The Suicide Solution or How I Decided to Replace my Vacuum Advance Mechanism
Some time ago, in an attempt to diagnose the turbo system, I performed the suicide manuever. Never do this. If you disconnect the hose going from the APC solenoid to the turbo wastegate and plug it, the wastegate doesn't get pressurized, and _never_ dumps excess boost. Now, the burden of not blowing your engine up is placed on you, not some fancy-ass analog electronics. Whoooo boy, is it placed on you. I did this test once, and my engine knocked HARD when the boost gauge reached 2/3rds through the yellow region! This verified two things:
So, I did a little research into the part and the distributor in general. Based on the knowledge obtained from that, augmented with my caffeine high, I decided to change out the advance mechanism, replace the o-ring on the back of the distributor, and do the cap and rotor. All told, Ywan and Tom at Townsend Imports quoted me about $84 with shipping, speedily processed my order (thanks, guys), and inside of a week I had a bunch of happy distributor-related things.
Of course, to use that o-ring, I had to pull the distributor, but I figured, what the hell, you only live once. No problem, except for the bottom bolt on the distributor. With the heat shield on the exhaust manifold and the turbocharger, there's not a whole lot of room to get a wrench in there. Once I had the thing out and the case was relatively clean, I broke the old o-ring to remove it, slid the new one in place and replaced the advance (being sure to mate it with the tab inside the distributor). Space constraints aside, it was a fairly easy repair, as long as you make sure to carve marks on the distributor mount and the valve cover to indicate the appropriate position of the rotor!
I HAVE BOOST!
|Information updated on Tuesday, 2 May 2000.|