Distributors and Distributor Caps

Where is number one on the distributor cap?

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2013-11-08 10:26:17
2013-11-08 10:26:17

The question may seem simple but it isn't really. I assume you are asking this question because all spark plug wires have been removed and now you don't know where to begin. If you can find the timing mark on the dampner pully, slowly turn the engine over using a socket wrench or any other manual means until you get the engine block timing mark to line up with the mark on the pully. That will be either TDC #1 or the crank may be 360 degrees out and #1 may be between the exhaust and intake cycle. If you are fortunate enough that #1 rockers are above the oil fill cap you can watch to see if either the exhaust or intake valve opens when you turn the crankshaft slightly either direction (at least 15 to 20 degrees to be safe). If neither valve opens you are probably at #1. If you can't see the rockers, pull #1 spark plug and put a finger over the hole. Have an assistant slowly turn the engine and feel for the compression to increase when the crankshaft approaches the timing mark. If you don't feel the compression go around again. Once you are certain that you feel the compression rock the crankshaft back and forward a couple times near TDC and you should feel the spark plug hole suck just a little, just to make certain you are truly there. Whichever method you use, once you have located the position for #1 put the pully mark at TDC then look to where the rotor is pointing on the distributor. That is #1 on the distributor.
This would depend on which engine you have.

You can use any terminal on the cap as they are all the same. Number one is determined by which fires number one cylinder in relation to rotor position. You could follow the plug wire to find it if still attached. Search cylinder nos. for your engine to see which one is number 1.

Bring number one cylinder up to top dead center, remove cap to see to which terminal the rotor is pointing. If number one cylinder was not a compression stoke, the rotor will be pointing at the correct terminal, if it was between the exhaust and intake stroke it will be point at the opposite terminal. Put the wires on with one being where the rotor is pointing. If the engine starts great, if not number one was the opposite terminal, readjust the wires.

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