If the engine has a distributor installed already, you can follow the steps I have listed in our guide to intake swaps. If the engine doesn't have a distributor installed currently, follow these steps:
- Remove the #1 spark plug (closest to the front on the driver's side on a Chevy V8).
- With a finger over the spark plug hole, bump the engine over until the cylinder pressure forces your finger off the hole. Look at the timing mark on the harmonic balancer and turn the engine until the mark lines up with 10 degrees before top dead center (BTDC). This now has the engine ready to fire the #1 cylinder.
- Look down the distributor hole and see which way the slot in the oil pump driveshaft it turned. You want the slot pointing roughly toward the #5 cylinder. If it isn't, get a long screwdriver or similar tool and turn it.
- With the vacuum canister on the distributor pointing roughly 45 degrees toward the passenger side of the engine and the rotor pointing about 45 degrees toward the driver's side of the engine, drop the distributor into the engine.
- As the gear on the distributor engages the gear on the cam, the rotor will turn clockwise. If the distributor shaft engaged the oil pump shaft correctly, the distributor will sit all the way down on the gasket on the intake manifold. If it won't go all the way down, the oil pump shaft didn't mate properly with the distributor shaft. This will require pulling the distributor back out and either moving the oil pump shaft or turning the distributor shaft a little one way or the other.
- Once the distributor is correctly inserted, you'll need to turn the body so that the #1 terminal in the cap lines up with the rotor. You want the left edge of the rotor terminal to be at the right edge of the #1 cap terminal. This is best accomplished by cutting the side out of an old distributor cap so that you can see when its oriented correctly.
- Finally, put the plug wires on in the correct order. Going clockwise around the distributor, the firing order of all Chevy V8s is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. Be sure you put the #1 wire on the terminal with which you lined up the rotor.
- After you get the engine started, go back and check the timing with a timing light. A good starting point for initial timing is 8-12 degrees BTDC.
Finally, if anyone has anything to add, let me know so that I can add it to this Guide.If you have any questions or comments please click the "Contact Craig" link and let him know.
Copyright © 2008 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson