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Username Post: Distributor wires installed a position off, need advice        (Topic#355362)
Posts: 5
Age: 43
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Reg: 02-23-19
02-23-19 06:29 PM - Post#2760580    

My 1982 Chevy P 30 is a bread truck that I converted to a party bus. Year and a half ago I put in a new, or rather, rebuilt 350 which the seller was unsure of the year on but it’s either 82, 83 or 84.

A couple months ago I put in a new distributor and the guy who did it for me set the wires weird, but it works. From every diagram I have seen the number one wire should be pointed at the number one spark plug. My number one wire is pointing at the number seven piston. All of my wires are shifted to the left one position, but it’s running and it seems to be running OK.

I attempted to put the wires in the appropriate position and turn the distributor timing, and I wound up shooting flames out of my carburetor. Needless to say, the wires went back to being one position off.

Does anybody have insight on this as to why this set up is off one position and what I can do about it? Or should I just leave it the way it is?

From a rear view, you can see the number one wire points to 8 o'clock instead of 11 o'clock.
[image] 71-4ec8-a7cf-5f9ece3d38c5 /689deccf-d8c9-49f1-9d0d- 430097a149da.jpeg[/image] 71-4ec...

A UNIQUE Party Bus for Your UNIQUE Party! JAM Tram!

Edited by azjamtram on 02-23-19 07:42 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.


Valued Contributor
Posts: 3376

Loc: Lake George, NY
Reg: 11-11-15
02-24-19 02:25 PM - Post#2760664    
    In response to azjamtram

Doesn't make any difference where the wires are pointed, if the rotor is pointed to the number one cylinder/ wire when it is at tdc compression it is good to go after setting the timing of course.

Posts: 5
Age: 43
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Reg: 02-23-19
02-25-19 09:47 AM - Post#2760769    
    In response to Shepherd

Ahhh. Ok, thank you, was getting really thrown off by my positioning compared to everyone else's. Mine didn't used to be off one, you'll see in the picture I had scratched in the during order, but this new guy helped put the wires when he put in the new distributor.

Thanks again!

A UNIQUE Party Bus for Your UNIQUE Party! JAM Tram!

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 2448

Loc: Orlando Florida
Reg: 07-09-18
12-29-21 03:45 PM - Post#2833442    
    In response to azjamtram

As mentioned by the prior contributor, which terminal you use as #1 is "almost" irrelevant as long as you follow the firing order. One thing that I have noticed on older Chevrolet engines is that the spark plug wires are a certain length based upon the factory position of the terminal.

Also, most HEI systems have the distributor sitting where the coil in the distributor is sitting straight across. When you do that, the vacuum advance unit is angled correctly. Use that arrangement to time your engine and you will be nearly perfect when you use a timing light.

People fear change because it threatens what they know, or what they claim to know.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 4067

Reg: 04-15-05
04-14-22 09:34 AM - Post#2839794    
    In response to azjamtram

There are actually two factory installed "Number 1" cap terminals, depending on which distributor type, and year.

Viewing as a clock, noon at firewall, above the distributor ;looking down.

Points distributors, 1955 thru 1974, clock face position 5:00, or, as you have stated, at the number 1 cylinder spark plug.

Large coil in cap HEI, 1974 late thru 1989, clock face position 7:00, pointed at number 2 cylinder spark plug.

As stated, you can opt to put the number 1 cap terminal anywhere you so desire, just have to run the firing order clockwise, and in order, from that place you set as number 1 spark plug wire.

Senior Member
Posts: 1948

Loc: Whitewater, CO
Reg: 05-25-01
08-04-22 03:35 PM - Post#2845455    
    In response to IgnitionMan

The reason that it is off, is because your the distributer is off by one tooth. The reason, I'm guessing is because when he put it in, he did compensate for the turn that the rotor makes when you slip it in.

The 1st sentence is a fact....the 2nd is a guess for the cause.

He compensated by turning the dizzy just a bit so that the body now corresponds w/the rotor. There are 8 teeth on the cam/dizzy and it will go in on all of them...the trick is getting the oil pump to line up with them.

You could take it out and turn the rotor. There is sort of a trick where you bounce the oil pumps gear around. Or, you put it in the right spot and turn the motor and eventually it will pop in.

Don't worry about it. There are greater things to worry about (like what does a woman really want/mean?)

Edited by Stinky on 08-04-22 03:37 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.


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