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MG TD TF 1500 - Distrubitor Orientation

What is the purpose of changing the orientation of the distributor body with the flat side of the cap facing out? I seem to remember it being mentioned before. The distributor is out due to stripping and re-painting the engine the proper color and would like to know the reason before putting the distributor back in. The rotor position has been marked for timing, so that's no problem. PJ
Paul S Jennings

Paul I don't know why anybody would want to do that except perhaps to keep the coil to distributor wire terminal away from possibly shorting on the tacho gearbox. If your HT leads have been cut to a tidy length to suit the normal orientation, this change may well cause you some problems. Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

Peter, it was just a curiosity on my part, as I had no problems before. Now that you mentioned the shorting of the connector, that was probably why it was mentioned before. PJ
Paul S Jennings

Paul, I seem to remember a factory photo somewhere that showed the flat side oriented to the front of the car closest to the generator. That's the way mine is installed.
Jim Merz

Jim, that would make sense by moving the wire connection to the rear away from the tach reduction gear housing. I think that's the way I'll go. Thanks. PJ
Paul S Jennings

Mine was installed "backwards" by PO. This makes it almost impossible to access the low tension wire to check tightness, etc. I feel it's too close to the breather pipe as well, risking a short. I've put electrical tape over the pipe as best I can because I'm "type A", but I have reversing the dizzy on my "to do" list. If your's is like mine make sure to install that wire back on BEFORE you put the dizzy back in the car!
efh Haskell

I don't believe that I have heard a hard an fast rule saying which way the distributor should be oriented, nor have I heard of any "distributor orientation" police with authority to arrest those who don't conform to a given orientation ;-) That said it is a good idea to position the distributor such that the terminal for the primary wire to the coil is out of the way of tach drive gearbox in case the gearbox becomes loose and swings over against the distributor case. This can be done by just moving the distributor a few few degrees either way (and reorienting the drive shaft so that the timing remains correct). Cheers - Dave
D W DuBois

There is one good reason why you should have your distributor orientation like most of your friends cars - if ever you need to test/borrow a distributor cap from one car to another, you won't have to swap the leads around to make them reach the plugs.

I have several XPAG engine cars in our little fleet - they all have the flat facing the block so I can swap caps if needed - and yes, once the YT stopped when the tacho drive came loose (rough road - 300miles in one day).

I now have a bit of heat shrink over the tacho cable and an insulated guard on the dizzy wire just in case it ever happens again.

The Classic Workshop


You can also face the flat side of the distributor forward. That keeps the primary wire terminal out of the way and yields a nice neat layout of the spark plug wires. Yes, I know you can move the wires in any orientation that yields a 1-3-4-2 firing order, but a quick reference to the WSM shows the orientation I describe.
Lew Palmer

I tried all positions when reinstalling mine and found with the flat facing forward or to the rear one clip is tight against the side cover, so I put it back where it was before with the flat towards the side cover. I didn't have a shorting issue, but I'm going to get a miniature angled boot to put on the wire end just for safety reasons. Also, a slightly longer belt will allow the generator to move a little further out away from the distributor. PJ
Paul S Jennings

Good point re the fan belt. I believe the segmented Gates Truck & Bus Series TR 22392 Green Stripe belt does the trick. Can also be run looser which the rear genny bearing & water pump really appreciate. Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

See Dave DuBois' posting for good information on this. The 22392 fan belt has many sources. Here, in the States, it's a NAPA number 25-22392. There's also a bit on
An advantage of running a pertronix system is that you don't have an exposed terminal. Bud
Bud Krueger

An advantage of running a Pertronix system is that you don't have an exposed terminal. Bud

Bud, could you explain that a little further? How is power supplied to the system? PJ
Paul S Jennings

Paul if it's anything like the EI 123, the two wires that come from the coil are contained in a rubber boot. This boot carries a groove which locates between the dizzy body & the cap. There is no terminal & there are are no exposed wires. Cheers
Peter TD 5801
P Hehir

As Peter said - two wires (hot and switched) come out through a rubber boot. They then go to the appropriate side of the coil. Bud
Bud Krueger

Talked to the guy at NAPPA yesterday and he told me that the old Ford pickups in the late 50s, had a very small 90 degree rubber boot that went over the starter solenoid ignition wire. Needless to say their not available from the normal sources. I'm going to check with the antique car association and see if someone is making them again. They fit over 14/16 gauge wire. PJ
Paul S Jennings

I don't know how the rest of you feel, but discussing my distributor's orientation seems somewhat politically incorrect... I love my distributor no matter how it chooses to be oriented!

Kevin McLemore

This thread was discussed between 25/08/2014 and 28/08/2014

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