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22RE Distributor "Cotter?" "Pin?" "Dowel?"

Old 10-08-2013, 05:31 PM
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22RE Distributor "Cotter?" "Pin?" "Dowel?"

I have only been able to find traces of info out there about what I have heard called a "cotter pin" or a "distributor dowel." But basically, I think it is a pin that goes through the gears on the distributor and keeps the gears on the distributor and the distributor drive gear in line with each other.

The distributor rotor fails to rotate when the engine is turned over. So I suspected a broken timing chain. However, upon removing the valve cover the timing chain is intact (***). By manually turning the crankshaft I can see the timing chain turn, the camshaft functioning, and the distributor drive gear rotating. I can also see that the gear on the distributor is not engaged with the rotating distributor drive gear. I can see a hole for a "cotter/dowel/pin" to go, but no trace of the actual "pin."

Second thoughts about it - If the cotter/dowel/pin broke off it would be in my oil pan. I foresee possible problems there.

But, my distributor looks fine other than that (no mashed gears), so I was hoping to be able re-install a new cotter/dowel/pin into my distributor and save some cash. Think I could do that? Know how to ask for that part?

Any thoughts? Or maybe I missed a thread on this? I would appreciate any help. Thanks a lot!


***My left, when facing the engine, timing chain stay is snapped (also in the oil pan most likely). I thought that usually the right side (which mine has an aftermarket metal stay) broke because that is the side that carries the tension? How important is the slack side chain stay? But like i said - the timing chain is rotating and at good tension so I dont think that is the root problem of the distributor rotor failing to rotate.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:36 PM
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If it's a 22re I can sell ya a used dizzy. PM me if interested. Sorry I can't give no info on what to do
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:28 PM
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Here is a link to a youtube video i posted displaying my problem:

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Old 10-08-2013, 06:40 PM
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My dizzy did the exact same thing one time...and it's called a roll pin.

I took mine apart and it's not worth trying to fix it. Get yourself a used dizzy. I had an extra one that had who knows how many miles, but it's been working fine for quite a while now.

The roll pin is a designed weak point to save your motor. It worked as designed on mine and all I had to do was re-time the cam and ignition timing and that was it.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by snobdds View Post
...it's called a roll pin.


The roll pin is a designed weak point to save your motor. It worked as designed on mine and all I had to do was re-time the cam and ignition timing and that was it.
What is it designed to save the motor from?
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:05 PM
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snapping your timing chain which then leads to crunched valves...new engine time.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:31 PM
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The roll pin USUALLY breaks because the shaft seizes on the distributor. The shaft has a small helical groove to guide oil between the shaft and housing or bushings.

Over time the oil gums up in the groove and the shaft no longer gets lube.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:58 PM
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Red face

My question is what caused the roll pin to shear in the first place??

Then how soon is it going to happen again.

There are enough of these engines around should be plenty of used distributors to be found.

In fact i know I have 2
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:39 PM
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Welp, popped a new dizzy in today and got the valve cover back on.

She started right up - got her timed with a light. Well, almost. Couldnt get her quite timed up perfect so she's a little off and missing some power.

She's running though.
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