A few months ago I replaced the shaft bearing in my TEC distributor – 1986 Accord LX-i. I documented the teardown with pictures so everybody that may want to do it would have an idea of the task before them.
However, consider it as an illustration; it is not a recommendation or suggestion on what should be done and how.
This was the second time I took the distributor apart; the first time I replaced the shaft seal because it was leaking badly. From the outside, it looked like the distributor o-ring was the problem, but it was not –the photos will show that later.
Things I used
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* Bearing. Nachi 6201/012NSL. I got the exact OE bearing at CBR bearing, www.cbrbearing.com. $19 + shipping.
I could not find a cheaper replacement. The bearing I got is the EXACT bearing it was installed in my distributor – same bearing brand, same bearing code, and same origin (Japan!). Given the price of a rebuilt distributor, it was an easy decision for me to replace the bearing.
* Silicone grease. Allows for heat transfer from the ignitor to the distributor (its body acts as a heatsink). Radioshack carries those (about $3 each).
* Shaft Seal. It fits several Honda distributors in addition to the 3G EFI distributor. I got mine on Ebay, but they can be bought online. Price: $9 to $15. I believe the seal is a NOK brand.
I did not replace it because I had done it before; (I did it when I first got the car) but wanted a spare just in case (it also fits my 93 Civic).
Those things may not be necessary, but it may be a good time to replace some things since the distributor is completely apart, while some others may be handy if something unexpected happens and there is no other way to go to the hardware store to get additional items.
* Phillips screws (pan head, 5mm) Different lengths are better (8mm, 10mm, 12mm); they’ll be useful if some screws get stuck and the heads damaged. Also useful are some lock washers for those screws.
* Philips screwdriver. A good one that fits the head of the above mentioned screws is a necessity. I do not have an impact screwdriver, but I bet getting one with a good bit it may make quite a difference when dealing with stuck screws.
* A 4mm tap. One of my distributor cap screws broke the first time I tried to replace the cap. I drilled the broken screw out (1/8” drill bit would work) and then re-tapped the hole.
* Center punch. Used to mark the different parts before disassembling so they can be re-assembled in the same position. Maybe a sharp tip point may be used too.
* Punch to remove pin inside of distributor (EFI sensor triggers). A regular nail (3-5mm thick may do the trick too)
Plastic items inside the distributor (connectors, wire sleeves) get brittle with time and exposure with heat and chemicals, so one should be VERY CAREFUL when manipulating them. For instance, when I replaced the shaft seal at the base of the distributor, the wires going to the sensors (CRANK and CYL) that command the electronic fuel injection were really, really, stiff. I had to be very careful when pulling out the sensors not to disturb the wires as I feared breaking the wires’ sleeves or the wires themselves.
Overall, being gentle when manipulating all the internal parts ends up paying off.
I got myself a comfortable working place and plenty of time. I waited until I got the house for myself so I would not be bothered with anything or by anyone; I even turned the cell phone off. That also gave me time to pause, take photos to document the process, and make notes on how certain things were assembled together before taking them apart.
The time I spent doing this was about 2 hours; but time here takes a back seat to the need of NOT breaking anything and documenting several things that are crucial in getting the car running again. This distributor does not only control the ignition but also controls the electronic fuel injection, so extra care has to be taken to avoid screw ups.