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Old 10-25-2006, 02:53 PM
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HEI advance seized... again!

I've got a stock small block in my '80 Malibu, non computer HEI. A while back I found I had no mechanical advance, the mechanism was frozen solid with old grease and oil. Pulled the dist apart, took the shaft out and cleaned/lubricated all the moving parts. The advance unit was spinning freely on the shaft before I installed the weights and springs.

Today I stopped at the store, and when restarting the engine it almost didn't crank. I found the advance was frozen again, stuck way too advanced. Right now I got it working by cleaning with WD40, but I will have to disassemble it again this weekend.

Obviously I'm doing something wrong, I used a light motor oil to lubricate the shaft. Is there something else I should use? Or does it sound like a problem with the distributor parts themselves?

Incidentally, it didn't seem like the advance was gone when I started cold. Only after a highway drive it got sluggish and would be hard to crank.

Thanks,
-Michael

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Old 10-25-2006, 03:42 PM
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All I ever did to mine was deburr and polish every piece of the mechanical advance, I really didn`t use any lube on it except on the shaft itself, since any kind of lube on the advance will cause dirt to stick and freeze it up.
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Old 10-25-2006, 04:04 PM
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Geee... why didn't I think of that!

That sounds like what I need to do, since it was working fine when I started, but now after the oil cooked it stuck the advance again.

When you say you only used oil on the shaft, did you use that on the timer core (which is what's stuck on mine), or do you mean oil on the shaft after the advance is together?
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Old 10-25-2006, 04:43 PM
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Hmm, mine has stuck 3 times now in 2 years. Just un-stuck it about 2 weeks ago! Let me know if you find a way to keep it free. I super cleaned it and polished it this last time and gave it a shot of Triflow when I put it together. It's a teflon based spray lube. I use it on all kinds of things and love it. Maybe it will work.

Mark
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Old 10-25-2006, 05:02 PM
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I have never tried this, but I wonder if graphite could solve this problem?
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Old 10-25-2006, 05:12 PM
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All the one's i've had apart, had grease in them. The shaft has a recess in it way up top where the grease usually is. It's a dead give away that it's stuck when all of a sudden the idle speed jumps to 1500 and stays there!!!
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red406
I have never tried this, but I wonder if graphite could solve this problem?
Doc here,

Graphite Will Set up a Cross Fire path all over the inside the distributer once it sprays off..then , It will backfire nicely..

Try using a VERY TINY amount of the heat-sink compound (for the module) on the hinged parts, be sure they are clean and smooth and BE very sparingly with the compound, that should solve the problem..

Remember: whatever you put in there MUST not be conductive in a 40 KV environment.

Doc
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:39 PM
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I also remember seeing the cavity in the shaft, I just put in a drop of oil. What kind of grease did GM use in there that didn't gum up after a few months?

From what I see in my dist, the weights and all are free, but the pole piece is frozen on the shaft. So instead of having it's normal ~25 degrees of rotation, it was just stuck at a random point--stuck solid enough to hold the springs under tension.

I'm going to try it with no oil, since the pole piece isn't really undergoing any kind of major movement. Hopefully that will keep it working. My next step is to dump this dist in the trash and get one of the ESC models
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:27 PM
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Check the pins where the weights pivot. If they are grooved or otherwise buggered up, the weights can stick, especially if the springs are a little weak. Some of them had plastic bushings to prevent that, but the plastic gets eaten up over time, and the problem occurs anyway. I used to get good bushings from junkyard HEI's, but not any time recently. If anybody knows a source, please let us know.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:23 PM
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nevermind - easier to explain with pics.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Are you guys sliding this piece (dunno what to call it) down off of the shaft when disassembling the dist.? Any time I've had a stuck advance a light hit with some emery cloth under there was the fix.
That's what is sticking in mine--the timer core. I had it off, and it was clean and free, but I put some light oil back under it. Was good for almost a year.
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