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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

Using Older Distributor

From Datsun 1200 Club

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Categories: Engine Electrical System | Ignition Modifications

Using an early A-series distributor in a newer A-series engines is possible by swapping the distributor adjusting plate, along with a slight modification to the bolt slot.


NOTE: Before you remove the original distributor, line up your timing marks. For details on how to install Distributor & set engine timing see Ignition Timing.

The timing-adjustment plate on the bottom of the distributor needs to match the engine.


Early A-series engine: 1967-1973 (front distributor engines)
* A10 & early A12

Late A-series engine: 1974-up (mid-distributor engines)
* Late A12 & all A13, A14, A15

Left: Late A-engine distributor. Right: Early A-engine version
As you can see in this photo, the Early plate has the adjustment-slot on the opposite side compared with the Late type.

Now, either distributor will fit into either engine, and you can rotate the distributor relative to the engine, but you cannot get the slots to line up correctly in an Early using Late adjustment plate, and vice-versa.

Left: Early A-engine. Right: Late A-engine

It looks like the angle of the plate-to-distributor bolt is at a different angle, but that turns out to be not a problem.

Early distributor in Late engine (A14 in this photo)
24671.jpgAlbum 24671 24672.jpgAlbum 24672


So, we put the engine-matching plate on the distributor -- then we notice the real problem: the slot on the Late plate doesn't quite match the bolt hole on the Early distributor.

24673.jpgAlbum 24673


The solution is easy enough. Use a small round file to widen out a bit of the slot. Or drill a wider spot in the slot. The 2nd slot is used for adjustment, so the exact position of the drilling/widening is not critical.


After this, it's ready to use in your late-model A-series engine! See "how to install Distributor & set timing" at Ignition Timing.

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