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Distributor Not Turning

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    Posted: May/13/2018 at 1:59pm
Driving back from a show yesterday and my car stutters a bit and stalls out. I coasted into a lot and proceeded to look for the problem. At first every time I'd hit the key it would act like it wanted to fire so I figured it was getting spark and thought fuel. Nope, the fuel pressure was normal and the squirters were squirting. Back to spark, checked the spark which at first seemed  quite weak (for an MSD) but was there. After checking at a couple other plug wires the spark about went away... Began thinking the 6AL  was bad. Then we popped the dist cap and turned the engine over. Rotor cap made a few moves like it wanted to turn but then would not turn at all.....

While 10-11 years old in age, the entire MSD system (including the billet distributor) and all of the engine components have maybe 1000-1500 miles on them. Timing chain is a double roller.

Any thoughts on what could be wrong? - And why? I don't think timing chain since it is A) fairly new and a double roller and B) the engine turns over as normal, not free wheeling as if the chain was broke. If the bronze dist gear was stripped I would think it would have been felt before a total failure? Same with a cam problem. I'm thinking the roll pin holding the  bronze gear may have sheared and will proceed to pull the dizzy to see. If it did I sure hope it will slide out with the dizzy as it will be a female canine to fish out. Be interested in any thoughts or experiences???
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jpnjim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2018 at 3:14pm
Pulling the distributor is step one,
probably the gear got lunched.

Hopefully some of the guys who have been through this will post what they did to flush all the crap out of their engine if that's the case.


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was Green/green now T/A red w/blk leather

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ccowx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2018 at 3:53pm
I am also likely to think it is the gear has let go. Have you found the timing has shifted lately? It seems that as the gear disintegrates over time that the timing will lose about 10 degrees before it finally just fails. You should count yourself lucky, I had the mother of all misfires and had a muffler blow wide open like a ripe banana.

As for fishing out the bits of broken gear, probably not as much of an issue as you might think. The larger chunks will have ended up in the pan. They are likely too big to go through the screen, so ok there. As for the shavings from the slow wear, it has probably already been caught in the filter. I also like to use a magnetic drain plug, so hopefully you have done that.

I simply pulled the distributor and replaced the cam gear as well. Don't just replace the distributor gear or the now damaged cam gear will destroy that one as well in fairly short order. To clean it out I changed the oil/filter, used a high detergent light weight oil for a few minutes of running and then change it all again, back to whatever you normally run.

Yes, you could tear down the entire engine but you might be surprised at how tolerant it is of this kind of abuse. This is why you have a filter and screen. Besides, this has likely been a gradual process, so it has been slowly eating the bits for miles. If it was going to have a bearing failure as a result it probably would have done so by now. If it fails in a few miles then you would have had to rebuild it anyway.

I hope that helps!

Chris

PS: It goes without saying you need to find the reason why it did what it did. Probably oil supply to the gear, so you will be pulling your timing cover and timing chain anyway.

PPS: I have not used the bronze gears but perhaps that is why it went? The good news is that bronze shavings are softer and easier on the bearings. One of the reasons to use one if I recall correctly. I am not sure the longevity is very good though, even when things are right.    




Edited by ccowx - May/13/2018 at 3:58pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bandana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2018 at 10:07pm
I had just finished a 270 mile round trip to and from a car show most of it driving 65-70 on the interstate with no perceived issues - right up until the engine sputtered and died. Thats one of the reasons I'm guessing a sheared pin instead of a destroyed gear. That plus the fact that this engine doesn't have many miles on it.

Dumb question but I was always under the impression that the cam gear on all engines was integral with the cam - cut into the cam itself??? Are the cam gears on AMCs replaceable??

My understanding on bronze distributor gear use is that you can not use the same material on both distributor gear and cam gear. With the old OEM cams being cast / forged steel you could use a hard billet steel distributor gear but since most aftermarket cams are made from billet steel these days you needed to used a dissimilar softer metal. Is this not the case?

I'll find out this week when I get a chance to pull the distributor out what i have. Till then is all assumptions, but I like to think through the possibilities before hand. Whatever the problem is, finding out why it occurred is the big factor. The fellow that just had my car for a couple months working on it removed the added oil line in the valley. I was under the impression this was just adding unnecessary oil to the bearings? Could it also have been putting oil to the front of the cam and by removing it resulted in the distributor gear failure?? I've not seen the line or understand exactly why it was added.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jpnjim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2018 at 10:19pm
The cam gear slides onto the end of the gear, as does the fuel pump cam.

So it's replacable.

If you have one worn out distributor gear the other needs to be replaced at the same time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bandana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2018 at 10:22pm
Slides onto the cam?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fluffy73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2018 at 11:25pm
Slides onto the cam.  Ditto with the fuel pump eccentric. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Anti Chrysler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2018 at 12:50am
What exactly is stopping you from pulling the distributor and inspecting it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ccowx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2018 at 1:05am
You can pull the timing gear/chain, pump eccentric, oil slinger and cam gear without removing the camshaft itself. Just pull the timing cover and you are good. No need to pull the intake or any valve gear.

As for pulling the distributor, just disconnect the wiring and hold down and lift it out. I would take a picture of the rotor so you can get it back in the right position. I would also look down the hole and see where the slot for the oil pump shaft is. You may need to fiddle with that to get it right, since the distributor is going to rotate about 1/6th of a turn or so when you put it back in. You may even want to take a picture of the rotor both in fully seated position and also once it has rotated on it's way out. Probably helpful when reinstalling it. Even if you pull the timing cover, the pictures will help because the rotor orientation will be the same if you do not disturb the crankshaft position.

Chris

PS: I had an oil line like you and it did not harm the gear at all. I would check the oiling passages to it, since you are going to have to remove it anyway.

PPS: Pulling the distributor takes about 5 minutes. I personally would not do well with waiting for a week to see the issue!

Edited by ccowx - May/14/2018 at 1:08am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bandana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/14/2018 at 8:23am
Correct me if I’m wrong but at this point there’s no need to worry about rotor orientation since the engine has been turned over with the distributor not moving?   I may get around to pulling the distributor sooner but the next 36 hours or so are supposed to be dry and I’ve got tons of outdoor work to get at. Wednesday is going to be a rainout here and was going to have a buddy come over to give me a hand.
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