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Thread: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

  1. #1
    LX User 89accordlxi's Avatar
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    Question what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    I noticed when changing my cap and rotors a few months ago that the inside of the distributor was coated in a redish powder. I remember reading awhile back that if this occurs, the distributor is going bad. So, I realize the distributor has gone bad, but how does a bad dist. affect an engine?? I have been trying to diagnose a rough idle problem for a while now and am wondering if a bad dist. would cause a rough, misfiring idle prob?

    Could someone name a few things that a bad dist. could do to an engine.

    Thanks..

    Peace out
    89 Lx-i
    Performance: K&N filter,custom CAI, Accel coil, MSD 6aL ignition, magnecor wires, high flow injectors, FPR, sport exhaust,Tokico springs/struts
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    17" ADRs with 205/40/17 khumos
    future plans: 16" or 17" rims(can scratch that one off the list 9-12-02), headers-high flow cat.-cat back piping. Rear disc brakes from SE-i, reground cam.



  2. #2

    Jareds 89 LX-i's Avatar
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    Ding, Ding, Ding!! And you would be correct! I too remember reading that the reddish powder in the dist cap meant the bearings were toasted or something. A bad distributor would definitely cause a rough, erratic, and misfiring idle. Remember, it's the distributor that decides exactly when each one of the spark plugs is to fire. If they're not firing when they're supposed to, then obviously things are gonna get rough. A rough idle and misfiring doesn't automatically mean the distributor is bad, but since you say there's reddish powder in the cap, then more than likely that is the culprit.

    Mine was idling a little rough (just a little bit) and had a slight misfire at idle, and I just replaced the distributor with a junkyard one and it completely cured it. Now it idles completely quiet and smooth (especially with my new rear mount too, hehe), and is much smoother throughout the RPM range.

    -Jared

    Black '89 Accord LX-i sedan - 436,600 miles and still going strong!
    Black/Red '04 Honda CBR 600 F4i -256,100 miles and also counting quick

  3. #3
    LX User 89accordlxi's Avatar
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    Hey thanks Jared... How much can I expect to pay for a used distributor from a junk yard?

    peace
    89 Lx-i
    Performance: K&N filter,custom CAI, Accel coil, MSD 6aL ignition, magnecor wires, high flow injectors, FPR, sport exhaust,Tokico springs/struts
    Appearance: white gauges, side markers, headlight conversion, clear bumper signal/fog light conversion, SE-i center armrest and cupholder, SE-i leather seats
    17" ADRs with 205/40/17 khumos
    future plans: 16" or 17" rims(can scratch that one off the list 9-12-02), headers-high flow cat.-cat back piping. Rear disc brakes from SE-i, reground cam.

  4. #4
    3Geez Veteran ACCORD EX's Avatar
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    i hearded before it costs from 30 $ !

    MIKE
    3geez member since October 4th 2001

  5. #5
    LX User
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    Also you can "read" the plugs. They may have a black power affect on them meaning not fireing properly.

  6. #6
    LX User DanG86LX's Avatar
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    Yes, red fine powder is coming from reluctor (on rotor shaft). The combination of red dust, grease and heat make a hard brownish deposit on the two advance mechanisms: vacuum advance and centrifugal advance, causing them to cease. I just pick up a distributor from boneyard and it was all frozen, had to disassemble, clean and grease again.
    U may check ur timing at idle and ~3000rpm and see if the two advances work.

  7. #7
    LX User 89accordlxi's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rocky2
    Also you can "read" the plugs. They may have a black power affect on them meaning not fireing properly.
    Yeah, my plugs did have a dark brown, blackish deposit on them. Not oil or carbon deposits but just black coating. Looks like its time to hit the junk yards.

    And Mike, you think a used Distributor is only around $30. Wow, I was thinking more in the hundreds. I guess I will find out this week.

    Could this misfiring also be the cause of my recent gas mileage problem? I am averaging only about 22-24 mpg.

    Thanks everyone.

    i'm out..
    89 Lx-i
    Performance: K&N filter,custom CAI, Accel coil, MSD 6aL ignition, magnecor wires, high flow injectors, FPR, sport exhaust,Tokico springs/struts
    Appearance: white gauges, side markers, headlight conversion, clear bumper signal/fog light conversion, SE-i center armrest and cupholder, SE-i leather seats
    17" ADRs with 205/40/17 khumos
    future plans: 16" or 17" rims(can scratch that one off the list 9-12-02), headers-high flow cat.-cat back piping. Rear disc brakes from SE-i, reground cam.

  8. #8
    LX User 89accordlxi's Avatar
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    Well, bad news. Just replaced my distributor with a junk yard one and nothing has changed. At idle, my engine is still misfiring. Sounds sort of like little pops every now and then, almost like it is back firing. Any other suggestions on what can be causing this?

    peace..
    89 Lx-i
    Performance: K&N filter,custom CAI, Accel coil, MSD 6aL ignition, magnecor wires, high flow injectors, FPR, sport exhaust,Tokico springs/struts
    Appearance: white gauges, side markers, headlight conversion, clear bumper signal/fog light conversion, SE-i center armrest and cupholder, SE-i leather seats
    17" ADRs with 205/40/17 khumos
    future plans: 16" or 17" rims(can scratch that one off the list 9-12-02), headers-high flow cat.-cat back piping. Rear disc brakes from SE-i, reground cam.

  9. #9
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    did u ever find out what was wrong with it cause thats what my car has

  10. #10
    LXi User Buzo's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    The black coating on the plugs means you are running too rich.

    I can not help diagnosing a LXi car, but it certainly has to do with the two factors that are used for ANY ECM to calculate the quantity of fuel to deliver to the engine: manifold vacuum and coolant temperature.

    Still you said you are currently at 22 MPG? that's pretty good!

  11. #11

    AccordB20A's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    damn a thread thats from 2002!!! like ten years old!!

  12. #12
    3Geez Veteran A18A's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    lol i was just thinking that

  13. #13
    3Geez Veteran Rendon LX-i's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    Fail


    200+ ALL MOTOR LS VTEC

  14. #14
    SEi User Demon1024's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    The red dust means the bearing is going out. It'll work till it physically fails. You'll know when that happens.... lol. It'll make a terrible noise and the car won't run.

    "Weight is relative to power like time is relative to speed"

  15. #15

    AccordB20A's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    and maybe your cambelt will snap when the bearing seizes

  16. #16

    POS carb's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    Quote Originally Posted by Rendon LX-i View Post
    Fail
    Eric (bass106149@yahoo.com)
    3geez member since October 12, 2000
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  17. #17
    LXi User Buzo's Avatar
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    Re: what are symptoms of a bad distributor

    Oh f*ck. I should pay more attention hahahha

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