View Full Version : Distributor alignment dilema - HELP!

12-16-2001, 08:31 PM
Ok, so I'm in the process of putting in a new cam, lifters, etc in my Spitire (78 1500) and I get to the step where I put in the Distributor drive gear. The manual (Haynes) has a picture of how the slot should be aligned when properly seated (#1 at TDC on compression stroke, yaada yadda). Anyway, the picture "seems" to show the slot in the drive gear slightly askew from the centerline between the to Dist mounting studs. BUT, when I install mine, it is either exactly inline with the studs, or askew much more than shown in the manual, depending on which tooth I'm on when I set the drive gear in. Question: Looking at the Scan I made of my manual, and the Two possible positions of my actual drive gear - WHICH IS CORRECT? My hunch is that the one where the slot is perfectly aligned with the studs is correct, but because of the picture in the manual, I'm not 100 percent sure. Can anyone help with my dilema? Here are the pics:

(PS: If you reply, reply without quotes so as not to repeat the pictures in your reply, thanks)



Position 1:


Position 2:


[ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: Basil ]</p>

12-17-2001, 02:38 PM
The short answer is, "It doesn't make any real difference". The distributor has enought timing adjustment (rotation of the distrib) to accomodate either position (since they look only about one tooth off from each other). However, I'd guess the photo, rather than the scanned manual diagram, is correct.
The only problem that could arise would be if the distributor was so far off (say 2 or 3 teeth) that it didn't have enought "rotational adjustment" (and hit the stop in the end of the slot). We ran into a car like this some time ago.....for a quick fix, we moved the distrib wires "over one" and timed it-ran perfect!(but of course, looked funny compared to the manual)
So even if you installed it "wrong", as long as you use a timing light to get the final setting, the car will run fine.

12-17-2001, 06:34 PM

I just got a chance to look in my British Leyland Workshop Manual (for the 1500 Midget). I hate to say this, but the Leyland manual shows the slot at a different angle than any of your pix (with crank @ TDC). If you were to look at the first of your two photos (not the scanned manual image) and rotate the shaft about 15 degrees counterclockwise, that's about what my manual would show (!?!?!) I used this manual to reasssemble the '76 Spit engine my car has and it worked fine.
BTW The picture in my manual is so small and lacking in detail(~1" square) that it's impossible to tell which side the slot offset position is....which means you could still easily be 180 degrees off!
Ah well, I guess fixing these cars is half the "sport".

12-21-2001, 09:56 PM
Just my two cents, but my Haynes 1500 manual (for a Midget) also shows a different diagram than your diagram. My diagram shows previously described, about 15 degrees counterclockwise from your picture.

12-21-2001, 10:14 PM
The bottom line is, as someone else mentioned, it really doesn't matter as long as you can set your electrical timing. What I'd do is go ahead and put the head on and then, put the distributor in and before putting the engine back in, try to set the timing statically. You can do this with a Radio Shack multimeter (Ohm setting). First, set the timing mark on the Crank Pully at the proper place on the timing marks (on the timing chain cover), which I think is about 10 degress Before Top Dead Center (but check your manuel). Next, turn put the meter across the connections for the points and turn the Distributor until the points are pointing at #1 and are just starting to open. If you can't get the adjustment, then Remove the dist and move the drive gear one tooth in the appropriate direction and re-set the static timing. This will get you very close. Then you can use a timing light once you get the engine back in and running.


12-22-2001, 02:40 PM
Ditto what the others said. As long as you can achieve your electrical timing, it doesn't matter. Try it one way and if it doesn't work, move the gear a tooth. Let us know how it comes out.