Distributer problem


#1

have replace distributor on 1997 nissan pickup 2.4 liter 3 time in one year.any idea were i can get a distributor that would last. my mechanic claim first distributor was new don’t know about the other two. have own nine car in my life time and never had to replace hole distributor.


#2

What is failing on the distributor? 97 - should be electronic ignition. These should last the life of the vehicle.

I’m suspecting something else is going on.


#3

Have you replaced the plug wires? Bad plug wires can spike the secondary voltage and burn out the coil and ignitor which appear to be in the distributor.


#4

have replace plug and wires 2 time this year.


#5

Do you know if the problem with the distributors you’ve already replaced was mechanical? Or was it an electrical problem? The method to address this depends on which it is.

Until you let us know more about the nature of the problem, here’s a guess anyway. If it’s a mechanical problem there’s usually some kind of mechanical gear linkage between the distributor and the oil pump and the camshaft. On some vehicles it is important that gear be made of a compatible kind of metal, or early distributor failure can occur.


#6

What, exactly, were the failure modes of the distributors? Without that key piece of information it’s impossible to guess.

It would also be helpful to know the symptoms that caused the distributors to be replaced.


#7

That distributor is slotted and driven by a lay shaft geared to the crankshaft that also turns the oil pump @GeorgeSanJose. The gear may have broken this time but it seems to have not been the problem with the first 2 no starts.


#8

FYI, the distributor used in the 97 Nissan Pick Up consists of the distributor cap and rotor, coil, camshaft position sensor and power transistor. There is no ignitor. The timing is controlled by the PCM.

Replacing the whole distributor is sort of a shotgun approach and most of the time will solve the problem. If it doesn’t, then the issue is something else, especially after three times.

Since it works after the distributor is replaced for a little while, I’d suspect that the problem could be as simple as a little corrosion in the harness connector between the distributor and the PCM, on the distributor end.

Edit: Distributor is driven by the crankshaft at the oil pump.


#9

hmmm … of those items the one most likely to fail consistently seems like it would be the power transistor; and the most likely reason, a wiring fault somewhere, which causes the power transistor to pass more current than it is designed for. Like a spark shorting out the hv system somewhere due to an insulation problem or too wide of spark gap maybe. If someone fiddled with and altered the transistor’s heat sink mount, that too.

@keith is right of course that if a distributor input or output had a bad connection, say in the wiring harness, it could act like a bad distributor, when in fact the problem wasn’t that.


#10

wonder if a distributor from the nissian dealer would make a different.


#11

Maybe. It seems like what you need to know is what exactly is causing the distributors to fail. Your distributor hosts a bunch of functionality, and it is probably just one of those functions that is failing and causing the problem. If you knew which function was failing, it would be much easier to diagnose. However, it is certainly not unheard of to have multiple occurrences of a new or rebuilt distributor going bad soon after installation. As I recall Ray mentioned this had happened to him one time on one of his customer’s cars. He had to replace the distributor 3 or 4 times as I recall before he finally got one that took. I think what he finally did was buy a replacement distributor from another source than the one he had been using.