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Discussion Starter #1
This is a very basic question..but I have always struggled with this part.

My '68 327 engine has just been rebuilt. I have primed the oil pump in the engine by inserting the cut off shank of a flat blade screw driver attached to a drill. I ran the drill to rotate the oil pump shaft clockwise. I saw oil filling the oil gauge line...which is a good sign.

Now I want to install the distributor.
Manual says find TDC of #1 (at top of compression stroke)..done.
It says to install distributor so that the rotor points to the 6:30 position. No problem. But, when I go to set the timing, the vacuum advance (on the distributor) unit will interfere with a vacuum port on the manifold. This limits my ability to rotate and set the advance timing.

Can I lift and rotate the distributor one tooth clock wise and use the new rotor position as #1. This puts #1 in the 8 o'clock position. Now I can freely rotate the distributor (counter-clockwise) to advance the timing. Does this make sense?

I have not started the motor yet.

Vic
 

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You can point the distributor any way you want it and have the rotor point at any terminal for your number one. Installing it like you did is just a convention that's been observed longer than I know.
So, you can rotate it several teeth if need be. When you button up the cap just have the rotor pointing at a terminal to get your initial startup in the ballpark.
I like to have the vacuum cannister pointing about 8:00 and the number one about 5:00 with the firewall being 12:00.
 

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Yes you can lift the distributor and offset it one or two teeth. It will probably not drop all the way back down because the oil pump drive rod is out of alignement now, but if you turn the engine over 1-2 rev (by hand) it will fall into place.

Another way to do it is to just offset the plug wires one port CCW(if you have enough length on the wires) turn the housing CW and then re-time it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your guidance, folks.

Vic
 

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Keep in mind that when you used the screwdriver to prime the oil pump you were missing the primary oil passage provided by the distibutor which means that no oil was supplied to the upper end of your engine. That's why some folks use and old distributor with the cam gear removed or they buy the tool for this purpose. Before starting your engine for the first time, I would crank it over several times to build up oil pressure in the lifters and such. IMO.
 

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Here's the sure fire method for cranking her up for the first time.

1) Rotate the crank by hand until the harmonic timing indicator is dialed in at 6-8 degrees advanced. Make sure the compression stroke was just complete (or more accurately, "almost" completed). If you're not sure, you'll have to pull the driver's side valve cover and watch for the closing of the number one intake valve.

2) Pull the number one plug wire off the spark plug. Then install an old (but working) spark plug in the number one wire boot.

3) Make sure your rotor in the distributor is pointed toward the number one plug wire, or at least close.

4) Loosen the distributor tie down bolt

5) Turn the ignition key to the 'on' position.

6) Ground the old spark plug to engine somewhere,..away from the carb (obviously)

7) Rotate the distributor back and forth in your other hand while you look for a spark from the grounded spark plug. You're trying to pass the number one terminal on the distributor cap past the rotor tip to locate it's positon.

8) Position and maintain the distributor in the position where the spark is achieved

9) Turn the ignition key to 'off' (it shouldn't stay in the 'on' position for longer than a minute, but this method takes about 20 seconds).

10) Tighten the distributor tie down bolt and re-attach the number one plug wire to the plug.

Assuming the fuel supply is good to go, she'll fire right up,.. which is good for engine break-in.

Good luck!
 

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I like to have the vacuum cannister pointing about 8:00 and the number one about 5:00 with the firewall being 12:00.
That is basically the factory possition...positioned so as not to interfer with manifold runners and such...
Also described as rotor facind striaght forward and VA pionting to just behind the passenger headlight.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks again for the great info, folks.

Vic
 
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