distributor bearing & seal

i got pics theyll come later maybe

Went road race & speed contests last night/this morning, when i got home i noticed a load of oil leaking out of my distributor cap (like a waterfall) - oh nooo that cant be good. im thinking the high rpms and duration up there prolly killed the seal (i was pretty much holding it near redline- 8700 3rd gear for 60 miles of hard driving and then hit the drags immediately after that).

i pulled the distributor, opened the cap (which was shattered actually) my rotor and cap were destroyed inside by metal fragments and oil was everywhere inside. the helms manual had no info in terms of total overhaul in fact i cant even find rebuild parts for sale. i was like fuk that im not gonna pay $260 plus 80 core for something that i could fix for $40

i gutted the distributor and got everything cleaned up. luckily the rotor shaft was still good but the seal and bearing were so shot that i could see sunlight where the shaft went through the housing. there was soo much play in the shaft that im surprised the housing didnt crack or worst. i removed the C ring from the cam drive key and poked out the pin, then tapped the shaft out of the housing with a plastic hammer. The bearing broke into 3 major pieces and fragments which destroyed my cap and rotor. There was nothing left of the seal except for the spring around the shaft and a melted glob of crap. I used a 10mm socket on the cam side and tapped out the remains of the bearing.

i had an assortment of gutted distributor housings from hondas. none would fit my vtec head mounting points so what i did was remove the bearing and seals from these low mileage housings. tapped the seal and bearing out together with the 10milli.

once i had a fresh bearing & seal i coated them with engine assembly lube. I tapped the bearing into my stock housing first with a 10milli and then the seal using a 15milli socket. put everything back together and the shaft spun smooth as silk. it fired up even better and i saved myself $300. this whole project only took 1-2 hours. i seriously want to know where i can find those bearings and seals brand new so i dont have to recover them from other distributors. anyone know where?

in addition:
i dunno how i was still able to drive my car home after all this. it’s a miracle. the car still ran well enuf for me not to notice in the spur of the moment - my rotor conductor was mangled like a piece of corogated board. the cap contacts were all bent and twisted out of shape and place. i got lucky…i was running on 3 cylinders lol no wonder a built vr6 was able to keep up with me.

lucky doesn’t even begin to describe that. glad you got home OK.

how to rebuild ur distributor:
[you need this when your distributor a)has excessive bearing play b)is flooded with oil c)is siezed]

#1 gut the housing:
remove all the sensors attached by phillips screws
remove clip and pin - the cam drive tooth will slide off with 2 washers
remove shaft, TDC rotor & mount plate using a puller

#2 housing bearing & seal:
use a 10mm socket and hammer on the engine side to remove bearing and seal. reinstall seal on the inner side using a 15mm socket.

WTF im not gonna pay 265 + core for 2 stupid bearings and a piece of rubber…(destroyed seal in picture; it’s suppsed to be 50% bigger)

Completely gutted distributor housing ready for rebuilding and reassembly.

Awesome info bro! My dizzy seized up after a day of fun >=T. got home making some nasty scratchy sounds. i knew the bearing was wasted but didnt know if its possible to do a rebuild. My LS dizzy bearing should be compatible with my obd0 b16 shaft no? anyways. im gonna try it later today and see whats going on.

:rockon: :clap:

How does this help if your not lucky enough to have an “Assortment” of old oem distributors laying around? We need to source the exact or upgraded bearing and a new seal that will fit correctly. It’s nice that you got it fixed so inexpensively. Can you source the bearing?

good write-up dude,actually im suffering right now from either a seized dist.or a igniter that is shot.im actually thinking about doing some surgery also to my dist. now that i seen these intresting tips.nice sh*t bro.

archivethis good info

archivethis please… :read: :up:

Is that rubber seal the only thing holding back oil?

My car wouldn’t start up today. I’ve had distributor issues before, so I immediately went to check my dist. While removing the 3 bolts that hold the cap on, I noticed the bottom bolt had oil on it. The cap also had some oil on it, but not alot, like the original posters problem stated.


  1. is this oil coming from the engine or is there some other source of oil within the dist?

  2. is there only one seal, as pictured above, that seperates the oil from the engine and inside the dist? Shouldn’t there be another cam seal or something?

How does this help if your not lucky enough to have an “Assortment” of old oem distributors laying around? We need to source the exact or upgraded bearing and a new seal that will fit correctly. It’s nice that you got it fixed so inexpensively. Can you source the bearing?

If i could find new bearings and seals i wouldve done it. Maybe someone else will figure out where to obtain those things brand new and add it to this thread. Given that i wanted to have my car back on the road on the same day, i did what i had to do.

i tried to go to a place that rebuilds distributors, but they wouldnt sell the parts. Eventually a shop gave me the distributor housings cuz it was trash to them (the electronics were fried or missing) and it worked out well because all i wanted were the bearings and seal. if you can find it at the junkyard, wrecked teg, etc.

that 1 rubber seal is the only thing that prevents oil from coming in. the washers near the cam key might also contribute somehow, but the seal has to do its job.

It wouldn’t be that hard to spec out the bearing… If I had one. the seal may be another thing… we would need a brand new unmolested specimen to try and source one

I think finding the bearing would be easy if we knew the dimensions. The seal is another story.

GJ though, Matt :up:

bump for a good thread

Hey guys. Bearing part number is 6001-RS. You can get them at www.vxb.com
Its an online bearing store. You can buy ten of them for under 20bucks.

Yes, that’s a universal code 6001 bearing, you could get that at McMaster Carr with a nice dual rubber seal.

The oil seal says BH3888E on it.

The bushing is a sintered bronze oil impregnated one. It is 10mm thick, , approx. 16.5mm O.D. and used to be 12.5mm I.D. When/if I get it out I will post a follow up.

Not sure what to do about the shaft where the seal has polished a little groove into it. Maybe put it in a drill chuck and hit it with 2000 grit wet sandpaper or scotch brite.

I agree, it’s B.S. to pay $280 for these three parts in a rebuilt distributor.

My symptoms were noisy squealing distributor, then the car was misfiring and could barely move, then it ran fine the next day, pulled the distributor and the shaft was pretty much seized. 160,000 miles

For tonight, removed the cage pieces and re-packed it with some grease and little Delrin balls I found at work between the 8 steel balls I was able to find rolling around. Uh oh! can’t remember which way the pin thing that engages to the engine goes relative to the inside magnetic encoding pieces.

Wish me luck!

edited- the seal number ends with an “E”, not a “3”


I drove it this way for a week, then put in a McMaster Carr 5972K82 bearing. It is grease packed with integral rubber seals. $7.00 sounds a lot better than $280.00

I left the bronze bushing and the oil seal in there.

whoa, i was doing almost the same thing a week ago… talk about synchronicity. in my case the bearing was fine, but the retainer and cyp sensor were shot.

excellent thread.

Interesting :corn:

I’m in the process of doing a distributor overhaul right now. Small gear pullers with a bit of WD40 work wonders for this.

Also it’s worth noting that when you put the end of the shaft back on (piece that connects to the end of your cam) that you do not forget the washers that sit between the end piece and the distributor housing, and remember to mark the position of the rotor before you remove your distributor so that you do not reinstall it off 180 degrees. There are three of those washers, and they need to be cleaned or replaced, and lubed with your favorite motor oil before they are put back together.

Very easy to rebuild or repair a distributor, more people should be doing this. Good to see the pics are still up, too. :slight_smile: