Disributor position problem


Jun 2, 2005
I installed my 5.0 H.O. into my T-Bird (1988) last June.When I pulled the engine from the LSC,I never pulled the distributor,not even when I put the Explorer intake on.I did remove all of the wires at once though.Well,when I put the wires back on,the ignition module now has to be touching the thermostat housing to run decent.It was pointing to the front left of the car.I installed the #1 wire on the #1 position on the dist. cap,and wired it right (351 order).Could the cap actually be wrong?Do I need to move all of the wires over one way or the other?Lastly,do I have to pull the little pip before I move the distributor,then re-installit?How exactly does that work.Thanks guys.
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You have your dizzy off a tooth or two - take out the hold down bolt and gently lift up on the dizzy and twist it over one tooth at a time then seat it back down again. Pull out the "pip" plug (gray 2 prong plug) and connect your timing light to #1 wire and crank it up - twist the dizzy til you get about 14* advance for best performance and then plug the pip back in - the timing will then be jumping all over the place. You should now have about 2.5 finger widths room between the control module on the dizzy and the water neck.
Would I go clockwise or counter clockwise with the wires/I wouldn't understand how it could be off a tooth or so.It never came out of the engine.The distributor was where it should've been before I pulled the wires like an idiot.One wire at a time.I always did that until the engine swap.See what happens when you get in a hurry?
Vinnietbird said:
Would I go clockwise or counter clockwise with the wires?
If you're trying to turn the distributor clockwise and can't, rotate the wires one post counter-clockwise. The other way around if that is the case.
Triple check you have the firing order correct on the cap.
I've checked about 10 times,and the firing order is right.I can'y turn the distributor clockwise because the module is hitting the thermostat housing.So,I need to place the wires one space back (counterclockwise),and then check it out.I ned to pull the pip plug,adjust the timing,then re-install the plug.Is this correct,or is there more?You know,it's pretty sad that I have swapped engines,exhaust,dashboard,seats,suspension,intake,all of the little pieces like a 3g upgrade,mini starter upgrade,rear end,etc.,etc.,and have to ask these kind of stupid questions.Makes me feel like an idiot.I appreciate your help.
Putting the distributor back in is fairly simple. Pull #1 sparkplug, put your finger in the sparkplug hole, crank the engine until you feel compression. Then line up the TDC mark on the balancer with the pointer on the engine block.

The distributor starts out with the #1 plug wire lined up at about 12:00 with you facing it. Align the rotor to about 11:00, since it will turn clockwise as it slides into place.

Align the distributor rotor up with the #1 position marked on the cap, slide the distributor down into the block, (you may have to wiggle the rotor slightly to get the gear to engage) and then note where the rotor is pointing. If it still lines up with #1 position on the cap, install the clamp and bolt. If not, pull it out and turn 1 tooth forwards or backwards and try again. Put the #1 spark plug back in and tighten it down, put the clamp on the distributor, but don't tighten it too much, as you will have to move the distributor to set the timing. Note that if it doesn't align perfectly with #1 position, you can turn the distributor until it does. The only problem is that if you are too far one way or the other, you can't turn the distributor enough to get the 10-14 degree optimum timing range.

At this point hook up all the wires, get out the timing light and start the engine. Set the timing where your car runs best. Don't forget to disconnect the SPOUT jumper connector when you set the timing, and plug it back in when you finish.
Vinnie, how did it work out?
I have a similar problem...I am trying to advance my timing to 14 - 16 degrees but I can't get past 11 degrees because the distributor module his the thermostat housing. I tried the suggestion above (I hope I understood it correctly) of simply rotating the wires counterclockwise one post, and that didn't work--the car wouldn't even start.