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Directions to Install a Distributor in a Jeep Wrangler

by Daniel Sutherland

The distributor provides high-voltage sparks where they need to be so the mixture of air and fuel can burn -- a burn that drives the engine that powers your Jeep. Without the distributor properly installed, your Jeep will run poorly or not at all. Installing the distributor is a straightforward task well within the grasp of most at-home mechanics. By paying attention to the order of the spark plugs wires and original position of the starter, you can install a distributor right the very first time.

Disconnect the battery cables and turn the engine to Top Dead Center, or TDC, using a socket that fits the crankshaft bolt. There is a timing mark on the crankshaft pulley on the side towards the engine -- line it up with the "0" on the scale on the front of the engine.

If the distributor has not been removed, make a diagram showing which spark plugs wires attach to which points. Use the grease pen or nail polish to mark the distributor housing and the engine to show the orientation of the distributor relative to the engine (rotating the distributor from its original location will change the ignition timing).

Remove any remaining wires from the distributor. Remove the bolts holding the distributor in place, and remove the distributor.

Rotate using a flat screwdriver the slot inside the hole from which you remove the distributor to 30 degrees counterclockwise from vertical (11 o'clock).

Remove the distributor cap by unbolting it from the distributor housing. Without inserting it all the way, place the distributor over the hole (the cylinder inside is the oil pump gear shaft), and line up the mounting bolts. Rotate the rotor like a clock hand until it points to 4 o'clock, and seat the distributor. Bolt down the distributor housing.

Install the distributor cap and all of the electrical connections (battery cables last).

Tips

  • In some Jeeps, you will have to remove the cooling fan.
  • The directions given are for a 4.0 liter straight six engine, by far the most common engine in Jeeps. For a 2.5 liter engine, align the rotor to 2 o'clock instead of 4 o'clock.

Warning

  • Remove the battery cables before beginning work on the distributor. Failure to remove the battery cables will cause risk of a high-voltage electrical shock with potential to cause serious injury or death.

Items you will need

About the Author

Daniel Sutherland has been writing internal reports for his employers since 2005. He has extensive experience in automotive repair and do-it-yourself projects and writes on these topics for various websites. Sutherland received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and religion from College of the Ozarks in 2007.

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Photo Credits

  • old jeep on a hill image by Roman Barelko from Fotolia.com