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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

88 Chevy S-10 Blazer, Distributor Problems
Q: I have an '88 Chevy Blazer, S10, 2 wheel drive, 2.8l, with 168,000 miles. The maximum mileage I can get out of my distributor cap and rotor is about 3,000 miles: Pulling the distributor cap, I noticed burnt contacts on the distributor and rotor. After changing, I am good for another 2,000 to 3,000 miles, before the engine starts to run rough. The burnt distributor cap contacts seem about equal, the rotor is the same, but with a leading edge burn. My spark plugs have a good burn pattern. The vehicle starts the same way ever since I have owned it, freshly tuned or not. Having replaced one bulb in 4 years (except for the road damaged head lights) leaves me to believe, I do not have an over voltage problem. I have no problem codes.

My suspicions are that your distributor has gone "out of phase". What does "out of phase" mean? Just under the distributor rotor there is another component attached to the same distributor shaft. This component is best described as a timer. The timer, in conjunction with another sensor, provides the "time to fire the spark plug information" to the ignition module. Timers have been known to loosen up and change their position on the distributor shaft. The problem is the distributor rotor position doesn't change and it will not be lined up correctly with the contact area in the distributor cap. This condition requires more electrical energy to jump the gap between the contacts. The result can be accelerated erosion of the contacts until the wear is so great that the engine will begin to run rough. The condition can be diagnosed with an engine analyzer, but when it gets right down to the nuts and bolts, a visual inspection of the components is necessary.

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