Installing a Chevy distributor is easy, right? Just line up the rotor, position the housing, and drop it back into theengine. If you've just read that and thought, "Not really," you're not alone. As straightforward as a Chevy V-8 often is to work on, the factory engineers must have taken the day off when it came time to design a distributor for simple installation. The difficulty stems from the fact that the bottom of the distributor gear must precisely engage with the oil pump's drive to allow the distributor to sit flush with the intake manifold. Frequently, though, the oil pump's driveshaft rotates out of engagement position during distributor removal. Add to this the possibility that the engine may have been accidentally bumped over with the distributor removed from the engine. Now there may be two problems: The distributor will not go back in and the engine's timing may be way off.
The cure for this, which involves rotating the oil-pump drive just enough to allow the distributor to be reinstalled and cranking the engine back into position (if needed), often takes some creativity and some patience. Fortunately, none of this is a big problem. With a few easy steps you can have your distributor back in and your engine timed in almost as much time as it takes to throw a few wrenches and yell some expletives. You'll need a few simple tools to do this, but in a short order your engine can be running properly-just don't forget to make sure all your plug wires are properly positioned on the distributor cap. So follow along as we take a trip to go back in time.