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Discussion Starter #1
I am replacing my old HEI in a 350. Put it to TDC, rotor pointing on #1 cylinder, and removed. I am installing an MSD Ready to Run. However, it will not seat with the rotor pointing at #1- its seated pointing at #4, and the timing mark is right around 0. Do I just need to make sure that with the cap installed, whatever terminal the rotor is pointing at, that wire goes to #1? I am not an engine expert, so any help is very much appreciated.
 

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Because of the gear mesh, your rotor will turn when you install it. You want to start dropping it in with the rotor positioned counter-clockwise from where you want it to line up.

If your new distributor is an HEI, put a mark on the body that lines up with the number 1 post. Put a second mark 2-1/4" to the right of that mark. Turn the rotor counter-clockwise so the leading edge of the rotor is now lined up with your second mark. Hold the distributor over the hole so the vacuum can is pointing 45 degrees across the engine (towards the passenger side tire or so) and lower it. When the gears mesh, your rotor should rotate clockwise and the leading edge should line up with your number one post mark.

For a small cap, it's essentially the same but the second mark you line the rotor edge up with is 1-11/16" to the right of the #1 post.

Your oil pump shaft should not have moved when you removed the old distributor. However, just shine a flashlight down the hole and the slot in the shaft should be pointing at the #5 cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So i looked down the hole, and the slot is looking at towards #1, but no amount of messing with it will get it to seat completely other than looking towards #4. So I turned it over like that until TDC again, and sure enough- its still pointing to the #4 cylinder. I am totally confused.
 

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You stick a long screwdriver down the hole and turn the oil pump shaft wherever you want it. It has to be pointing at or around the #5 cylinder intake valve for the distributor to fully seat and land on #1 using the method I posted. You can draw a line on the end of the screwdriver handle parallel with the blade to make it easy.

If you rotated the engine only one turn so the timing mark is at TDC again, you are now at TDC for cylinder 6. You need to rotate the engine around one more time. Your crank turns twice for every one full turn of the cam.
 

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A couple of things:

- Just because the timing pointer is at TDC, it doesn't mean #1 cyl is in the firing positon. A 4 stroke motor hits TDC twice through a cycle - once firing and once exhausting. Make sure #1 is @ TDC firing (both valves closed)

- With dist in your hand, install the rotor and look at where it is pointing as compared to the oil pump drive . On every GM dist I have looked at, the oil pump drive and the rotor were lined up. Unfortunately, on every MSD dist I have looked at, they're not. So just eyeball it, and if the oil pump drive is at 12:00 for example, and the rotor is pointing @ 3:00, shine a light down the hole and line up the slot in the pump shaft with that relationship in mind. I hope that made sense!
 
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