GM Prizm/Nova 1985-1993 Repair Guide

Component Replacement

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The two most commonly replaced parts in the distributor (aside from the cap and rotor as maintenance) will be the signal generator and the igniter. Replacement of any internal piece requires removal of the distributor from the engine.

The distributor on the 1989-90 VIN Code 6 (Prizm) engine contains no replaceable parts except the ignition coil. Any other failed item in the distributor requires replacement of the complete unit.

IGNITER AND SIGNAL ROTOR



Removal & Installation
1985-88 VIN CODE 4 AND VIN CODE 5 ENGINES

See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

  1. Remove the distributor as outlined in Engine & Engine Rebuilding . Make certain the negative battery cable is disconnected before beginning the work.
  2.  
  3. Remove the packing and distributor rotor.
  4.  
  5. Remove the dust cover over the distributor components and remove the dust cover over the ignition coil.
  6.  
  7. Remove the nuts and disconnect the wiring from the ignition coil.
  8.  
  9. Remove the four screws and remove the ignition coil from the distributor.
  10.  
  11. At the igniter terminals, disconnect the wiring from the connecting points.
  12.  
  13. Loosen and remove the two screws holding the igniter and remove it from the distributor.
  14.  
  15. If the signal rotor is to be replaced, use a screwdriver and CAREFULLY pry the rotor and spring up and off the shaft. When replacing the rotor, use a small bearing driver or long socket to fit over the shaft on top of the signal rotor. Tap gently; the force will be equally distributed and the rotor will slide evenly into place.
  16.  
  17. Install the igniter and connect its wiring. Pay particular attention to the correct routing of the wiring within the housing. There is one correct position only; any other wiring placements risk damage.
  18.  
  19. Install the ignition coil and secure its wiring. Again, watch the wiring positions.
  20.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: The coil is easily removed with the distributor off the car



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Fig. Fig. 2: Removing the igniter



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Fig. Fig. 3: Carefully pry the signal rotor off the shaft. Don't damage the shaft or distributor housing



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Fig. Fig. 4: Correct wiring placement is required during reassembly. The spinning rotor can cut a wire almost instantly. Above: wiring path for igniter; below: color code and placement for ignition coil wiring

  1. Reinstall the dust covers, the packing and distributor rotor.
  2.  
  3. Reinstall the distributor and set the engine timing.
  4.  

1990-92 VIN CODE 5 ENGINE
  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the distributor from the engine as outlined in Engine & Engine Rebuilding .
  4.  
  5. Remove the distributor cap, cap seal and rotor.
  6.  
  7. Remove the dust cover from the igniter.
  8.  
  9. Remove the igniter and pickup coil retaining screws.
  10.  
  11. Separate the pickup coil from the igniter and disconnect the electrical connections from the igniter.
  12.  

To install:
  1. Reconnect the electrical connections between the igniter and pickup coil and assemble the pickup coil to the igniter.
  2.  
  3. Install the igniter and pickup coil to the distributor.
    1. Adjust the signal rotor air gap to 0.008-0.016 (0-2 mm).
    2.  

  4.  
  5. Install the igniter dust cover.
  6.  
  7. Install the rotor, cap seal and cap.
  8.  
  9. Reconnect the negative battery cable.
  10.  

1991-92 VIN CODE 6 ENGINE

See Figures 5, 6 and 7

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the distributor cap, cap seal and rotor.
  4.  
  5. Remove the dust cover from the igniter.
  6.  
  7. Remove the ignitor retaining screws and remove the ignitor assembly from the distributor.
  8.  



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Fig. Fig. 5: Removing the ignition coil



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Fig. Fig. 6: Removing the igniter



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Fig. Fig. 7: Installing the igniter

To install:
  1. Install the ignitor assembly to the distributor housing. Then, install the retaining screws.
  2.  
  3. Install the ignitor assembly dust cover.
    1. Align a signal rotor ridge with the ridge on the generator assembly. Then, adjust the signal rotor air gap to 0.008-0.016 (0-2 mm).
    2.  

  4.  
  5. Install the distributor rotor, cap seal and cap.
  6.  
  7. Reconnect the negative battery cable.
  8.  

1993 VIN CODE 6 AND VIN CODE 8 ENGINES
  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the distributor from the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the distributor cap, cap seal and rotor.
  6.  
  7. Remove the dust cover from the igniter.
  8.  
  9. Remove the 3 screws and 3 wires from the ignitor terminals.
  10.  
  11. Remove the 2 ignitor retaining screws and remove the ignitor assembly from the distributor housing.
  12.  

To install:
  1. Install the ignitor assembly to the distributor housing. Then, install the retaining screws and wire terminals.
  2.  
  3. Install the ignitor assembly dust cover.
  4.  
  5. Install the distributor rotor, cap seal and cap.
  6.  
  7. Reconnect the negative battery cable.
  8.  

 
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