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Ie Distributor V.s. 76 Smog Car In Ca


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Ive searched as much as i can stand and i still have not found an answer. 


I have a 1976 2002 and because i live in silly california it a smog tested vehicle. Ive had a stumbling issue and recently an odd grinding noise coming from the engine bay. After fully inspecting the ignition system i noticed the rotor on the distributor has some deep scratches on it and the contacts inside the cap have some pretty deep scratches and marks in them. I think the grinding noise i have been hearing is the rotor striking the contact points and its causing my stumbling issue. The shaft of the distributor seems fairly loose (1/8 inch of movement up/down and right/left) and I'm sure the bushings inside are shot. I was looking for a rebuild kit without any luck and my next option was the IE Tii distributor with electronic ignition but because my distributor Bosch 0 231 176 059 is a vacuum advanced model i wasn't sure if I would still pass smog with it.


Does anyone have an answer for me?

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I may be wrong but, i believe that a '76 had a vacuum retard distributor. Tom Jones on this board had pretty extensive experience setting up '76 cars to legally pass smog. You may want to seek some advice from him.

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I believe the rotor is properly seated as I've inspected it, cleaned/sanded it, and removed/replaced it while changing points. It's been on and off many times since this stumbling issue started. I'll double check it tomorrow.

I just checked the advanced distributors website and the have a 4-5 week turn around. I don't think that would be possible for me as I need to constantly move the car to avoid parking tickets.

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I just took a '76 vacuum advance dizzy apart yesterday (164 model--I believe this is from a '76).  First time attempt for me and in the end, I would say it went pretty well.  There was a time in the process where $200 for a rebuild sounded pretty damn tempting!  The hardest part is removing the a tapered 4mm pin that holds the gear on the shaft.  Eventually, I drilled mine out.  


That little clip under the rotor was a bit tricky, but I eventually won.  Tomorrow I will plot the advance curve.  


I learned that the vertical play has a lot to do with making the ball on the flywheel appear to bounce under the timing light.  I stuck a feeler gauge in above the gear and it measured .032" before I took it apart.  I read online that it should be set at .010" to allow for the thermal expansion of the aluminum housing, as compared to that of the steel shaft, so upon re-assembly,  I added more shim washers to accomplish this gap.  (please correct me if this is wrong)  The ball is quite steady now.  


The mechanical advance mechanism has vertical play as well, but I don't think it matters there.  If you are judging the vertical movement by pulling up on the shaft, you are seeing the sum of both 'gaps' and this will be a little misleading.  An eighth of an inch is way above tolerance, but if you have that much side to side as well, I am afraid you are in trouble.  You might be shopping for a core to have rebuilt.  I would go that route before purchasing a new one-size-fits-all distributor from IE.  Yours sounds pretty bad, but at least you could use it to shuffle between parking places in the meantime.


I ran the used one I purchased for just a few days and when I took it back out, the shaft was hard to turn by hand.  When I got it apart I saw just how dry and dirty it was inside.  I had dripped a little oil down under the felt plug, but it had not made it to the bottom of the upper portion of the shaft.  All that does is lube the upper shaft under the advance mechanism sleeve, which rotates back and forth a little bit.  The bushings under that plate will not see that oil.  It sounds like yours ran dry and spun the bushing in the housing and chewed the aluminum housing up.  That is just my guess.  Even so, it may have a lot of good parts inside.  (I am a dizzy-newbie tho).


I have no experience with emissions testing, but I would personally prefer to have a vacuum advance distributor over mechanical only, for a carbureted daily driver.  

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Don't know if they're still available, but I found the proper Bosch bronze shaft bushings when I rebuilt the dizzy on my '69 some years ago.  Made a puller from a long bolt and some washers with flats ground on 'em to remove the old bushings, and pressed the new ones in using my bench vice (crude but effective).  


Since aircooled Beetles and Porsches used similar Bosch distributors, I suspect the shaft bushings are the same, and thus may be available through VW or Porsche parts specialists.  You should also be able to get a new point plate for your distributor from Bosch or BMW; that will also help take play out of your dizzy mechanism.




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Now we're talking.  I ordered Bosch bushings when I bought the shaft washer kit, but only one of them was available.  I am not sure whether it is the top or the bottom, nor do I know what the difference is.  The play in mine was minimal side to side, but NEW would be nice!


I like your description of the homemade puller.


I put two little blocks of cedar in a vice and drilled a one inch hole on the joint between them and used this to grip the gear in the vice.  As the teeth dug into it, I had to take a little material off each piece to close them up and maintain a good grip.  The blocks were sufficient to hold the shaft horizontally for drilling out the pin.


  I had given it a good effort with a drift punch and an aluminum backer I made, and so the pin and gear suffered some distortion.  In an effort to machine that off and get to where I could clearly see the un-molested pin (to punch it for drilling), I had to remove more gear shaft material than I wanted.  The pin is tapered from one direction and then peened from the other, making it a very tight fit.


Next time I do this I will minimize pounding/punching and go straight to drilling and expect to trash the gear and pin and order a couple ahead of time.  You may run more of a risk of damaging the shaft if trying to save them.  I am ordering a new pin and gear for mine.  I put it back together with a roll pin for now.  The hardware store did not have 4mm roll pins, so I got a 5/32" pin (which measures 3.968mm).  The gear is just a little teeny bit wiggley, so I am looking forward to installing a new tapered pin.

(edit: I came back and splayed one end of the roll pin with a tapered punch, which tightened up the fit)

The little clip at the top of the shaft is easier to get out if you are allowed to trash it in the process.  With just the right little tool they would be easy to pull out intact, but modified dental pics and small screw drivers were not ideal.  Luckily, a fresh one came in the kit.


The points plates still fit together beautifully.  Those little push-in rubbing pads have held up nicely.  I was glad I did not lose one before realizing that they'll just fall out.  


There are a couple of red plastic sleeve/washer combinations that cause the plates to rotate when advancing and there was visible wear on the sides that do the pushing.  I was able to rotate them on their shafts ninety degrees and put some new material to use, thus allowing the advance to come in when it should and not a little bit later.  They have been doing their job for forty years, so with three more rotations, those little parts should be good for another 120 years!  :) Truly a beautiful little piece of equipment.

(edit: the red pins do not do the pushing, but are the stops for how far the mechanism is able to rotate in the slots).




Edited by '76Mintgrun'02
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Trepidation almost kept me from drilling the pin out... and for good reason.  If done incorrectly, the shaft could be ruined.  


I was very careful to punch the pin in the center, moving the mark just a bit with little taps on the punch until it looked perfectly centered in the crisp outline of the pin in the gear.  I cheated and used a magnifying work lamp while wearing reading glasses.  Once clamped horizontally in the vice I centered my mark side to side with dial calipers.  Much of the accuracy was due to the clamping blocks having been made very square.  


I felt like I got lucky keeping the drill within the pin.  The missing bits of pin in the photo are due to using a drift punch to push what was left of the pin out.



Next time I drill one, I will approach it differently.  The first tiny drill can go all the way through, but with the subsequent sizes, I will stop just before they come through.  This will give the punch a shoulder to push on.  I will not use as large of a drill for the final cut next time.


If you can get the pin out without damaging the shaft, you are golden.  (Be sure you are pushing from the small end of the taper).


Gears should probably be changed as a matter of course, along with the pin.  With that in mind, an even safer approach might be to set the depth stop on the drill press to only go as deep as the top of the shaft and drill from each side.  Then slide/pull the gear off the shaft before punching the pin out of the shaft.  


The gear itself is very hard material.  I used a carbide drill to clean up the punching mess I'd made and could tell that a standard hs steel bit would have a very hard time cutting it.  


I am sure it would not cost much to have a machine shop drill the pin out.  You'd still have all the cleaning and lubricating to enjoy. 


OR send it off to Advanced to be rebuilt... or buy a brand new one.  Just don't bugger up the shaft.   :(

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So....I tried to purchase a brand new distributor through A1 cardone which said they have them I'm stock but according to an email I received this morning the are not in Stock and back ordered for more then 2 weeks

I don't want to go through that rebuild and try to hunt down parts as I constantly need to move the car. I'm still in the hunt for either a refurbished one or possibly a well working original.

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