Sable Discuss the Mercury Sable here...

Distributor help

  #1  
Old 11-07-2010, 07:26 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9
Default Distributor help

Bought a 93 Sable that needed a head gasket replaced. I've never worked on a car with a distributor before, so when I removed it to take out the rear head, I had no idea I should have been marking it so I could put it back in the same way. Also like a fool, instead of just removing the cap, I took out the whole thing, shaft and all. I took pictures of the engine before I took it all apart so I can get the cap back in the same position, but something tells me that doesn't really matter since it can spin 360. A friend of mine told me I have a 50/50 chance of getting it right, and if it runs rough when I start it back up, just put it in the other way. Is he right? It doesn't seem to make sense with the gear at the bottom of the shaft, how can that only go in 2 ways? Thanks for any help!
 
  #2  
Old 11-07-2010, 10:59 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 54
Default You are correct in questioning your friend.

There is a way to do it correctly. First, set the number one cylinder to top dead center (TDC) of the compression stroke. Since your engine is transversely mounted, the number one cylinder is on the passenger's side and towards the rear of the engine compartment. To accomplish this, use a ratchet to turn the crankshaft pulley nut clockwise until the timing marks on the pulley line up with the pointer on the front of the engine. Line the TDC or zero degree mark up with the pointer. Remove the number one spark plug and insert a screwdriver into the hole about one to two inches. You should feel the top of the piston. If not, remove the screwdriver and rotate the engine a full revolution (repeating the previous process). The engine is now set at TDC of the compression stroke.
Look at your distributor cap (without removing it from the distributor). Most distributor caps posts are numbered to ease in sparkplug wire connection. Find the post labeled "one" and with a paint marker, scribe, or hacksaw blade, match the center of the number one post on the cap with the distributor body and make a mark. Remove the cap and align the center of the rotor with the mark you made on the distributor body. While holding the rotor in that position, lower the distributor into the engine while also aligning the body with the hold-down bolt giving yourself room for adjustment after you're done (use your pictures to assist in this step). If the rotor is no longer lined up with your mark after it is seated all the way down, remove it and turn the rotor back far enough to move it one tooth on the gear and re-apply. Repeat as necessary. When you have finished, you can be confident that your distributor was installed correctly. You will need to set your ignition timing with a timing light after your engine is put back together. Follow the the ignition timing information on the label underneath your hood.
 
  #3  
Old 11-13-2010, 02:28 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10
Default

Ouch. You will need to take the timing cover off, which takes some work.
 
  #4  
Old 11-13-2010, 05:54 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks for the replies guys. mtnlovrs I am going to try your method tomorrow. Hopefully I can get it done correctly because I am sure ready to get rid of this car. Do you know off the top of your head if the crankshaft pulley is accessible without raising the engine? ADAMINA when you say the timing cover needs to be removed, that's for setting the ignition timing correct? Thanks for the help!
 
  #5  
Old 11-15-2010, 05:32 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10
Default

Something to check .. would be the license plate light and or do you have a plug for a trailer some times those can get cut or wore through and cause a intermediate short.
 
  #6  
Old 11-16-2010, 12:21 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 54
Default Yes, teroot, I believe it is.

Originally Posted by teroot View Post
Thanks for the replies guys. mtnlovrs I am going to try your method tomorrow. Hopefully I can get it done correctly because I am sure ready to get rid of this car. Do you know off the top of your head if the crankshaft pulley is accessible without raising the engine? ADAMINA when you say the timing cover needs to be removed, that's for setting the ignition timing correct? Thanks for the help!
Yes, I used to have a '93 Taurus and it seems to me that I had to remove the right front wheel to access the pulley bolt. There may be a small window in the inner wheel well, but I may be thinking of another car I owned. Don't forget to put the car on jack stands. One more thing, there is no cover to remove to set your ignition timing. I think ADAMINA is an advertiser that writes bogus post's just to get you to click on his links; (he's using this thread for free advertising). I am going to report him.
 
  #7  
Old 11-17-2010, 02:04 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks mtnlovrs, that would explain why his posts make no sense! Well we got the distributor back on and yes, we did have to remove the passenger side front wheel (and cowling on the inside) to get to the crankshaft pulley. All is well on that front, thanks for the help! Here's my next issue - got everything back together and started up the engine to make sure it would idle okay for a period of time. Lots of smoke coming from the engine - for the moment I am attributing that to whatever fluids had leaked out and were still sitting somewhere on the engine. After idling for about 10-15 minutes, the temp. gauge made it all the way up to the red. I had this happen to my Cutlass when I did the intake gasket, turned out to be just the air working it's way out of the cooling system. However, when I turned the car off, I noticed a lot of hissing and some fluid leaking from the thermostat housing on the manifold. Does this mean I installed the thermostat backwards?
 
  #8  
Old 11-21-2010, 12:27 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 54
Default Sorry it took me so long to reply...

I've been sick with the flu and was'nt much for reading the forums.
To answer your question, yes it's possible that you installed your thermostadt upside down. It's also possible that the original problem was more than just a blown head gasket. Did you have the head magnafluxed? Hopefully it's just the thermostadt, but it also may be a crack in the head's water jacket or cylinder lining. Did you notice a lot of steam coming from the tail pipe that doesn't seem to clear up? Add some antifreeze or dye to your cooling system and see if it shows up at your tailpipe; or do a compression test.
 

Last edited by mtnlovrs; 11-25-2010 at 05:09 PM.
  #9  
Old 11-23-2010, 08:05 AM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9
Default

I'm hoping it's nothing major like that! The car was fully operational when we bought it, I actually drove it home (about 15-20 miles) and it was working just fine. Was leaking a little coolant through the head gasket but not enough to make a difference in that short period of time. That's why I'm hoping it is just residue left over causing the smoke, but that will be told in time. Haven't had much of a chance to work on it anyway, stupid daylight savings time. I removed the thermostat several days ago though and popped it in some boiling water, it opened up just fine and it wasn't in backwards. Today I'm going to run it without a thermostat installed to see if it still overheats to at least try to eliminate that problem. If it doesn't overheat then I'm thinking either water pump or a blockage in the system somewhere. I will keep you updated, thanks for the help.
 
  #10  
Old 11-23-2010, 09:36 AM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9
Default

Okay here's an update. I test drove the car today with no thermostat and it still overheated. So I have to assume that was not the problem in the first place. What are the best ways to determine if there is a blockage in the cooling system vs. a bad water pump? Even with no thermostat in, would I still be able to feel pressure in the radiator hose going to the thermostat housing? I didn't touch the water pump during this whole process except when I removed the hose from it to try and drain all the coolant out...
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Distributor help


Advertising
Featured Sponsors
Vendor Directory

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.