Help needed with Installing a distributor on a Sunbird 90


Old 06-23-03, 10:51 AM
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Question Help needed with Installing a distributor on a Sunbird 90

I would realy love to get tips on installing a used distributor on my Pontiac Sunbird 1990. I was not getting a spark and it turns out my distributor was fried. I checked it and discovered some oil was leaking into it. I was adviced to get a used one rather than go about repairing the bad one. I now have a used distributor and would like to mount it but was jittery coz I have never done this before. I am pretty confident I can do it but if you greasy-hands out there have tips, I am all ears! I am concerned about positioning and mounting so that I do not disrupt the timing!! Get back to me soon before I take the plunge!
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Old 06-23-03, 11:54 AM
billys68ss's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 1,459
Here is the steps directly out of Chiltons Auto Library
1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
2. Tag and disconnect all wires leading from the distributor cap.
3. Remove the air cleaner housing.
4. Remove the distributor cap.
5. Disconnect the AIR pipe-to-exhaust manifold hose at the air management valve.
6. Unscrew the rear engine lift bracket bolt and nut, lift it off the stud and then position the entire assembly out of the way to facilitate better access to the distributor.
7. Mark the position of the distributor, relative to the engine block and then scribe a mark on the distributor body indicating the initial position of the rotor.
8. Remove the hold-down nut and clamp from the base of the distributor. Remove the distributor from the engine. The drive gear on the distributor shaft is helical and the shaft will rotate slightly as the distributor is removed. Note and mark the position of the rotor at this second position. Do not crank the engine while the distributor is removed.
To install:

If the engine position was disturbed while the distributor was removed, refer to the appropriate installation procedure.

9. To install the distributor, rotate the shaft until the rotor aligns with the second mark you made (when the shaft stopped moving). Lubricate the drive gear with clean engine oil and install the distributor into the engine. As the distributor is installed, the rotor should move to the first mark that you made. This will ensure proper timing. If the marks do not align properly, remove the distributor and try again.
10. Install the clamp and hold-down nut.

You may wish to use a magnet attached to an extension bar to position the clamp on the stud.

11. Installation of the remaining components is in the reverse order of removal. Check the ignition timing.

I cant stress enough the importance of marking everything before you remove it. Check it twice, Mark it once. Pretty simple procedure, even for the novice.
Good Luck,
Hope this helps,
Old 06-23-03, 12:09 PM
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I'd agree with everything except the used distributor part. I'd install a rebuilt (about 60 bucks) if it were my car. You can also fix what's bad in the old one for a lot less. A used one is a gamble.
Old 06-23-03, 09:06 PM
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Thanks Billy and worked

I am so proud of myself now that my car is working and I saved tonnes of money....coz I was looking at towing the car from home to a garage, paying for diagnostics, paying to have the distributor rebuilt, and then paying labor and taxes. I was looking at almost $300 from conservative estimates. Instead, I used all the tips from this site and ended up spending a total of $70(includes a towing charge from where I stalled on the highway to my house, a certified used distributor, and a tool-kit that is pretty versatile!). Thank you Billy and are life-savers and I hope more of us can do what you recommend before careening to the garages! Maybe that way, we can collectively bring down the outrageous cost of getting even the simplest repairs from mechanics.
Old 06-23-03, 09:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: USA
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Youre very welcome. Im glad the info helped.

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