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Ignition Distributor

Aftermarket ignition distribution by Spectra Premium

The ignition distributor transfers the high voltage from the ignition coil to the correct cylinder by using the timing of the rotor to ignite each spark plug. The ignition distributor cap houses and protects this rotor and connections. Unlike the more recent ignition coils, a single ignition distributor is needed to power all cylinders in a vehicle.

Spectra Premium’s Ignition Distributor deliver powerful and consistent spark for maximum combustion efficiency, accurate timing and high-RPM performance

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Spectra Part Number Most Popular Applications North American VIO
GM02 1995-2004 Chevrolet S10 3,339,297
CH23 1998-2003 Dodge Ram 1500 1,473,569
HT02 1998-2002 Honda Accord 1,412,298
HT04 1996-2000 Honda Civic 516,522
TD80 1996-1998 Honda Civic 484,858
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How does the ignition distributor work?

A single cable from the ignition coil is connected to the shaft of the distributor which is fitted with a rotating arm or rotor. The rotor spins and passes a series of contacts molded into the cap, one contact per cylinder.

As the rotor passes each contact, the high voltage pulse coming from the coil arcs across the small gap between the rotor and the contact and then continues down the spark-plug wire to the spark plug on the appropriate cylinder.

The central cam of the distributor pushes a small lever connected to a point inside the cap. When the lever pushes, the current breaks and generates a high voltage pulse.

Advance timing which was originally a mechanically controlled system gave way to electronic controllers.

It is important for the end user to follow the instructions closely to prevent damage during installation.

Common Ignition Distributor Failure Symptoms

  • Timing issues
  • Misfires
  • Drops in engine speed
  • Engine does not start

Common Causes of Failure

Any damage to internal components can result in distributor failure. Over time, even the best ignition distributor unit can fail. A failed cap will prevent proper voltage from going to the spark plugs. Carbon buildup can cause faulty connections in the terminals of the cap and lead to misfire.

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