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Thread: 134 distributor intstall

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    New York

    134 distributor intstall

    My 134 L head is back from the machine shop, it's assembled and now im putting the rest of it together. I was wondering if anyone can walk me through correctly installing the distributor. The head is on as well as timing case cover, I did slightly rotate the engine and now dont know if it's on TDC. I understand the oil pump has to be in a certain position and I will ask the rebuilder if he installed it correctly, which he should have as he's been doing flatheads for decades
    So assuming the crank was moved and the head is on whats the best way to go getting the distributor in correctly
    Thanks as always---Steve

  2. #2
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Northwestern Ohio
    Remove the spark plugs to make it easy to turn the engine over. With your thumb over the number one spark plug hole (front cylinder), rotate the engine until you feel the compression pressure pushing up against your thumb and blowing air out. That is the piston coming up on the compression stroke, when you hear and feel the air pushing out, stop turning. At this point the engine is coming up on the Number 1 Firing Position. Look at the timing marks on the engine and continue rotating the engine very slowly until the marks line up to indicate TDC. It is now mechanically ready to fire number 1. Both the intake and the exhaust valve must be closed. Originally, the number 1 plug wire was at about 4 O'clock on the distributor when you look straight down from the passenger fender. It doesn't make any difference however, as long as the firing order is correct from number 1 on through number 4 when you wire the plugs to the cap. Sometimes if the assembler did not have the distributor, this may not be the case. When assembling you need to be sure the oil pump, when indexed to the camshaft gear, has the distributor indexed. If they don't have the distributor when installing the camshaft and oil pump, this is a guess. Again, if number one isn't at 4 O'clock, it isn't a big deal unless your a stickler for absolutely the way it came from the factory. It isn't worth removing the oil pump and re-indexing it in my opinion. In the "old days" no one cared. If it bothers you you can pull the oil pump and re-index it to the correct spot. Once you have the motor in the #1 Firing position, look down into the hole with a flashlight. The oil pump shaft will only engage the distributor shaft in one orientation. One side of the shaft "notch" is thicker on one side than the other. Line up the notch correctly with the distributor shaft and drop the distributor in. The distributor will turn a few degrees as it drops down. It will only go in one way and in one spot. You usually have to try a few times (sometimes a lot of times). You must make sure it drops down all the way. Look at the size of the distributor shaft engagement blade and you can see how far it will be held out if it doesn't engage. If it doesn't, you missed the notches in the shafts. Keep trying and indexing the distributor slightly each time you drop it in, until you feel it engage the oil pump shaft and it drops down all the way. The spark is generated the instant the points open. So if you have the timing marks lined up on the flywheel where you want your timing to be (5 deg. BTDC), carefully rotate the distributor housing till the points just open while the rotor is pointed at the number one spark plug. Tighten it all down and you should be in time. I use a meter across the points to detect the instant they open. You can also use a light bulb. This attention to detail prevents the endless cranking that occurs when persons install their distributor with no idea if it is in time or not.

    Do not get too worried if when you get the distributor to drop all the way down, the rotor is not pointing to around "4 or 5 O'clock". As was said before, if it bothers you you can pull the oil pump and re-index it. Wherever the rotor is pointed when the distributor is fully down and the Motor is in Number 1 firing position, Is where you start your firing order. The firing order is 1,3,4,2 counterclockwise from the passenger fender.

    Here is a guy with one apart:

    Here is a good read on it also. This is a 24 volt Military but a lot of what is said relates to all:

    Last edited by bmorgil; 05-04-2024 at 09:19 AM.

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