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Author Topic: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine  (Read 416 times)

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Offline GroovesMcFly

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Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« on: June 24, 2020, 11:43:54 PM »
My '53 CJ3A hasn't been starting at all, so I decided to do a tune-up. Bought a kit from Kaiser Willys that included all the usual new distributor parts and spark plugs. The distributor parts weren't quite right, and Kaiser Willys couldn't help me figure out which parts were correct because I couldn't see any numbers on the distributor. So I bought a whole new distributor during the Memorial Day sale from Walck's.

Then I found my distributor was stuck in the block. It took me several days and a lot of penetrating oil to get it out. Everything is out except for the tang that sits in the top of the oil pump. It broke off. I can't seem to pry it out with a 9" screwdriver that I sharpened to a point.

So what's my next step? Can I remove the oil pump while the engine is still in my Jeep? Do I need to drop the oil pan?

This was supposed to be an easy job.  :P
Matt F | Denver area | 1953 Willys CJ-3A

Offline GroovesMcFly

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Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2020, 12:20:44 AM »
Here's a photo of my oil pump, in case this makes a difference.
Matt F | Denver area | 1953 Willys CJ-3A

Offline scoutpilot

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2020, 06:17:11 AM »
Have you thought about a long-handled magnet?
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Offline GroovesMcFly

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Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 01:32:34 PM »
I had the same thought. I tried both a long-handled magnet and a long screwdriver that I magnetized. No luck.
Matt F | Denver area | 1953 Willys CJ-3A

Offline Rus Curtis

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2020, 02:03:44 PM »


I hope you can get it out (also try different size wires with a tiny crook at the end).  Maybe explains why the engine wouldn't start.  If that thing is stuck, you may have to pull the pump - it can be pulled by itself.  My SM, for L-head, is D-12.  There it also states to put timing back to TDC for reference.  Take a few pictures for reference on the slot position, including after pulling the pump out a bit.  Now that I've read through this, I would try it before pulling the timing cover to do the full pump install procedure outlined in para. D-85.


'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C

Offline GroovesMcFly

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Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2020, 03:20:28 PM »
Any advice for how to figure out TDC? I don't have a hand crank. Do I need to pull the valve cover?
Matt F | Denver area | 1953 Willys CJ-3A

Offline Rus Curtis

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2020, 09:23:43 PM »
Matt,
I can think of two ways other than bumping the starter (really difficult for me):

1)  Use a ratchet with a large socket


I used my finger over the spark plug hole to make sure I was on the compression stroke.

2)  Put transmission in 3rd and slowly roll it forward ( I roll the tire vs. push the jeep) if you go past, then you'll get to do it again.
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C

Offline GroovesMcFly

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Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2020, 10:27:02 PM »
So I ended up pulling the oil pump to get the stuck tang out. Good thing I did -- it was really stuck. I had to drill it out.

Another good result is that I was able to try my new distributor with the oil pump slot and the new tang was too wide. I ground it down until it fit great.

Everything is back together now. Spark plugs are hooked up in 1-3-4-2 order. I think I have them oriented wrong. Tried to start it and got a back fire. Any harm in just rotating all of them 90 degrees and trying until I find the right orientation?

Matt F | Denver area | 1953 Willys CJ-3A

Offline SteveKfl

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2020, 07:14:34 AM »
With the engine at TDC, did you try to lift the distributor and turn the rotor 180 degrees yet, to see where it points for the #1 to start your wire locations CCW?  Here's an invaluable Distributor tutorial from OT link that I kept for a lot of information on distributors, even SM corrections...  https://cj3b.info/Tech/DistributorInstall.html  OT is like an "experienced encyclopedia" on Willys mechanicals.  So great that he shares his knowledge with us...  Thanks OT, and all contributors. 
My Concept Roadster
62 DJ3A Dispatcher Half Top

Offline Rus Curtis

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2020, 09:52:10 AM »
So I ended up pulling the oil pump to get the stuck tang out. Good thing I did -- it was really stuck. I had to drill it out.
Wow!  Never as simple as it seems......

Quote
Another good result is that I was able to try my new distributor with the oil pump slot and the new tang was too wide. I ground it down until it fit great.
Clever!  Avoided another problem! Good thinking!

Quote
Everything is back together now. Spark plugs are hooked up in 1-3-4-2 order. I think I have them oriented wrong. Tried to start it and got a back fire. Any harm in just rotating all of them 90 degrees and trying until I find the right orientation?

As mentioned with link to article, you'll note that the pump install needs attention for distributor orientation.  Before you pull it back out and realign, try this flow chart that may help:

https://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/l134-ignition-timing_topic13819.html

This points out that if you can position the distributor for adjustment and are at TDC, you can renumber based on the SM order of fire and maybe that will work for you.  Otherwise, follow the SM for pump install.
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C

Offline GroovesMcFly

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Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2020, 12:45:21 PM »
With the engine at TDC...

How do I establish TDC if I cannot see the timing hole? Do I need to cut the bracket as shown in the Willys manual?
Matt F | Denver area | 1953 Willys CJ-3A

Offline Rus Curtis

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2020, 02:31:30 PM »
Since I'm not real familiar with the L-head, I can share what I've found through search.  I'm spoiled with having the timing marks on the front of the timing gear cover.....

Searching here and on 2A Forum, there were lots of references to figure out timing with or without that hole. 
https://cj3apage.com/Forum/index.php?topic=2252.msg19000#msg19000

You don't really need to establish TDC, since you are verifying firing order starting with #1 so you just need to be close. 

Even if you can't see the marks, I believe that if you remove the spark plug and rotate either with socket or using the wheels (in third gear) to feel for compression, you are on the compression stroke.  Look inside the distributor and see what clock position the rotor is pointing and that is now your #1 position. 

Then to time the engine you DO need to identify 5 degrees before TDC.  That can be done by other means without a timing mark.


After you've tried that, and it still isn't working, someone else with more knowledge can steer you in another direction.
'54 CJ-3B "Green Gruntt"
Bantam T3-C

Offline SteveKfl

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2020, 02:35:31 PM »
Uh, I'm not going to recommend any "cutting".  Your signature says a "53 CJ3A".  As I tried to read up on "timing mark locations", it seems that 52-53 is right when Willys changed blocks to "larger flange" and to "larger starters".  There was also indication that the front pulley was to be marked then.  Was yours?  Otherwise, the only two suggestions I have are 1) pull the starter to "see" in the bigger hole if you can find the timing marks at all?  If so, Mark them in white, or I use a "metallic silver" Scripto pen for mine, and slowly rotate the engine to "peep hole" to see it.  With plugs out, engine should turn easy by hand. or... 2) Pull valve cover, and watch #2 valves as engine is turned by hand, for both tappets to be clear TDC for #2.  That means Next is the #1 cylinder, firing order 1342, so you know it will be next TDC when those two #1 valve tappets are loose .016 clearance cold.  That is #1 TDC.  I would then check your "peep hole", and if still "nothing", mark the timing cover and pulley relationship at TDC for reference.  Then check your rotor location on distributor, and work from there.  I hope that helps.  Good Luck!
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Offline Bruce_W

Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2020, 07:48:06 PM »
  Hmmm. Distributor tang broken off and stuck (STUCK!) in the oil pump?  And then the new distributor tang wouldn’t go into the pump without grinding some material off?  I think I’d take a long hard look at that oil pump. If one side of the pump shaft is bent in towards the slot, it could cause a “wobble” in the shaft, and could break the tang off of the new distributor, which you have already weakened.
BW
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Offline GroovesMcFly

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Re: Broken distributor tang stuck in engine
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2020, 07:53:27 PM »
As mentioned with link to article, you'll note that the pump install needs attention for distributor orientation.  Before you pull it back out and realign, try this flow chart that may help:

https://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/l134-ignition-timing_topic13819.html

This points out that if you can position the distributor for adjustment and are at TDC, you can renumber based on the SM order of fire and maybe that will work for you.  Otherwise, follow the SM for pump install.

Rus, this was just the info that I needed! In the L134-timing.PDF document, it says, "If your plug wires aren't close to "stock" locations, the oil pump was indexed improperly. This is NO BIG DEAL, it runs fine any way, but KEEP YOUR CAP DRAWING for future reference." I think my oil pump is one tooth off from stock -- reading this saved me from pulling the oil pump again.

I believe I have timing correct now. It sounds like it is very close to starting.

I suspect I need to make some carb adjustments at this point. I had my old Carter carb rebuilt by Scout Pilot last year and I think I just need to make some adjustments at this point. Once it's running, I can do a little fine tuning on timing.
Matt F | Denver area | 1953 Willys CJ-3A