//bottom ads

Chevrolet Chevette/1000 1976-1988 Repair Guide

HEI Distributor


All Chevette and Pontiac 1000 models are equipped with High Energy Ignition (HEI). This is a pulse triggered, transistor controlled, inductive discharge ignition system that uses no breaker points. The HEI distributor contains a pick-up assembly and an electronic module which perform the function normally done by breaker points. The unit automatically controls the dwell period, stretching it with the increased speed of the engine. No dwell adjustment is necessary. On models through 1980, centrifugal and vacuum advance mechanisms are basically the same as those in breaker point distributors. 1981-88 models are equipped with EST (Electronic Spark Timing) distributors which have no mechanical or vacuum advance mechanism. The capacitor in the distributor only serves to reduce radio noise. The ignition coil is mounted externally of the distributor.

Distributor mounting is at the front of the engine on the left side.


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1Matchmark the position of the distributor in the engine for installation purposes

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2A special distributor wrench may be necessary to access the hold-down bolt

  1. If the car is air conditioned: disconnect the electrical lead at the air conditioning compressor, remove the compressor mounting through bolt and two adjusting bolts. Remove the two bolts and remove the upper compressor mounting bracket. Raise the car and remove the two bolts securing the lower compressor mounting bracket. Pull the bracket outward for clearance and lower the car.
  3. Remove the air cleaner.
  5. Remove the distributor cap and place it out of the way.
  7. Remove the ignition coil cover by prying on the flat located on the front edge of the cover.
  9. Remove the coil mounting bracket bolts.
  11. Disconnect the electrical connector with red and brown wires that go from the coil to the distributor.
  13. Remove the fuel pump, gasket, and pushrod, making a note of which direction the pushrod is installed. It's important that the pushrod be installed in exactly the same direction as removed.
  15. Scribe a mark on the engine in line with the rotor. Note the approximate position of the distributor housing in relation to the engine.
  17. Remove the distributor hold-down bolt and clamp.
  19. Remove the distributor.
  21. Install the distributor in reverse order of removal, making sure that the distributor is fully seated.


  1. Remove the No. 1 spark plug and place a finger over the spark plug hole. Turn the engine until compression is felt in the No. 1 cylinder.
  3. Install the distributor with the distributor body scribe mark aligned with the mark on the engine and with the rotor pointing toward the distributor cap No. 1 spark plug tower.
  5. Install the hold-down clamp and nut, but do not tighten them securely.
  7. Install the distributor cap by aligning the tab in the cap with the notch in the housing and securing the four latches.
  9. Connect the wiring harness connector to the terminals on the side of the cap. The connector will attach one way only. Reconnect the vacuum advance line.
  11. Check and adjust the ignition timing. Securely tighten the distributor hold-down clamp.