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Old 12-25-2019, 07:09 PM   #1
keyswitch1
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Default distributor shaft

I just saw an article on drilling the upper part of the distributor shaft to put oil in it

Do a lot of people do this ??

It is in the Model A Ford Mechanics Handbook
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Old 12-25-2019, 07:20 PM   #2
The Master Cylinder
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Default Re: distributor shaft

There is a drilled upper shaft available from the vendors https://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/P...earchByKeyword Come with a drilled cam screw..
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Old 12-25-2019, 07:30 PM   #3
Steve Plucker
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Default Re: distributor shaft

Quote:
Originally Posted by keyswitch1 View Post
I just saw an article on drilling the upper part of the distributor shaft to put oil in it

Do a lot of people do this ??

It is in the Model A Ford Mechanics Handbook
As related above...yes...get it and install it...will save you a lot of headachs later down the road.

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Old 12-25-2019, 07:30 PM   #4
Purdy Swoft
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Default Re: distributor shaft

I get my drilled distributor shafts from the vendors , rather than drilling them myself . I figure that oil to the upper bushing can't hurt and the drilled shaft isn't that expensive .
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Old 12-25-2019, 08:10 PM   #5
1crosscut
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Default Re: distributor shaft

I've drilled several. It's not hard to do and assures that the upper bushing is lubricated.
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Old 12-25-2019, 08:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: distributor shaft

I have a couple of new shafts so I might just try drilling a hole in them !
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Old 12-25-2019, 08:53 PM   #7
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: distributor shaft

I oiled mine like the instruction book says, the oil gets the top of the bushing wet---most dist oiling instructions call for a few drops, the Ford instructions say to fill it so I take the oil can and squirt it full

Original shafts are ground to size, and the reduced diametyer is also ground at the same time to the exact same center, most repro there is a lot of runout compared to original, the originals I tested, and I have 10 NOS ones all were less than ,0001, the repros were all different, the best was .002 off, the worst was ,008, this will cause timing variance and different point gap for each cylinder ---though it is possible to make it work with repro cam that is also off center by indexing the tolerance, then putting the drive gear in to get timing close

If you oil it by the book oil will get to the top bushing
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Old 12-26-2019, 09:11 AM   #8
jb-ob
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Default Re: distributor shaft

I'd like to 'second' Kurt's reply.


While you are busily drilling out your distributer shaft, ask yourself, "Why didn't Ford do this ??"


One reason might be that when oiling that new upper hole, the excess oil will be flung around the inside of the distributor cap, eventually coating both the points and distributor body contacts.


Now you don't have to make the mistake I did.
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Old 12-26-2019, 10:09 AM   #9
Dave in MD
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Default Re: distributor shaft

In addition to drilling the upper shaft, the cam screw also needs to be drilled.
Jim, would not the rotor keep the oil from being flung around the inside of the distributor?
Dave
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Old 12-26-2019, 11:47 AM   #10
Werner
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Default Re: distributor shaft

I did it and it is very easy to drill because the shaft is not hardened.
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Old 12-26-2019, 01:02 PM   #11
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Default Re: distributor shaft

Dave, Md.


While the rotor is a snug fit to the distributor cam on the outside, not so the inside.


What I probably did was oil the top and drive off. Soon things where not running as they did before. Investigating found an oily mist all over the inside. Washed everything off and ran fine.


I even thought to place a small scrap of paper towel over the 'new' top hole.


How much work is necessary to fix something Henry didn't believe was necessary ??


'Your mileage may vary'....
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Old 12-31-2019, 07:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: distributor shaft

The drilled shaft (with a small hole from the drilled out center to the outside of the shaft, of course) seems to be all the rage. So, I did a little experiment.

With the stock shaft, as Kurt said, oil from the spring loaded filler does make it to the top bushing. That spring is there for a reason. The question is, how much oil makes it to the upper bushing vs. the bottom bushing? Well, as it turns out, the answer is: Plenty. I have never seen a worn out upper bushing with a good lower bushing. They are always worn the same.

So, is there any harm in drilling the shaft? Maybe.

You see, when the shaft is not drilled, oil wicks to the upper bushing. There is no airflow between the upper bushing and atmosphere, so the oil tends to hang around there after wicking into the space between the shaft and the bushing. If the shaft is drilled, then oil can easily flow from the hole in the shaft, past the upper bushing, to the lower bushing and stay there. Long story short, the drilled shaft might actually be worse.

This all assumes that you oil the distributor shaft as frequently or more frequently than every 500 miles. If you're the forgetful type, then the drilled shaft might be a good idea.

I experimented with a newly rebuilt distributor by putting oil in an otherwise dry fresh rebuild that did not have the drilled upper shaft. I only put oil in the spring loaded oil cup. I spun the shaft a few times, then removed the shaft. The upper bearing surface was just as wet with oil as the lower. Then, I re-cleaned the housing, swapped to the drilled shaft, and repeated (no oil in the shaft, just the oil cup). This time, only the lower bushing surface area was wet with oil, the top was still dry. That means, only the oil actually dripped down the hole in the shaft lubes the upper bushing surface. So, what happens when gravity drains the oil from the upper bushing area? I suspect it runs dryer than the lower bushing, and at some point, the upper bushing will show more wear than the lower bushing. Something that doesn't happen with the stock shaft and proper lubrication.
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Old 12-31-2019, 08:07 PM   #13
Ed in Maine
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Default Re: distributor shaft

I believe the drilled distributer shaft was first installed in a 1930 Town Sedan, my car! The idea was published in the Restorer under "Tiny Tips" in the late seventies and in a few later issues. It amazes me how the idea took hold and virtually every shaft sold today is so modified. Ed
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