Never had a T with a distributor and I wanted to get the engine all scrubbed and cleaned off- without moving the car, can I simply take off then whole unit and clean, then reinstall?
My worry is that I'd bump or change the settings.
It is possible to make a careful note of the position of the crankshaft and distributor and re-install correctly. More than likely something will move, especially as the gears are beveled and tough to get correct. If you remove the distributor, plan on re-timing it.T
Crank the engine to T.D.C. and look at the rotor. Then remove the distributor. Put it back with the rotor in the exact same place.
I do what Frank recommended without any issues.
The real "key" to what Frank & Tony have said is something that they did not quite say:
I agree,....take careful note of the position of the distributor rotor, and also, take note of the position of the crankshaft, and the best method on the crankshaft is to be sure to rotate the crankshaft and leave it on TDC (top dead center) on the compression stroke on #1, and then be sure to avoid turning the engine crankshaft over at all from then on. That shouldn't be THAT hard, because with the distributor removed, the engine won't run anyway. And if you do accidentally turn the crankshaft a bit by moving the car or something, you just have to remember to set the engine back on TDC on the compression stroke on #1 again, and replace the distributor so that when it is in place, the rotor is pointed in exactly the same place is was when you removed it.
Sure hope this makes sense, 'cause I'm not sure I could say it again the same way twice! Ha, ha,.......harold
Frank - My apology! In re-reading, you did mention TDC and in many less words than I did!
Just put a bag over the head/cap and clean away. No need to remove it. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be. Malory
While I do agree with MG about that it can be left on, if you have never taken it off, it might be a good idea to, so you can then repack the grease for the gears--something no one here has mentioned yet. Lack of maintenance is what kills anything mechanical.
And yes, you will inadvertently mess with the timing a little, but carefully marking things like crank position and rotor position will help to get it back close and you can fine tune from there.
Why not just crank the engine until the rotor points straight forward?
Pull the distributor, do the cleaning and put it back in so the rotor is pointing straight forward.
Thanks guys, I want to clean & inspect each cylinder and I'll have to do some cranking to bring each piston up to top to clean them as well. So, I wanted to ask ahead of time.
I think I can get 'er done now- thanks to everyone who offered help.
So crank it over and clean each piston.
Then crank it until the rotor points straight forward, pull the distributor, clean it and the area, put it back in and carry on.