley
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Some distributors can be very stubborn to remove. Put lots of penetrating oil around the distributor the night before to help release it. Avoid the temptation to prise upwards with anything other than very gentle leverage; force can break the distributor casting where it enters the head. Once the 3mm deep index pin (which stops the distributor rotating) is clear of the head you may be able to rotate it and wiggle it free. Don’t tap on the lugs with a hammer in an attempt to rotate it as this may break the lugs; try an oil filter removal tool instead. A special distributor puller is available for Model As- this provides a steady vertical pull and can be left pulling it overnight- but even that doesn’t always work. Try long term soaking with releasing solution. If all else fails remove the cylinder head complete with distributor and if your domestic controller permits such antics, leave it in the freezer overnight; the thermal changes may free it. Finally, having taken the cylinder head off and having tried every method of gentle persuasion, in extremis use a hollow tube such as steel water pipe, slide it over the shaft and whack it out with a hammer.
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Old 05-09-2020, 03:46 PM   #3
john charlton
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

I have had a stubborn one and this worked . I removed all internals and used a butane torch and heated the distributor base just smokey hot and then dowsed the base with cold water it took several cycles and it rotated free . I pull my distributors now and again to remove any rust as the top end area does get a lot of condensation maybe due to frequent short journeys not letting the engine get hot for long enough .

John in same place and weather is cancelled .
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:43 PM   #4
chrs1961815
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Apparently this is a common problem because I see distributors all the time where the casting is broken off wher it enters the head - I guess it is also common for people to try to use a crowbar.
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

We pried on one so hard that we broke it off under flush of the head. Had to pull the head and really pound on it to get the piece out. That casting will break easily. I have a YouTube video on it. Good luck and take your time.
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:59 PM   #6
Sunnybrook Farm
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Since you have the locking screw out, use some penetrating oil such as PB blaster to spray lots back in through that hole to the distributor shaft. After it sits awhile, use a phillips screw driver or some thin such tool to put in the hole and just tap it for a few minutes to try and vibrated the shaft and let some of the oil get in around the shaft to where after patience and more tapping it may start to wiggle a little and then you can wiggle and work it up out of the head. Be gentle but the idea is to just get things vibrating.
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:33 PM   #7
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Yup, they can be 'sticky'. A combination of all what the others do has always [ so far] worked. Just mind that there is a locating pin so the distributor has to come straight up until the pin clears. But hot penetrating fluid and vibration by tapping around the base should/might work without resorting to a puller. I'm one that has resorted to using 2 pry-bars, one on each side to try and walk it out carefully.

When putting it back in I use never-seize.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:08 PM   #8
Tom Endy
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

To avoid this problem I make it a practice to remove the distributor each time I change the oil. I eliminated the cable clamp on the #8 head stud years ago to avoid disturbing the head bolt torque. If you don't loosen the cam screw on the distributor the timing stays intact and the distributor can go right back in without any adjustment. While it is out I clean it up, dress and reset the points, and lubricate it. I also remove the spark plugs and clean them.

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Old 05-10-2020, 02:15 PM   #9
J Franklin
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Neverseize spread around the base when you install it and it will come out easy for the next time or owner.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:08 PM   #10
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Default Distributor stuck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunnybrook Farm View Post
Since you have the locking screw out, use some penetrating oil such as PB blaster to spray lots back in through that hole to the distributor shaft. After it sits awhile, use a phillips screw driver or some thin such tool to put in the hole and just tap it for a few minutes to try and vibrated the shaft and let some of the oil get in around the shaft to where after patience and more tapping it may start to wiggle a little and then you can wiggle and work it up out of the head. Be gentle but the idea is to just get things vibrating.


After reading your post, I sprayed penetrating oil and left it sit over night. I tried again this afternoon, but I'm not having any luck yet.

Last edited by shew01; 05-10-2020 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

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Originally Posted by Jacksonlll View Post
We pried on one so hard that we broke it off under flush of the head. Had to pull the head and really pound on it to get the piece out. That casting will break easily. I have a YouTube video on it. Good luck and take your time.
Thanks again for your videos. That helped me understand the ignition system better.
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Old 05-10-2020, 04:00 PM   #12
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

I ordered a distributor puller and a head nut torque tool from Bratton's earlier today, but that may be a moot point. It looks as if the screw on top of the distributor is stuck too, and the screwdriver slot is not in good condition. I'm not sure how to get this out at the moment.
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Old 05-10-2020, 04:04 PM   #13
J Franklin
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Quote:
Originally Posted by shew01 View Post
I ordered a distributor puller and a head nut torque tool from Bratton's earlier today, but that may be a moot point. It looks as if the screw on top of the distributor is stuck too, and the screwdriver slot is not in good condition. I'm not sure how to get this out at the moment.
What screw are you trying to loosen and why?
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Old 05-10-2020, 04:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

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Originally Posted by J Franklin View Post
What screw are you trying to loosen and why?

The screw that needs to be removed for use of the puller. (Is that what is called the cam screw?) The puller wonít arrive for a few days, but I thought I would see if that screw would come out or not. So far, itís not budging.


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Old 05-10-2020, 04:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Iíve sprayed penetrating oil all over the base of the distributor and the screw hole on the side of the engine a number of times, and Iíve been banging on the distributor with a screwdriver a bit to set up some vibration. The distributor ďrocksĒ clockwise and counterclockwise a millimeter or so now. Thatís a little bit of progress.


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Old 05-10-2020, 05:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Getting the cam screw out is key in having the ability to use a puller. Do you have access to one of the impact screw drivers? They come with a pretty wide screw driver end that might just work. However I wouldn't swing the hammer too hard on it. But a little bit of shock just might do the trick.
https://www.amazon.com/KCHEX-Remover.../dp/B07KM429XS

You might need someone with a set of pliers holding the cam still.
Never needed to resort to this to get the cam screw out but its something to consider.
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Endy View Post
To avoid this problem I make it a practice to remove the distributor each time I change the oil. I eliminated the cable clamp on the #8 head stud years ago to avoid disturbing the head bolt torque. If you don't loosen the cam screw on the distributor the timing stays intact and the distributor can go right back in without any adjustment. While it is out I clean it up, dress and reset the points, and lubricate it. I also remove the spark plugs and clean them.

Tom Endy
Absolutely, excellent advice. This won't help shew01 at the present time, but this is a very very good thing to do as annual maintenance. I was taught this trick years ago and it is a great thing to get in the habit of doing regularly as Tom says.

They get a little rusty down there on the contact points spots and that causes the binding. Seems to be a bit of 'sweating' going on there from my past experiences.

Lot simpler to do what Tom is saying rather than pulling the head. I've seen guys put a little longer stud at #8 and then double-nut it using the cable clamp under the top nut so you don't disturb the torque setting on the bottom nut. That works too.
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:03 PM   #18
shew01
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1crosscut View Post
Getting the cam screw out is key in having the ability to use a puller. Do you have access to one of the impact screw drivers? They come with a pretty wide screw driver end that might just work. However I wouldn't swing the hammer too hard on it. But a little bit of shock just might do the trick.
https://www.amazon.com/KCHEX-Remover.../dp/B07KM429XS

You might need someone with a set of pliers holding the cam still.
Never needed to resort to this to get the cam screw out but its something to consider.

Thanks for the link.

If I do get the cam screw out, that changes the timing, correct?


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Old 05-10-2020, 07:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

Yes it will. You'll just have to reset it is all.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:02 AM   #20
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Default Re: Distributor stuck

If you have got that dist. body to move at all, you should be in good shape. Just take your time and stick with it. If it moves at all, it will come out. Get that cam screw loose before you do take it out. Easier.
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