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Red dust in distributor cap/ no start
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torchmonkey
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:04 pm    Post subject: Red dust in distributor cap/ no start Reply with quote

Van has intermittently not started for the past few months, probably once a week. Always got itself running though. Today it just refused to start so I had a look around the engine and after checking plugs, fuel flow, etc... I checked the distributor on a whim. The inside of it was completely covered in a fine red dust. I blew it out and sprayed some contact cleaner in a few areas and it started right up. Any idea what this dust was???
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greggearhead
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen a number of bad distributor caps on Vanagons lately. Like 4 of them within 2 months, that had the center spring-loaded electrode start to disintegrate or similar. Caps and rotors are cheap - good time for maintenance, order two of ea an throw one set in the glovebox.
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Merian
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Red dust in distributor cap/ no start Reply with quote

torchmonkey wrote:
Any idea what this dust was???


It is almost certainly Chinese drywall dust, which is what cheap dist. caps are made from.
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

without a pic of the cap it will be hard to tell..

my guess it's the red dust is from the plastic cap... via friction of some sort...
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Mr Brown
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had this when all the shim washers on the distributor shaft departed. The rotor rubbed the cap as it pushed too far up due to all the play in the distributor shaft.
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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Brown wrote:
I had this when all the shim washers on the distributor shaft departed

Super helpful post! Much Respect.
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torchmonkey
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. I'll look more closely at the distributor over the holiday weekend. I didn't get a pic before cleaning as I was in a major rush to get it started and get my butt to work.
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torchmonkey
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been having some slight hesitation issues the past two days and decided to open the distributor, this is what I found. I'm pretty confident it's rust dust from somewhere in there. Just a side note: until the van warms up there is a squeaky sound coming from the engine, haven't looked into that but I'll bet it's coming from the the dizzy too.
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borninabus
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that orange dust is called "rust".
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MacLeod Willy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonder if the vent in the body of the dist is plugged causing condensation?
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torchmonkey
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm? There is a vent in the distributor? You mean that rectangular gap at the edge of the cap? If you look closely that rust is blowing out of the dist. and onto the surrounding hoses and wires form that "gap".
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest finding another distributor and installing it. You could pull that one apart, but I would guess that there is considerable wear on multiple parts. How much side to side and up and down play is there to the shaft? These distributors need to be lubed occasionally to prevent something like this from happening. You can buy kits that contain the thrust washers or you can buy generic washers from McMaster Carr or others, but if the bushings are shot or the shafts are worn you would just be wasting your time.


Would be nice to see pictures of it torn down though if you go that route.
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MacLeod Willy
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

torchmonkey wrote:
Hmm? There is a vent in the distributor? You mean that rectangular gap at the edge of the cap? If you look closely that rust is blowing out of the dist. and onto the surrounding hoses and wires form that "gap".


Maybe not on yours but under the main body near the outer edge there is a small plug, approx. 7mm with a fine screen.
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tasb
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On those later dual port distributors the ozone vent is on the bottom facing side of the housing and rust will not easily pass into or out of that vent.
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