How to Replace the Ignition Points and Condenser
Since modern vehicles use computers, most of the car components nowadays are either self-adjusting or factory-preset. This means that you no longer have to adjust the timing, worry about moving parts, or perform an awful lot of maintenance. But this doesn't apply to older, vintage cars that still require you to change the points and set the timing. That is why the ignition points and condenser exist. When these car parts get busted, you need to replace them through the following steps:
Difficulty level: Difficult
Tools to be used:
- Flat-tip screwdriver
- Angle screwdriver
- Feeler gauge set
- Dwell/tach meter
- Strobe timing light
- Piece of chalk or a bottle of whiteout
- 10mm wrench
- New ignition points and condenser
Step 1: Remove the distributor cap by taking out the 2 spring clips that secure it in place. Insert the screwdriver between the 2 clips and the distributor case, and pry them off the cap. Don't uninstall the wires of the spark plug from the distributor cap. Just keep it connected while you set it aside.
Step 2: Detach the rotor by pulling it straight out from the distributor shaft. Then, lift the plastic dust cover off the the distributor to remove it.
Step 3: Set the car in neutral mode and get an appropriately sized wrench to turn the engine over. Use this same wrench to turn the alternator/generator pulley nut clockwise. If you notice that doing so turns the alternator and not the engine, then this could mean that the drive belt is too loose. Fix the alternator and turn the engine again.
Step 4: To remove the old points, unscrew them from the plate inside the distributor. Be careful when handling these screws as they can get lost easily. It would be better if you have a magnetic screwdriver to pull the screw from the distributor. Unplug the wire from the points by simply pulling it straight off.
Step 5: Set aside the points which are in good condition to use as spare, and throw out those that are pitted or are too worn out.
Step 6: Uninstall the condenser by removing the 2 screws that hold it in place - one screw bears the condenser, while the other attaches the black plastic plug to the distributor body. Take out the small metal plug clip as well. Then, remove the condenser and the plug from the distributor.
Step 7: From the negative side of the ignition coil, disengage the green wire from the condenser plug. Take note of which terminal it goes to.
Step 8: Assemble the new condenser. Fitting the metal plug into the clip and place this assembly to the distributor body. Start the screw and make sure you tighten each one of them. Turn the distributor so that the new condenser fits snugly into the distributor body. Then, run the green wire to the exact same terminal on the ignition coil where you unplugged the old one. You should be connecting the wire to the negative terminal.
Step 9: Install the points by smearing some grease onto the distributor shaft. Once the shaft is greased enough, fit the points and make sure that the hinge ends are attached properly. Insert the mounting screw and tighten it.
Step 10: Get the feeler gauge set and adjust the points based on your vehicle's specs. You may refer to your owner's manual for the proper gap measure between the points. Finally, put the distributor back together and return the rotor.