Changing the rotor/distributor cap

1987 Acura Integra

Here is the instructions:

If you note, there is a correction at the bottom that says:
2. Look in the drivers side wheel well and you’ll see a hole with a bunch of flaps. Grab a 19mm socket and extensions and ONLY TURN THE CRANSKSHAFT BOLT COUNTERCLOCKWISE

How long should the 19mm socket be to access through the wheel well?

I never did it before - will I be able to do it? I have done, AT fluid, Engine fluid, Radiator fluid and sparks.

What do you advice me?

If you’re just replacing the rotor/distributor cap, there’s no reason to mess with the crankshaft.

The rotor/distributor cap can only go on one way. So when the old ones are removed the new ones can only be installed in the same position.


I took a quick look, it seems distributor caps have not changed much, 2 bolts is what I see, move the wires one by one matching up old and new.

rotor looks like a pull off straight up to me. But I am unsure, HELP! Does this match what you see Screw holding on rotor is a possibility.

I presume this is to turn the crankshaft to get it to TDC or some other needed alignment point. I’ve never done this on an Integra, but on my Corolla I have to remove a windscreen (it’s in the way), and then I just use the correct socket/ratchet combo and an extension long enough that allows me to reach the bolt, but not so long that the ratchet is knocking into the tire area. It’s a trial and error thing, not possible to say until you actually try doing it. Most DIY’ers have a variety of extensions lengths to choose from. To make it easier I usually jack the front of the car and remove the right front tire when I do this.

Note: If you find it difficult to get the proper alignment, try it again, this time with the spark plugs removed.

The reason for turning the crankshaft is to get the distributor shaft turned in such a way that the rotor locking screw is easily acessible.

Yes, you can do this yourself. Just turn the steering wheel as described and look through the access hole to see how deep a 19 mm socket you will need.

Before taking things apart, draw a witness line running along the cap/dist housing/block in case you need to put it back on in the same position it was originally.

It’s easier just to bump the starter over with the distributor cap removed to get at the rotor mounting screw.


More often than not, turning the alternator will rotate the crankshaft which will in turn rotate the distributor to the position where the rotor thru-bolt can be accessed. It might be worth a try.

After you remove the distributor cap, look to see where the rotor locking screw is. If you are lucky, it will be facing up enough so you can get to it without turning anything. If you do have to turn the distributor rotor, I always do as Tester said which is to bump the starter until you gain access.

That said, if you insist on turning the crankshaft manually, any 1/2" drive 19mm socket will work. It is then a matter of how long of an extension you need to use. If the tire/wheel is removed, a 20" or 24" long extension will bring it outside the wheel well. If the tire is left on, a 10" extension should work okay although you will have to reach inside the wheel well to turn your ratchet.

A 3/8 inch drive socket should work too.

The reason they recommend turning the engine over by hand is you don’t want to crank the engine from the ignition switch with the coil open/ungrounded. The uncontrolled spark may find ground through the ignition module or PCM. In the shop the engine could be “bumped” over by installing a jumper in place of the starter relay with the ignition off. The distributor could also be unplugged or the coil output grounded with a jumper wire.

Removing the dist cap is so easy - but not the rotor - it had to be aligned so that I can unscrew it.

Any photo of what the crank shaft might look like inside the wheel well? Is it this closer to the front bumper:

Alternator might well be hard to reach too in this compact car.

“A 3/8 inch drive socket should work too.”

Yes . . . but using a 1/2" drive ratchet with an extension is much less exhausting

I’m just speaking from my own personal experience

However, if one doesn’t have a 1/2" drive ratchet, extension and socket . . .

Let’s give ourselves a hernia!

If a ratchet is used make a strong mental note to remove the ratchet before starting the engine.
Failure to do so may cause a loud bang and flinging the ratchet at high speeds into someone or some thing.

Not that this has ever happened cough to me… :frowning:

  1. Is turning the crankshaft going to hard?
  2. Why COUNTERCLOCKWISE? It seems that this is the direction people are rotating to remove it. But I am only turning it.


You will be turning counterclockwise . . . because that is the direction of rotation for your engine. I also suspect your crank bolt is left hand threads. By turning the bolt counterclockwise, you will not be loosening it.

Early Hondas and Acuras rotate counterclockwise . . . in direct contrast to almost all other automotive engines

On your car, the engine drive belts are on the driver’s side

On almost all other cars, the engine drive belts are on the passenger’s side

Park a buddy’s FWD Toyota, Ford or Chevy next to your car and pop the hoods on both cars

When your buddy has his Toyota hood open, tell him to bump over the engine, without starting it. Watch what direction the belts turn

Then do the same thing on your Acura

You will see the difference, and you’ll understand what I’m trying to explain

See one guy is disabling ignition and then using the engine power to loosen the crank bolt!

Do not try this on a 4 cylinder Honda/Acura engine!!! All you will do is overtighten the crankshaft bolt and possibly break it off in the engine.

Regardless of the rotation direction of the engine, the Honda/Acura crankshaft bolt has right handed threads. However, asemaster is correct. Since the rotation of this engine is counterclockwise, you can’t use the starter trick.

This thread started out talking about the distributor but now are you talking about removing the crankshaft bolt? I don’t see why unless you are going to do a timing belt job now. A friend of mine had a 1987 Acura Integra and I did most of the work on it. She had it long enough that I replaced the timing belt and related parts twice.

How do I remove the Spark cables from the Dist cap - just pull them?
To put it back just insert the tip?

Also I looked at my car crank bolt - actually there is a dust cover with a hole in it.
Does it make my work hard in any way?