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351W Pro Flo 4 distributor shaft diameter out of spec?

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  • #16
    i'm glad to see he is back some of these gents think they know all there is on what works and what doesn't and have been miss leading others


    • #17
      BITE ME, a very good write up, but in the same spirit of teaching people watching as you mentioned, there are a couple of comments

      1 - A person is flirting with disaster if you only match gear depth to the existing gear on an aftermarket (or rebuilt distributor) You may be OK with one that was run already, but there is a measurement, an actual number and reference point, and it should be followed. Of course you can measure yourself if you have the tools as well.

      I have seen almost EVERY rebuilt distributor to be wrong, whether bad or just close enough on the short side, and probably 1 in 4 from MSD and Mallory. (In Edelbrock's defense, whoever made the one for my FE it was spot-on).. It is far better to use the proper procedures to locate a gear.

      If it is slightly short, not a big deal, but if the gear is deep, the hold down clamp forces the body into the recess in the block ad tries to jam the bottom surface of the gear into the pad on the block and the only thing that can give is the roll pin. Happens all the time with gears put on incorrectly. In fact, I would call a deep gear the number one reason roll pins fail, not oil pump resistance. This would be my main point and the others below are only bench racing and technique.

      2 - You have given a perfect explanation of a melonized iron gear, but cores are not the same and success on one does not mean success on all. In fact, one company's base metal can be different. Melonizing is really a form of nitriding, and it can work, as a guy who has billet (and cast iron cores) coming here weekly, I am not afraid of it if it's my only option, but to quote Mike Jones on Speedtalk, "nobody is willing to commit to compatibility with a steel core"

      If I were to rank in terms of universal compatibility I would go 1 - Composite, 2 - Bronze, 3 - Melonized (I flop between 2 and 3) and nothing else, from DURABILITY, 1- (Steel or iron to match your core), 2 - Melonized, 3 - Bronze, 4 - Composite. Nobody likes or wants to like the composite, so melonizing the gear makes for a good trade off for both aftermarket and OEM warranty, as well as aftermarket compatibility. That's why, certainly not because it is perfect. In fact, I can't even find agreement if melonized gears are steel or iron, most guys call them steel but the companies making them don't

      3 - I agree the pin does the driving not the press fit, 100%, but you have to have zero clearance or an interference fit or there will be movement at the pin which could make it fail eventually. To be fair, I have never tried fitting a .001 loose gear as the OP discussed, but I wouldn't want any movement at the shaft OD/gear ID. I would never put it together that way, so uncertain, but seems like it would be like a loose wheel with loading on one side, especially as it grew with heat

      4 - May be a bit of word police here, because you nailed the bottom face and mating the block being critical, but the location of a Ford gear does not set any free play in the distributor. Ford uses a collar for free play, the term you were describing is oil clearance. The collar sets free play, and the gear location sets oil clearance from the block surface. The two together allow the gear to have an oil film under the gear. So I apologize for being anal, because I hate when guys do that, but I am a micrometer and bore-gauge wielding geek, and you aren't setting free play, you are setting oil clearance with that dimension

      Back to the OP, I am not afraid of the melonized gear if in the right location, however, if the cam manufacturer was, it would be gone. If that was the case, and the OP's shaft measurement is correct, and I couldn't find a .530 gear, (or if the .531 gear didn't run small) I would consider talking to a machinist to convert a .500. However, I do think this is a lot of GREAT academic talk, without a ton of worry

      fleet man - sorry to hear that you feel anyone is misleading anyone. Some of us are learning how Edelbrock built and tunes their kits, but are not new in established engine building procedures and techniques. These things are the difference between crossing your fingers and having something perform over a long period of time, in the manner you built it for. If an engine builder at any level isn't checking compatibility and dimensions across the entire build, and verifying parts supplier claims when away.

      Here is some praise to Edelbrock BTW - I have a 462 FE, approx 580 HP, in the planning stages to go to Hong Kong as a combination hotel show car and hot rod. Both Inglese and Borla 8-stack TB and Weber look-a-like systems are far less documented and have no forum like this. Nothing against either, I can call Jim Inglese and talk directly any day of the week, but it has been difficult to get solid answers on dimensions and hood clearance for a 7000 dollar induction system and 1200 dollar ECM, so kudos to Edelbrock for their documentation and this 24-hr forum.

      The Edelbrock system may not have the flexibility of the fancy ones, but they do have very good support for a company that has to answer questions around the world.
      Last edited by My427stang; 09-23-2020, 07:37 AM.


      • #18
        Edelbrock does not sell rebuilt distributors.
        So you should be contacting the company that rebuilt the out of specification distributor, not Edelbrock.

        The way how I post on replacing a gear is 100% accurate.
        Your way is if the distributor has no gear ( no reference point to the end of the distributor shaft ), and will have errors do to the fact it's impossible for the average person to measure it accurately.

        PS. No where in any Ford Factory Shop Manual I have. Does it say to measure distributor gear location, before installation. So you really need to contact Ford and get them to change their distributor install procedure.
        At 43,861 MPH Elon Musk now owns the fastest car in this Galaxy


        • #19
          I don't NEED to do anything because i do this regularly and know the difference between a flat rate flier (what I did as a Ford mechanic over 30 years ago) and an engine builder that gets paid to blueprint not copy a part because it "should be good, (what I do now). This is a part of blueprinting, and blueprinting is not matching an unmeasured part. We aren't building 170 hp 360s here

          But never say never....I know you said Factory Manual and I know you said the ones "you have" here's a Ford reference for you

          Here's another

          I'd have to look through old books to see what the factory gear replacement procedure was, it's been a LONG time but Ford wasn't one for leaving numbers off

          Also realize, a set of calipers is all you need to do it right and no normal machining of the block changes those distances...and then we agree...everything else you said was picture perfect and insightful

          There is some other very good info in those instructions too

          PLEASE don't get me wrong, I respect you have a reputation here and I mean this sincerely, I hope I can learn about some of the quirks of the Edelbrock system from guys like you. It will save me some time learning from someone who has paved the way, and when I can, I will share what I have learned, but your advice in this case is not without some room for error. Again though, I hear you know your stuff about this system and as I understand, you are an asset to this place and glad to see you are back.

          Measure always = never wrong...never measure = maybe wrong
          Last edited by My427stang; 09-23-2020, 08:54 PM.


          • #20
            Your posting to much misinformation again. I'll just putt you on the ignore list to make my life easier.
            At 43,861 MPH Elon Musk now owns the fastest car in this Galaxy


            • #21
              Originally posted by BITE_ME View Post
              Your posting to much misinformation again. I'll just putt you on the ignore list to make my life easier.
              If that is what helps you deal with life, please do. There is zero misinformation there and real sources, along with an attempt to offer an olive branch with some respect for your experience. If you don't respect mine, then why on earth would I care if you ignored me?


              • #22
                This is a pointless waste of time. I know you guys represent Edelbrock, their cooperate decisions and support their opinions. Im not on here to cause any issues and merely tried to get some advice on how to fix my distributor issues. I was sold a defectively manufactured part, which I wont use as supplied. I fixed the issue on my own dime and would like to stop arguing. I don't appreciate being told my way is wrong and your way is absolutely correct. I'm an ASE Ford mechanic with 20 years of experience. All I build is Fords and I know them well. Im used to being sold aftermarket parts that don't meet OEM fit and function. I have a lot of money tied up in my engine and wont compromise when it comes to what goes into it. The Edelbrock Pro Flo4 system is a great product but the distributor is JUNK. I'm just being honest. I would post all the supporting evidence if I were able to but this forum wont allow it.

                So thank you for your efforts and opinions but I will just stick to what I feel is appropriate for my needs and standards.


                • #23
                  The product is designed and built right . Your just mad because you can't easy modify it.
                  I'm just going to ignore you too.
                  I feel sorry for the people's vehicles you 2 work on.
                  At 43,861 MPH Elon Musk now owns the fastest car in this Galaxy


                  • #24
                    This thread is closed.

                    We sell thousands of PF4 kits in many engine sizes.
                    We DO NOT have a distributor issue.
                    The warranty return #'s, i can count on one hand.

                    You may not like the appearance, but they are built correct & tested by our R & D Dept.