How To Replace Distributor Cap

How do you replace a distributor cap? It is not a difficult procedure normally, but a bit of care must be taken to insure the wires get back in the right position or the vehicle will not run correctly.

The items needed to replace a distributor cap may include:

  • New distributor cap
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent Marker
  • Screwdriver

The process to replace a distributor cap will go something like this:

  1. Remove old cap.  Using the screwdriver remove the old cap. It will either use two push down clips to hold it in place or two screws. Unscrew the screws if it has them. If it has the clips you use the screwdriver to push them down, and then twist them sideways to allow removal of the cap. If at all possible remove the cap leaving the wires in place. If this is possible move on to step 3. If there is no room to leave the wires on the cap and put the new cap in place you will have to perform step 2.
  2. Mark and remove wires.  Determine a starting wire position on the old and new cap. You will want to look on the bottom of the cap and line up the tab or notches which are place in the cap for proper fit on the distributor. Take a piece of tape and mark the wire position you want to start at on both caps. Now take a piece of masking tape and put it on the top of each wire and number them in order with the permanent marker. Choose either clockwise or counter clockwise in advance. The purpose of this is to insure you get the wires back in the proper order on the new cap. This is essential for proper firing of the engine cylinders.
  3. Inspect rotor.  Look carefully at the rotor. If it is cracked or burnt now is the time to replace it. If needed, buy and replace rotor.
  4. Put new cap on the distributor.  Line up the tab and slot on the cap and distributor and pop the cap into proper place. Use the screwdriver to attach the screws or push down and turn the clips into place. Make sure the cap is nice and solid before leaving this step.  
  5. Put wires on new cap.  Remove wires one at a time from the old cap, if they are still on it, and put it on the same place on the new distributor cap. If they had to be removed earlier put them on the correct wire spot starting at the starting point you marked earlier.
  6. Start vehicle and insure proper running.  Start the vehicle and insure it is running properly. If not you may have accidently put the wires on the incorrect position and will have to refer to a diagram under the hood on the core support if it exists, or look the firing order up in a manual. This is why it is is essential to insure you get the wires on the correct position in the first place, so take what steps you feel needed to insure this.

There, you have now replaced your distributor cap. Hope it solves any rough running problems you may be experiencing.

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