PLEASE HELP Screw To Secure Distributor Cap Broke. Need Vehicle.

Posted in Ignition Systems | Asked on Jun 26, 2010

I have a ’95 Dodge Caravan 3.0L v-6. The screw closest to the engine block broke. I need to get a new distributor cap on here that will seal properly. If what I state or assume is wrong, please let me know and correct me. I’m a shady tree mechanic at best. I’m trying to tune the van up myself because I don’t have the money to bring it to anyone.

Drilling: Due to the limited space between the engine and this screw’s placement I can’t get a drill bit to go straight down on top of this screw to either put a hole in it to extract it or just drill a little larger and put a bolt on the other side.

Remove Distributor:
1 – I see the bolt on the front of what holds the entire distributor in place though there are so many things in the way I can’t even see, much less get to, the back of the distributor and see what holds this in place.
2 – If I do remove this don’t I need to get it to a specific place again or the timing will be off?
3 – If this is the only way to get this screw out then what will I need to do when I put this back and where is the other bolt holding the distributor in place and what do I need to do to get to this.

Other Options? What am I missing? This mini-van has over 100,000 miles on it and the distributor cap should last another 100,000 miles, which is longer than the car, so is there some other way to seal/secure this that I’m missing?
There are just 2 screws that keep the distributor cap in place.

There are 7 Answers for "PLEASE HELP Screw To Secure Distributor Cap Broke. Need Vehicle."

  1. michael H says:

    First I think it has four bolt right? If so it would probably be o.k. to just have the 3 and you could put some permetex on the outside lip to keep moisture out if you are worried. I would invest in the Chilton book or Hayes they are like 20 bucks at autozone. Those are usually really helpful. FYI: I might be wrong but I think the shaft on the distributor has the oil pump keyway attached so do not pull it out unless you are sure . Otherwise it drops into the oil pan and you have to drop the oil tank to get it out, COSTLY!!!. Good Luck.

  2. bandit_60 says:

    you might have to pull the distributor out and drill it out or you could, until you get the time to fix it, tie the cap down.

  3. texaswildman says:

    go to auto parts store and ask for a easy out. and buy replacement bolt.

  4. Steve S says:

    there is 1 bolt that holds it down.If you mark the position and do not rotate the engine you will be fine.

  5. b123153h says:

    This can be fixed by just turning the engine over to where the timing mark is aliened at it’s mark on the fly wheel. make sure the distributor rotor is pointed to #1 Plug and then remove the one bolt that holds the distributor on make a mark on the engine and the distributor before removing it so you can get it on time again. Try prying up on the distributor it will turn as you pull it out 1/3 of a turn as it comes out note the position of the rotor and mark it on the distributor before pulling, pull it out and then drill out the bolt that is broke off and replace with new bolt. If it won’t come out then you may have a frozen distributor and will need to take it to someone who knows what they are doing. good luck.

  6. xxa2538 says:

    This advice should be taken only as a last resort. I dont have a lot of experience but I have taken off a few distributor caps.First I would spray the screw with something to loosen the screw like PB blaster or nutbuster. Let it sit for awhile then spray it again. Now try the screw driver again. Sometimes that stuff works great. Have you thought about breaking the cap and removing the pieces? If the cap isnt threaded and the entire screw head is gone then you may get a pliers on the screw W/O the cap there. Do not mix up the wires when removing the cap. Put them in the new cap as you remove them.

  7. Fordman says:

    Whenever I have a similar problem, I’ll take a drill bit and put a reverse cut on it, and then run the drill in reverse to either drill out the bolt so that I can use an easy out, or the drill bit will bite and back out the broken bolt. My experience has found that most of the time, the bolt will back out on its own just using the drill bit.
    If you don’t have a grinder to put the reverse threads on the bit, go to an industrial supply store and purchase a bit with the reverse cut on it.

    Also you’ll have to do as the others have said and pull the distributor and put some tape over the opening to keep any metal shavings from dropping into the block.

    good luck with it.

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