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Proper "first time" lubrication of NOS Delco distributor? (289 V8)

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  • Ignition: Proper "first time" lubrication of NOS Delco distributor? (289 V8)

    Hi again, NOS Delco distributor for my 289 V8 ('57 Golden Hawk), and reviewing the Shop Manual's "lubrication" section, as there is NO instructions on lubrication for it in the actual Distributor rebuild/re-install section....
    I know enough to put Cam lube on the cam and point-block (I do have a Model-A Ford with a distributor :-). BUT, have never seen mention of the "felt between breaker and support plate" prior to this, as it is not shown in the Shop Manual exploded view (strange!?).

    Below is photo of the Manual's instructions, and my NOS distributor. Primary question is: how much oil do I put on this "felt" (and do you put it in that one little hole near the cam? Appears that one arrow is pointing to that hole in the photo, so probably....) The Manual is for periodic lubrication, mine appears brand new (ie: not pre-soaked and sludgy), now that I know to look for it, under that one hole.... The instructions seem ambiguous to me; even for 'maintenance' purposes, it simply states "....oil..on felt..." Does that mean saturate it, since this is it's first lubrication ever? Or just a few drops?

    What is this 'felt' for? What is the purpose? What is it lubricating, the weights??
    Thanks!
    Barry
    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    The Felt slowly allows the 20 Wt. Oil to drip down the shaft to the upper Bushing, there is a "Wick" in the Oiler tube to hold the Oil for the lower shaft Bushing.

    To "Grease" the advance weights and their "Pins" you will need to dissemble your "brand new" Distributor after 62 years, it will be dried up!

    OR; toss a coin, there is a 50/50 chance the Lubriplate survived!
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      Thanks Rich, is the 20 wt oil actually important? (vs the regular multi-weight I have sitting around for my cars). I probably have some 30 wt laying around for small engines. Just not in my "oil can" :-) Never even considered not using 5W-30 or something (whatever I have in the can these days). Re: disassembling, yeah, thought about that. Though this is a later Delco, with the aluminum band around the shaft (vs the nameplate riveted on); not sure how late they made them for service? Still old. At least to do that won't require grinding rivets off like the shaft! I noticed the play between gear and spacers is 0.013", same as my original; strange since it IS new from Delco, yet service manual specs "0.02-0.07" or add a 0.05" spacer. Did that spec change later? Strange that both my original and my NOS would both be 0.013". NOT grinding those rivets off just to meet the manual text on that one!!! Delco quality control couldn't have been THAT bad....?

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      • #4
        Weight of oil won't matter, within reason, i.e. as thick as 40, and as thin as 10. Agree with Rich, definitely disassemble and wipe the old grease off the flyweights and shaft, and then apply new grease on everything that mates together (where the old grease likely was): weights and their pivot shafts; end of the weights where they rub against the advance mechanism; the upper shaft, the contacts under the plate, etc..
        As for the shaft end play, the wider it is, the more timing flutter, especially at lower RPM. You probably won't notice a difference though, on either end, .002" or .013". And there is plenty of room below the plate to accommodate the .013" rise of the lower shaft.
        Last edited by JoeHall; Yesterday, 07:53 AM.

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        • #5
          3 in 1 oil to the shaft til it spins freely and in the little oft neglected oiler. A wee dab of cam lube one dist cam. What Joe said re: mech. advance. It will last forever

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          • #6
            The condenser will be lucky to be any good. Most likely not, and the wires will be hard as rock and prone to cracking the insulation after just a few miles. I would replace them with something more flexible. Hopefully the vacuum advance diaphragm rubber is still flexible. Some things NOS are not always the best replacement.
            Bez Auto Alchemy
            573-318-8948
            http://bezautoalchemy.com


            "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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            • #7
              thanks, what type of grease is best for this, or doesn't matter? I've got LubriPlate or lithium or gun-grease or wheel-bearing grease; all different gooiness, I'd think the gun-grease (a good lithium-based) would be best unless there is a specific recommendation?
              Re: the vac advance bellows, anyway to tell "condition"? Hard to believe it would be worse than my original unit, cycling through getting cooked to freezing all those years of use, vs sitting in a bag and box indoors in storage. The wires in the NOS unit are surprisingly supple, like new literally. Advance toggle pulls freely, so not sludged up or frozen up, though I agree disassembly and re-lubing make good sense. Thanks again for all the info!!

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