Throwback Thursday: Selecting The Correct Distributor Gear

It’s hard to believe that another Thursday is knocking on the door and letting us know the week is almost over. If you’re like me, you’ve already planned what you’ll be working on this weekend. It might even involve a repair that you need to make. If that happens to involve the distributor in your hot rod, this throwback article is for you. This week’s history session revolves around something that many give very little thought. The gear that drives your engine’s distributor. So, to get you all the information, we once again celebrate another editorial throwback, jump into the way back machine, and open the Power Automedia vault that houses our vast collection of articles and revisit another great informational piece.

Right: Bronze distributor gears work well with many types of camshaft materials, but require frequent monitoring for wear. More so than other types of distributor gears. Left: Distributor gears constructed from composite material are another option for high-performance race engines.

In this Throwback Thursday, I’m taking a step back to November of 2012, to bring you an article that you guys might have either forgotten about, or might not even know exists. Whichever the case, I am certain that you will enjoy this editorial trip back in time. So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at, Selecting The Correct Distributor Gear – It’s All About The Details.

In the original article, Bobby Kimbrough helps you understand what types of distributor gears are available, and which of these work with the different types of camshafts. Selection is critical, and the wrong choice could be catastrophic.

To make sure that you get the correct information, Bobby consulted with several of the top distributor and camshaft specialists to get the lowdown on gear meshing and materials in this often overlooked maintenance procedure. Steve Davis at Performance Distributors, Chase Knight of Crane Cams, Dan Hodgdon of Comp Cams, and Erik Brock of MSD Ignition all helped him travel through the mine field of information related to selecting the correct distributor gear for any application.

The original article talks about one issue that not many give much thought about, is the distributor’s position in the engine block. For instance, Performance Distributor’s Steve Davis added, “problems with irregular distributor-gear wear can be caused by the distributor being “bottomed” out on the oil pump.” He explained that correct installation goes along with correct gear selection. “Bottoming of the distributor usually occurs when engine work such as the block, heads, and intake have been milled. This will allow the distributor to sit farther down in the engine,” said Davis. He goes on to explain how to check for this situation, but you’ll have to read the original article to learn more about that.

distributor gear

Improper gear selection will likely result in a damaged distributor gear or camshaft distributor-gear drive

There is a lot to consider before you stab that distributor into your engine, and taking a look at the original article can make sure that you consider all the information you need, as it gets into a lot of theory that is beneficial. For that reason, I thought this a great piece for this week’s Throwback Thursday flashback. To find out how more, check out, Selecting The Correct Distributor Gear – It’s All About The Details.

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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