GM Cavalier/Sunbird/Skyhawk/Firenza 1982-1994

Distributor Cap and Rotor

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. If necessary, detach the wiring connector from the distributor.
  4.  
  5. Remove the retainer and spark plug wires from the cap. If there is no wire retainer, be sure to tag all of the wires before disconnecting them from the distributor cap. Tagging the wires will help preserve the proper firing order and greatly ease cap installation.
  6.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Detach the coil wire - 1988 2.0L Sunbird shown



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Fig. Fig. 2: If necessary to remove any of the spark plug wires from the distributor cap, be sure to matchmark or tag them first



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Fig. Fig. 3: Twist, then pull to remove the boot from the cap



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Fig. Fig. 4: On some vehicles, it will help to matchmark the position of the distributor to the housing, as on the 1988 Sunbird

  1. If retained by spring loaded locktabs, depress, twist and release the distributor cap-to-housing locktabs, then lift off the cap assembly. Most integral coil distributor caps will be retained by two or four spring loaded locktabs.
  2.  
  3. If retained by mounting screws, loosen the screws, then remove the cap from the distributor assembly.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 5: Unfasten the mounting bolts or screws, then remove the distributor cap

Although most rotors can only be installed in one direction, it is still wise to note the position of the rotor before remove to assure proper installation and ignition timing.

  1. Note the position of the rotor, unfasten the attaching screws, if applicable, then remove the rotor.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 6: Matchmark the position of the rotor to ensure correct installation, then ...



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Fig. Fig. 7: ... remove the rotor from the engine

To install:
  1. Install the rotor in the position noted earlier, then secure using the retaining screws.
  2.  
  3. Position the distributor cap to the housing, then secure using the housing retainers.
  4.  
  5. Fasten the spark plugs and retainer to the cap. If no wire retainer is used, carefully connect the wires to the cap as tagged during removal.
  6.  
  7. Attach the wiring connector to the distributor, as applicable.
  8.  
  9. Connect the negative battery cable.
  10.  

INSPECTION



Remove the distributor cap and inspect the inside for flashover, cracking of the carbon button, lack of spring tension on the carbon button, cracking of the cap, and burned, worn terminals. Also check for broken distributer cap towers. If any of these conditions are present, the distributor cap and/or cables should be replaced.

When replacing the distributor cap, transfer cables from the original cap to the new cap one at a time. Ensure that each cable is installed into the corresponding tower of the new cap. Fully seat the wires into the towers. If necessary, refer to the appropriate engine firing order diagram.

Light scaling of the terminals can be cleaned with a sharp knife. If the terminals are heavily scaled, replace the distributor cap.

A cap that is greasy, dirty or has a powder-like substance on the inside should be cleaned with a solution of warm water and mild detergent. Scrub the cap with a soft brush. Thoroughly rinse the cap and dry it with a clean soft cloth.

Replace the rotor with a new one if it is cracked, or if the tip is excessively burned or heavily scaled. If the spring terminal does not have adequate tension, replace the rotor with a new one.

 
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