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Old 02-03-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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Default Distributor cap

While working on my 88 300 thats going in my 87 i am now at the distributor. What gets replaced in that. The cap or the whole assembly. Is napa brand anygood.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:53 PM   #2
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As long as its Brass terminals you should be fine for the cap. As for the assembly, not a whole lot is serviceable in there other then the O-ring at the bottom of the shaft, the rotor under the cap and in some cases the stator assembly. So if all of that works, don't disturb it and just stick with a new cap and rotor.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:55 PM   #3
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Ok so just a cap and rotor thats all. I did get a new o ring in my gasket kit i got so might as well do that. Whats the reason some people replace the whole thing. Cause my 95 has a whole new unit in that truck. I even got the old one with it in the tool box.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:13 PM   #4
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You would really only replace it if the shaft was really worn out. You can take it apart and put a new oil pump gear and and replace the pickup assembly inside the distributor like i just did, but it's really not worth it. In retrospect I would have better spent my time and effort with a new distributor instead of all the labor to rebuild it. This is a TFI distributor w/the ignition module mounted to the distributor that I am referring to.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #5
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In the old systems, the distributor was connected to the engine cam shaft and the spark was sent to the cylinders by the mechanical rotation of the distributor shaft. The rotor would turn and make contact with the rotor and then the distributor cap plug wires sending a spark through the wires to the spark plugs. With newer systems, this is done electronically where sensors (like crank shaft sensor and cam shaft sensor) tell the computer where the engine is in the operating cycle and then send the message to the distributor to send spark to the proper cylinder. If you want to go way back, you had points in the distributor that made a circuit through the ignition coil. When the points open by the distributor, the current jumped in the coil creating a big spark that traveled into the distributor, through the rotor cap, and then the the spark plug wires in the distributor cap. As I said previously the function of the points is done electronically and we often have individual coils at each plug or withing the distributor to cause the spark to the cylinders at exactly the right time.

The old distributors rarely failed because they were just a shaft that turned in an distributor housing. You routinely changed the distributor cap, rotor, points, and condenser (usually about every 12,000 miles) but never changed the actual distributor. Today, when a distributor fails today, it is the electronics that fail thus necessitating the need to change the distributor.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:36 PM   #6
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Exactly, for most people its not worth taking apart the distributor so they go with a new/reman one. I took mine apart and changed the pickup, but I did have an instructor who had 30+ years with Ford to show me how to do it. Lucky for me the college had boxes of brand new unused parts From ford as display pieces.
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