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1987 chevy 350 distributor cap

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by coquiandthedane, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. coquiandthedane

    coquiandthedane Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Hey, board.

    I'm helping a friend swap a 1987 350 out of a 2wd 'burban into the 3/4 ton 4wd plow truck his kid toasted last year. When we hoisted the bad motor out of his truck, we made the plate on the bottom of his distributor "move" (don't think they're supposed to move). To make a short story long, the distributor out of his old motor looks just fine.

    Problem: The 2 idiots working on the thing (okay, I'm one of 'em) took off all of the plug wires, and did not bother denoting which one is for cylinder #1. I did scribe the block in a rough relation to the distributor, so it went back in roughly the same way the old one came out. There are 2 plugs in the base of the distributor shaft, that can be used for reference to anyone that replies to this post, in relation to where the heck #1 actually is. The engine has been rebuilt, and the rebuilders were swell enough to remove the fixed piece of metal used to put a timing light on, so that's out.

    Can anyone help?

    Thanks in advance.


    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    you should go get a chiltons or something for refrence, but the front right cylinder (as you face the truck) is one if you bring it up (tdc) the dist should be pointing to one one the cap (i think coincidentally it is in line with the cylinder as well
  3. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    Not sure which "plugs" you're referring to on the distributor base, but if you're looking at the engine from the front (facing the rad looking under the hood) the right front cylinder is #1 as Obryanmaint says. On the cap, there should be two posts at the "front" of the cap. The right hand one is #1, going around counterclockwise they are numbered 1 - 8 - 4 - 3 - 6 - 5 - 7 - 2.

    The cylinders are numbered (from front to back) 1 - 3 - 5 - 7 on the right (driver) side and 2 - 4 - 6 - 8 on the left (passenger) side - remember, that's if you're looking at the engine from the front!
  4. coquiandthedane

    coquiandthedane Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Sorry, didn't clarify that well. Thanks for the info on cylinder numbering. This is a TBI model, and there are 2 female receptacles to receive 2 males from the wiring harness on the base of the distributor. Those were the ones I was referring to.

    The distributor is seperate from the coil, and one of those "plugs" is from the seperately mounted coil.

    I'm assuming from your replies that no matter what, the #1 wire post on the distributor cap will be on the front right side, looking from the front of the truck.

    I hope this helps in getting myself a more clear response.

    Sidebar: You guys deserve a huge pat on the back. As you state, there are bazillions of these trucks on the road (and off). All the advice you give us is wonderful. Keep it up. I have finally found myself at a point in my life where I can wrench on my vehicles more out of desire rather than necessity.

    Thanks again.

  5. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    I don't know about computer controlled distributors, but the old ones didn't much care about where #1 was as far as the physical location goes. Set #1 at TDC on the compression stroke, stick your finger in the hole as you turn the engine, if you get pressure on your finger that's compression stroke. Pick a plug tower, anyone near pointing at #1 will do. Scribe the dist. housing in line with that plug tower, now turn the housing until the rotor point to the scribe mark. Put the cap on, put #1 wire on the tower you picekd and go around, clockwise from there. 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. Sung up the retainer bolt so you can still move the dist and try to fire it up. Should be able to get it to start. if it turns really free turn the housing counterclockwise, if it kicks back, turn it clockwise. If the timing pointer is missing you may need a new timing chain cover.
  6. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    You can get it running with the advice you got so far,mthen go drive it on regular unleaded,and powertime it,advance the timeing to where it starts to ping when loading it up on the torque convertor,then drive it with a fully warmed up engine,up a grade,in OD,see if it pings,advance it until it does,
    then back it off till it stops pinging.