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89 Ford Ranger 2.9l Distributor Help

Wein

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I bought this truck from my older brother a few months ago to find out he had pulled the distributor out and threw it away without making any markings. I m new to mechanic work and only have some basic knowledge. I don't have any money to pay a mechanic to fix it, so I need help. I have a new distributor and I know the firing order. How do I correctly insert the distributor and set the timing? Thank you!
 


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1st find TDC (top dead center ) on the compresion stroke on cylinder no 1.
There are timing marks on the harmonic balancer.
If you install the distributor on the exhaust stroke it would be 180 deg. Off.
Drop the distributor in and try to align the rotor with the cylinder no1 plug wire.
Tighten the dist. Bolt but keep it loose enough so you can move it.
Unplug the spout connector . On my 89 engine it was on the passenger side between the vale cover and intake.
Hook up a timing light and time the engine to specs.
Turn off engine . Plug the spout back in and tighten distributor bolt.
Just did it two weeks ago.
I think i covered most.
 
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adsm08

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What he said.

Also, there are two marks milled into the face of the distributor that the cap sits on. If you look straight down on the dis when installed, with the front of the engine at 6:00, they will face near 10 or 11. When you get the distributor in, first plug in the ignition module, then try to align it so that your rotor sits right between those marks. If you can't do that and still have some slack in the wiring the dis didn't go in right.

The rotor will usually move a full tooth's worth clockwise (I think it's clockwise) when it engages the cam's drive gear. So when you start installing the dis have the edge of the rotor lined up with the mark that is farther counter-clockwise. If you do that, when it seats in fully your rotor should be lined up perfectly with where it should be to start setting timing.

This method has always gotten my timing almost perfect from the get go.
 

RonD

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Welcome to TRS :)

Most vehicle engines are 4-stroke engines, this means that each piston has 4 strokes for one complete cycle, 2 down strokes and 2 up strokes

1. Intake stroke is piston going down with intake valve open, this sucks in the air:fuel mix
2. Compression stroke is piston going up with both valves closed, this compresses the air:fuel mix, heating it up and vaporizing the fuel so it can be ignited by a spark
3. Power stroke is piston going down, spark plug has fired and fuel is exploding pushing the piston down adding power to the crank shaft
4. Exhaust stroke is piston going up, exhaust valve is open, exhaust is pushed out into exhaust manifold.
Back to 1.

4-strokes means that the crank shaft must turn 2 full rotations for each full cycle
The crank shaft pulley has a mark that denotes #1 piston being at TDC(Top Dead Center).
But #1 piston is at TDC TWO TIMES during 1 full cycle and you want spark timed to TDC on Compression stroke not Exhaust stroke

So the #1 TDC timing mark is only correct for distributor timing 1/2 the time
There are 2 ways to do distributor timing without pulling off valve cover

1. Pull spark plug in #1 cylinder, put in a pressure gauge(or your finger :)) then rotate crank shaft manually until pressure starts to build up in #1 cylinder, thats the start of #1 compression stroke, continue rotating crank until TDC mark is lined up, and that's Compression stroke TDC

2. Line up crank pulley TDC mark and install distributor with rotor on #1
Try to start the engine, if it starts then all is well, fine tune timing as described

If it doesn't start then timing at distributor is 180deg off, doesn't hurt anything
Put crank back on TDC mark, pull off distributor cap
Rotor will be pointed at #1 OR #5
Pull up distributor and reverse rotor, if it was on #5 then rotate to #1, if it was on #1 then rotate it to #5
Reinstall, fine tune


And just a heads up the distributor shaft also drives the oil pump shaft so it does need to line up with that shaft inside the engine
After installing distributor it may not sit flat against the engine, rotate crank 90deg one way and then the other, then back to TDC, that should line up the shafts and distributor will drop into place
 
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