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Old 09-17-2018, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Loud Distributor Knock - Physical

1994 stock engine. Knocking sound while running the engine. Engine gets hot the knocking goes away.

If feels like the rotor is hitting the plug wire posts. I can't feel it anywhere else in the engine and the sound IS coming from the distributor. It's a serious pounding feeling; I can feel it with my hand.

I pulled the distributor (and yes, now I need to find instructions on how to install it again from scratch, marked the wrong position). I can't find anything wrong with it. I can't get a drill attached to the shaft to see if it happens at a faster rotation or not. The gears are all in perfect condition. I can find nothing that would indicate the plug posts inside the cap are actually being struck. The shaft isn't broken. Everything looks normal.

Distributor model is Delco Japan 3310080c1.

Any ideas folks?

TIA
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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"Engine gets hot the knocking goes away"

If you're asking for ideas, I would look elsewhere besides the distributor.
Any distributor with bushings worn enough to allow the rotor to hit the spark plug terminals won't generate a spark, since the gap at the Hall sensor would be too wide to trigger a signal.
I've had this issue with a worn Sammi distributor that would sometimes run, sometimes not.
Although it may feel like the knock is coming from the distributor, I would suspect piston slap from #4 cylinder (my best guess without actually being there), possibly from a broken piston skirt, since the knock goes away as the engine warms up and internal parts expand.
As for reinstalling the distributor:
Rotate the crankshaft until the pointer on either the front pully, or, flywheel point to TDC. That's going to put both #1 and #4 at TDC. 50/50 chance #1 will be on compression stroke.
Install distributor with rotor pointed to #1 plug terminal and wires reattached in the proper order.
Try to start it up.
If you get nothing, pull distributor and turn rotor shaft 180 degrees, reinstall and try again.
One of those distributor positions should be close enough to get you going, until you can fine tune with a timing light.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks much Zelgin! I'll check those things you recommended. It's easy to think it's the distributor given how powerful the knock is when I put my hand on it. I can't feeling anything anywhere else on the motor until I put my hand on top of the dizzy and then WOW!!

I'm going to pull pull the cover and check valve adjustment anyway and the oil pan gasket needs to be replaced so I'll get to see the crank and main bearings.
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Old 09-22-2018, 06:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Used Zelgin's dizzy install method and after a couple of position changes I got it running again and timed per spec. Found nothing I could attribute the knock noise to during all this. Knock is still there but seems to have lessened.

Will investigate piston slap next.
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