Distributor Help

Discussion in 'Ranchero Tech Help' started by New Guy, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. New Guy

    New Guy In First Gear

    Messages:
    20
    Doing a tune up on my inherited '57 Ranchero and noticed the timing is off (reading about 16TDC). Loosened the hold down bolt and found out that distributor is locked in. I tried to knock it loose with no results (didn't want to hit it too hard). Any thing I can do to loosen it?

    New Guy
     
  2. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,816
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    Spray some PB Blaster around the base where it passes/seals at the block. Let it sit a day or two and then tap around it with wooden dowel to see if you can get some rotational movement. Once you have it loose, it might be time to remove it and clean the distributor base and the block penetration for it, and apply a light coat of a non-hardening grease or anti-seize compound.


    Do you know what camshaft is installed? What dwell are you seeing? 16 degrees TDC isn't out of the realm of reasonable if someone did a little performance work on the engine.
     
  3. New Guy

    New Guy In First Gear

    Messages:
    20
    Thanks for the reply 72GTVA. I will give the PB Blaster a try. As far as I know the motor is all stock except for the carburetor an Edelbrock 4V.
     
  4. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

    Messages:
    19,727
    Location:
    California
    Don't forget that timing has to be checked with the vacuum advance disconnected and plugged.
    Also, most engines run better with 12-15 timing advance.
     
  5. Habenaro

    Habenaro In First Gear

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Automatic transmission fluid and acetone mixture is the best penitrant.
     
  6. New Guy

    New Guy In First Gear

    Messages:
    20
    So it's been a couple of weeks and it is still locked in. Sprayed a lot PB blaster for several days. Is there an "O" ring on the shaft going through the manifold? I don't want to force it for fear of breaking it. Scratching my head on this one.
     
  7. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

    Messages:
    19,727
    Location:
    California
    Penetrating agents need vibration as help sometimes.
    Remove the hold down completely and rap repeatedly on the shaft with a small hammer or pliers.
    That and patience coupled with determination is the solution unless you want to get into destructive options.
     
  8. DeepBarney

    DeepBarney In Second Gear

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    KS
    "Percussive maintenance" and maybe a small butane torch to heat the area around it will likely take care of it.
     
  9. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

    Messages:
    10,990
    Location:
    Seguin, TX
    A 'small' torch? It might require a mapp-gas one, such as a Bernz-o-Matic.
     
  10. DeepBarney

    DeepBarney In Second Gear

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    KS
    Yeah that's what I'm suggesting. MAPP gas or butane/propane in one of those little hand held torch kits. They're handy as hell.
     
  11. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

    Messages:
    19,727
    Location:
    California
    Fire? With the carb right there? And the fuel line running up that way? And oil deposits on the engine? And 5 quarts of flammable oil a foot away?
    We are trying to help the guy, not create U-tube videos.
     
  12. DeepBarney

    DeepBarney In Second Gear

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    KS
    I wondered how long it would take for somebody to bring that up. Drain the fuel off, give it a day to let the remaining residue evaporate, degrease the engine, point the bright end away from any points of ignition, and pray no one asks to see your hot work permit.

    Not saying it's perfectly safe (is anything), but with a little forward thinking one can minimize the risks.
     
  13. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,816
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    Yes, there is usually a rubber o-ring in the machined area of the distributor case base to seal - and those can get gunked up which combines with the bi-metallic corrosion to bind up a distributor.

    After the PB treatment, I've had good luck using a hardwood dowel or block and a hammer, position the dowel or block at the vacuum advance boss where the module enters the distributor housing and driving the distributor back and forth to get rotational movement. I haven't broken one yet but you do run that risk. I start with some firm "taps" and increase the force as needed to persuade it to move - once it starts moving some back and forth work will help free it up to where you can work it by hand. Once free, I usually remove the distributor, clean the seating areas on the engine block and the distributor, wipe in a protective film of grease on both surfaces and reassemble, time the engine, and lock down the distributor until the next time I have to repeat the process.

    I've seen mechanics, with the customer not present and looking, use a slide hammer with the collet fitting to pull a distributor. And I've seen them break a few doing that but sometimes it works out okay.
     
  14. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Maximum Overdrive Unubtanium Member

    Messages:
    2,970
    Location:
    Texas
    Instead of a torch, you could always try a heat gun as an option.
     
  15. colnago

    colnago In Maximum Overdrive

    Messages:
    1,101
    A few years ago, I was working on the carb of my 352FE. I must have had it off the block, because I had disconnected the fuel line into the carb, and forgot to reconnect. I got into the cab, cranked and cranked and cranked the engine (all this time, I was spraying gas all over the top of the intake manifold), and I got a backfire through the carb. Engine fire! OMG! She's gonna blow! Nah, it kind of smoldered. I took the garden hose and put it out. Yes, it did make a mess with melting plastic, but it didn't make a huge fireball in my driveway, either. I was kind of disappointed (in a sick sort of way) that the whole thing didn't go ka-boom right there. Too many Hollywood TV cop shows, I guess.

    Now, I don't recommend starting your barbecue with gasoline, or smoking when filling up the tank. Yes, gasoline is very flammable, and all due diligence needs to be taken when working with fire near gasoline. However, if he disconnects and caps off the fuel line, so he can move it aside, and takes care to heat up around the dizzy and not the carb, he should be okay. And yes, do have a fire extinguisher nearby ... just in case.

    Just my two cents.

    Joseph

    PS - Reminds me of that old Billy Joel song: "We Didn't Start the Fire."
     
  16. andrewok1

    andrewok1 In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER SILVER MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,687
    Location:
    ocala ,florida
    Have you tried tapping around the base with a block of wood or brass and a hammer to see if it will move at all by shocking it loose , But 72GTVA idea would be worth the try ???
    I WOULD THEN ::
    Remove Carb and fuel line to pump cap off at fuel pump , 100 percent no gas fire, but depending on how greasy the engine ,you could start a grease fire , so as said
    fire
    extinguisher nearby ... just in case. this what i would do
    my added 3 cents
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  17. New Guy

    New Guy In First Gear

    Messages:
    20
    Thanks for the helpful ideas. I have been tapping around the base with steel rod and hammer. I even tried with the engine hot. It has been degreased so I'll try the torch.
     
  18. ribald1

    ribald1 Banned PLATINUM MEMBER

    Messages:
    19,727
    Location:
    California
    If you are going with the heat, heat the block, not the dizzy.
    Aluminum expands more under heat than iron does, so if the dizzy is hotter than the block it will become even more stuck.
     
    DeepBarney and colnago like this.
  19. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

    Messages:
    10,990
    Location:
    Seguin, TX
    That is the general idea...
     
  20. colnago

    colnago In Maximum Overdrive

    Messages:
    1,101
    I concur.

    Joseph
     

Share This Page