Important to change the distributor cap/rotor?

Messages
8,311
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Hi all, when I purchased my Acura 2.5 years ago I changed the entire distributor which also included a new cap/rotor. I'm coming up to the recommended 30,000 mile service, which includes getting a new distributor cap/rotor. How important is it to get this done, and what are the consequences of not getting it done? I'm clueless when it comes to distributor maintenance, so any help would be appreciated.
 
Messages
24,402
Location
Central Florida
At 30K miles both will still be OK. You might have a misfire if the rotor/cap is badly worn out. On our old Civic I would change the cap/rotor every 60K miles. BTW, there is a very small screw that holds the rotor onto the distributor and depending on how the rotor is turned you can not see it and have trouble removing it.
 
Messages
11,247
Location
PA
Get a mini-grinding wheel, like for a dremel. Pop the cap off and spin the wheel with a screwgun (or a dremel) and the corrosion on the inside contacts will just grind away. Do someting similar to the rotor and you are good to go after a dab of dielectric grease on the top of the rotor, where the graphite lead fromt he cap spins against it. Anti-sieze is ok too (copper). It'll run as good a new. We have 150k on our CRV cap, so if you decide to toss yours, just send it to us!
 
Messages
3,391
Location
Cali
Don't mess with bandaid fixes :no-no: get a new cap and rotor, you got your moneys worth out of the old set \:\!
 
Messages
19,479
Location
Chicago Area
Rotors wear faster than caps. This is because the tip sees all the cylinders firing, and the individual cap terminals only their respective ones. If you cap center electrode is good, just get a rotor. Clean the inside terminals gently - don't take of metal.
 
Messages
34,999
Location
NY
I'd say 30,000 miles is a reasonable service life, 50,000 miles might be OK too. At 30,000 miles a light clean up might be all that is needed to get it to 50,000 miles. Best thing to do is check it and see, the rotors do tend to wear out faster, but I've always replaced them as a set. JMO
 
Messages
11,247
Location
PA
 Originally Posted By: Malo83
Don't mess with bandaid fixes :no-no: get a new cap and rotor, you got your moneys worth out of the old set \:\!
He's not using a Band-Aid, he's cleaning corrosion, a desirable service. Unless you have any facts proving otherwise. My facts are that a cleaned cap works just like a new one, and I've done it countless times. Never a problem. You're saying the problem is what exactly? Too much cash sitting around?
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,826
Location
The Motor City
As I understand it, the cap and rotor are replaced because the gap between the two gets larger. The increasing voltage required to jump this gap leaves less voltage to jump the gap at the plug. Cleaning the cap and rotor is like cleaning the spark plugs. The difference is that you can regap the plugs.
 
Messages
25,046
Location
ON, Canada eh?
Why don't you buy a new cap/rotar and keep it in the car with a screwdriver. This way you can safely run it out to 60K as mentioned above. If it starts acting up and you are a fair distance away from home you can change it out in the parking lot or side of the road and keep on driving. \:\!
 
Messages
3,391
Location
Cali
 Originally Posted By: Audi Junkie
 Originally Posted By: Malo83
Don't mess with bandaid fixes :no-no: get a new cap and rotor, you got your moneys worth out of the old set \:\!
He's not using a Band-Aid, he's cleaning corrosion, a desirable service. Unless you have any facts proving otherwise. My facts are that a cleaned cap works just like a new one, and I've done it countless times. Never a problem. You're saying the problem is what exactly? Too much cash sitting around?
don't tell anybody but I have a cash tree in the bacyard ;\) 30K on a cap and rotor is way past what I would run,I do annual tune ups on all my vehicles, "NEW" cap and rotor, "NEW" plugs "NEW" fuel filter, etc,etc. and oil changes 3K with Dino and "NEW" oil filter, 5K with Synthetic and "NEW" oil filter, oh and Pennz Platinum and Wix FILTERS. If you want send me your Add. and i'll send you all my old parts and oil if you like
 

ThirdeYe

Thread starter
Messages
8,311
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Thanks for the input everyone... I think I'll just go ahead and replace them along with the spark plugs at 30k (both were done previously at the same time, both due)
 
Messages
1,183
Location
Canada
I years past, before the mfgs claimed no service intervals required, it was typical to replace the rotor and cap AROUND the 30k mark. I'm sure you could make it till 40 k without any ill effects on the ignition reliability. These are wear points and the cap and rotor are as important as the plugs when servicing.
 
Messages
16,181
Location
Silicon Valley
I used to replace my cap/rotor on my Integra every 30k, but then they look like new. Now I just check them and swap between new/old set and see if there is a difference. What I found is they do make the engine smoother with a new set, but the old one isn't exactly bogging the engine. Now I clean them every 10k miles. When you grind the corrosion off the rotor tip, you also grind off the protective and conductive coating, and therefore they don't last as long as new. One thing you probably should know is make sure you use a Phillip screw driver in good condition to remove the rotor screw. They are non-ferrous and can easily get round off, then you will have to use special tool to get the screw off and replace it will a new screw. Total pain in the rear.
 

ThirdeYe

Thread starter
Messages
8,311
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
I took my car to the dealership and had them do the 30k service (minus the oil change, spark plugs and air filter which I do myself). I told them to check the valve clearance and distributor cap/rotor. They adjusted a few of the valves but said the cap/rotor were fine and didn't need to be replaced. So I guess I'll just keep it where it's at and have it done in maybe a year or two. It still drives perfectly, so I'm not too concerned especially if they said it was fine. The service manual never says to replace it, it just says to have it "inspected" every 30k. I remembered wrongly when I made my original post saying it needed to be replaced every 30k per the manual.
 
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