Auto Dismantler and Recycling

How to Replace/Install an Ignition Distributor

Labor is a huge cost to automotive repairs.  You can save big if you do it yourself.

If you fancy yourself a “do it yourself” mechanic, and you want to replace or install an ignition distributor yourself; here are some key battle tips to get you through the process.

A practically limitless number of problems can cause distributors to fail:

  • Chain or timing belt wear (or excessive slack);
  • A leaking o-ring;
  • Too much resistance in your spark plugs or spark plug wires;
  • Worn components of the ignition (e.g. router, distributor cap, etcetera)

The distributor is a complex instrument. It contains a variety of sensitive electronic components
and mechanical parts. It also gets “cooked” regularly with up to 50,000 volts or more, depending
on the model.

To get the most life you can out of a distributor, get a tune up often (at least every few years). If
you need replacement parts, the reputable, experienced team at Rock and Roll Auto Recycling
can help you to get the right components at the right price. Read more about our services or search for auto parts at, or call us toll free at 888-550-9944.

And now for the nuts and bolts of changing out and installing a new distributor:

1. Your first step should be to identify the position of the router.

Do this before you remove the old distributor. This will help you put the new component in its
proper place.

2. Install the new distributor.

Be sure that the router points in the same places the old distributor did. Look closely at the
replacement unit. Does it fit precisely where the distributor was? Look below the flange, and
look carefully.

3. Before you put the distributor into the engine, prevent the pins from getting bent.

To do this, simply lubricate the o-ring.

4. Insert the distributor into the engine.

Avoid use of excess force here. Not only could you hurt the distributor, but you could also
damage or destroy the engine if you’re too rough.

5. Lastly, identify other sources of corrosion or wear on the ignition system (e.g. wires,
plugs, other electrical components).

Calendar your next inspection to avert possible issues with your ignition distributor and other
components before they become a problem.

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