How to Install a Chevy 5.7 Distributor

by Cayden Conor

When installing a Chevy 5.7 distributor, the engine must be at top dead center, or else the engine's timing will be off and it will not run. You should also replace the gasket between the base of the distributor and the intake manifold. If the gasket leaks, oil gets all over the top of the intake manifold and the back of the engine. The Chevy 5.7 firing order is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. The cylinders are numbered 1, 3, 5 and 7 on the driver's side and 2, 4, 6 and 8 on the passenger side. The Nos. 1 and 2 cylinders are closest to the radiator.

Use the spark plug socket to remove spark plug wire off the No. 1 cylinder. The No. 1 cylinder on a Chevy is on the driver's side and is closest to the radiator. Pull the coil wire off the coil.

Stick the screwdriver in the spark plug hole, and have the helper bump the engine over each time you tell him to "bump it." As the piston comes up, the screwdriver will move up in your hand. When you feel the screwdriver get to the top, have the helper turn the key off. Put a dot on the top of the No. 1 spark plug wire boot where it attaches to the distributor cap.

Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws on the distributor cap. Lift the cap up enough to see where the metal tab on the rotor is pointing. If it is not pointing to the No. 1 cylinder, the engine is 180-out -- it's not on the compression stroke. Have the helper bump the engine over until the screwdriver goes down all the way and comes back up to the top. The rotor should now be pointing at the No. 1 cylinder.

Lift the distributor cap off the distributor. Mark the bottom of the distributor, just under the center of the metal piece in the rotor, and on the engine in the same place (matchmark), so that the new distributor can be put in the same way. Use the distributor wrench to loosen the distributor hold down bolt.

Pull the distributor out of the engine. Hold it next to the new distributor. Make a mark on the new distributor in the same place that the old distributor is marked. Place the new rotor on the rotor on the new distributor, lining up the center of the metal piece with the mark on the distributor.

Slide the new gasket onto the distributor shaft and push it all the way up to the base. Insert the distributor into the engine, facing the rotor about 10 degrees to the right of the mark on the block. Slide it into the block. When the gears mesh, the rotor should turn and line up with the lines on the distributor and the engine. If not, pull the distributor out about an inch, turn it a bit, then try again.

Tighten the hold down bolt. Place the distributor cap onto the distributor, making sure the No. 1 wire is facing over the mark on the distributor. Tighten the screws on the distributor cap by pressing down and turning the hooks under the distributor base.

Items you will need

About the Author

Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.