How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

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BLUE
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How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby BLUE » Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:59 pm

How to - Rebuild a 1979-1983 e12-80 , e12-92 , e12-93 .. electronic distributor (matchbox)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a general guide "how to" on rebuilding a e12-80/92/93 electronic pickup distributor (aka "matchbox").
The reason this is said to be a "general" guide is that the distributor used for example below came originally off a 1979 280zx 5spd coupe N/A car.
It is a 6-cylinder (L28e) , and the 4-cylinders are generally the same in concept , but could be slightly to somewhat different during the process.
My bet is they are fairly close , but for the sake of safety ;)


(STEP 1:) ---- Start with a distributor. Currently the one pictured has the ignition module (thing bolted onto the side with (2) flat or phillips head screws , and 2-wires coming out of it) removed. The distributor cap , and rotor are also removed. NOTE: when taking off the ignition module there can be some corrosion that holds the screws in. My method is to make sure there is a GOOD firm grip ... tighten them just a TOUCH ... then loosen them all together. This method is much the same for breaking the corrosion seal on brake-line nuts. Be very careful , and take your time. Sometimes they will just come right out , and sometimes not. This applys to all hardware on this distributor. The (2) green dots in the picture below represent where the ignition module bolts to.

Image001 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 2:) ---- Next we're going to tip the distributor vertically (upward towards the sky) , and remove (3) screws that hold in the "stator" assembly. Be very careful... around the stator. The stators screws are bolted to the "breaker plate" assembly.

Image002 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 3:) ---- Remove the center screw from the shaft.

Image003 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 4:) ---- Next turn the distributor on it's side. Look at the bottom tail portion. The hole shown in this picture has a roll-pin inserted into it. We're going to carefully punch it out with a correct sized pin punch. Make sure the "neck" (straight portioned part of the tool) is long... enough to do the job, There are a lot of short punchs out there these days. Remove the spacer , washer , and roll-pin once completed.

Image005 by 71240z, on Flickr

Small brass/nylon hammer shown against a pin-punch.

Image006 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image007 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 5:) ---- Remove the roll-pin , spacer , and washer. Set aside in a bin or collector for all the small parts.

Image008 by 71240z, on Flickr[/quote]
Last edited by BLUE on Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
DRIVEN » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:24 am wrote:
1. Make progress until broke.
2. Go make mo money.
3. Repeat.
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BLUE
Posts: 1161
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Re: How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby BLUE » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:00 pm

(STEP 6:) --- Next we turn the distributor upwards again to shift focus on the reluctor wheel (the smaller one attached to the shaft that has 6* or 4* points on it). It has a roll-pin wedged into it from the top. It can be removed by driving it through carefully or cheating by very carefully prying up on the whole assembly.

Image010 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image012 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 7:) ---- Now we remove the stator ring that was held in by (3) screws. Be very very careful , gentle , and place in a safe place while it's dis-assembled.

Image013 by 71240z, on Flickr

Reluctor and stator pictured
Image014 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 8:) ---- Pictured below is the ignition pickup assembly. We're going to remove it.

Image015 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image017 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image018 by 71240z, on Flickr
DRIVEN » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:24 am wrote:
1. Make progress until broke.
2. Go make mo money.
3. Repeat.
User avatar
BLUE
Posts: 1161
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Cars: (3) s30's , (2) s130's
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Re: How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby BLUE » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:01 pm

(STEP 9:) ---- Looking at the breaker-plate assembly inside the distributor. We'll remove it via 3-4 screws. One of these screws will help attach the vacuum diaphram/dashpot.

Image019 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image020 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image021 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image022 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image024 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image025 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image026 by 71240z, on Flickr
DRIVEN » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:24 am wrote:
1. Make progress until broke.
2. Go make mo money.
3. Repeat.
User avatar
BLUE
Posts: 1161
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:48 pm
Cars: (3) s30's , (2) s130's
Location: NW Oregon

Re: How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby BLUE » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:02 pm

Image027 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 10:) ---- Go ahead , and lift out the breaker-plate assembly (with the collar that has (2) slots in it which locks into the the shafts pins in the picture below. You'll see instantly what I am referring to once you have your apart. Easy peezy.

Image028 by 71240z, on Flickr

(STEP 11:) ---- We're now left with the distributor shaft that has the springs , and weights built into the system. Also is obviously the distributor body with the bushings in it. We will be pulling out the shaft through the top.

Image029 by 71240z, on Flickr

These will need to be cleaned thoroughly , and re-greased.
Image030 by 71240z, on Flickr

Simply remove the shaft , and set aside in a protected area (as all parts in this distributor should be).
Image031 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image035 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image036 by 71240z, on Flickr[/quote]
DRIVEN » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:24 am wrote:
1. Make progress until broke.
2. Go make mo money.
3. Repeat.
User avatar
BLUE
Posts: 1161
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:48 pm
Cars: (3) s30's , (2) s130's
Location: NW Oregon

Re: How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby BLUE » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:04 pm

(STEP 12:) --- Just observe what is going on. We are now left with just the bare body of the distributor. You can see the old grease , and some of it has congeiled or dried up over time.

Image037 by 71240z, on Flickr

The dark circle in the hollow area of the shaft below represents a "split" between the upper , and lower bushings. Because this is an early model distributor from a 1979 280zx .. it has a unique to the s130 datsun's type bushings. In which it is not a "top hat" style bushing , but almost certainly a "top hat" style bushing could be used in it's place. These original bushings are straight necked meaning they can be press/pushed/vibrated/driven out from either direction of the distributor body.

Image038 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image040 by 71240z, on Flickr
DRIVEN » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:24 am wrote:
1. Make progress until broke.
2. Go make mo money.
3. Repeat.
User avatar
BLUE
Posts: 1161
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:48 pm
Cars: (3) s30's , (2) s130's
Location: NW Oregon

Re: How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby BLUE » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:05 pm

(STEP 14:) --- Taking out the bushings. I choose to turn the distributor body upside down , so that the top of the body would be supported. In this case the wood of my deck seem to work just fine. The picture is the bottom pointing upwards. NOTE: remember... the bushing material is very soft as is the aluminum body of the distributor. We don't want to do anymore distortion or add anymore pressure than necessary.

Image047 by 71240z, on Flickr

The lower bushing
Image049 by 71240z, on Flickr

The upper bushing
Image051 by 71240z, on Flickr

NOW... I had initially stuck this in my 12-ton press with great support... with not the success I was hoping for (even though it should have worked in a few heart-beats). What I did find was the vibration of a small brass/nylon headed hammer with a wood handle + lots of short rapid strokes ... took out the bushings in no time. I decided to drive BOTH of the bushings through using a small socket of the closest diameter of the bushings that would do the least amount of damage. Next I simply just drove the bottom bushing into the top bushing until they were both out.

Image053 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image052 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image054 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image055 by 71240z, on Flickr

Image056 by 71240z, on Flickr
DRIVEN » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:24 am wrote:
1. Make progress until broke.
2. Go make mo money.
3. Repeat.
User avatar
BLUE
Posts: 1161
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:48 pm
Cars: (3) s30's , (2) s130's
Location: NW Oregon

Re: How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby BLUE » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:19 pm

(STEP 16:) ---- Make sure to inspect the distributor body's bores before moving forward. This one was good after cleanup.

(STEP 17:) ---- Clean/inspect the shaft/weights for excessive wear (should be good unless a lot of dirt was there). Inspect your pickup/reluctor/stator. Look for cracks on the stator or degradation. Replacing the pickup as "maintenance" is a pretty damned good idea if it's original (or keep a spare in the glove-box if in suspect , but little time in your schedule). I would just simply replace the reluctor with a fresh one. The vacuum diaphram pictured... well there are a few different kinds , and I'm not entirely sure of the difference between them. Inspect it , use a vacuum pump or your mouth ... suck + hold for 10-20 seconds while checking for bleed down or operation. The breaker plate is metal , and plastic mixed together. The (3) raised areas in the picture below are where the balls roll around on (controlled) when advanced. Make absolute sure to check for excessive wear. Lubricate them with some grease (catch-22). Check the condition of the plastic collar in the center as it can break at anytime. This means 110,000 miles or 284,000 miles.

Image060 by 71240z, on Flickr

The (2) slots in the picture of this collar slide over the shaft to engage.
Image061 by 71240z, on Flickr

While its apart nows a great time to get it clean (like right now) , and put back together roughly. If not put back together roughly as pictured below then labeled , taped , packaged , or whatever your system of choice is. Order your parts the minute you have money to spare for this small project , so that you have process fresh in your memory when they come in.

Upon re-assembly a minimum checklist of notes... make sure to
*Grease the bushings/shaft going in with a high quality product.
*Grease the weights/springs (to keep from getting rusty)
*Inspect , and determine if breaker plate assembly is re-usable via long-term goal.
*Clean/grease the breaker plate balls (3) rotators... carefully.
*inspect the ignition pickup , and determine if replacing now or later.
*inspect the reluctor , and stator for cracking/aging/wear/excessive tolerances.
*Set air gaps (if possible or required).
*Now is the time to decide if you need a few pieces of new hardware (screws , etc) for re-assembly.
*When installing the distributor bushings there could be (2) different styles that work for the "top" bushing. One will have to be pressed in (think bench top/12-ton/20-ton/etc be careful) or very lightly/carefully/slowly tapped in from the top with a relatively soft/square object against the face. A piece of nylon/brass/plastic/wood or a combinaton of tools utilized depending on what you have or can budget at the moment can be used. Support the distributor body entirely as much as possible during the process (there is pressure on the casting).
*Buy the best quality replacement parts you can afford. Although just replacing a broken part is good enough sometimes.
*Bushings I consider to be a big deal especially on points distributors , but not the end all factor in the unit. If you have it far enough apart just be careful as possible , and go slow when pressing or vibrating them out. Keep square on your target. You can never check too many times to make sure the job is going "well".

Image065 by 71240z, on Flickr

Have fun ! :)

(Need to do final edit as of Saturday 10/04/14 4:15pm)
DRIVEN » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:24 am wrote:
1. Make progress until broke.
2. Go make mo money.
3. Repeat.
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Re: How to - Rebuild/Repair electronic e12-80/92 distributor

Postby 510freak » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:24 pm

Most excellent Blue!
Taterhead » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:35 am wrote:[quote="Taterhead » Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:41 pm


Sorry, I was channeling my inner flatcat.

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