Distributor Won't Go in, 351M Ford

I have a 351M Ford truck engine.
I'm replacing the distributor* (which is the one vacuum-advance type). I removed the old distributor, and now I'm trying to insert the new one.
That's the problem. The new one won't go in. And I can't even re-insert the old distributor, even with the gear removed.
I can't tell what the distributor is getting hung up on, but I suspect the shaft is not seating properly on the hex shaft that comes up from the oil pump. Or maybe the hex shaft is supposed to seat in something itself.
Has anyone had this problem and worked his or her way out?
* The truck wasn't giving much power and acting like it was out of time, but it wasn't. When I removed the old distributor, I could see the gear at the bottom was loose; the roll pin holding the gear in place was broken and only half there.
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* Nehmo Sergheyev *
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You are right the hex shaft is not lining up, you will have tp turn the engine over while you are installing the dist. If the rotor does not line up where you want, pull the dist just enough to back the gear a notch, The dist cap clips sometimes get in the wrong position.
Now if some one would help me out with my steering coloum question befor the week end closes I would be grateful.
ttys Gill

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On Fri, 02 Jul 2004 23:12:28 -0700, Gill Elmgren rearranged some electrons to form:

DON'T turn the engine with the distributor out. The dist. shaft drives the oil pump. Pull the hext shaft out, get an appropriate sized socket (not sure what size itis on the 351M) and a long extension, and turn the oil pump drive a little, put the hex shaft back in, drop in the distributor, repeat until it seats all the way down.
PS don't drop the socket or you will have to remove the oil pan to get it out.
PS don't forget to re-install the hex shaft or the oil pump won't turn.

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David M (dmacchiarolo)
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On Sat, 03 Jul 2004 11:11:49 GMT, "David M"

Whatever you do, don't even think about pulling that shaft out. It has a clip on it that ensures that it does not inadvertantly disengage from the oil pump when you remove the distrinutor in which case the pan will have to come off. Make sure the cap clips are up when you try to insert the distributor with the cap off. Sometimes, just a back and forth wiggle of the rotor will align it enough to slip in. Sometimes, you have to use the starter to bump the engine over a bit for it to align. A light tap on the distributor shaft with the wood handle of a hammer is just enough. If the distributor is in the wrong position for proper timing when it goes in, you may have to back up or advance the position of the rotor before inserting it again until you get it in the correct position - trial and error until you have done it a couple of times.
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I had a similar problem with a 302. The hex driveshaft for the oilpump wouldn't stay centered for the distributor to engage it. I used some fibrous grease to help hold it in the correct position. If you use something to wedge the hex driveshaft in place, remember that whatever you use is going to wind up in the oilpan, and eventually all over the motor innards.
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- max-income -

- Nehmo - It's 5/16" , and I can wobble it with a nut driver. It seems to turn too easily. I'm thinking it's detached from the oil pump and sitting higher than it's supposed to be.. I want to lift it out to see underneath. I can't get it out with the extended-handle long-nose pliers I have. I tried using grease to stick it to the nut driver, but it didn't work. I tired liquid nails too. I'm looking for a magnet. Many of my tools are at a job, so I'm limited. There's no store nearby to buy anything either. I'm in a big time crunch to fix this. I'm typing with greasy hands right now. I don't care about the keyboard.
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Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:

The shaft should have a spring steel collar on it to hold it centered in the block enough for the dist. to engage. Keep wiggling, ..................
wws
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Fogot I was giving information to amatures, being tha it is a hexagon shaft one does not have to turn the engine over very much. I myself put a socket on the crank nut to rock the engine. Once the shaft drops into place you back the engine up to your timeing marks. Asuming you are smart enough to know where the rotor should line up for number one plug wire , back it up one tooth so that when it ( Hex Shaft ) does drop into place it will be in the correct position.
You may not get it right the first time, its just like a woman you have to play with her to find the right moves. I still remember the first bra I fumbled with.
Just a bunch of usless trolls in this NG, well you can do something I cant do. You can kiss my ass while I cant.
Regards Gill

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Apparently, someone tinkled in your cornflakes, or you're just rude.
Whatever, I hope the rest of your day goes better, Gill.
Later,
Spdloader

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Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:

You should not be able to remove the drive shaft from above. It should have a tinnerman nut on it so it dowsn't fall out and land in the oil pan whenever you pull the distributor. So put a drive socket on it, and gently turn it until it fits back in to the oil pump. If the oil pump is in good condition, it should turn pretty easily, so don't let that fool you. Turning it fast enough to create pressure takes some work, though. When you think it's in, apply a 1/2 drill motor, and turn in reverse until you get oil pressure, or you can see oil in the distributer hole. Now you know everything's in place.
Place the engine at TDC on the compression stroke. Lube up the distributer gear, shaft end, and O ring area. Be sure and give the driven gear and shaft end a good coat of white lithium grease. Drop the distributer in as far as it will go without forcing. With the spark plugs removed, use a wrench and socket to turn the crankshaft in it's normal direction of travel. Usually, within 1/4 turn and the distributer will drop in to place. Now turn the engine over twice with a wrench, and remove the distributer. Check the pattern in the grease on the driven gear. If should be pretty much centered in the gears. If it isn't, you'll have to move the gear up or down a little to make it match. Also, check the hole at the end of the shaft. There should be only grease visible in the bottom of the hole. If you can see steel in there, that means the drive shaft is bottoming out in the hole. Then you have to pull the pan and pump, and shorten the drive shaft. If everything looks good, you can go back to the beginning. Install the distributer as above, and set static timing. Start the engine and set actual timing. Whenever I install a new distributer, I always go through the above steps. It sounds time consuming, but it really only takes about 10 minutes. And, I have to admit, I've never had to modify a distributer to correct any problems. But the first time I don't check..........
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- boB -

- Nehmo - Success. Thanks everybody. Don't have time right now to tell how it went. .
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On Sat, 03 Jul 2004 19:33:37 GMT, "Nehmo Sergheyev"

seen jammed oil pumps shortly after. I would be dropping the pan, pulling the pump, and checking it carefully in the near future - just for peace of mind.
And no, I am NOT recommending changing parts just for the sake of changing parts. If the pump seizes it can ruin your day - particularly if the pump shaft has twisted a bit already (before breaking the first roll pin) and it snaps next time INSTEAD of shearing the rollpin. Don't ask how I know ------- If the dist turns and the oil pump does not, things get real expensive - real fast.
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You should NOT be able to pull the oil pump drive shaft up and out. There should be a snap-lock type of ring on the shaft to keep it from "riding up" out of the hole. If I misunderstood what you said, then (sorry), never mind.
As for dropping a socket down into the oil pan (yes, that's were it will end up), you can leave it there (for as many years as you care to) until the next time you happen to remove the oil pan. You can try to fish it out the drain plug hole, but it doesn't matter because it ain't going anywhere any time soon. Well unless the socket belongs to your father-in-law and you had better return it "NOW". So if your life depends on it, then buy a new socket and get on with your life. IOW, don't lose any sleep over the fact you dropped a socket into the bottom of your oil pan, because it ain't going anywhere and it will still be there if/when you have the need to drop the oil pan.
-PapaRick (Need I say, been there, done that :-)
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Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:

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Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:

Standard Ford distributor stabbing procedure:
Before removing old distributor, turn engine to TDC on #1.
As you lift the old distributor out note the rotor direction just as it disengages the drive gear.
Start dropping the new distributor in with the rotor at the above location so that as the gears engage, it will "spiral" to the correct location.
When (not if...) the distributor hangs up because it isn't engaging the oil pump hex drive, have a helper rotate the engine with a breaker bar as you continue to apply downward pressure on the distributor (the rotor should turn with the engine because the gears are already partly engaged). After a while, the distributor will drop into place.
Turn the engine back to TDC on #1 and check rotor location. if you're off by a tooth, re-stab the distributor.
Set timing with a timing light.
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A point worth repeating.... Those hex shafts should not come out, but occasionaly they DO if the retainer has not been installed.
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