How to Install a Distributor Cap How to Install a Distributor Cap

What You'll Need
Socket Set
Adjustable Wrench
Flat Head Screw Driver
New Distributor Cap

Owing to vehicle wear and tear, most moveable parts will need replacing a few times during the life of the car, and the distributor cap is one of the most vital. If you distributor cap is faulty, your car will not start. The distributor cap is the home of one end of your HT leads, which go to the spark plugs. Inside the cap is the points that accept the sparks to fire up the engine. If you distributor cap is cracked, damaged or otherwise faulty, this process is interrupted and cannot be completed to start the vehicle.

Step 1 – Visual Inspection

First, check the set-up of your vehicle. Locate the placing of your distributor cap. If you cannot see it, follow the leads that go from your spark plugs and they will trace back to the distributor cap. Some distributor caps have the ignition coil mounted on or near them. Other vehicles have them separate, so check yours first. This can make a difference in the way that you complete the replacement process.

Step 2 – High Tension Leads

If your ignition coil is separate pull off the HT leads one at a time. Do not take them all off at once because they need to be replaced in exactly the same order on the new distributor as they were on the old one. Position the cap in your hand in exactly the same position as the old one is on your car and transfer one lead at a time from the old to the new.

Step 3 – Remove the Old Cap

Your old distributor cap might be attached with clips, screws or hooks. Locate the type of attachment and detach the distributor cap from the housing. Many distributor caps require new springs and carbon brushes to be included at the same time, so if yours fits this description you will get new ones with the new distributor cap. There is a wiring harness that needs to be unplugged from the cap to finally release it.

Step 4 – The New Distributor Cap

Once the old cap has been removed, run a visual check of the surrounding area and make sure that there is no debris, rust, grime, dirt or oil that needs cleaning away. Install the new distributor cap and replace the screws, hooks or clamps (whichever is appropriate to your cap) and reattach it. The plug leads should be already positioned on the new cap in the way you set them previously. Clip the cap into place and tighten down any screws.

Step 5 – Re-Check

Once you have installed the new distributor cap you can test the engine by turning it on and starting it. You should have no problems starting and the engine will not misfire, as with the old cap. Inspect the old cap to find out if there were any reasons for failure. It could have been a carbon buildup or a crack, which lets in air and interferes with the starting process.

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