Multiple Bad Distributors



I have a '94 Mazda MX 3. For many years it was driven only on Sundays in the Bay Area. Finally in the last few years we started driving it more frequently so it now has just under 100,000 miles in 14 years of driving. The problem is that in the last 20,000 miles (or less) we have replaced the distributor 3 times and now we are told it needs to be replaced again. The last one was replaced in September and the car was driven less than 5000 miles. While I believe you can get one bad distributor and even one bad mechanic we have had different people perform the same repair. The car drives fine for a few thousand miles then it suddenly will not accelerate and creeps along, put in a new distributor and then things are fine for awhile.

Since the distributor keeps going bad after relatively few miles, is there something else that could be wrong that damages the distributor? Before the last one the mechanic said the distributor looked to be in really bad shape and burned out but the shop had replaced it only 6 months before then. So is the distributor actually the symptom but not the cause of the underlying problem?

Any help would be great. Love the car but I can’t keep buying distributors:>



Did they give you any idea of what the problem with the distributor was?


The last time they said it was burned out and there was a lot of damage


I guess by burned out we are talking an electrical problem. After 3 distributors it seems something is causing the distributor to fail. I hope some knowledgeable posters will chime in as I can only think of coil, and spark plug wires as a slim possibility for the electronic components of the distributor to fail.


Just for clarification, are we talking about distributor not the distributer cap, and rotor. And is all the ignition parts stock or replacement grade parts.


Are they having them rebuilt? I suspect a poor rebuild job.


More than once the distributor, distributor cap and wires were replaced


JMHO, but I’m not sold on the idea of this many bad distributors. Especially since you’ve had this done at a number of different shops and if you have also related to each shop in succession that you have had repeated dist. failures.

Maybe each shop is just assuming it’s the same old thing and blindly replacing the distributor when the problem is really elsewhere; like a failing fuel pump.