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How to Replace a 1994 Toyota Camry's Distributor

by Jack Hathcoat

The 1994 Toyota Camry distributor is a stand-alone design. That means all the spark is triggered by the distributor and not the car computer. If the car stops running because there is no spark, and there is battery power to the distributor, the distributor is likely defective. This is not an uncommon problem. Because this type of distributor is difficult to rebuild, there is a large aftermarket supply of new distributors. Experienced home mechanics can replace the distributor in a few steps.

Unscrew the two mounting screws that hold the distributor cap in place. The screws will not fall out, so alternate the loosening process, back and forth between the two screws, until the cap is free.

Disconnect the center wire that is routed to the distributor from the ignition coil. Lay the cap aside with the four spark plug wires still attached.

Unplug the wiring connector that hooks the main wiring harness to the side of the distributor. Use a paint pen or marker to outline the exact location of the distributor flange in its relation to the engine. Make sure this line is legible for future reference. Note the location of the distributor rotor and remember the location for future reference.

Remove the distributor mounting bolts. Loosen the bolts with a wrench, then remove them and set them aside. Grab the distributor and turn it back and forth to break the O-ring seal. Pull it directly out of the mount. Set it aside.

Lubricate the O-ring seal on the new distributor with a bit of engine oil. Reach inside the distributor mount opening and swipe a bit of oil on your finger to use as lube.

Align the rotor of the distributor, pointing it the way that was previously referenced, and push the distributor into the opening. Twist the base to start the new O-ring and lightly move the rotor back and forth until it slots into place. When this happens, the distributor will fully seat into the opening.

Align the new distributor mounting flange with the paint pen or scribe mark that was made earlier. Be as precise as possible to ensure the engine timing is accurate.

Install the two mounting bolts and plug in the wiring connector. Install the distributor cap and tighten the two screws. Plug in the coil wire and start the car.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jack Hathcoat has been a technical writer since 1974. His work includes instruction manuals, lesson plans, technical brochures and service bulletins for the U.S. military, aerospace industries and research companies. Hathcoat is an accredited technical instructor through Kent State University and certified in automotive service excellence.

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