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Author Topic: How to install a gear on a Ford distributor  (Read 15170 times)
Big Block
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Posts: 1187

Location: El Paso TX

« on: October 10, 2006, 06:14:12 pm »

How to install a gear on a Ford distributor.

First off improper installation of the gear can damage the block, the distributor, and the oil pump shaft. If you are reading this article and doing it yourself, you do so at your own risk. The author of this article assumes no responsibility for any damages.

There are two different sizes of gears used on SBF distributors. The late model 5.0 TFI distributor and 5.8L distributors use a 0.531? ID distributor gear. The pre HO 5.0 motors use a 0.468? ID distributor gear. There is also different material used to construct these gears. There are iron, steel, bronze, and composite gears to name a few. The gear that you will need will depend on the type of cam being used. Easiest way to determine which gear you need is to contact the cam manufacture and ask.

The tools needed for this installation are-

Fine punch (max 0.125? diameter)
Centering punch
Drill Press
Drill bits
Sharpie marker
17mm or 18mm impact socket

First, begin by taking the distributor cap off and turning the distributor upside down on a table or work bench. Firmly press out all of the slack from the distributor shaft with your hand (a buddy works great at this point) and measure the distance from the bottom of the distributor gear to the bottom of the mounting flange from where it sits on the deck. The measurement should be between 3.996?-4.005?


Just to ensure that the gear is installed correctly in the first place. On a side note, remember that the bottom of the gear sits on the block and might show some wear. Make a mark at the top of the distributor gear to help determine when you are in the neighborhood of this measurement when you are pressing on the new gear. Next take your micrometer and hook one of the jaws on the bottom of the distributor shaft and measure up the centerline of the drilled hole in the shaft and gear. Mine measured out at 1.750.? Note this reading or lock the micrometer at this point (if you have more than one).  Next look at the roll pin in the gear and with your sharpie make a dot above the gear on the shaft to note where the hole is drilled. I?ve seen people cross drill the shaft without compromising the shaft integrity, but I was original taught to line up the original hole without cross drilling. Now press off the old gear and don?t forget to catch the distributor as you press off the old gear (again using a buddy here helps).

Now press on the new gear. I used an 18mm deep well impact socket to press the new gear on. While pressing the gear on stop frequently as you approach the mark you made on the shaft right above the gear and measure the distance. I like to install my gears right at 4.000? or 4.001.? Take the distributor out of the press, push out the slack on the distributor on the work bench and measure again. You remember the old saying ?measure twice, cut once.? Once you?re sure that you?ve got it lined up and squared away. Get out a drill bit that is 0.125? in diameter and put it in the drill press. Take you micrometer and hang one jaw on the distributor shaft and measure back up to the roll pin hole (center). Remember mine was @ 1.750 and I left the micrometer locked down, so I just had to hang one jaw and make a scribe mark on the gear in relation to the dot that was made on the shaft to indicate where the hole was at. Drill the hole out and install a new roll pin 0.125? in diameter. Clean the shaft with a suitable solvent and make sure that there is no left over shavings or foreign debris. Follow the manufacturers recommended break in procedure and viola you are done.

Note: I?ve encountered several gears in which the gear sheered the teeth off of one side during gear break-in. I?ve noticed this has happened with Hi-volume oil pumps, if you have a high volume oil pump and are going to break in a gear it is recommend to change the oil to a straight (stay away from multi-viscosity oils) mineral oil of 5-10 weight grade. Once you have broken in the gear, check for abnormal wear or a wear pattern that is off center. If it looks good change the oil and go get ?em boys.

* ford gear.JPG (31.75 KB, 924x365 - viewed 1284 times.)

* ford gear2.JPG (37.99 KB, 892x362 - viewed 2597 times.)

4 Banger
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Posts: 13

Location: Livonia, MI (Detroit)

« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2013, 02:05:45 pm »

My oil plug was drilled with wire drill bit #72 .025"  or 0.635 mm.
(not centered, as punch slipped off to the side a smidge)

and the distributor was EXACTLY 3.9998" installed height, with end-play at .034"



Darius Rudis
1989 Mustang S-trim Roadracer
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