Distributor locked up - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Distributor locked up

Ok my 289 has been setting for 40+ years and won't turn by hand no surprise. I have been soaking the cylinders but no luck so I started taking my heads off to find my problem. Found the first problem my distributor won't come out, I took the bolt and u bracket off but it won't spin or lift out. Looking it is twisted clock wise until it has contacted the thermostat housing, my dad said the timing was never that far advanced when it was running so might be something going on down inside the engine.



So my question is if I pull the oil pan off I should be able to access the oil pump and possible see the issue I have. With the oil pump off there shouldn't be anything else holding the distributor in right?


I could try to just pull it up and out but don't want to cause more damage or risk braking the shaft.



The engine is still in the car I should pull it but I don't have a hoist so doing this the hard way. But if my thought of dropping the oil pan off won't work while still in the car I guess I will get a hoist this weekend and do it that way.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 03:20 PM
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You could remove the oil pan and pump, then use a long drift to drive the distributor up and out.

Honestly, if it won't turn, it's time to pull the engine. Rent, beg, borrow or steal a hoist.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hemikiller View Post
You could remove the oil pan and pump, then use a long drift to drive the distributor up and out.

Honestly, if it won't turn, it's time to pull the engine. Rent, beg, borrow or steal a hoist.

Thanks I didn't' think about driving the distributor up but that should work good.



I first thought it was a stuck ring or something but I think now I'm past that. I don't really have car friends so no one I can get one from so might be time to buy one. Harbor had a hoist for $150 a few weeks ago I will try their and see if they still have them on sale.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 05:34 PM
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Check your local rental places, I used to rent engine hoists all the time when I was younger.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 06:22 PM
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If it's jammed so hard it can't even turn, I'm skeptical of being able to 'drive' it out without really boogering things up. Pushing metal makes it balloon out. If it was me, I'd hit it with some good penetrating oil, take off the vac advance can, and try maybe a strap wrench (not the type with a metal handle, which might hurt the housing) to see if you can get it freed up.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't think about taking the vacuum off to feed oil down. Will try that tomorrow.

I thought a out a tool I have seen to pull dents. It's a long rod with a weight on it you attach it to what you want to move and slide the weight to put all the force at one point. That would pull straight up and should move it. I dont care if I damage the distributor cause I can replace it.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warhawk View Post
I didn't think about taking the vacuum off to feed oil down. Will try that tomorrow.

I thought a out a tool I have seen to pull dents. It's a long rod with a weight on it you attach it to what you want to move and slide the weight to put all the force at one point. That would pull straight up and should move it. I dont care if I damage the distributor cause I can replace it.
Slide hammer. Before I did that, I'd start like suggested above - quality penetrating oil like Kroil, Justice Brothers (JB) Penetrating Oil, etc. Let it soak overnight or longer. If you still can't twist it by hand, I'd let a serious heat gun (not a torch) warm the distributor base and block for a while while before giving the shaft a few wacks with a rubber mallet. If you have the engine on a stand, turn it over and hit the inside of the block/distributor with the penetrating oil as well.

Damaging the distributor is one thing, you don't want to score the block.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:39 PM
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Yeah, most rental places will rent you an engine puller. They're typically very nice units and it will cost only a few bucks a day. It's worth it to buy an engine stand because you'll need that for a long time. I have a Harbor Freight engine stand and it works fine. Be aware you'll have to buy your own fasteners to bolt the engine to the stand.

Like it or not, you're going to HAVE to pull that engine. No amount of soaking, prying or pounding is going to get you anywhere. The engine will require a complete rebuild and you can't do that with the engine in the car. (OK, there may be some shade tree method, but I wouldn't recommend it.)

Once the engine is on a stand, it will be MUCH easier to remove the distributor. It's almost a certainty that distributor will require rebuilding. My Cleveland distributor was thrashed. I sent it Dan at Mustang Barn. He completely rebuilt and calibrated it for me. The price was reasonable and it works beautifully.

As we always say, it's time to buy your copy of "How to Rebuild Your Small Block Ford". Read it. Read all of it. Then You'll be way ahead of most people and even a good percentage of "Car Guys".

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 08:30 PM
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I don't think 'tearing it up' will make getting it out any easier. Once you get it able to spin, you'll get it out. They are often pretty stubborn at first. =)

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 08:57 PM
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Ok, my 2 cents.......

As many have suggested, squirt the heck out of it around the base with a penetrate of your choice, many good ones have been suggested. Let it soak overnight. Then, carefully heat the block around the base of the Distributor for a good period. Be mindful, any penetrate you use may be catch fire if still present. Use a "strap" wrench on the circumference of the dizzy (distributor), work both CCW & CW. Or, grab a big Cresent wrench and apply "power" to the stem of the dizzy. I can very well envision, due to the electrolysis, that's probably present (aluminum/iron), it's very stuck! Even engines with less time in the barrel can have a "stuck" dizzy, due to this.

IMHO, I would not remove the engine until I got this distributor out, if nothing else, but allow you more leverage if having to tug and turn it. On a stand, yeah you ave better access, but, if you have to apply some muscle, it's better where its' at. Good Luck!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 12:04 AM
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I had a frozen distributor on my old 66. I used penetrating oil on the base. Let it sit a couple of days and then lightly tapped it with a rubber mallet. I was then able to turn it with a rubber strap wrench.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 02:11 AM
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I had one that was stuck in my 351W. Nothing would budge it except brute force. Tapping the vacuum advance back & forth while pulling up on the distributor eventually got it loose enough to where I could pull it out. There is a big rubber washer/gasket where the distributor meets the block that's likely hardened and swelled and grabbed a hold of both the distributor and the block.


Good luck,


Mike
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feed back everyone. Last night I tried a few things but only have a few mins so didn't get to finish it. No movement so far but hoping tonight after work I will have some time to work on it.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:27 AM
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War story: I've had a 390 out of my GTA sitting on an engine stand for 4 years now. I've been putting penetrating oil on the distributor base for that long, and it still doesn't budge. I might end up breaking it. At least it is not a dual point distributor.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 12:04 PM
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My good running 289 had a stuck distributor. It absolutely refused to come out or even turn (installed pertronix and wanted to bump up the timing a bit).

Using an oil filter strap and wiggling back and forth finally got it out. Then I heard the dreaded "ping". The oil pump shaft fell in the pan... off came the pan...



If the entire motor is that "stuck" it's likely due for a full rebuild. Good learning experience
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