First you need to determine if you have a 2.9 3.0 or 4.0 engine... its on a sticker under the hood. And yes some parts are interchangable with ranger, bronco II mustang, and other ford products.. a dist from a 3.0 wont fit the 4.0.
Bring the #1 plug up, find the firing order to the distributor then go clockwise. What type of engine is it? if its a 4 cylinder engine, cyl #1 is at the front of the engine, then #2, #3 and at the rear is #4. the distributor cap has one terminal that has a "1" on it and an arrow showing the direction that the rotor turns. obviously the #1 wire goes on the #1 terminal. the next terminal (following the arrow) is 3 then 4 then 2.
There is a gear on the distributor shaft and a gear on the end of the camshaft that it engages with. The gear on the camshaft cannot be removed as it is part of the camshaft. The gear on the distributor shaft can be removed if it is worn; however, this is rare. These two gears must be in proper mesh for the engine to run; one cog off and it will not start.If you need further assistance google ' finding top dead center on a 350 chevy'.
Pull the battery and the battery heat shield and unplug the coil and sparkplug wires from the distributor cap. Remove the two 8mm bolts that hold the distributor to the head (12 mm wrench.) Remove the distributor, there are no wires attached to it. Remove the distributor cap and then remove the piece on the bottom of the the distributor that has an 'o' ring. The piece is just held in the distributor body by another 'o' ring that you cannot see until the piece is pulled out. Use a pliers or you might be able to remove it by hand. Then remove the snap ring from the distributor shaft. You can do it with a pick or a small nail as it is not very strong. Then push the pin out of the shaft and you can take the thing apart. There are three screws on the top side that might require removal, I'm not sure.
Removing the engine from ANY Aerostar generally involves hoisting the body off of the front cross-member. Get a Chilton or similar book for the procedure, and read carefully as the springs can be deadly. A book is always good. They suggest dropping everything out the bottom. However you can pull it out the front after removing the radiator and other stuff up there (book helps here). It takes a little patience but can be done. I pulled mine out one day and replaced with different engine the next day and had it running.
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