Question about 1984 Jeep CJ7

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Setting distributor jeep wrangler 1997 4L

Removed the distributor and lost the position can anyone help to set timing again

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  • luke_currin Dec 28, 2008

    thanks budy have a new one the revs keep changing at idle and surges intermediately when driving but comes good if you keep your foot on the gas so it not fuel can you help

  • John Jon May 11, 2010

    well usually you put it back in when #1 cylinder is top dead center then slip distributor shaft in with rotor aimed and locked to #1 post ign wire!!! you should be careful!!! valves are delicate!!!

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  • Jeep Master
  • 6,982 Answers

I'm going to assume that you have some idea where the rotor was pointing before you took unit out.
Turn the crankshaft by hand 'till you find the small notch on the back edge of the pulley. Mark the notch with white crayon. Turn the crank untill the mark you made lines up with "0" on the scale on the right side (facing engine) at about 2 oclock. (sometimes needs to be cleaned off to read it) You are now either dead on or 180degrees out of phase. (rotor will be pointing directly away from where you think it should be if it is 180 out). If close to original location, make a mark on outside of dist housing, directly below #1 ign wire post. Remove cap and check that rotor is aligned with the mark you made. If it is not, remove distributor part way, till you can feel the drive gear just disengage, then turn rotor towards the reference position. Once positioned, push distributor housing back down into block. If it does not drop down fully, have someone turn the crank by hand two full turns back to reference mark while you push gently down on distributor. when the oil pump shaft engages, dist will drop down.
If you found dist to be 180 out, remove it and turn rotor to proper position, then follow instructions above.
The timing is non adjustable on these engines.(timing is changed by computer) There is a single bolthole in the dist retaining ear (part of dist housing) When checking reference points, always keep this hole lined up with bolt hole in block. Before attempting to start engine, make sure that after everything is bolted down, your reference marks match!
There are several other ways to do this. This is the most simple and safest way. as at no time is the ignition key in the "on" position, while making these adjustments..
Turning the engine with the key "on", even by hand, & even with the timing out of phase can result in "kickback" which can and usually does hurt someone.

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

  • Richard Scordino Dec 28, 2008

    First, (should have asked this before) WHY did you remove the distributor in the first place? Were there similar performance problems before you r&r'd it? Even in person, hands on, I'd have to do testing to determine your current problem. First, check all vacuum hoses to make sure they are connected and not cracked anywhere. 'Though your problem could be caused by just about anything in the engine management system (all sensors feed off of each other in a sense that they all feed the main computer, incorrect info at any point causes the computer to try to "compensate" throwing everything else out of whack) Therefore, Id start by doing some testing either with a good digital ohmeter, or a scan tool. Get a decent manual for an outline for individual test procedures. Write down everything you find, and compare to specifications. On 97 and earlier systems, you have some "on-board" tests you can do: Turn the ignition key to "on" three times, leaving it in the "on" position the third time. Don't crank the engine, just turn the key.The check engine light will flash stored codes. eg: one flash followed by a pause, then two flashes = 12.
    Any good manual will have definitions of code #s in it.eg: 12 means that the battery was disconnected within the last fifty times you started the engine. (Since you were just working on it, I would likely ignore that one!) In my opinion, I'm thinking that your problem MIGHT be the MAP sensor, or mass air flow sensor (if yours has one) but without testing, I would not just run out and buy one. If you have a friend with a similar vehicle, you could swap it out just to test. Another common part that gives wierd problems is the crank sensor. But, without testing, I'm just guessing!
    Good luck


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See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

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Fig. 1: Exploded view of the distributor-1987-90 2.5L engine


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Fig. 2: Positioning the oil pump shaft for distributor installation-1987-90 2.5L engine


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Fig. 3: Positioning the distributor rotor and shaft for installation-1987-90 2.5L engine


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Fig. 4: Rotor position with the distributor properly installed-1987-90 2.5L engine




  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
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The wire connector will contain a special conductive grease. Do not remove it. The same grease will also be found on the metal parts of the rotor.
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  2. Install the distributor hold-down bolt and clamp. Leave the screw loose enough so that you can move the distributor with heavy hand pressure.
  3. Connect the primary wire to the distributor side of the coil. Install the distributor cap on the distributor housing. Secure the distributor cap with the spring clips or the screw type retainers, whichever is used.
  4. Install the spark plug wires. Make sure that the wires are pressed all of the way into the top of the distributor cap and firmly onto the spark plugs.

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To install, if engine was disturbed:
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Remember rated this post; I hope help you with this.










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