I have an 86 E150; 302 w/electronic ignition. It is not starting; no spark.
I suspect the TFI module. It has given me this same problem before, but the
work was done by a mechanic. Because of its age, I am reluctant to pay the
$300 the shop wanted for the job. I have the module; I have the special
7/32 tool for removing the screws. The problem is, the back screw is
blocked by part of the engine. I loosened the hold down bolt at the base of
the distributor, but apparently it's not made to turn, right? I am thinking
of pulling the distributor, but it seems frozen and is not budging. I
realize all the pitfalls of pulling it; marking the location of the rotor,
shaft, etc. Am I overlooking something more simple, short of pulling it? I
have the Chilton manual and it's useless in this instance. Not even a good
diagram of the distributor.
Thanks in advance for any info!
The distributor is meant to be turned (this is how base timing is adjusted)
but the distrbutor can corrode and tighten up in the block. If you feel
under the bowl paet of the distributor, you'll find that is has been cast
with a hex shape.... Can't remember the size but you can purchase a wrench
and bend/cut it to suit to help free up the distributor. Liberal amounts of
penetrant around where the distributor goes in to the block will help....
Just to add to what Jim said: At this age the pickup in the distributor can be
likely to fail. Make sure to test it while you have the distributor out.
If you look at the pickup, it appears to be made of plastic moulded onto a
bracket. If you can dig into the plastic with your thumbnail (dig out a chunk),
replace the distributor. Even if the pickup checks good, it will fail shortly.
plastic is solid and it tests good, you're probably good to go.
I say replace the dist. because it has to be disassembled to replace the
gear has to be "pressed" off then realigned perfectly on assembly, along with an
alignment collar that is easily broken. A reman distributor can save a DIYer a
headaches. A quick online check shows the pickup at ~$30 and a reman distributor
If you want to try replacing the pickup, it only costs a bit of time to try
disassemble the distributor. Clean the shaft spotless, use lots of solvent and
patient. You'll see what I mean about the collar once you look at it.
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