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Thread: 51 M38 - over my head

  1. #21
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    greeting and Happy new year

    without going into to much detail on my M38 53 24 volt

    I got new fuel pump, new distrubitor and plugs - I did get it started but it was rougth

    I think - my distributor was set incorrectly - so I am trying to re install it with the proper oil pump alginement - getting everything set to #1 plug and TDC (it took me a while to understand that)

    my current problem is that the new distributor really won't go in or it won't go down far enought to reach the slot on the oil pump

    has anyone had that issue? and if so how did you get it to go?

    thanks - I am afraid I am way over my head - running of of time or patience

    thanks again for any tips!

  2. #22
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    From what I understand, unless the oil pump has been pulled or replaced, nothing changes the timing and the distributor shaft can only go in one way. Maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong. You should be able to rotate the distributor one way or the other to smooth out the run if that's the problem. Make sure spark plug wires are in the right places.

  3. #23
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    Does the distributor housing fit smooth in the block? On the one I'm working on it was rusted in but I got it freed up and it moves smooth now.

  4. #24
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Will, okiemark is correct. The distributor will only go in one way. The oil pump is geared to the camshaft and the distributor has an offset slot that fits in the top of the pump shaft. The distributor will only go in the pump in one spot. The cam and the pump shaft move together. It is difficult to get it in. Don't give up. Take a look down the distributor hole with a small light and you will see the top of the pump shaft. Insert the distributor and push down gently as you you turn the rotor on the distributor. You will feel it engage the pump and drop down the rest of the way.

    The timing can be checked a few ways. But, first I would be sure the wires are on in the proper firing order. Pull out #1 spark plug and take off the timing inspection cover. Put your thumb over the spark plug hole and have someone "Bump" the engine by inserting a socket and a long extension through the bumper and turn the motor over clockwise as you are looking at the fan from the front. When you feel and hear the piston coming up on compression, you should feel and hear the air, you are on the compression stroke. Watch for the flywheel mark to appear. It is tiny and hard to see but its there. There is a mark at 5 deg and 0 deg. As the piston comes up to the top, the mark will line up with the line in the motor plate. You can also insert a 6" long pencil into the spark plug hole and watch it move up and down with the piston. At the point when the piston is at the very top on the compression stroke (TDC), where the rotor is pointed on the distributor is now number #1. Make sure the wires follow the firing order from there. If number 1 is not where it is supposed to be by the book, don't be surprised. Many mechanics stopped bothering with where the oil pump went back in. They just insert the distributor wherever it lines up, find where the rotor is pointed and insert the wires in the correct order from there. It doesn't make any difference as long as when #1 is on compression the rotor is pointed to the right wire, and the rest of the wires are in order from there.

    Frequently rough running after distributor or oil pump work is a firing order thing!
    Last edited by bmorgil; 01-02-2020 at 09:35 PM.

  5. #25
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    thanks guys!! good stuff
    right now I can't seem to get the new distrubtor down the point where it end touches the slot in the oil pump - I am temped to take a rubber mallet tap the distrubutor with the top on - the old one fit right in -

    part of the story on this jeep - is that it was my fathers (desea - 25 years ago he gave to a friend - it hasn't been run in 25 years but keep in a shed, i purchsed the jeep back from the friend for $4,500 - it had 24 volt regular, generator, alternator - but 12 volt disbributor - so I go got the 24 volt distributor and plug set

    hopefully I can get it in - and try out these suggestions

    thanks again for the tips
    best - will

  6. #26
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Will Johnson;10447]

    right now I can't seem to get the new distrubtor down the point where it end touches the slot in the oil pump - I am temped to take a rubber mallet tap the distrubutor with the top on - the old one fit right in -

    This is a case where you use as small a hammer as you need - not the "use a bigger hammer" approach. The shaft should fit down the tunnel with no interference. Take the light and look again - there may be something broken off in there.



    - but 12 volt distributor - so I go got the 24 volt distributor and plug set

    You are to be commended. Most folks would leave the 12-volt stuff in place just because of the cost

    hopefully I can get it in - and try out these suggestions

    It will go. She's just being a stubborn old beast, paybacks for being ignored for 25 years. Let us know how things work out

  7. #27
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    Take a look at the end of both distributor shafts and make sure something didn't break off the old one. If you didn't have any trouble getting it out it shouldn't have.

  8. #28
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    thanks- not sure I need to be commended - the cost of a new 12 volt everything seemed outway keep what I had

    I will double check to see if anything is down the tunnel - but I think it is just that the new is off enough so that last collar isn't going in - Like I said the old 12 volt distributor fits right in - Mike at Kasier said he didn't know it was running as it was set up - so we got the new 24 volt distrbutor

    I will keep fiddling with this and see if I can get it to go - I did have in before and it was hard to get it in - but I was not timed correctly so I took it out - but was wondering if anyone had issues with them not going in

    thanks again - will

  9. #29
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Will, there are definitely people who have had trouble getting them out, but I haven't heard of a lot of trouble getting it to go in. If the old one doesn't have an issue, I'd have to guess the new one might be a bit tighter because of machining tolerances. It needs to go in easy enough that you can turn it to adjust the timing. It shouldn't be tight.

  10. #30
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    I'm back.....
    OK - I finally got the distributor in - as everyone said it only goes in one way.....
    I think I have it set somewhat right as far as timing - using a pencil in the plug hole and turning the motor until it gets to the high spot and just starting to fall
    However - no fire to the plugs - I have power to the distrubtor. If I remove the cover to the distributor and engage the motor - I see an arc as the gap opens - but then no spark on the plugs. I also checked to see if i could get a reading (just a light indicator) if I removed a wire cap on top of the distrubtor - no indication of power

    any thoughts? - am I supposed to get that arc? would be condenser be bad (it's a new or rebuilt 24 volt distrubtor with the condensor inside)? not grounded?

    thanks - definat

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