Stuck Distributor, trying to remove.

Can’t get the distributor to turn or lift out. Any Ideas?

I’m tearing the engine down to the block to look at the cylinder walls. Could not get it to turn (my green 69 428 car) at all. I sprayed it down with penetrating oil and let it sit over night. I have tried prying and bumping with a rubber hammer at the same time. It’s an original distributor so I do not want to damage or destroy it. I’ve unbolted the intake manifold and broke it loose, then tried all of the above again. Will not budge or turn. I’ve lifted the manifold up as high as possible and can and can get leverage under the top flange of the distributor but I’m a little timid to pry too hard.

I’ve run out of daylight and will continue tomorrow.

Chris – Since you are tearing down the motor, I assume it may be on an engine stand? If so, turn it over, remove the pan and the oil pump and pump shaft. Try lubing the bottom of the distributor where it mates with the webbing of the block from below. Also, you might try using a small torch to heat the area which might expand the cast block webbing allowing the distributor to come out. It is also possible that the distributor gear itself is what’s bound up. In that case, sometimes there is a little slack in the forward/backward movement of the cam shaft, and tapping on the timing gear, etc. may also free it up.

I’ve heard of using a strap wrench to try and get some rotation out of them when they are stuck. I’ve never tried it myself though.

Thanks guys, I will try the strap wrench first and if that does not work I will take the timing cover off and try to free it up. If all fails I will pull the engine and continue from the bottom as mentioned.

The distributor shaft and rotor do turn freely, just about an eighth of an inch as it normally would.

I did not have any luck with the strap wrench but I did get it out. What worked for me was to outlast it. With the intake raised I was able to remove the o-ring and intake front gasket. The distributor was stuck much lower in the engine so I used heat on the shaft below the first flange while the intake was raised. After heating I lowered the intake into place and bolted it down (front bolts only). I also loaded it up with PB Blaster since now it would run right down to the distributor seat where it was stuck.

Then I just started bumping it with the hard side of my rubber hammer while prying up on it from different vantage points where I could get good leverage strait up. I would pick a point and bump it 50 times then move and do it again. I also put the strap wrench on it, got a good pull and bumped with the hammer on occasion. It took about 3 hours of doing this almost continually and heating it several times during the process.

I never really pried too hard but was putting some pretty good licks on it in an upward fashion with the rubber hammer. There was no damage anywhere, I am very pleased with that. Those things are pretty tough.

When I got the intake off all the PB Blaster was puddled at the rear of the engine. Hind sight I would have had the rear of car raised to pool the Blaster at the distributor in the lifter gallery. And that is where it was stuck, at the lifter elevation where it seats.

Glad to hear you got it out! Last I heard, the distributor in Kim / DeadStang’s '69 CJ convertible was also stuck, so she will probably appreciate your insight on removing it.

I’ve been watching this thread. I’ve been PB Blasting around mine since the WCCC thing…but I might have to kill myself if I have to pull the intake up a bit to try and get it out–yikes!

Question for the OP: was this car (engine) a runner/driver before you tried to move the distributor?

This car has not been started for a very long time. Possibly since the early 90s. My intake was coming off anyway so it was an easy decision to break it loose and lift it.

If your car is a driver I would think it would come out a lot easier. I would pry up and bump with a rubber hammer. If you have A/C the compressor will/should be removed. There is only one spot that you can get a good upward hit on the distributor and the compressor is in the way of that. I used three different points to pry up on while bumping it. I only heated it two or three times and did not get things too hot so I do not know how much effect that had on it.

I did buy an strap wrench and could get a good pull on it with the vacuum advance removed and get the bite between the two vacuum advance mounting holes. That could be more effective on a driver too. If your not trying to remove it and just move it for timing issues, this may be best. On mine I could not get it to rotate at all until it was completely unseated and then it was tough to turn it.

After looking at the distributor seat in the lifter gallery, it is raised and no penetrating oil could pool there if the rear of the car was raised so disregard that earlier thought.

Here is a pic of the distributor as soon as it came out. You can see it was tight on the lower flanges. FYI