The process to install a distributor is as follows: Crank the engine over until the number one piston is coming up on the compression stroke. You can remove all the spark plugs and crank it over with your finger in the #1 spark plug hole and wait until you feel the compression start to build up. Both valves will be closed.
Next, watch for the timing mark to come to TDC. Stop the cranking there. Now set the distributor so that the rotor is pointing at the #1 position on the distributor, ie. where the #1 spark plug wire would be when the cap was in place.
Insert the distributor into place and make sure the gear is engaged. Then push it into place. The distributor gear is a bevel gear which means that the distributor shaft will rotate when you push it into place. You need to watch to see how much it turns and then compensate by backing off the position on initial insertion so that it is perfectly lined up when it is fully seated.
The oil pump shaft may be driven by the bottom of the distributor. If it is then it may be difficult to get the distributor to line up with the hex shaft in the oil pump at the same time you have the gears lined up. When you are absolutely sure you have it ready to go in and have the gears engaged, just rotate the engine a slight bit until the oil pump shaft lines up and it will go in easily.
Recheck the position by going thru the cranking process described above and make sure that the rotor points to the #1 position on the cap when the crankshaft is lined up on TDC on the compression stroke.
Remember, the crankshaft is lined up on TDC twice as the distributor turns around, once on TDC when the piston is coming up on the exhaust stroke and once when it is coming up on the compression stroke!! Don't get the two positions confused. Make sure you are on TDC on the compression stroke.
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