GM Cutlass RWD 1970-1987 Repair Guide

Breaker Points & Condenser

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Always replace the points and condenser as a unit.

Six Cylinder Engines
  1. Remove the distributor cap from the distributor and place it out of the way.
  2.  
  3. Remove the rotor.
  4.  

6-250 distributor caps are retained by screws V8 distributor caps are retained by push-and-turn latches

  1. Make a note of the wire connections and then remove the wires from the contact point terminal.
  2.  
  3. Remove the mounting screws and lift the point set condenser from the breaker plate.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Clean the breaker plate.
  2.  
  3. Install a new points set onto the breaker plate.
  4.  
  5. Install a new condenser and connect the primary and condenser lead wires to the contact point terminal.
  6.  

Pull the 6-250 rotor straight up to remove The V8 rotor is held on by two screws

  1. Check the points for alignment. Contact surfaces must align with each other. If alignment is necessary, bend only the stationary contact support and not the movable one.
  2.  

The condenser is held in place by a screw and clamp

  1. Observe the points while an assistant lightly activates the ignition switch. Turning the ignition key to the START position will rotate the distributor shaft and cause the points to open and close. When the points open completely (this occurs when the rubbing block is resting on the high point of the cam lobe), TURN THE IGNITION KEY OFF and check the space between the open points. This space or gap should be 0.019 in. for new points 0.016 in. for used points. If not, slightly loosen the point set mounting screw and, using a screwdriver to move the point support, adjust the gap until correct. Tighten the mounting screw.
  2.  
  3. Install the rotor and distributor cap.
  4.  
  5. Start the engine, check the dwell angle and then the ignition timing.
  6.  

V8 Engines

The High Energy Ignition (HEI) used on some 1974 and all 1975 and later models requires no distributor maintenance other than checking the condition of the cap and wires. There are no points to wear out or adjust.

Pole piece alignment is preset at the factory and requires no adjustment.

Point sets using the push-in type wiring terminal should be used on distributors equipped with an Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) shield (1970-74). Points using a lockscrew type terminal may short out due to the shield contacting the screw.

Install the point set on the breaker plate, then attach the wires The points on all models are retained by screws; a magnetic or clamping type screwdriver can aid in avoiding dropping them

  1. Remove the distributor cap and rotor. The distributor is in the rear of small V8s, and in the front of the 455.
  2.  
  3. Unfasten the two attaching screws and remove the static shield.
  4.  
  5. Remove the two wiring terminals from the retainer.
  6.  
  7. Remove the mounting screws and lift out the points and condenser.
  8.  
  9. Install the new points and condenser and tighten the mounting screws.
  10.  
  11. Install the primary and condenser wires in the retainer. (Some people find it easier to reverse the above two steps and hook up the wires before they install the new points).
  12.  

Use a screwdriver to spread or narrow the point gap on the 6-250 Use an allen wrench to adjust the point gap on the V8

  1. Check the cam lubricator to make sure it is not dry or worn out. It is supposed to be replaced every 12 months or 12,000 miles (19,308 km). Adjust it so that it just touches the cam lobes. Additional grease should not be applied to the lubricator.
  2.  
  3. Bump the engine over until the points are on the high side of the cam and check the point gap. Adjust them to an initial setting of 0.016 in. You'll need a 1 / 8 in. Allen wrench or a flexible adjusting tool.
  4.  
  5. Replace the static shield. If you leave it off, you won't be able to hear your radio.
  6.  
  7. Install the rotor, making sure the round peg goes in the round hole and the square peg goes in the square hole. Install the distributor cap.
  8.  
  9. Start the engine and check the point dwell and the ignition timing. On the 455 motor, it is possible to set the dwell using an adjusting tool. These are available at any auto parts store. On the smaller V8s with the distributor in the back, it is possible to set the dwell with a short allen wrench, but it is much easier if you have the dwell adjusting tool.
  10.  

The arrow points to the feeler gauge used to measure point gap Check the points for proper alignment after installation

 
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