Re: mallory distributor
The pump shaft -should- have a retaining ring installed preventing it from pulling out. If it's install properly then it shouldn't pull out. If it doesn't have one or it's shifted, then it could pull up and , worst case, drop into your pan.
After your remove the distributor, look down and you should see the coned end of the shaft in the bottom of the hole. That cone helps guide it back into the distributor. It will be leaning to the side, that's fine. If it's sicking up out of the hole then it has come out. If you happen to have a priming tool you can check by priming the pump but I have done that with small sockets on extensions too.
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