The distributor is the device responsible for sending the spark to the correct plug. It is essentially a rotating switch, turning the current on and off to each terminal. For the vehicles covered in this information, all distributors are driven directly by a camshaft and are mounted at the end of the head. Some distributors employ some combination of mechanical and vacuum advance system. These systems cause the spark timing to change in proportion to the speed and load of the engine. Some engines also employ vacuum retard. On the 1990-95 Accord and 1988-95 fuel injected Prelude, the system is fully electronic, with all timing control handled by the Program Fuel Injection computer. No mechanical or vacuum advance is used.
A visual inspection of the distributor will reveal its type of advance; if only one vacuum hose is present, running to a round diaphragm housing on the side of the distributor, the system uses vacuum advance only. Two hoses indicate an advance and retard system. No hoses indicates a fully electronic system.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
- Using masking tape, remove the spark plug wires from the cap and number them for installation as they are removed. Factory distributor caps will have a mark indicating cylinder No. 1.
- Label and disconnect the vacuum hoses, the primary wire and the high tension wire. Some early models require disconnection of these wires at the coil. Label and disconnect any external wiring connectors at the distributor.
- Remove the hold-down bolt(s) and remove the distributor from the head.
- Remove and discard the O-ring from the distributor shaft.
- Using a new O-ring, install it on the distributor shaft. Coat it lightly with clean engine oil.
- The drive lugs in the end of the distributor shaft are slightly offset to match the offset in the end of the camshaft. Position the distributor shaft for an approximate match, then fit the distributor in place.
The distributor will only engage the cam in the correct matching position. This enlightened design allows the distributor to be installed correctly regardless of engine position, even if the engine was turned with the distributor removed.
- Make certain the drive lugs are correctly engaged and the O-ring is in place. Install the retaining bolts centered in the mounts and just snug enough to hold the distributor in place.
- Reconnect the external wiring and install the spark plug wires. Double check their placement.
- Start the engine and set the timing. Tighten the distributor bolts.