Destroying a Distributor

Destroying a Distributor

crzylee

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Location
Brandon, Ms
Vehicle(s)
1981 CJ-7
Well as I posted in my first post, I have had problems with my AMC 360 eating distributor gears for lunch (and supper) and at $50 each distributor, that hurts!

Well last night I went over to some friends house and we were going to replace the camshaft and other things. I tell y'all what, the bolt holding the harmonic balancer on is a pain in the you know where to break over and remove!!!


Removed the timing cover (finally!) and immediately spotted 2 problems. I don't know if these are the root causes or not, but its a good start: The timing chain had ALOT of slack in it, and the Camshaft Distributor Drive Gear was chewed up! Called the local Auto Zone and they said it was a dealer part only. Called Summit Racing and they said it was a junkyard part. My friends and I were baffled that we could not find the part besides the stealership, so Google here I come.

After a few minutes of searching I was able to find it here. So now I get to call them today and see how much overnight shipping will be, so I can TRY to be up and running for WWGTD


I truly hope this will solve my problem, along with a new timing set, but only time will tell!!
 
For any and all oiling problems on an AMC I only buy my pieces from BullTear.com ... They specialize in only AMC V8's (with a little I6's)...

Did you check what they have in their online catalog? Most if not all of their stuff is made and designed by them to fix all normal AMC 8's problems...

Hope you get it fixed!
 
Thanks CJ, I did a search on their site with no results. Tried calling them just then and got an answering service. I didn't see any hours posted on the site, but will try calling them back soon.
 
I dont have a lot of time right now, but do a search over at Jeep Forum - Jeep Enthusiast Network under 'jeephammer'. He has a number of fixes for the hungry distributor syndrome. He is a member here, but there are a lot of existing good posts over there from him.

Or google 'junkyard genius' same guy but his own website. I dont know what all is ont here but I'm sure he covered it sometime on that site.
 
JF.com has changed since my last visit. Almost impossible to search posts by user now. Going to take me a while to dig through the search.
 
I looked on Bulltear and they do have the gear - bu they only sell the matched set... And, it's pretty expensive... -->> osCommerce
 
JF.com has changed since my last visit. Almost impossible to search posts by user now. Going to take me a while to dig through the search.
They have search by member names but you have to become a premium member...
 
They have search by member names but you have to become a premium member...

Gotcha. Well I found my gear and got it overnighted for delivery today by 3pm. Cost $50 total (part + shipping) which is still less than the stealership so I will be working on my jeep Saturday. Still hate I am going to miss our local topless day gathering.

Oh well, there is always next year :)
 
Looks like I'm a little late for this one...

Maybe for the next guy!

Anyway,
Replacment distributor from Advance Auto or Auto Zone,
With new CORRECT distributor gear, new pick up, new vacuum advance, ect.
Around $50.
I would NEVER buy just the gear when I can get a full on remand distributor for $50.

Option #2.
Summit Racing.
Distributor gear,
MSD Ignition 8005 - MSD Iron Distributor Gears

Camshaft Gear,
MSD Ignition 8007 - MSD Iron Camshaft Mounted Distributor Gears

These are the BEST, TOP QUALITY GEARS YOU CAN USE!
................

You can also show up at the dealership to get gears,
NAPA carries them also, although you will have to find a counter kid with enough IQ points to use the paper catalog, and that can be a challenge.

#3....
Watch what you get from 'Bulltear'...
They have HARDENED steel gears that will eat the camshaft gears in just a few minutes of operation!

Most of the 'E-bay' gears are also the hardened steel gears, and cause REAL problems!

#4. If you have aftermarket distributor, like the GM HEI Clones that are selling for cheap,
Remember, many of them have SHAFTS that are too long, and that will not only kill the drive gear, but it will kill the oil pump too!

Same with housings that are too long, they will kill the oil pump along with the drive gears!
---------------------------------

Some reading if you are interested,
GM HEI vs. Motorcraft/DuraSpark Ignitions
 
Looks like I'm a little late for this one...

Maybe for the next guy!

Anyway,
Replacment distributor from Advance Auto or Auto Zone,
With new CORRECT distributor gear, new pick up, new vacuum advance, ect.
Around $50.
I would NEVER buy just the gear when I can get a full on remand distributor for $50.

Option #2.
Summit Racing.
Distributor gear,
MSD Ignition 8005 - MSD Iron Distributor Gears

Camshaft Gear,
MSD Ignition 8007 - MSD Iron Camshaft Mounted Distributor Gears

These are the BEST, TOP QUALITY GEARS YOU CAN USE!
................

You can also show up at the dealership to get gears,
NAPA carries them also, although you will have to find a counter kid with enough IQ points to use the paper catalog, and that can be a challenge.

#3....
Watch what you get from 'Bulltear'...
They have HARDENED steel gears that will eat the camshaft gears in just a few minutes of operation!

Most of the 'E-bay' gears are also the hardened steel gears, and cause REAL problems!

#4. If you have aftermarket distributor, like the GM HEI Clones that are selling for cheap,
Remember, many of them have SHAFTS that are too long, and that will not only kill the drive gear, but it will kill the oil pump too!

Same with housings that are too long, they will kill the oil pump along with the drive gears!
---------------------------------

Some reading if you are interested,
GM HEI vs. Motorcraft/DuraSpark Ignitions



Rush:

Thanks for the input. I didn't need the gear for the distributor, I did buy a new distributor from AZ for $50, and it's weird that you found the cam gear on Summit's website because I called them and they said it was a junkyard part, or a jeep specialty company might carry it. I have thought about going HEI in the past, but currently I am more focused on getting the jeep to a constant running state. I know that now would have been the best time to upgrade it, but if this doesn't fix my problem I didn't want to destroy a $200 distributor vs. destroying a $50 that has a lifetime warranty. Upgrades will come in the future or on a different rig I might find that will be strictly a trail rig. Mine now I am not afraid to put it offroad, but a bit more leary taking on tight trail rides and steep hills.


EDIT: I also got the timing gasket set from AutoZone for $14 It came with the front seal and everything I should need.
 
I'd recommend you stay completely away from HEI Clones since this is a V-8,
And there NEVER WAS a factory HEI that would work with the V-8 engines.

The V-8 HEI style distributors that ARE NOT having problems are D.U.I. and MSD, and both of those are over $300 base price before plug wires.

That's a LOT of money for a single fire, stock type ignition switch that does NOTHING for your usable spark energy...
-----------------------------

Stick with the stock distributor,
It's got a very good trigger,
Very good centrifugal advance,
And pretty good vacuum advance.

Cap and rotor from Jeep is the problem...
Do the 'TeamRush' upgrade to it,
Get the Cap Adapter on with the larger/taller cap & rotor,
And get some reasonable plug wires on it.

Once you get that done, and you can FINALLY deliver the spark energy to the spark plugs for a change!...

Look into spending $140 (not $300!) on a CDI module.
Capacitive Discharge Ignition modules INCREASE USABLE SPARK ENERGY BY 500% MINIMUM!

This isn't a bogus claim of voltage increases,
this is the real thing, Voltage, Amperage and Duration of spark energy increases of AT LEAST 500%.

It's a great deal,
A bunch of Jeepers have already listened to me, and they are VERY happy with the upgrades!

Anyway, here are the 'TeamRush' upgrade parts you will need,
MSD Ignition 8414 - MSD Cap-A-Dapts
This adapter, cap, rotor are top quality, and will fit right on your stock distributor with NO MODIFICATIONS.

Here is a good set of plug wires,
they are 'Cut To Fit' so the work correctly,
They have EXCELLENT terminals,
EXCELLENT Boots,
Come with good instructions and they have the crimping tool included with the kit.
MSD Ignition 3119 - MSD Heli-Core Spark Plug Wire Sets

When you go to change out the module for something RELIABLE,
Let me know, we can do it for $30 (Single fire),
Or we can do it for $139 (CDI multi-fire)...
 
Most of my ignition follows the guidelines that Teamrush lays out, and for the most part my ignition performs Waayyy better that stock...I am one of those happy Jeepers he mentions...
 
thanks guys, I will definitely consider this when I get some spare change :)

Off-Topic just a touch, we were putting everything back together yesterday and put the intake on without putting the valley pan back on.

Question 1: What is the general purpose of this part?

Question 2: We used RTV to seal the intake to the top of the motor, what are consequences of not having the valley pan installed?
 
The valley pan gasket is designed to keep hot oil (from the exhaust riser) off of the intake and it also keeps oil from being sucked into the PCV valve.

Some people don't use them but I always do, I would drive it for a while and see if you have any problems with oil in your PCV system.
 
Went to Bulltear.com and from what I saw, they say keep it on. Off came the intake and on went the valley pan. Man those things are a PAIN when they are new. They don't like to hold the shape of the top of the motor very well, even with RTV. Intakes on so now we are slowly putting things back together, if the rain will hold off.
 
That's pretty much why I said I always use one, it does serve a purpose.

Most VP gaskets have a tab or a protrusion that helps keep the pan in place when you are installing the intake... And your right! They can be a pain!
 
well I got her running again, finally!! :) Blood, sweat and tears, and a few more $$ here and there...

Rode her up and down the highway to test her out, and she runs GREAT!!! We are having a small ride near the house this Saturday, so that will be the stress test. I am just glad to have it rolling under its own power again.
 
Hey I was having this same problem with the distributor eating gears, I first tried replacing the timing chain and distributor gears with the stock ones but they only lasted a day. I ended up going to bulltear.com and ordering the match set of hardened gears and my 79 CJ5 is back to running. Thanks for the post they really helped!
 

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