Got questions? 

We’ve got the answers—the Summit Racing tech department tackles your automotive-related conundrums. This week we take on premature camshaft and distributor gear wear..                             

T.H. • Loveland, CO

Q: I have a 1981 Jeep J-20 with a rebuilt 401 cubic inch engine. After 5,000 miles, the distributor and camshaft gears completely wore out. So, I replaced both gears and tapped in an extra oil line to give the gears plenty of lubrication. Only 1,500 miles later, the gears wore out yet again! Is there a proper procedure for installing the gears so this doesn’t happen again?

A: This is a very common issue. To tackle this problem, you need some ring-and-pinion marking compound. Apply the compound to both gears and then fully install the distributor. After that, roll the motor over with a wrench, and the marking compound will show you the gear tracking. From there, you should be able to see if the gears are engaging properly. In most cases, you’ll find that the engagement of the cam gear and distributor gear is too deep, creating premature wear and gear failure.

To fix this problem, we recommend a Moroso Distributor Shim Kit. The shims will properly adjust the distributor gear to improve timing and reduce wear.

Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.