Ram B1500, B2500, B3500, 1999-2003

Distributor Cap & Rotor

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NOTE
Not all vehicles covered by this manual use a distributor type ignition system. On vehicles with a distributorless ignition system, the coil towers should be inspected for wear or signs of misfire. Refer to the procedure for distributor cap inspection.

Removal & Installation




WARNING
Before removing the distributor cap, mark the plug wires for reconnection to the correct terminals.

  1. Remove the splash shield, air cleaner and hoses only if necessary for access to the distributor.
  2.  
  3. Mark and disconnect the plug wires. Remove the distributor cap.
  4.  
  5. Wipe the cap clean with a dry lint-free cloth. Visually inspect the cap for cracks, carbon paths, broken towers, or damaged rotor button. Also check for white deposits on the inside (caused by condensation entering through cracks). Replace any cap that has charred or eroded terminals. The inside flat surface of a terminal end (faces toward the rotor) will show some evidence of erosion from normal operation. Examine the terminal ends for evidence of mechanical interference with the rotor tip.
  6.  
  7. The rotor can be checked in place. Check for corrosion or damage to the tip, a broken spring or housing cracks.
  8.  
  9. Distributor contacts can be cleaned up with a small file. The rotor tip is covered with a varnish for radio noise suppression. It will appear charred. This is normal and should not be removed.
  10.  
  11. If the no-spark condition persists, check the ignition coil.
  12.  

  1. Remove the engine cover.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  4.  
  5. Remove the screws, then remove the distributor cap.
  6.  
  7. Remove the rotor.
  8.  
  9. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.
  10.  

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the distributor cap retaining screws and spark plug wires from the cap. If there is no wire retainer, be sure to identify all wires before disconnecting them from the distributor cap. This will help preserve the proper firing order and greatly ease cap installation.
  4.  


NOTE
An alternate way to change caps is to situate the new cap next to the old (with the wires still attached) and simply swap the wires one-by-one from the old cap to the new cap in the exact same order.



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Fig. Mark distributor towers and spark plug wires to ease installation



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Fig. Removing the distributor cap screws



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Fig. Lift off the cap

  1. On 2.5L engines, remove the distributor splash shield. Remove the cap screws.
  2.  
  3. On V6 and V8 engines, unfasten the retaining clips or remove the screws and lift off the cap assembly.
  4.  
  5. Scribe or paint a mark on the edge of the distributor housing to indicate the position of the rotor. This will serve as a reference upon reinstallation, if needed.
  6.  



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Fig. Removing the rotor from the shaft


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

  1. Remove the rotor attaching screw(s), if equipped, or simply pull the rotor from the distributor.
  2.  

To install:

  1. Install the rotor facing in the direction noted earlier, and then if applicable, secure the rotor using the attaching screw(s).
  2.  
  3. Install the cap to the distributor assembly and secure using the cap retaining clips or screws.
  4.  
  5. Install the spark plug wires and retainer to the cap. If no wire retainer is used, carefully connect the wires to the cap as tagged during removal.
  6.  
  7. Connect the negative battery cable.
  8.  


WARNING
Before removing the distributor cap, mark the plug wires for reconnection to the correct terminals.

  1. Remove the splash shield, air cleaner and hoses only if necessary for access to the distributor.
  2.  
  3. Mark and disconnect the plug wires. Remove the distributor cap.
  4.  
  5. Wipe the cap clean with a dry lint-free cloth. Visually inspect the cap for cracks, carbon paths, broken towers, or damaged rotor button. Also check for white deposits on the inside (caused by condensation entering through cracks). Replace any cap that has charred or eroded terminals. The inside flat surface of a terminal end (faces toward the rotor) will show some evidence of erosion from normal operation. Examine the terminal ends for evidence of mechanical interference with the rotor tip.
  6.  
  7. The rotor can be checked in place. Check for corrosion or damage to the tip, a broken spring or housing cracks.
  8.  
  9. Distributor contacts can be cleaned up with a small file. The rotor tip is covered with a varnish for radio noise suppression. It will appear charred. This is normal and should not be removed.
  10.  
  11. If the no-spark condition persists, check the ignition coil.
  12.  



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Fig. Inspect the cap for any of the kinds of damage or wear that would cause problems



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Fig. Carefully inspect the rotor wear or damage of this sort

 
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