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Is this crazy?


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so- i've gotten my hands on a rebuilt distributor and i'm so ready to give it a whirl. i've been studying all i can find on replacing one, and i had an inspiration.

now- i'm a stop motion animator, and accustomed to using tools like surface gauges for keeping track of points in space. would it be nuts for me to very precisely "note" a spot on the rotor of my current distributor with a rig (or hell, i could set up a camera and use "onion skinning"- a distributor is only a single jointed puppet...) and then install the new one, lining the rotor up exactly where it was pointing in the old distributor without turning over the engine at all, then fire it up and time it?

you can tell me i'm insane, i make stop motion, which no normally functioning human would do anyway. thanks!

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There is a mark/line on the top of the outer case of the distributor. With your distributor cap removed, rock your car in gear until the center of your rotor points to that mark. That will help you line things up when they go back together.

John in VA

'74 tii "Juanita"  '85 535i "Goldie"  '86 535i "M-POSSTR"  

'03 530i "Titan"  '06 330ci "ZHPY"


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Maybe German stop motion is the answer to all of our problems with this crazy little car. Might be called thinkin like a German one click at a time. Seriously in answer to your qwestion, YES that is exactly what you want, if you miss the install by one tooth of the gears it wont even be close, try it a few times and you will see, if you count the gears you can see missing by one will throw timing off about 15%, highly visible to the naked eye.

Happy Trails to u~ Dave Miller
76 Golf~Rhiannon~BM Mascot~*~97 328is~Silver Ghost~*~68 1600~Wisperin Beast~*~70-02~Bumble Beast~*~76 02~Beast~

Keep smilin all the way

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You're insane.

However, it should work just fine- you have a bunch of expensive gear

that will let you do in video what we do with a timing light (strobe light).

You'll need to use a trigger from the motor somewhere-

the points, a phototrigger on the crank or the dizzy, etc.

There are a lot of ways to skin this cat- yours will have cool movies to prove it.



"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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thanks for all the votes of confidence guys, it totally worked!

here's the timelapse i shot, which isn't very good, a quarter of it is the back of my head. here it is:

BUT- using an early frame as a reference (overlaid on a "live" image from the camera) allowed me to line up both the distributor and the rotor into basically the same position the old one had been in- the car fired right up. and then, yes, i did use my timing light to time the ignition once it'd gotten warmed up. now its time to understand the adjustable/advance features of my timing light...

thanks again!




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