The shaft below the gear on those MSD distributors is about a 1/2 inch longer then a Ford distributor. If you are using a heavy duty oil pump shaft that is round in the middle and machined on each end, instead of the Ford part that is machined its full lenght, you will need to trim the bottom of the distributor.
It isnt engaged onto the oil pump drive all the way. Put pressure on the dist while y ou turn the motor over by hand and it *should* drop right in. If not, take it out and alighn the oil pump shaft by hand using a socket and extension.
Yes, you may need to trim 3/16" off of the distributor to let it sit down all the way.
I have the exact same distributor and a stock oil pump, and I had the exact same issue with the distributor not sitting down all the way. After taking numerous measurements, it became obvious that the tip of the distributor shaft was bottoming on the casting surrounding the oil pump shaft. After trimming 3/16" from the distributor shaft, it seated all the way down just like it should. There is still well over 1" of engagement between the distributor shaft and the oil pump shaft.
MSD needs to figure this out. No doubt it's causing a lot of returns.
I don't understand how some are not having a problem with these distributors and other, like us, are. When Linwood posted his comment I thought it was possibly my oil pump because it's a HD but you're even running a standard stock pump. I would really like if someone would measure there stock distributor. Do you still have yours out of your donor?
Brian,if you have not started the car yet and there is no wear on the gear or scratches on the housing return it and get a pro billet from MSD,it's about $10.00 more from summit,about 3/8" shorter and has a smaller cap.good luck.
Before you cut the distributor, check to make sure you have the correct length pump drive shaft. They come in two different lengths, one for 289 and early 302's, and the other for EFI 5.0 engines. Also there have been some issues with some 351 blocks and MSD distributors. The distributor housing wouldn't seat in the block because the gear was not in the correct location for that particular block, and it ate the cam and distributor gear. These distributors should always be test fitted prior to installation, especially on a 351 block.
Brian, if my description sounded a little weird I'm sorry it was for a 351 block. After taking a closer look at your pictures I see you have a 302 block. With a 302 block the distributor shaft slides into the oil pump shaft. For some reason Ford has the oil pump shaft slide in to the distributor shaft on the 351.
I do not have a 302 distributor to measure for you but I have a stock 351 distributor that measures 1 inch below the gear. On my MSD distributor it measures 1 3/16 inch below the gear. I do not know how long it was before I had to trim it because I had the same problem you have. I ask some local experts when I had the problem with mine and they said it was common.
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