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Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec

This is a discussion on Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec within the Technical / Maintenance forums, part of the General Discussion category; My brother just replaced the intake manifold gaskets on my '99 5.7L Tahoe. This was the first time attempting this ...

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    Question Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec


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    My brother just replaced the intake manifold gaskets on my '99 5.7L Tahoe. This was the first time attempting this and hopefully everything got sealed up properly.

    The big obstacle now is reinstalling the distributor as we are completely lost on how to get it lined up properly. I tried searching for some guides, but could only find information about the carb and tbi 350's.

    Does anyone know of any online sources they could point me to? Ive never removed or installed a distributor before. TIA

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    Re: Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec

    I'm guessing you didn't mark the dist body-intake manifold relationship or rotor-dizzy body relationship before you started? Or set piston 1 to top dead center on the compression stroke before you started?

    If not you'll need to first line up the line on the harmonic balancer with the groove on the front cover, making sure there's compression at cylinder number 1 (put your finger over the plug hole as a buddy turns the crank with a socket, you'll feel the compression).

    Once piston 1 is at TDC on the compression stroke, look at the dizzy. If I remember correctly (my memory is a little fuzzy here) there is a white dot and a recess on the bottom end of the dizzy - these need to be aligned. When this is done you'll see a mark on the dist body containing a number "8" - the center of the rotor should be ~42 degrees counterclockwise to the "8" such that when you drop the dizzy in place the rotor aligns closely to the number 8 on the dizzy body as the helical splines on the dizzy gear mesh with their partners on the camshaft gear.

    This is not as easy as it sounds - you'll likely encounter a problem with the dizzy not seating all the way down - this is because the bottom of the dizzy shaft is not engaging the oil pump drive shaft. To fix this you'll need a long screwdriver to reach down the dizzy hole and rotate the oil pump drive shaft to line up with the dizzy shaft. Try seating the dizzy again - with patience and trial and error you should get it seated with the center of the rotor closely aligned to the "8" - rotate the body of the dizzy slightly if necessary to get it dead on. If it comes close but won't align, you are a gear tooth or more off - pull the dizzy out, adjust rotor position and try again. Don't forget the gasket!

    Once this is done, tighten the hold down bolt carefully without moving the dizzy at all, reassemble everythign else and see if it will start. If not check your work, especially make sure piston 1 was on the compression and not exhaust stroke. If it starts you still need to take it to a shop with the appropriate scan tool to have cam retard set to +/- 2 degrees. Hope this helps.

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    Registered User Anthoney456's Avatar
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    Re: Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec

    above guy x2 on that gonna need scan tool to properly align

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    Re: Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec

    Yes x3. I have also seen that the contact on the cap will point in the direction of the #1 spark plug. In the same line is a round "stand up" on the right rear of the black intake that's about 1/2" in diam. Dizzy will also point at this.
    Last edited by arrowshooter; 01-14-2010 at 12:20 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec

    Thanks for all the help guys. I really appreciate the detailed information. I know this is long overdue, but here's the update. My brother got the distributor reinstalled and the truck fired up. It idled ok, but was clicking/knocking when applying the gas pedal. We let the truck sit and idle for about an hour and then shut it off to see if it would restart. It did, but seemed to turn over slower than before. Things then progressively went south and back to how it was before replacing the intake gasket.

    I haven't driven this truck since last summer. Its currently not tagged because I couldn't get it smogged since it wasn't running. Since it was idling ok and wasn't throwing any codes yet, I decided to try to get it smogged so that I could get a temporary operating permit (pending smog test failure). The next day I went to AAA to get a 1 day operating permit so I could go attempt to get my truck smogged. In the morning, I called AAA to get my truck towed to a shop to get the cam retard timing set. I was able to back my truck down the driveway and drive it up onto a flatbed towtruck. It got towed over to the shop, where the mechanic basically said my crank sounded like it was really messed up. He said I needed a new engine, but was willing to set my timing as he let me know that most likely it wasn't going to help.

    I went back to the shop in an hour to pick up my truck. It definitely didn't drive very well. It would run smooth for a few mins, then go into knocking/sputtering, and back to smooth....over and over as I drove down the street. I managed to drive my truck about 2 miles to a test-only smog shop. Amazingly, my engine passed both emissions tests, but failed the computer test. This was to be expected since my truck wasn't operated enough to get that set.

    From there, I fired up the truck again, and it turned over even slower than before. I wondered if it was starting to hydrolock or seize. I left the smog shop and drove about 1-2 miles until my truck died. So I called AAA again and now own the record for quickest tows because I got towed twice by the same guy within 2 hrs.

    So the problem now is I have a pretty decent looking 1999 Tahoe LS 4x4 bad motor. It needs to have the brake rotors resurfaced, new ujoints, and an AC recharge. 136k miles on the truck. No accidents, no dents, a few scratches, the paint still looks good. The doors have the typical FSC sagging. It has a tan cloth interior that isn't ripped up like the LT leather versions. It has all options that an LT has, except for the leather seats. It also has 3.73 gearing and LSD in the rea end.

    new AC delco plugs with about 3 miles on them
    new high torque/mini starter
    new autozone battery
    new autozone plug wires
    new autozone cap and rotor
    new thermostat
    new radiator cap
    new ac delco fuel pump and fuel filter from last year that has about 500 miles on it
    new clear headlights, clear signals, billet grill; all bought from ckresto last year before I started having problems

    So whats a reasonable price I can ask for my truck? It would make a really good platform for someone who already has a built motor in a beat up truck. Obviously I don't have the required skills or budget to keep putting money into this.
    Last edited by Kevinator; 04-27-2010 at 11:03 AM.

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    Re: Need help reinstalling distributor on a 99 5.7L Vortec

    I forgot, it also has a brand new ignition switch that has like 3-4 miles on it. Hopefully I run into someone who has a built motor in a beat up 2wd that wants a clean body and 4x4 :) It basically has $1k worth of new parts, so

    The state of CA offers $1000 to buy a vehicle that can't pass smog, but it needs to drive to the dismatling center under its own power. I think if I can pull that part off, I can pull some parts and give up my truck for $1k. If I sold it to someone else as is, would $2k be too much to ask?

    I could get a used motor, but I need something much more economical with today's economy.

 

 

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