Installing the distributor


Scott Brooke
Staff member
Contributing Member
1. Remove #1 spark plug (For Fords this is the front plug on the passenger side.)
2. Put your thumb over the plug hole
3. Rotate engine CLOCKWISE w/ a breaker bar on the balancer bolt head
4. When you start to feel a bunch of air escaping past your thumb, you're on the compression stroke
5. Now, slowly continue to rotate until the TDC mark on the balancer lines up w/ the timing pointer
6. Reinstall #1 plug

Thats it! You're at TDC on #1

Now, drop the distributor in with the rotor pointing at the #1 plug terminal. The rotor will rotate about 3/4" counter clockwise as it drops in, so start with the rotor about 3/4" before where you want #1 to end up. You may have to jiggle it around a bit to get it to line up w/ the oil pump driveshaft.

Or if you want to get as close to your initial timing as possible (e.g. 14 degrees BTDC) line that mark up with the pointer and then drop the dist in with the rotor pointed at #1.

If you have removed the plug wires, reinstall them in the firing order counter clockwise from #1. FE & 460s firing order is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8, SB's are either 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 (302HO and 351W) or the same as the FE.

If you have a Chevy, look elsewhere for the information, both #1 and the firing orders are different.