The distributor of a typical engine has a lot more responsibility than just distributing the spark to the correct cylinder (which in itself is a feat). It is also triggers the coil to release the high voltage, in many cases it turns the oil pump, it distributes the spark to eight different cylinders and it alters the timing of the system. The distributor could be the hardest working part of your ignition system and this is why it is important to ensure that your distributor is up to the task of delivering the performance and power that you expect from your engine. Distributors have changed over the years. From plastic to billet housing materials, trigger mechanisms, timing controls and other items have all been modified over the years, yet most models will perform some if not all of the following duties:
- Distribute the spark to different cylinders
- Trigger the secondary side of the ignition
- Alter the ignition timing
- Driving the oil pump
Most distributors are driven by the camshaft through gears with a one-to-one ratio. (This means the distributor turns at camshaft speed, or half of crank speed.) There are a two important parts attached to the shaft; a trigger wheel and the rotor. The trigger wheel will vary depending on the type of trigger being used, but you will notice that it will have a tooth, or lobe or space for each cylinder of the engine. The rotor delivers the high voltage from the coil to the correct cap terminal. When the coil fires, the voltage is transferred through the coil wire to the center terminal of the distributor cap. This terminal contacts the center of the rotor, moves across the rotor and jumps across a small gap to the spark plug terminal of the cap. All of this occurs in fractions of a second and thousands of times.
Common Firing Orders for Domestic Vehicles
The Coil| 08/14/2016
If there is a single part of the ignition that can holds some mystery to its operation, it is the coil. In a stock ignition system, 12 – 14 volts are delivered to the coil via the positive and negative terminals. Within the wink of an eye, it sends and output of 15,000 volts or higher! But there is no slight-of-hand taking place here – it’s all a carefully crafted lesson in electronics. And one that can be tuned to meet a variety of output requirements.
Ignitions 101| 08/14/2016
Since electricity is not something we can physically see, the ignition system of our cars sometimes holds a little mystery or suspicion in its operation. It’s important to realize that electricity, especially in an automotive setting, is not magic. And it’s also important to realize that the ignition is key to your engine’s performance. Your engine’s overall performance is counting on that spark for complete combustion. Once you have a better understanding on how the ignition works and what each component actually does, things will begin to all make sense – and you’ll be able to build the right ignition for your engine. Key goals of the ignition system:
Hooker BlackHeart 2017-2019 Ford F150 Raptor V6, 3.5L Stainless Steel Mid-Pipe and Muffler Assembly| 04/17/2019
Hear the Hooker BlackHeart Mid-Pipe & Muffler Assembly for 2017-2019 Ford F-150 Raptor trucks.
Justin Martin's Twin Turbo Nova at OSCR VI| 04/17/2019
Justin Martin and his Twin Turbo Motion Raceworks Nova are one of the most competitive combos in the Limited Drag Radial world. We took some time to get this interview with him at the Holley EFI Outlaw Street Car Reunion!