Nissan Maxima 1993-1998 Repair Guide

Distributor Cap and Rotor


It is normally a good idea to inspect the distributor cap and rotor any time you perform a tune-up which includes checking the spark plug wires for wear, damage or excessive resistance. This procedure applies to VG30E engines only.

VE30DE and VQ30DE engines use a computer controlled distributorless ignition, with individual coils for each cylinder that attach directly to each spark plug.


See Figure 1

Depending on the reason you have for removing the distributor cap, it may (in some cases) make more sense to leave the spark plug wires attached. This is handy if you are testing spark plug wires or if removal was necessary to access other components (and the length of the wires allows you to reposition the cap out of the way).

  1. Remove the distributor cover.
  3. Tag the spark plug and ignition coil wires and the distributor cap for reassembly, then disconnect the wires from the cap. THIS STEP IS CRITICAL. Do not attempt to rewire the cap based only on a diagram, this too often leads to confusion and miswiring.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: VG30E distributor cap detail

  1. Remove the three screws that hold down the distributor cap.
  3. Carefully lift the distributor cap STRAIGHT up and off the distributor in order to prevent damage to the rotor blade and spring.
  5. Remove the rotor mounting screw, then grasp the rotor by hand and pull upward to remove it from the distributor shaft and armature.
  7. Inspect both the distributor cap and rotor for damage and replace as necessary.

To install:
  1. Place the rotor on the distributor shaft, then carefully align it with the threaded hole on the side of the shaft. Make sure the rotor is fully seated, but do not force it, as plastic components often break easily.
  3. Install and tighten the rotor mounting screw snugly.
  5. Position the distributor cap on the base and align the cap with the screw holes.
  7. Secure the cap using the hold-down screws.
  9. If removed, connect the spark plug wire leads as tagged during removal.
  11. Connect the negative battery cable.


After removing the distributor cap and rotor, clean the components (both inside and outside of the cap) using soap and water. If compressed air is available, carefully dry the components (wearing safety goggles) or allow the parts to air dry. You can dry them with a clean, soft cloth, just don't leave any lint or moisture behind.

Once the cap and rotor have been thoroughly cleaned, check for cracks, carbon tracks, burns or other physical damage. Make sure the carbon button inside the cap is free of damage. Check the cap terminals for dirt or corrosion. Always check the rotor blade and spring closely for damage. Replace any components where damage is found.