Fox Trying to find the right distributor

keel

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Aug 23, 2020
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I recently got a roller 302 block out of a 1997 explorer, and I am converting it to a carbureted set up. I had a spare distributor lying around from a carb 351w that I thought I could use to do this, but I realized when I tried to install it that the shaft is too large to fit inside the 302, even though all the other dimensions appear to be nearly identical. Decided to do some more research before I start buying stuff.
So my question is, do all 302s share the same distributor shaft size? I want to be sure that if I order a vacuum advanced distributor for an older 302 that it will fit in the modern block.
 
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limp

wrap a little cheese around it and its a done
Oct 4, 2020
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Roller cams require a steel, composite or brass gear, do NOT use an iron gear..
What ignition electronics are you using?? What is and what year is your car??
 
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96pushrod

I think they're a little easier to get off
May 15, 2018
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If you order a distributor for a sbf with any sort of vacuum advance, there is a 99% chance the gear will not be compatible with the roller cam.

Older, pre-efi distributors have a smaller shaft the gear presses on, so you’ll have to measure it to make sure you get the right gear to replace. If you do replace it, make absolute sure you set it to the proper height, if you’ll destroy the gears on the distributor, and the cam
 

limp

wrap a little cheese around it and its a done
Oct 4, 2020
2,953
1,756
133
If you order a distributor for a sbf with any sort of vacuum advance, there is a 99% chance the gear will not be compatible with the roller cam.

Older, pre-efi distributors have a smaller shaft the gear presses on, so you’ll have to measure it to make sure you get the right gear to replace. If you do replace it, make absolute sure you set it to the proper height, if you’ll destroy the gears on the distributor, and the cam
Installing an explorer roller cam engine in my 83 using the existing Duraspark ignition.
I purchased a bolt in distributor from LMR that is a Duraspark unit with a steel gear specifically for a roller cam...... I believe LMR has a few options for newer electronics too.....
 
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96pushrod

I think they're a little easier to get off
May 15, 2018
1,424
892
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Installing an explorer roller cam engine in my 83 using the existing Duraspark ignition.
I purchased a bolt in distributor from LMR that is a Duraspark unit with a steel gear specifically for a roller cam...... I believe LMR has a few options for newer electronics too.....
I’m more referring to the ones you might get from a parts store, or your standard pre 83 distributor you might order from rock auto.
 

manicmechanic007

5 Year Member
Sep 26, 2017
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Gears used to be available over the counter at Ford parts
Used to break them once in a while replacing stators
I never even knew there was a difference
No wonder parts was always asking so many %$#@ing questions
Should be able to get 5 gears at the junkyard for 15 bucks
 

revhead347

Apparently my ex-husband made that mistake.
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Just fyi. I used one of those funky Summit distributors that convert it to a one wire Chevy style distributor. The one from the 80s with the coil in the cap. It's basically an entire ignition system for under $200, and it worked great. You absolutely can't beat how simple it makes things.

Kurt
 
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90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
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Just fyi. I used one of those funky Summit distributors that convert it to a one wire Chevy style distributor. The one from the 80s with the coil in the cap. It's basically an entire ignition system for under $200, and it worked great. You absolutely can't beat how simple it makes things.

Kurt

Be careful of the knock off ebay ones. I just had to replacea HEI one in a car with only 40 miles on it. The module went bad and left the guy stuck. Luckily he had an old HEI style one. The old one had a " Live Wire " module in it.
 

revhead347

Apparently my ex-husband made that mistake.
15 Year Member
Jun 14, 2004
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Be careful of the knock off ebay ones. I just had to replacea HEI one in a car with only 40 miles on it. The module went bad and left the guy stuck. Luckily he had an old HEI style one. The old one had a " Live Wire " module in it.

How much does MSD charge for a name brand distributor that has a PIP sensor that lasts less than 100 miles? Everything is a gamble.

Kurt
 
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