Car Parts Shopping: 4 Types of Distributor Gears
Distributor gears work hand-in-hand with the camshaft gear. Between the two, the distributor gear is the one expected to wear, fail, and require replacement. However, it would still be nice to use a gear that would last and work as long as possible. With this, aftermarket gears give three major types to choose from for the moment you feel yours needs replacement. Read further to help you pick the right distributor gear for your car and engine.
Most car manufacturers use cast iron distributor gears for stock its cars. This hard, tough, and durable material can definitely last a long time in the engine especially with a hardened outer layer. Cast iron is suitable to use with flat-tappet cam engines because of iron's ability to sustain the sharp edge of the cam on the surface. For more powerful and high-performance engines, there are stronger cast iron distributor gear varieties that can handle the demands of such an engine.
Compared to its iron counterpart, bronze has the bad reputation for being weak and quick to wear. However, this weakness becomes an advantage for a couple of reasons. Its decline in quality is easier to predict than iron, making the right time for replacement easier to anticipate. Second, bronze's softness makes it suitable to work with a friendlier steel roller cam. Ensuring that the cam is constructed properly with high-quality materials will help to extend the life of bronze gears.
This is tried and tested technology on NASCAR racers is now available for your car as well. The great thing about this type of gear is that it is applicable for any type of camshaft. Usually made of carbon ultra fiber material, it is the latest and most technologically advanced gear in the market. 300% stronger than bronze, composite gears are give you the toughest and most durable type of gear.
As a final reminder, don't just pick a gear based on the material used. Consider also the proper mesh between the camshaft gear and the distributor gear. Since these two should work in tandem, a bad connection is as useless as a worn-out gear.
5-Step Distributor Gear Replacement
The failure of one little distributor gear can be very a big problem for cars. One of the ways to know if this happens to your car is if it doesn't start. A bad distributor gear can even damage the camshaft gear connected to the engine. If you must change your car's starter distributor gear, follow this 5-step guide to help you with the repair.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Masking tape
- Small nail
- Wrench set
- Drill or punch
- Shop press
- Replacement distributor gear
Step 1: Park your car and turn off the engine. Since you're working on electrical parts, don't forget to disconnect the battery terminals.
Step 2: Locate the distributor. With a small nail, make a small mark running from the distributor's body to the engine. Remove the distributor cap. You can keep the spark plugs on if you don't think they'll get in the way of your repair. If you need to remove the plugs, label each plug as to which ends they are connected to. These two markers will serve as your guide during reinstallation.
Step 3: To remove the distributor, you must work on the bolts holding it in place. Set the bolts aside for later use. With the distributor loose, carefully pull it out, making sure you don't twist and turn any moving parts. On one side is the distributor's rotor. Mark its exact location with tape. On the other side is the distributor shaft with the gear. Mark the gear's exact location by measuring the distance of the distributor's mounting flange to the bottom of the gear.
Step 4: With a drill or a punch, take out the pin holding the gear in place. Next, use a shop press to remove the distributor gear. Insert the new distributor gear exactly on the location measured during step 3. Also remember to liken the position of the old distributor to the replacement. Return the distributor pin to hold it in place. Make sure you don't bend the shaft during this step.
Step 5: Finish the job by returning everything in place. Start by inserting the distributor to the engine. Again, make sure the rotor is still on the marked position, and that the other parts don't move. Secure it with the bolts. Return the distributor cap. Reconnect the battery to finish. Start your engine to break-in the new gear.
- Take your time in placing the markings. Rotor and gear settings before and after installation is crucial to ensure your distributor will work after the first try.