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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Black Diamond Foothills, KY.

    Default Distributer Cap Connection Repair.....

    'Lil something as our XJ's get older................

    Sooner or later, whether your wrench'in on your XJ or that old Rambler, you're mostly going to run into this....after all, they are'nt getting any younger.
    Ya figure you're going to give the ol'ride a tune up and when you get to the distributer cap.......SNAP.......then you realize you're in trouble, broken distributer cap screws is what this is about......

    First, do the obvious, remove the sure to mark it's placement and the position the rotors in, be aware that XJ distributers are typically non-adjustable and have ears which wrap the retaining bolt, BUT....a previous owner could have removed those ears, so be sure, and mark it's position anyway....

    Remove and inspect-

    This distributer is out of my very 1st XJ, it's an 88 and has been on beach duty cruising the outer banks of N. Carolina for the last 10 years, I brought it back this past Christmas in an attempt to resurect it, as you can see, the salt air and white rust has taken it's toll, always use never-seize on the cap connections.

    Using some of my favorite tools, a torch & visegrips.....I went after the bolt which protruded from the aluminum casting. The idea is to heat up the aluminum around the bolt, be carefull when doing so....the aluminum will melt away or crack if it gets too hot. A small propane torch will also work.
    Have patience and work the bolt in both directions, once you get movement, spray some PB Blaster on it and continue to slowly work the bolt, apply additional heat as required...

    It took about 15 minutes, but with patience, heat and PB Blaster....success.

    Now on to the bolt that broke flush......before doing anything drastic, take the time to simply attempt to remove it.......

    Carefully, lightly grind the surface flush on the top-

    On the underside where it typically protrudes, cut yourself a slot in the base of the bolt, you can use a .45 grinding wheel, dremel, hacksaw.....once achieved, soak in penitrating oil and attempt to remove, working it in both directions using a flat edge screwdriver....also apply some heat if available.

    If that did'nt work, which it did'nt for me this time, you'll need to drill the bolt out, this usually means we're going to end up loosing the threads, a drill press works best in this situation, it'll be difficult freehand.

    Set your distributer up in a drill press, clamped as square as possible to the drill bit.

    The chance of saving the bolt threads are next to non, so I went ahead and chose a 3/16" drill bit, took my time and went pretty squarely thru the old bolt..........if you drill too fast, your drill bit will walk right over into the softer aluminum, creating bigger more expensive problems......


    At this point we're basically done, I removed one of the new bolts from the new cap, ran it thru the side we were able to salvage the threads, smothered in never-seize, I ran the bolt in and out numerous time, perfect.
    The side we had to drill out, I simply used a short pcs of 3/16" threaded rod, ran it down through the new hole and put a nut on the end.

    To be SURE it would remain secure, I tack welded the rod to the nut at the base, Loc~Tite would also work.

    Next, general clean up before reinstalling........aluminum and steel dont mix well, it creates white rust, froozen bolts, etc. over time, clean up all surfaces which come in contact with each other prior to reinstalling, a small ammount of never seize smeared on contact surfaces never hurts, it creates a short term barrier.

    Here's a good example, this is the retainer and bolt which hold the distributer in place, the white areas are actually white rust, the chemical reaction between the steel retainer and the aluminum distributer.

    It OBVIOUSLY needs some clean-up.......30 seconds in the blast cabnet, it's ready for some fresh paint. (wire brush also works well)

    At this point, your ready to reinstall...........maybe this will help someone out someday, just be patient!
    Last edited by DETOURS; 05-06-2009 at 10:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    I have 94 xj and it has 24xxxxx miles should i replace the dis/ because i was told that once the spindle brakes in the motor it can **** up alot and how do you time the dis/ thank you

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