How To Clean A Distributor


When your car needs a new distributor, what kind you use depends on whether it is for fuel injection or carburetion. For example, if yours are past due, then you will need to upgrade to an electronic one!

If you’re looking to clean out any carbon that has built up in the holes of your distributor, there are some easy ways to do so. By using baking soda and vinegar, you can quickly mix together and apply this mixture to the parts of the distributor.

Let these two liquids work their magic while mixing, and then apply directly onto the components. Letting it sit for a few minutes should be enough to get rid of most of the carbon buildup.

After cleaning, make sure to wash all parts with either alcohol or gasoline as needed, and dry completely. Make sure to test your distributor to see if it works well before putting it back into your vehicle.

Use alcohol to disinfect the distributor

how to clean a distributor

The next step in cleaning your trigger is to use some alcohol to clean out the chamber, the cylinder, and the barrel of the gun.

You can use either pure ethanol or regular drinking water with a few drops of liquid soap added to it. Make sure you don’t mix the two as this could cause fire!

Once again, be careful not to touch the barrel or mouthpiece area while using the alcohol. These areas are very easily contaminated and could spread dirt inside the tool.

After washing all three parts thoroughly, dry them off completely before putting back together.

Clean the distributor with a vacuum

how to clean a distributor

The next thing you will want to do is use a vacuum to clean out the oil in the nozzle. You can either use your hand or get someone else to help you hold it as you work through all three positions of the engine.

Running a vacuum tool over the top of the distributor makes sure that none of the old gunk has dried onto the parts.

Run the distributor through the dishwasher

how to clean a distributor

While working on your car, especially in the engine area, it is important to be careful with all of your tools. Using the correct tool for the job can make a big difference in how well you do your work!

The same goes for your car’s distribution channel or nozzle. If you start pulling off gunk that have accumulated, you could end up causing damage to the whole system.

Running the distributor through the wash cycle is not only safe, but also the most effective way to clean it as well. Luckily, this is an easy task to complete.

Removing any kind of protective coating will likely cause corrosion which would cost you more money to fix later. So, always use a good quality cleaning spray that does not contain corrosive chemicals before washing down the parts.

Once cleaned, re-apply either the original dry lubricant or another similar lube to prevent clogging or blockage.

Run the distributor through the dryer

how to clean a distributor

The next thing you will want to do is run the car’s distributer clean. This means taking it out of the port and cleaning it with some paper or cloth towels. Make sure to wash all of the dirt, grime, and gunk that has accumulated in the holes!

Once done, put the distributor back into its position and tighten each bolt up using a torque tool. You can now fire up your engine and test for any noise, if there is none then you are good to go!

Important notes: Never pull on a connecting rod or lifter while the engine is running as this could break them both. Also make sure to check the cam profile before re-inserting as well. If they look too high or low then have someone help you take it down until everything is working correctly.

Run the distributor through the sanitizer

how to clean a distributor

After you’ve cleaned your carburizing rod, run it through our standard chemical cleaning process. For this step, we suggest using a gun washing machine or stand-up barrel wash tool.

A stand-up barrel wash tool has an inlet tube that connects to a hose that you can attach to water. You then push the carburizing rod down the barrel of the gun as it gets wetted by the liquid. Once it is completely submerged, pull the trigger for several seconds to let the fluid work its magic.

After doing so, rinse the carburizing rod thoroughly under running water until all excess chemicals have been removed. If needed, use some more cleaner to help remove residue.

Disassemble the distributor

how to clean a distributor

After you have cleaned out any debris, it is time to completely dismantle the distributor! You will want to do this as soon as possible because if left exposed to air, moisture, or both, the engine may seize due to excessive wear.

To remove the camshaft gear, first make sure your car is cool and that there are no tools in use. Then take off the cover of the distributor by pulling up on the plastic clips. Once under the hood, using a tool such as a screwdriver, pull straight up on the cam shaft gear. When it comes free, drop it into a container filled with oil.

Next, disconnect the wire harness connector. To do this, insert a thin needle-like device into one of the connectors. Pull back slowly while rotating the connector until it releases. This way you don’t damage the connector. Remove the other wires from the old distributor and install them onto the new one. Make sure they all connect properly and test for proper function.

After everything has been disconnected, put together the new distributor! Use the same process to reconnect each part. Make sure not to over tighten anything because you can easily ruin the distributor cap or ring magnet. Also remember to check and clean the carburetor before reassembling.

Wipe down all parts with a dry towel

how to clean a distributor

After you have cleaned your distributor, make sure to wipe everything down thoroughly using a soft, lint-free cloth. Make sure to clean both the external components as well as the internal ones!

Make sure to scrape off any burnt gunk or residue that may remain from the process of cleaning it before proceeding. This will help ensure your engine runs smoothly and properly.

Removing leftover debris can also prevent future clogs by acting as a washboard surface for dirt to get stuck in. If possible, completely dry soak your car after washing these parts so they do not attract more dust later.

Always remember that water does not work very well as an agent for removing carbon deposits, so be careful how much you use.

Wipe down all surfaces with alcohol

how to clean a distributor

While it is not recommended to use thinner than what you normally would, this article will tell you how to clean your distributor using only water!

Thicker liquids are usually better for cleaning components, but unfortunately, we have no information as to whether or not using just water works in these cases. That being said, most people use thicker liquid cleaners to distribute oils and gels so there may be some help here.

If you do decide to try this method however, make sure to test one part of the gun to see if it functions properly before trying it at full strength on the whole piece. Also, remember that although this might work, it may also ruin the firearm. Try your best to take your time and slowly apply even pressure to avoid damaging the barrel or chamber.

Hopefully you learned something new about internal parts of firearms in our series “Internal Parts of Guns”! Stay safe and keep practicing.

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