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Distributor number one location?


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You can do that....but it might confound the next guy that has to do something with the setup.  Sounds like your distributer is 180* out because normally the rotor would point to 7 o'clock when #1 cylinder is at TDC.  Pull the distributer and manually turn the shaft 180* and reinsert. Hope this helps.


Dick Hultman


'46WC and '57FFPW

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Hrm, are you sure it is tdc on compression stroke?

If you flipped the distributor 180 it would be closer to the suggested 7:00 O'clock #1 position?


Timing is set when the geared oil pump is installed. So it is common to install 1 tooth off like a distributor.

My #1 is at 6:00 O'clock. ..... Seems these six cylinder engines do not care about relocating the plug wires & run fine.


For TDC compression stroke, there is a pipe plug over the #6 piston.  Insert a long wire or rod to make sure it is clear. remove rod and put a small piece of Toilette paper over the hole .... rotate engine by hand, when paper moves you are on compression stroke, insert Rod & find TDC.

Now #1 is TDC on exhaust stroke, one more rotation & will be TDC compression.


Since you need to get #6 first, I just start installing my plug wires with #6 first instead of the extra rotation to get #1 up on TDC ..... good enough for plug wires.

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When I got my 52 the distributor was set at 5 O’clock position. Car ran fine but since I wasn’t sure I with the help of my neighbor loosened the oil pump from the block and moved the rotor to the correct position.  Car still ran fine thus telling me that as long as the engine fired on the top of the compression stroke location on the distributor doesn’t matter.

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so If you keep the dizzy indexed to the number one plug firing at 2 o clock then make a note of this for yourself and for future reference or try the rotating of the dizzy shaft 180 and nistall it at this point and see what happens. just make note of what you have done.


Rich Hartung


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I agree @plymouthcranbrook I have had cars in the past where the distributor was installed 1 tooth off & plug wires adjusted to make it run ..... they never ran right though.

Installing the distributor correctly made a huge difference.

They fired late or early, not when they should.

For whatever reason our 6 cylinder engines do not care & fire when they should regardless of #1 location.

I expect to remove my engine for some work at some point, I will fix it then.


@Woodslip Above post I mentioned to check to see the pipe plug is clear with a rod. ..... I should add. Mine was plugged with carbon.

Not thinking I just took a nail & hammer & cleared the hole. ..... easy peasy.


When I started the engine there was a strange sound as the hard carbon piece was bouncing around the cylinder until it got caught under the exhaust valve and got stuck for 45 seconds and the engine ran rough as the valve hammered the carbon piece into the valve seat ... eventually got sucked out the engine.

Just saying I would rather pull the head to clean the hole then just push it in the cylinder again.

Possibly might try a 1/8" drill bit & drill a small hole, then work up to larger size bits .... Do not just knock it out of the hole into the cylinder.

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Thinks for all the info

this site is really helpful

i think I will try rotating distributor so rotor points at one and see what happens 

thinks guys

it does run and getting better

but does seem a bit rough

its sat Spence 72 

        I been running out of a small gas c tank . No fuel from pump

I disconnected line from tank blew it out still no fuel pumping 

I fill line with gas to the pump


and it pumped it back out

thinks again


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If it runs now don't turn your distributor 180 degrees. The fact that it currently runs tells us that the distributor is setup properly, even though it may not be pointing in the direction you desire. The timing may be off slightly, or the points may not be adjusted properly, but it's close enough to make it run. You just need some fine tuning from here. 

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So with the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley at TDC with the pointer, either the number 1 piston could be at TDC on the compression stroke or it could be the number 6 piston at TDC on the compression stroke.  You have said that with the timing mark at TDC your rotor is at the 2 o'clock position.  If the spark plug wire on the distributor cap at the 2 o'clock position goes to the number 6 spark plug, then your distributor position is correct and does not have to be changed.  If the plug wire at the two o'clock position on the distributor goes to the number 1 spark plug then you distributor is installed  180 degrees out from the published position .   To correct it, you can pull the distributor up about 1/2 inch and rotate the rotor shaft until the rotor points to the 7 o'clock position then push the distributor back down into the block and reinstall the retaining bolt.  then you have to reinstall the distributor cap and make sure the plug wires go to the correct plugs.  Starting at the 7 o'clock position of the distributor that plug wire should go to the number 1 plug. Then in a clockwise rotation the wires should be landed according to the firing order:  1,5,3,6,2,4.  Regards

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15 hours ago, Woodslip said:

I hope you right today was first it started to purr for a bit

If you just move the plug wires 1 position either way the engine would not run. If you rotated the distributor 180 it would not run ..... The fact it does run tells you it is set to what you need.


These engines are known to have sticky valves if they sit for a long period of time, At the valve guides the oil gums up & the springs do not always pull the valves closed.

The rings are known to stick to the pistons & not sealing 100% .... The carburetor could have some crud in it. The points could need cleaned.

Lots of reasons for it to not run perfect .... the fact it does run I would not be looking at distributor plug wires at this time.


Often a few heat cycles will free up the valves & rings, some seafoam in the fuel tank to clean up the carb would not hurt.



Time to know more about the vehicle, how long since it was last driven etc...


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I checked number 2 on distributor is indeed number 6 plug 

can has sat for at least40 yrs from what the registration says

it gets a bit better every time I start it

i have new plugs cap wires points n condenser on it

    I drove it through some tall weeds to knock some rust off of it lol

the brake petal is frozen stiff

fuel pump not working

      I keep telling myself one thing a time

  thanks everyone for your input 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Seems to be running pretty good

does not miss or backfire 

but not much power . Still running small tank till I see what going on with fuel from pump

tried a in-line pump for the heck of it

     I use the small tank now to run through some tall weeds .to knock of some of the lose rust


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