Best Distributor and ones to avoid

Discussion in 'Engine Performance + Maintenance' started by BhutJolokia, Aug 2, 2020.

Car Parts
  1. BhutJolokia

    BhutJolokia Newbie

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    New owner of a 1996 Sierra K1500 here! 350 5.7L V8. It’s in excellent shape all things considered, has new shocks, fuel pump and starter. There’s just a few things I have to knock out like ball joints, steering box, distributor and plugs.

    They switched over to port injection for some of the 1996 model trucks, which is what mine is so the distributor isn’t the 95 and earlier cap and rotor style, it’s the newer one but it’s in the same spot. What brands have people had good and bad luck with? If I have to pony up $200 for an OEM AC Delco I will because I have had good luck at times with aftermarket and also been burned; I don’t want to do this twice. But if there is a quality aftermarket one people have had luck with I’d appreciate any of that knowledge.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help, and advice on steering box brand and spark plugs is also appreciated!
     
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  2. deadbeat

    deadbeat Centurion Crew Cab

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    I order the AC ones from RockAuto, I have had good luck with them except in one truck with an aftermarket distributor. It was aluminum and had no vents, I finally drilled 2 holes 5/16 wide in the base and it fixed it. I have heard of the factory distibutors having vents in the base that stop up and ruin the cap and rotor, so watch out for that as well.
     
  3. Schurkey

    Schurkey I'm Awesome

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    The OEM Vortec distributor has a plastic housing. Doesn't inspire confidence.

    The distributor gears are also a high-failure item.

    Point is, the OEM parts are pretty half-assed; I can only imagine how bad the Chinese aftermarket units are.

    I'm scared to yank the distributor in my '97 7.4L. If it's good, there's a lot of wasted effort. If it's bad...I don't know what to replace it with.

    WHATEVER you buy...maybe it makes sense to buy it locally instead of mail-order; so you don't pay shipping to return it under warranty.
     
  4. thegawd

    thegawd OBS Enthusiast

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    Based on online reviews I chose a spectra premium GM01 distributor for my Burb. I have used their gas tanks and fuel sender units and had no problems whatsoever, they were built well and much cheaper than acdelco.

    Apparently spectra is a Canadian/American company but alot of their stuff is manufactured in China. The gas tanks are %100 Canadian. Soooooooo that's why I chose to give it a try in my Burb.

    I have not installed it yet as I'm waiting for a good day to to a few upgrades. I dont actually have any problems just oem original dist and it needs to be replaced.

    Take care

    https://www.amazon.ca/Spectra-Premi...424------------1-1&vehicleName=1996+GMC+C1500
     
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  5. PlayingWithTBI

    PlayingWithTBI Desert Old Guy

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    That's funny, on my TBI (I know they're different than the Vortec) my Spectra Premium GM04's ICM failed in less than 2000 miles. Ok, the Vortec has the ICM external to the distributor so, maybe they're OK, I don't know but, I'll never recommend one for a TBI!
     
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  6. 98 Nitro

    98 Nitro I'm Awesome

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    A week ago I put the SMP tech smart Distributor in my 98. Seems ok, I bought it because it is supposed to be made in USA. It is the plastic OEM style but $100 cheaper than the Delphi one. I have a barely used Delphi cap/rotor i am considering installing because the aftermarket ones tends to be junk. Plugs get Delco , steering box redhead/blue top.
     
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  7. alpinecrick

    alpinecrick I'm Awesome

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    In 96 GM introduced the Vortec motors that had CSPI (Central Sequential Port Injection).

    I have four Vortec motors with 259k, 165k, 255k, and 220k on them, and they all have the original distributors, and the gears are in fine condition on all of them--it pays to change the oil often and frequently.

    The factory distributors are composite, probably get brittle over time, and can crack from cheap-azz aftermarket distributor caps with out-of-spec screws that come with the cheap azz caps. My 96 G1500 has a crack across the screw hole probably for that reason from the previous owner. The tiny crack can contribute to moisture getting in the distributor (along with the cheap azz, ill fitting cap).

    AC Delco or Delphi. Only.

    You can buy a aluminum billet distributor, but it won't do anything better than the ACD or Delphi.

    I should sell my Summit aluminum billet distributor (cheap) it has about 20 miles on it.......
     
  8. HotWheelsBurban

    HotWheelsBurban Burbs are great!

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    Apparently Blue Streak does make a vortec distributor cap with brass contacts now. They've had the rotor for a couple years; I have one on the Burb. It's lasted much longer than the cheaper white rotors do,could only get 6 months or so from them. I have an Accel tan distributor cap with brass contacts. It was expensive but I'm not having to replace it every year either.
     
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  9. BhutJolokia

    BhutJolokia Newbie

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    Thank you to everyone who responded!
     
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  10. jaywestfall

    jaywestfall OBS Enthusiast

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    I have an MSD Street Fire one on my 1998 5.7 Vortec. Aluminum shaft, but they are just south of $300 last time I checked.

    Runs great on a stock daily driver.
     

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