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bring engine to top dead center #1 with the timing marks. remove distributer cap and note position of rotor direction and mark on the distributor housing were the rotor is pointing. also mark the position of the distributor mark to a position on the motor, then unbolt the distributor holding bolt and remove. pull up on the distributor and note which way the rotor moves as you pull the distributor out. again mark where the rotor is pointing when the distributor is out. the reason for the marking of rotor position and distributor position is so when you reassemble you line up the marks to get it into the proper position when the distributor is back in place. then you have to check the timing and set. as far as the pickup coil remove the distributor gear lock pin remove the gear and remove the distributor shaft to replace the coil. reassemble in reverse order.
That distributor is an easy one. You need to connect the harness attached to the distributor housing to the cap. There is a marking on the cap that says "Batt" Connect that to the hot lead from the ignition switch that is on (with 12V present) and off with switch off. Likely the connector and wire are still in the engine compartment somewhere near the distributor. The other lead connection is marked "tach" you don't need to connect it anywhere but can attach a hand held or on dash tachometer to it. If you get no spark from the distributor, either the module inside it is bad (no test for that. they are either good or bad) or one of the wires coming from the pickup coil that attach to the module has broken (common on those). (assuming good or new cap, rotor and coil). It's a very simple and reliable distributor. In fact I'm using one on a 305 Monte Carlo racemobile right now. (with MSD coil, cap and rotor)!!!
well you didn't say what year it was , keeping that in mind I will
try to respond with the info you did give. Generally the Chevy
vans have a coil mounted in the distributor itself, so having spark
comming from the coil would mean it is not flowing through the rotor
to the plug wires..... not sounding right to me either,... Possibly
just a bad Distributor cap unless you have already replaced it.
So I would have you look at the Ignition module
first and the pick up coil second.. not mush else it could be (
ruling out a broken timing chain )
If it is a newer vehicle , it may have a crank position sensor failing or ecm.
I dont belive this 1986 monte carlo has a timing belt, this car uses the timing chain, the timing chain is good for 150,000 miles, the to check it for wear would be to remove the distributor cap turn crank with a wrench to right mark rotor then slowly turn crank to the left and watch how far the crank turns before the rotor moves, this is how to check the slack on the chain if the crank moves more than 10 degrees then replace the chain, these cars can go 150.000 miles before the chain is needed, and some go more. hope this helps.
The distributor cap and/or the ignition rotor most likely have a crack somewhere and the distributor cap should be replaced along with the ignition rotor. The ignition module could have been damaged as well as the ignition pick-up coil/stator and if replacing the distributor cap and ignition rotor does not solve the problem then the ignition module or the pick-up coil/stator assembly inside of the distributor is also most likely damaged and the distributor will need to be replaced. There is a certain procedure for removing and replacing the distributor, and the ignition timing is not adjustable and it is not set using a timing light or with the engine running, and if you do have to replace the distributor Let me know if you require the procedure to properly remove and replace the distributor or if you require any further assistance.
You can have car put on scope and it wll show any irregularities in the ignition system. It can also be dowithout any equipment. First, loosing ALL 8 spark plug wires, Now place the spark plug wires loosly back on, just secure enough to secure. You might need 2 people. Being the miss is more consistant in gear, APPLY THE EMERGENCY BRAKE , put trans into drive and raise rpm's till miss is obvious. Remove ONE plug wire at a time, TILL THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN MISS. Thats the cylinder missing. Start with the spark plug, inspect, work back to wires and cap. An EXTREME result will be NO COMPRESSION.