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V8 Delco distributor end play question

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  • Ignition: V8 Delco distributor end play question

    In my '51 Commander (with a '54 engine) and 1110839 one-piece distributor (also from '54?):
    The shaft end-play at the drive-gear/brass washer is about .022", which I think is ok... but the vertical movement on the rubbing block (contact-cam) is more than 1/32", maybe 3/64".
    What are the loose points in the connections under the breaker plate that would allow this greater movement at the cam, and how difficult is it to correct the problem?
    Is it a problem?

    Trying to understand this end-play before I take it apart.
    I'd like to try and get the likely culprits together so that I can reassemble while I remember how things go back together -- or find better help before I'm in some stage of regret.
    The distributor looks ok otherwise, no evident shaft wobble in the housing, it just seems to have some surface rusting from disuse, and dirt from age, but otherwise not too bad...

    Thanks!


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  • #2
    While you can shim it to a lesser clearance, in real time daily life, the excessive vertical clearance is not going hurt anything.
    Most every distributor made by the "Big Three" has what might be called, excessive vertical clearance, and has not done anything detrimental to power, milage or...anything.. It will alter the ignition by a VERY (1/2 ° or less) small amount, the engine wont even realize the difference, and it will ONLY change during the "on-off-on" throttle transitions.

    Yes, most...performance distributors have the vertical clearance shimmed to about .02" or so.
    And, if you decide to reshim your Stude distributor, that's what you should shoot for, .02" to .03" vertical.

    Mike

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    • #3
      I don't remember exactly what the end play spec is on the Delco distributors, but the later model Prestolite distributors call for an end play between .002 and .010" so that is what I shoot for when working with Delco distributors. The earlier Delco distributors don't suffer from excessive shaft end play and yours is ok. If the cam moves up and down a bit, don't worry about it, there is no problem. The later Delco window distributors are another story. I've seen shaft end play approaching .200" which is in no way acceptable as that will cause problems with timing as the shaft moves up and down. Bud

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