distributor stuck!

Discussion in 'Ranchero Tech Help' started by Dan the ranchero man, Nov 9, 2020.

  1. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
    Mchenry , IL
    Ok folks here is what I have a distributor in a 460 cid in a 76 thunderbird that is stuck! want to change the timing and no way. removed the hold down completely and tried tapping on it to make it move and....NOTHING. afraid to get to crazy because I don't want to break it. any suggestions?
     
  2. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

    Messages:
    11,711
    Location:
    Seguin, TX
    I've doused the dizzy base at the block with penetrating oil, PB, Kroil, etc., for a few days. It helps to dissolve any carbon, which is what likely has locked the dizzy to the block. If I were doing that work, I first would get #1 on the compression stroke on what BTDC setting it's currently on, then start to work the dizzy out, using that penetrating oil, so that 1) the dizzy housing and the block hole are cleaned of any carbon or corrosion, and 2) put a new o-ring on. Then, check/change the timing. That way, it's ready to be changed again if necessary.
     
  3. Hillbilly

    Hillbilly In Maximum Overdrive

    Messages:
    6,132
    Location:
    Winchester, TN.
    I had to laugh at a buddy who had a stuck distributor in a 351 C in his 73 Mustang. In frustration he beat the distributor into a non functional condition. He then wrapped a chain around what remained and used a big engine hoist to apply lift pressure, enough pressure to lift the front wheels off the floor. He had previously removed the hood and that was a good move. I went over to his shop the next evening and the distributor had not budged. As we were discussing pulling the oil pan and trying to pound the dizzy out from the bottom, it let go. WHAM ! Dust flew from under the car and the dizzy and chain made three wraps around the engine hoist making a deafening clatter. Glad he had pulled the hood as it would have been destroyed. All the crud came out with the old dizzy leaving a perfectly clean hole to put the replacement back in. Hillbilly ingenuity ?
     
  4. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
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    :eek::eek: Great story But I need this car running so..... I will stick to the PB blaster and wait it out until it frees up :D.
     
  5. grebaba

    grebaba In Fourth Gear

    Messages:
    320
    If the blaster doesn't work you can mix some baking soda in water and soak the housing where it goes in and it will free it up. Takes a while but does work. Just watch it and reapply the soda as it evaporates.
    Greg
     
  6. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
    Mchenry , IL
    Thanks for your suggestion. I am trying the PB first. I am still driving the car while trying to do this as well.
     
  7. 65restomod

    65restomod In Overdrive BRONZE MEMBER

    Messages:
    835
    Location:
    Danville,VT left NJ forever
    I was going to suggest that but..... and what about pulling it when engine is up to operating temp, maybe?
     
  8. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
    Mchenry , IL
    Hot engine = more stuck! Cold engine is best but this thing is really stuck!
     
  9. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

    Messages:
    11,711
    Location:
    Seguin, TX
    Yup, expansion is your enemy. But, the heat does assist in dissolving the carbon, so apply PB when hot, try to move it when cold. and If you try to move it up, make sure you've got it near TDC on the compression stroke and matchmark the rotor to dizzy, dizzy to block. I forgot to mention that yesterday.
     
  10. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
    Mchenry , IL
    No problem I have that part handled, Thanks. I had a dizzy that would lock up on an old 400 I had in a torino. Would set the timing cold on that one. You could pull it out with no issues I even cleaned it and the hole up new o ring and it would still lock up as tight as a drum when hot. Just need this one to move back a little. Someone set the initial timing to 30 BTDC to compensate for a messed up carb. Now I have the Carb fixed and would like to tweak it back so the thing will start when hot and run a little smoother when cruising.
     
  11. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
    Mchenry , IL
    I am still very patently working on this stuck (very stuck) distributor. after keeping it soaked every night (5 days now) after I get home from work tried to move it on Sunday morning. Figured the engine was cold and "maybe" the bad boy might move....nothing! I don't want to get to aggressive because I need the car to be running. If something breaks because I went animal on it I will be forced to take one of my nice rides out in the bad weather (that would defeat the reason I bought this so....... Need to be careful). So went in there with a scribe and a vacuum. really dug in and scraped out all the junk at the base of the distributor. Then sprayed in some more liquid wrench. will do that for a while and see what happens. The liquid wrench really loosened up all the stuff at the base now that is is all cleaned out it might have a chance to soak in a loosen up the distributor. wish me luck!
     
  12. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

    Messages:
    11,711
    Location:
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    Fingers crossed, rubbed own nuts for luck.
     
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  13. Hillbilly

    Hillbilly In Maximum Overdrive

    Messages:
    6,132
    Location:
    Winchester, TN.
    Sad part is the crud growth holding the distributor in place is below the "O" ring. Ever been to a lawn mower shop and seen one of those tiny chain on a handle filter removal tools ? Just speculating here Dan, maybe one of those tiny filter tools could be used on the stem of the distributor to gently apply just enough force to break the crud loose so you can free up your distributor. Could be worth a try.
     
  14. Kiwirancher

    Kiwirancher In Third Gear

    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    Gisborne , New Zealand .
    I agree with Hillbilly , trying to rotate it may get you somewhere ( If you haven’t already) Maybe try a small pipe wrench or poly grips?
    Denis.
     
  15. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Maximum Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

    Messages:
    1,376
    Location:
    central CT
    Hate to admit it, but I've used a pipe wrench on them in the past. :oops: Bad thing is, I'd probably do the same thing again. :rolleyes:
     
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  16. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
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    A pipe might be what the doctor ordered:eek::eek::D.
     
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  17. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

    Messages:
    11,711
    Location:
    Seguin, TX
    I've used a wide-tip screwdriver, very gently, to put pressure on the dizzy body, in order to see if the carbon would crack, but that is also a lastest resort.
     
  18. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
    Mchenry , IL
    I will give these things a try this weekend. Very busy at work getting home too tired. Thanks for the suggestions keep ya all posted.
     
  19. Lowrider

    Lowrider In Third Gear

    Messages:
    203
    Location:
    Kingman AZ.
    I used to use a Lady Slipper pry bar on the ones that were stubborn about coming out. You can position it where the bar pivots on the intake manifold and the pry point is under the bowl of the distributor instead of the side if your using just a large screwdriver where it puts pressure to the side of the distributor.
    Had my share of stuck distributors in my 40+ yrs of wrenchin'. I recall one truck truck that ended up needing a short block after a partial tear down. Couldn't get the distributor out while the engine was still in the vehicle. After I got the engine out and sitting on the floor the last thing I removed was what was left of the distributor. I ended up driving it out with a long punch and a big hammer from the bottom. Came out in 4 pieces, but it came out.
     
  20. Dan the ranchero man

    Dan the ranchero man MODERATOR Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,143
    Location:
    Mchenry , IL
    Yikes! I am hoping that no distributors will be destroyed in the repairing of this car! Will be trying a lot of these ideas on Saturday when I am rested.
     

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