400 Disti Rotation

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400 Disti Rotation

Postby Buckeye Steve » Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:04 pm

Bought a 78 M5 at an estate sale that had been sitting for 6-7 years. Someone had started a tune up but stopped in the middle & left the spark plug wires off. I've got the firing order 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. And the cylinders are passenger side 1-2-3-4 and drivers side 5-6-7-8. I remember the distributor rotation as clockwise as you stand and look into the engine compartment but just want to check if my memory is good. Distributor runs clockwise , right.

Thanks

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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Dan Szwarc » Wed Sep 08, 2021 3:06 pm

Made me look it up.

Counter-clockwise!
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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby TonyC » Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:15 pm

With that info given (rotation direction, cylinder numbers, #1 terminal on the distro, and firing order), you'll have an advantage that many vandals don't count on average folk to have. If anyone yanks your wires out of spite, you can put them all back on and be back on the road in about 5 minutes, as long as they aren't cut or broken.

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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Buckeye Steve » Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:03 pm

Man, I'm glad I asked. Woulda been a mess the other way

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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Buckeye Steve » Sun Sep 19, 2021 2:33 pm

Well, another question, related. I was putting on the wires. The disti. cap had the No. 1 Cylinder clearly marked so I put that wire there. I was putting on the next wire, no. 3 and noticed a difference between the diagram and the actual disti. cap. in relation to the clip. The diagram shows the clip being between no. 1 and no. 3 but the actual cap has both 1 and 3 to the right of the clip with no. 7 to the left of the cap.
I had replaced no 6 & 5 from the old wires on the old cap. You can see them in the picture, both are to the left of the 2nd clip but in the diagram it shows no. 6 on one side of the clip and no 5 on the other.
So..... which is right?????

Thanks
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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby TonyC » Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:31 pm

Well, subject to additional input, I say that the physical evidence of the cap takes priority if it matches the physical configuration of the old cap. Align and examine the two caps side-by-side to confirm they are exactly the same. If they are, then it's possible the author of the diagram may have been high when he wrote it up, or there was a design change the diagram doesn't cover. If the two caps are in fact not the same, even if the difference is not immediately obvious, then someone sold you the wrong cap.

If the new cap does match the old exactly, then disregard the diagram except for the firing-order reference, which you can also cross-check on the engine (either on a decal, or embossed onto the intake). Install your wires in the correct firing order in relation to distro rotation, and that should do it.

---Tony
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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Dan Szwarc » Sun Sep 19, 2021 6:41 pm

I would trust the document over the cap. I confirmed the dist positions in another book.

In addition, your memory (clockwise) has already let you down. :D

Although this image from another site, differs.

Easy solution: turn the crank to zero degrees and pull the cap. The plug it points to is #1 TDC.
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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Buckeye Steve » Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:30 am

I stopped by NAPA and asked to look at a disti. cap. It agrees with the second diagram with no. 1 & 3 to the right of the clip. This is what the old cap had on it so I think that is what is right and the first diagram is not right.
I only get to work on the car right now on the weekends at my remote storage facility so I want to be as productive as possible while I'm there. After that I can put it in my home garage (it actually fits :)) and do more work.

Thanks
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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Buckeye Steve » Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:36 pm

Well, one last pic. This of the original cap that I took off of the 400. It shows counterclockwise firing order of 1-3-clip as opposed to 1-clip-3. I bought the car at the estate sale of a bodyshop owner who had 100+ cars and a career of 40+ years in the industry. His last project was rebuilding a 68 Mustang Convert. including the engine. SO I think the second diagram is correct and the first is wrong. SO I have wired the ignition according to that layout.
Completed the tune up , new fuel filter and battery. I'm gonna change the oil, pump the skunk gas out of the tank and fill with fresh gas. And see if I can start he beast. It did turn over very briefly after I put the battery in

Thanks for you help. I'll keep you posted

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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Dan Szwarc » Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:24 am

The crazy irony is that the firing order image is nowhere to find in the shop manual! I always had to go elsewhere to find that image. Now we know that somewhere the cap has changed or the drawings have.
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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby Buckeye Steve » Thu Sep 30, 2021 10:50 am

It drive me crazy-not the song, Lincolns. I have the CD of the 1976 Ford Car Shop Manual. In Section 23-01-5 on the right hand side it lists the 351/400 as no. 1-clip-no. 3. I will get the 78 just to see if they show the cap changed.
Now to get the skunk gas out and an oil change on the car and see if it runs.
I'll be at the LCOC Eastern Meet in October and I'll check out the 400 CI engines to see how they are laid out

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Re: 400 Disti Rotation

Postby frasern » Thu Sep 30, 2021 8:40 pm

I don't have a later type cap here to confirm, so just going on memory, but I think all Ford V8 distributors of that era had #1 in the same location relative to the dist. The '75 and earlier caps were 1 piece, later 2 piece ones had another set of clips between the adaptor and cap, which were offset. I think Dans post uses the dist. clips, the later post is showing the adaptor clips.
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