Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
Re: 350 Distibutor installation?
Installing a distributor is pretty much the same for any engine:
1 Get the engine up to Top Dead Center on the compression stroke. Remove all of the spark plugs, stick your finger over the #1 hole and crank the engine until pressure pushes your finger off the hole. Then turn the crank slowly until the timing mark comes around to 0 advance.
2. Turn the distributor rotor so that it's pointing at #1 terminal on the distributor cap. It doesn't really matter which terminal is #1, but for consistency you should make it the terminal the factory uses. You might have to look at a stock engine to determine that.
3. Drop the distributor in. The gears cause the shaft to turn clockwise as they engage, so you'll have to turn the rotor a little counterclockwise to start it down.
There's a slot on the bottom of the distributor shaft that engages the oil pump. If it doesn't line up with the pump it will hold the distributor up about a quarter inch from being fully seated. Pull the distributor up and see where the slot is, and turn the pump with a screwdriver to match.
4. Set the initial timing.
a. If it's a point and condensor system you turn the distributor counterclockwise a little and then turn it clockwise until the points just start to open. A test light will show that more accurately than your eye can see the points move.
b. If it's an electronic type with a star wheel, align the pickup with the point of the star.
c. If it's a crank-fire fully electronic system, you just have to make sure that the rotor is pointing at the terminal in the cap and you're done.
5. With the plugs out it will crank fast enough that you can set the timing while the engine is cranking. Three to five degrees advance will do fine.
6. Put the plugs back in and set the timing. Here the procedure gets engine-specific as to exact setting, idle speed and vacuum advance connection. You'll have to get that information for your engine.
For a SBC the firing order is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2