Introduction: Protect a New/rebuilt Engine; Make a Tool From an Old Distributor to Prime Your Engine's Oiling System

About: Hi, I'm Chris Ayers. I have always had an affinity for mechanical things. When I was about 8-10 years old my mother had a mixer that stopped working. I asked if I could try to fix it, Mom agreed but cut the pl…

This instructable outlines how to make an engine oiling system primer from an old distributor (for engines that drive the oil pump off the distributor). This type of modification has been around for years and thousands of these exist in shops and garages around the world. That said, I was rebuilding a Pontiac engine and wanted it to make a primer that would prime the entire system. This also seemed to lend itself to being made into my first instructable.

Step 1: Distributor/oil Pump System

The distributor is driven by a gear in the camshaft that meshes with a gear attached to the distributor shaft, in this case by a roll pin. The distributor gear has a tang inside that engages the oil pump driveshaft, the driveshaft turns the oil pump.

The first step was to drive the roll pin out, remove the gear and then the shaft.

Step 2: Removal of Parts That Will Not Be Used

Once the shaft was removed I disassembled the components that were of no use and would only get in the way when the distributor is used to prime the oiling system.

Step 3: Grinding the Distributor Gear Down So It Will Not Engage the Cam Gear

To use this as an oiling system primer the distributor shaft had to turn independently of the camshaft. That meant the teeth had to be ground off the distributor gear. To start I reinstalled the gear onto the shaft, this made the assembly easy to handle while grinding. I ground the teeth off with a bench grinder turning the gear slowly the entire time. Grinding the gear down only took about 15 minutes. I ground the gear until all indications of the individual gear teeth were no longer visible, then and additional minute or two to ensure there would be no contact with the cam gear.

Step 4: Reassemble And, If Needed, Add Something for the Drill to Drive On

If the chuck on your drill is big enough you won't have to attach anything to the shaft. The chuck on my drill needed something smaller to attach to so I welded the socket end of a driver to the shaft (simultaneously proving that owning a welder does not make you a welder).

Step 5: Prime Your Engine

Next, install the primer onto the engine rotating the shaft by hand until the tag on the shaft engages the oil pump driveshaft. Attach the drill to the shaft make sure the drill is turning in the right direction (to prime this Pontiac the drill must turn CCW). To prime the entire engine completely the crankshaft must be rotated manually; I used a socket and ratchet. This rotation is necessary because oil passages in the engine are only aligned at certain points in the engine's rotation.

The drill I used was medium duty (3.5 amps) and was overworked in the process but did get oil to all the rocker arms. The priming process took about 30 to 45 minutes including brakes to rotate the engine and let the drill cool.

Believe it or not I forgot to take a picture of the primer in use so, for the photograph, I mounted it to the old engine.

Step 6:

The tools needed include; a socket/ratchet and screw driver to remove the old parts from the distributor, a hammer & punch to drive the roll pin out of the gear, a drill to spin the modified shaft, bench grinder (pictured in step 3) and a MIG welder to attach a driver to the modified shaft. The MIG welder could be avoided by using a drill with a larger chuck.