Distributor timing is way off

Discussion in 'Engine & Performance' started by Mendonjo, Apr 12, 2019.

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  1. Mendonjo

    Mendonjo Junior Member

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    Hello Everyone.

    I picked up an 86 D150 this week in non running condition. The seller said the truck needed a new cam, the distributor worm gear was bad and the distributor could not keep time - like it would intermittently mesh with the cam (I know the oil pump drive gear actually meshes with the cam). He had replaced the distributor with a new one and was in the early stages of disassembling the engine to get to the cam.

    I set the no.1 cylinder to TDC and checked the location of the rotor. It seemed to be pointing right at the no. 2 cylinder. I turned the engine over for a few seconds and brought the no.1 cylinder to TDC. The rotor was again pointing at the no. 2 cylinder. I did this for a total of 4 times and the rotor position was always at no. 2 cylinder.

    At this point I'm hoping the cam is ok and somehow the oil pump gear got out of time.

    Is it possible to retime that gear with the intake manifold still on? I'm hoping I can reach down to the slot for the distributor tang and lift out (with some reverse rotation) the gear and then put it back in so the slot is pointed at the no. 1 cylinder. Or maybe I'm all wet here and the cam worm gears go bad. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Joe
     
  2. TMyers

    TMyers USMC 84' - 92' Military

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    If your plug wires are long enough, a simple and fast way to check is to move the plug wires on the cap one space. (Make no.2 the new no. 1)
     
  3. crazzywolfie

    crazzywolfie Senior Member

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    could be the engine depending on which diagram you are looking at. i got 2 that show different locations. if you can get number 1 spark plug wire above it and go from there that may be the best way to go.
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  4. Mendonjo

    Mendonjo Junior Member

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    Thanks for your help guys. I have done some more research and learned that it doesn't matter where the rotor is pointing - just make that the no. 1 plug wire on the distributor cap.

    Anyway I did that and the engine would fire momentarily with starter fluid - and then it wouldn't. Okay so the distributor (new) is definitely loosing time. I pulled the distributor which still looks new and the drive gear that mates with the cam. Big problems.

    The drive (or intermediate gear) has a portion of the helical gears worn right off so it was losing mesh with the cam. What is even more alarming is the bushing that the distributor drive shaft goes through is worn out. Way worn out, in fact maybe all the way through the bushing itself. I cant be sure without pulling the bushing.

    Hopefully you guys can give a little more advice here. I think the bushing can be pulled with the engine still in the truck. I saw a you tube video that referenced OTC tool number 1174. But I am wondering is these bushing failures are common, it seems like an odd thing to go bad. Have any of you attempted such an in-truck fix? Perhaps its time for a donor engine??

    Thank you. Joe
     
  5. Mendonjo

    Mendonjo Junior Member

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    I checked the cam teeth too. The cam would also have to be replaced .
     
  6. goldeneyee

    goldeneyee Member

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    Pull the intake, timing cover, valve covers and replace the cam and timing chain. Reassemble, throw distributor back in and get it running. Reset timing with a timing light. Buy the Dodge Ram engine service manual for your year truck before starting and get some knowledgeable help. Good luck....
     
  7. crazzywolfie

    crazzywolfie Senior Member

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    might be cheaper to just get another engine if you need to replace the cam and distributor bushing.
     
  8. Mendonjo

    Mendonjo Junior Member

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    Thanks Guys for the responses. The tough thing about a replacement engine of course is you don't know what you are going to get and don't find out until a lot of work was done. From reading your responses I think the best plan is to pull the cam (that doesn't cost anything) and then see about pulling the oil pump shaft bushing. I'll head to autozone and pick up a shop manual although they tend to be light on the details there is probably a few good tips.

    Joe
     
  9. crazzywolfie

    crazzywolfie Senior Member

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    most of the time you can find a good running 318 cheap. like $2-400. you can try pricing out the parts needed to fix it at summit racing or rockauto but i almost see it costing at least $2-300 for the basic parts needed to fix it. i guess at least your lucky and it doesn't have a roller cam like your 91. a roller cam would be about $300 on its own. i think the biggest issue i would have with the engine that is in your truck is you have never heard it run either so it could be junk also or the pieces that broke off the gears could still be in the engine somewhere and damage the new parts.
     
  10. Mendonjo

    Mendonjo Junior Member

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    I heard the engine run for about 2 seconds and sounded good. No parts are actually broken off the helical gears just heavily worn. I thought I would test the compression to get a feel for if the engine was a good candidate for saving. I got cylinders 1, 3, 5 done before the rain hit. 150 psi, 145, 150. I also have a few inquires out there on Facebook Marketplace about 318 engines as a plan B.
     

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