This is a VERY HIGH VOLTAGE system so please do extensive research prior to diagnosing this yourself and be very very careful! Because the current is split between twice as many points, normal wear is cut in half - sometimes more. The trick is making sure you hook up the plug wires to the proper position on the new cap. Try jump starting it before you throw in a part that probably won't fix it. Weird & Wacky, Copyright © 2020 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company. The comments were very helpful. If you pay attention as you go along getting the plug wires on the proper nipple isn’t hard. Like only only one spark plug fires and then that's it. Before it would make a clicking sound when trying to start but now there's it no longer makes that clicking sound, but I can still hear the fuel pump priming. The other thing a distributor does is help create the energy for the spark. Your mechanic noted which plug wire went to the #1 cylinder. Be very careful when you are removing the cap so as not to detach these wires from the cap. The next step is setting your base timing so you have a starting point. Distributor cap and rotor can be had for under $20 and is an easy take off the old one and put on the new one. There's no need to adjust dwell, and you'll only need to set timing once because it won't change. The distributor is always mechanically linked or timed to the engine's rotation so that the spark is sent at the exact moment it is needed. After that it's mechanical failure of internal components to the dizzy where it meets the cam or inside itself. to stay up-to-date on our promotions, discounts, sales, special offers and more. You'll need a distributor that's built to fit your older car and equipped with a hall effect sensor that tracks this necessary information. I have a 2001 Nissan Xterra that was having problems starting, and now it won't start. Before we add details to the video here, we want to talk more about distributors so you know how they work and why your vehicle may or … We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. A magnetic pickup consists of a permanently fixed magnet that creates a magnetic field. In all these cases, the driver would likely sense that things were not quite right as performance and fuel economy suffered. The timing of the spark is first set by connecting the distributor rotor to the camshaft so it makes one revolution every time the crankshaft goes around twice. Bad energy transfer means poor spark quality and poor sparks mean poor combustion. intake manifold vacuum pressure) and/or a centrifugal advance unit (using springs which move from centrifugal force as the distributor spins more quickly). You can get cheap PDF factory manuals (copies, probably but who asks questions) off ebay for pretty much any car and maybe pay $5 shipped. Follow Timothy Zahl on Facebook and Twitter to be up to date with his latest guides and articles. That’s why you should replace your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor after 60,000 miles. Update: You guys were right, it wasn't the cap and rotor. The cost of the cap and rotor vs the distributor is significant enough that if you're throwing parts at it, I'd try a cap and rotor first. The cap and rotor on older vehicles are simple in their design, while on newer vehicles they tend to be more complex. It's not clear to me though why this would prevent the car from starting. This was done originally with a set of points and a condenser, then electronic ignition (not to be confused with coil-on-plug) took over which reduced vehicle maintenance by using current technology. I thought that it was the starter, but that wasn't it either. Need advice on a dealing with a blown head gasket? Copyright © 2003-2020 CARiD.com. Under hard driving or extreme climate conditions that can cause points to burn away in a few thousand miles, dual point distributors have a higher rate of survival. Cracked block or leaking radiator? If your vehicle has over 60,000 miles on it and you haven’t replaced your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, you may experience a variety of drivability problems that are often difficult and very costly to diagnose and repair. If the distributor remained in the engine, there is no problem. Thank you all very much. Timothy Zahl is a technical writer and product consultant with over a decade of experience in the motor industry. You'll need a friend to crank the engine while you check current to the plugs and distributor. Distributors would need to be rebuilt or replaced. A set of points and condenser sit on a plate under the cap. Less than optimal combustion leads to engine deposits, low power, poor fuel mileage, and a rough running engine. Looking at how a distributor works, you’ll find a shaft at the center of the distributor with a rotor at its top. But hopefully someone more skilled than I can provide you with the answer to diagnosing a failing distributor, New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the MechanicAdvice community, Press J to jump to the feed. Likewise the cap only fits in one position too. If you remove the distributor from the engine and do not mark its position, then you crank the engine until #1 piston is at Top Dead Center, then install the the distributor. All rights reserved. The cap can only be clipped on in two different positions, and there is usually an indicator on the top of the cap for plug number one. Timothy is a fan of performance machines that run fast and loud and an expert in all things custom. Some distributor caps do not have the clips on the screws. Distributors with mechanical advance units would lose their calibration and needed to be adjusted. Porsche Is Launching a Luxury Car Subscription Program, Information about the device's operating system, Information about other identifiers assigned to the device, The IP address from which the device accesses a client's website or mobile application, Information about the user's activity on that device, including web pages and mobile apps visited or used, Information about the geographic location of the device when it accesses a website or mobile application. In many cases, these distributors enhance performance and reliability compared to original designs. If your vehicle has points in the distributor you may consider checking the condition of the points and the gap while you have the distributor cap off.

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