Distributor sitting for years at shop

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Mogordo
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2022 8:31 pm
My tercel:: 1983 SR5 Wagon

Distributor sitting for years at shop

Post by Mogordo »

I was looking for a used distributor for my '83 SR5 and found one listed on car-parts.com for a place about seven miles from where I live. I was a little surprised on calling the place to find they still had the part as I live in NE Pennsylvania and don't expect salvage type yards to have parts for my old cars. I went to check it out and on asking the fellow if they test them at all before selling them he told me it had been driven in. He offered to look up the year and I was pretty curious so I took him up on it. The car it came off of was driven to the place in 1999...It had been sitting on the shelf ever since. I really had fun finding that out and wanted to share it in case anyone else gets a kick out of it.
One who walks in shoes always clean likely walks nowhere at all.
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dlb
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My tercel:: '87 sr5, '83 dlx parts car
Location: bc, canada

Re: Distributor sitting for years at shop

Post by dlb »

Did you get the distributor? How much was it? Are the vacuum advance diaphragms in good shape? Dizzy's are one of the spare parts I particularly like to keep around. Lots of little components in there that can fail so it's nice to be able to swap a known good one in and rule it out as the issue when problems pop up. Plus they're so easy to swap.
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rer233
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My tercel:: Multiple

Re: Distributor sitting for years at shop

Post by rer233 »

Yeah, whenever I go on a road trip, it's the only thing I carry (along with the tools to change it.)
if it aint there, there's a good chance it won't break!
83 SR5 Silver/Blue (Snowmobile/work beater)-totaled but drivable
85 SR5 Blue
88 SR5 White (the 'good' one)-not anymore-totaled
87 fwd silver wagon a/t
87 4wd dx Cream (a/t- not anymore- now m/t)
Mogordo
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Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2022 8:31 pm
My tercel:: 1983 SR5 Wagon

Re: Distributor sitting for years at shop

Post by Mogordo »

I did get it. But I didn't check it thoroughly yet. I am curious about the vacuum advance diaphragms though. Since the car was "only" sixteen years old when the distributor came off I wonder too how the diaphragms are and if they handled the sitting around without deteriorating. I'll plan to let you know how they are after I get to checking them out. I'll have to get my head back in the Tercel dist. space. I was in it more when I was figuring out timing and vacuum stuff a while back but I haven't done much work on it recently and have been driving my Sentra more and been looking under it's hood a lot more than under the Tercel's. I'm glad the Tercel dist. swap is simple.
One who walks in shoes always clean likely walks nowhere at all.
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dlb
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My tercel:: '87 sr5, '83 dlx parts car
Location: bc, canada

Re: Distributor sitting for years at shop

Post by dlb »

From my experiences, I suspect that the cause of the distributor advance diaphragms rotting is largely engine oil contamination from a leaking distributor o-ring. The oil runs down the dizzy and leaks into the advance unit and breaks down the diaphragm material. I've noticed that the tercels I've had that did had not had leaking dizzy o-rings had good advance units, while the ones that were covered in oil had bad ones. I obviously can't be sure that's the cause but I think it has something to do with it.
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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Distributor sitting for years at shop

Post by Petros »

good find!

you can check each component per the FSM specs with a volt-olm meter. I would lubricate the moving parts with lithium or similar dry lubricant.

I would get some Armorall or similar rubber preservative into the diaphragm chamber to keep it soft. it should be good, but it could still dry out and crack because of the age.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)
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