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Pelican Technical Article:

Distributor Replacement

Mike Holloway

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100 to $500

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm Ratchet Wrench with Extension

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R107 (1972-89)

Parts Required:

Distributor including cap, rotor, dust shield, vacuum advance, condenser wire

Hot Tip:

Mark Distributor Prior to Moving

Performance Gain:

Better Running Engine

Complementary Modification:

Check Timing

The distributor plays an important role in the smooth and efficient running of the engine, and while the distributor itself should last the life of the car, there are several components on or in it that wear out, need servicing or replacement over time. The first of these is the distributor cap. The distributor cap has a cover built into it and is removed as one piece. Once the cap is off you should check for dark and charred scorching on the inside. The dark color may indicate that arcing is occurring. The unintentional sparks that occur can influence the timing as well as lead to failure of the distributor.

An important note, if you are going to remove or even move the distributor from its place in its mount you must mark precisely where it is located before doing so. The distributor is used to set the timing of the spark to the engine, and while we are not going to cover how to set your timing in this article if your engine is running fine and you are just removing the distributor to service its accessories, the car will not run properly if you do not return the distributor to its original spot. Mark its spot and use a 13mm socket wrench to remove the distributor locator and fastener.

Another important consideration upon removal is to lift the distributor straight out of the engine. The distributor shaft has very tight tolerances on it so lift it straight out.

Before you do any work on your car it is important that you wear safety glasses, work gloves and dispose of all fluids in a safe manner.  Coolant is poisonous and should be treated as such.  Animals and small children have been known to die from ingesting coolant.  If you have to jack up your car, make sure to use jack stands and chock your wheels as well as applying the parking brake. Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. Always wear eye and hand protection. Disconnect the battery before working on your car. 

Unscrew right side screw that holds the distributor cover.
Figure 1

Unscrew right side screw that holds the distributor cover. Use a large flat head screw driver, push the screw down and give it a half turn, it will pop up when released.

Unscrew left side screw that holds the distributor cover.
Figure 2

Unscrew left side screw that holds the distributor cover. Use a large flat head screw driver, push the screw down and give it a half turn, it will pop up when released.

Remove the cover.
Figure 3

Remove the cover.

With the cap off you can remove the rotor.
Figure 4

With the cap off you can remove the rotor. There is a guide key that the rotor fits into that lines it up, do not try and force the rotor on any other way than sliding it up from the guide key.

Remove the dust cover and inspect.
Figure 5

Remove the dust cover and inspect.

Inspect the dust cover for cracks.
Figure 6

Inspect the dust cover for cracks. If the dust cover shows any signs of cracks (like this one) it should be replaced.

With the rotor off, inspect for any signs of corrosion or severe wear.
Figure 7

With the rotor off, inspect for any signs of corrosion or severe wear.

Check the cap for dark and charred scorching on the inside of the cap.
Figure 8

Check the cap for dark and charred scorching on the inside of the cap. This can be signs of arcing meaning there may be a problem with the vacuum advance on the distributor. This cap looks like it needs to be replaced.

Unscrew the distributor with a 13mm socket wrench.
Figure 9

Unscrew the distributor with a 13mm socket wrench. 

If you are going to remove or even move the distributor from its place in its mount you must mark precisely where it is located before doing so.
Figure 10

If you are going to remove or even move the distributor from its place in its mount you must mark precisely where it is located before doing so. The distributor is used to set the timing of the spark to the engine, and while we are not going to cover how to set your timing in this article if your engine is running fine and you are just removing the distributor to service its accessories, the car will not run fine if you do not return the distributor to its original spot. Mark its spot.

Remove the top hose from the vacuum advance.
Figure 11

Remove the top hose from the vacuum advance.

Remove the bottom hose from the vacuum advance.
Figure 12

Remove the bottom hose from the vacuum advance.

Cut the cable tie which fastens the distributor line as well as several other lines.
Figure 13

Cut the cable tie which fastens the distributor line as well as several other lines.

Remove the wire from the distributor and follow it ignition control box on the inner left fender right beside the coil.
Figure 14

Remove the wire from the distributor and follow it ignition control box on the inner left fender right beside the coil. It just unplugs from the box

The distributor is free and can now be replaced with a new one.
Figure 15

The distributor is free and can now be replaced with a new one.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Tom Comments: with engine set to Zero setting, where should the rotor be pointing? To the slot on the distributor casing or pointing to the #1 plug?
June 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle are you working on? I can see if I have that info. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Charlie58 Comments: I just received a rebuilt distributor for my 1982 380sl .My old one has one tube one the vacuum advance this one has one on the back side and 1 one front side. Will this work since I only have 1 line to connect.
June 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think so. I would check the part number to be sure it is correct.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Charlie58 Comments: How do you replace the vacuum advance unit with out pulling the distributor
May 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think it is possible. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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