Replacing the Distributor in your 1993 ZJ 4.0l

Here we go.  First off your going to need some parts.  (pay close attention the list is quite long)

1) 13mm wrench
2) new distributor (NAPA NRD 48-4693) $73.82 US + $82.50 core charge*

* About that core charge.  The more rare the part in the reman market the higher the core charge.
   You get it back when you bring the old distributor back in so don't have a cow but be aware of the charge.

First, this is your distributor with every thing attached like it should be.

If your not comfortable remembering where the wires go, 
now is a good time to mark everything or take some notes.

Now with the rotor cap off you can see that lovely oil.  That isn't supposed to be there.  If the rotor moves back and forth
then your distributor is gone.  It's dead Jim.  It ain't coming back.  It's passed on, kicked the bucket, pushing up daisies....

Here is where you PAY ATTENTION. 

It is critical that you mark where the rotor is pointing.  Mark it with a scribe or something that WILL NOT RUB OFF.
If you loose this reference you may not get the rotor back properly.  In this case I disconnected power from the coil and bumped the engine a few times so the rotor was pointing someplace easy to remember.  See how it's pointing at the gap where the sensor wire feeds in.  That was my initial reference mark.

Now that you have this mark.... disconnect the ground from your battery.  If anyone turns the motor over your hosed.  And this exercise went from something easy to some sort of nightmare brought on by anchovy pizza, sun warmed potato salad, and skunked beer.

Now you use that 13mm wrench and loosen the retaining bolt.  There is only one and there is only one way the rotor 
will go back in.  After you have the bolt out comes the next step where you PAY ATTENTION. 

Pull the unit straight out.  Keep the body from turning at all till the rotor stops moving.   The rotor will move counter clockwise.

Mark where the rotor is pointing.
In this case I have taken the rotor off. The rotor had moved counter clockwise almost to the mounting tang.
Now it's hard to mark this sometimes.  You could (like I did) hold the rotor base with your thumb as you extract the distributor.  Take your time, this location is fairly critical.  In combination with the first mark this will ensure you get the rotor back in properly.

Here is what's left.  A hole.  A hole you don't want anything falling into.  make sure it's clean and the old gasket is removed.
This is your new distributor.  For those who are used to big block engines this thing is.. er.. small. 
Usually you could beat someone over the head with a distributor but this would just annoy them. :)

Your not going to whip this out to prove masculinity.

Now with both rotors, it's time to transfer the marks.  Use a ruler, paper, whatever, but make sure the marks are accurate. 

Before you put the new distributor in, put a little fresh oil on the gear and on the oil pump connection at the bottom. (flat spot)  It' isn't nice to run parts dry.

Take your nice shiny new distributor and put that nice new gasket that came with it on the bottom.  Then slide it into the hole.  Keep the distributor lined up with the retaining hole the same way you took it out.  You might have to fiddle a bit but the result your looking for is when the distributor is fully seated and the mounting tang lined up with the hole in the block your rotor is pointing to the mark you transferred off the original before you removed it.  You did do that right? :)
Now it's time to put that bolt back in.  14 ft.lbs (that's just snug with a wrench)   A little bit of thread lock will keep it in place.  DO NOT STRIP THIS BOLT !  It does not need to hold back anything and over tightening can warp the mounting tang.

Well, that's it.  Not too bad now is it.  And remember what you just did

Dealer Part:    $195.00         Your Part:    $80.00
Dealer Service: $215.00         Your Service: $ 3.45  (one good beer)
Dealer TOTAL:   $410.00         Your TOTAL:   $83.45

I can think of a lot to do with $326.55   (it's mostly beer or good scotch)

This project is rated (OGB)*
*One Good Beer

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