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Hi: To Install the Distributor Correctly, 1st thing to do is Remove your #1 Spark Plug assuming it will turn over have someone Turn the Key Off and On in Short Intervals.Either put a Compression Gauge in the #1 Spark Plug HoleOr the Old Fashion Way Works as well just put your Finger in the #1 Plug Hole.As your Helper Cranks the Engine On -Off On -Off.Not A Continuous Crank.When You Feel Air Pressure or See gauge Come up.TYhats when your Engine is a The compression Stroke.Now you Can Drop the New Distributor in its Hole.NOTE: You'll need a Spark Plug and Timing Diagram to See the Position your Distributor ROTOR Line it up to where the Diagram Shows your #1 Spark Plug Wire Will go in the Distributor Cap.If the Distributor Rotor is Not n That Position Your goning to Get Either Back Firing engine May Not Even Stsrt, To This Is Crucial. After The Know that you have The Distributor Droppped The Right position you'll need to Put Gap your Plugs at the Correct Specs, With All Plugs in Now You'll need to Put New Plug Wires on .And They MUST be in the correct order.Sitting inside your Vehicle #1 Plug is the Front Plug on the Drivers Side Next is #3 plug Next is #5 and Your Back Plug is Number 7,On the other side Passenger Front Plug is #2 next #4 Next is #6 and the Back is #8 Assuming you know have your Distributor Dropped in The Proper Position, Put the #1 Spark Plug Wire on the Front Spark Plug (Drivers Side) The Spark Plug Firing Order in Your Engine is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 Clockwise So the Next hole after you have #1 Plug and Wire on And Distributor In Correct Position on COMPRESSION STOKE, Going Clockwise you next wire will be your #8 Position in The Cap And it wil go to the Back Spark Plug on The Rear Spark Plug on Passenger Side. NOTE: Drivers Side Spark Plugs on the Drivers Side Front to Back are Your Odd Numbers 1-3-5-7 Pasenger Side is Your Even Numbers From The Front is #2-4-6-8 Is The Rear PLug .
Heres a Diagram of your Spark plug Positions
Front of Engine
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You are correct in your idea about how the plug wires are attached. If you want to duplicate control wiring you would need to obtain the wiring diagram of the brand of ignition system you want to duplicate. (MSD etc. These systems also require a small battery in order for them to operate. Wiring to distributor was far less complex when vertex type magneto distributors sere used as all that was required was a ground wire to shut them down (exactly like your lawnmower works), As far as plumbing, all systems need to meet safety standards set forth by the NHRA but aside from meeting those standards, each engine builder decides where to locate such items as primary and secondary fuel injectors etc. If you go to the NHRA website, you may be able to find a decent photo of someones engine...that may be helpful. Also check the rule book for such items as kill switch location, brake, chute release etc.
To change a spark plug. 1.Disconnect the wire attached to the spark plug it would be wise to do only one at a time! 2.Take a long socket that will fit the spark plug 3.Attach to the socket wrench and turn counter clockwise until off. 4. Put the new spark plug in and hand screw until tight then turn the socket wrench clockwise until completely tight usually 1 1/2 turns. 5.Then reconnect the spark plug wire. Easy as that. Repeat steps 3-5 for the rest and remember ONE PLUG WIRE AT A TIME!
A diagram may not be needed as its a reasonably easy fix to do on your own.the distributor ca p will only fit on properly one way because at the base of the cap locaters can only fit the distributor if they line up.When doing the spark plug leads do them one at a time and if nessecary write or mark leads as 1,2 etc .The rotor can only fit on one way but put a mark on the distributor to show where the rotor was pointing when you took it off and if it still points there when the new one is fitted.When changing distributor cap and leads they have to go to the correct place.Pays to mark the outside of distributor cap where the locating bits are On the new and old one.Fit the new cap and rotor then take a spark plug lead and fit to new cap 1 at a time.You can tell by lining up the marks on the outside of the distributor cap when you hold them one on top of the other.Good luck