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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Every few months, my Galaxie sounds like the battery is on it's last legs, the car idles like crap, and just about starts.

Take the box wrench out of the console, give the distributer a tap clock-wise, the motor cranks like it has a new battery, and she starts right up.

WTF is the problem??

Why do I have to keep nudging the distributor every few months? Why is the timing falling back on it's own?

Really getting pi**ed.

I had this problem with the old 352/250 and now with the 390/300. Reused the distributor and carb.

Note, I ain't no mechanic.

Help!
 

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You are having to retard the timing. Advance hanging in the dist.
 

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Unplug the vacuum advance. If that improves the situation, well, that would be a clue.
 

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Your distributor is actually moving. Is the hold down correct? The cap screw too long to hold it down properly?
 

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Just a dumb suggestion, is the dist. staying in place and not turning back after you set it clockwise ? Put a mark on the intake and one on the dist. and see if it's moving back on you.
When I bought my car there was a cheap dist. clamp holding my dist. down and it was letting the car slip out of time. I was at stop signs and my car wanted to die,trouble starting also. A new clamp solved it.
I'm no mechanic either,just one lesson learned.
 

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since the timing runs counterclockwise, and you're having to bump it clockwise to reset your timing, it does sound like it's physically moving and you're having to reclock it. It is true, if you don't have your bolt tigthened down enough, it would automatically move in the counterclockwise direction. You might not be able to get on it good enough with a regular wrench to get it good and tight. They make a special wrench with a bend in it to get in under a distributor, I guess you could also use "crow's feet" but I've never tried those. That is a little socket head with a cutout for the extension and you can use a ratchet on those crow's feet things. I love the one peice bent distributor wrench I have and have had it 30 years.
 

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I just reread my post and it's unclear, if your bolt wasn't tight enough, the distributor would tend to advance itself in the direction with which the rotor turns (counterclockwise). and yes, the distributor WILL advance itself if it's not tightened down enough. Since you are having to periodically retard your timing, it's advancing itself. Advance is counterclockwise (turning vacuum advance can toward driver side), retard is clockwise (moving vacuum advance canister towards pass side of car).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I use a small box wrench to tighten down the dist. (I keep one in my console just in case.)

Yesterday, I couldn't move the dist unless I loosened the bolt.

But, I'll make a mark just to make sure it's not moving anyway.
 

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LOL, yes FE, but some great advice so far. A reminder for some posts though, a loose distributor will RETARD. Also his tapping is clockwise, so he is advancing it when he taps. This could also mean a sheared distributor gear pin allowing the gear to be slowly nudged around the shaft. In any case, if it's not the body rotating from a bad bolt/clamp or poorly tightened housing, then it needs to come out for servicing or replacement.

David

FE firing order and distributor rotation:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK

Little extra bit of info.

The distributor came out of my 352. I trust the mechanic who took it out and reinstalled it in my new 390. (A definite Ford guy with two 66 TBirds, a convert and a hardtop, which is a consistant trophy winner.)

If there was a pin problem, wouldn't he have spotted it during the de and re-install process?

Again, I'm no mechanic, so if my question is stupid, my bad.
 

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If there was a pin problem, wouldn't he have spotted it during the de and re-install process?
No, a sheared pin looks just like a good one unless you try to look through it for straightness. If the light coming through is oval shape, it's partially sheared. If there is no light coming through, it's almost or completely sheared. It's not something folks check when it came from a running engine and assumed to be good.

David
 
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