1981 Lincoln town car- my distributor rotor has two contacts. which one should I have pointed at #1 when setting up timing?


Asked by Aug 01, 2013 at 07:27 AM about the 1981 Lincoln Town Car Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 81 town car jumped time when I replaced the distributor. having trouble tuning it in because the rotor has two pins and ive never encountered this before. not sure the rotor postion for #1 plug at tdc.

8 Answers

That is the first model year of the Town Car, geez and it looks mint, don't let it go....but never seen a rotor with 2 contacts either. Especially when the only engine offered was the 5L 302Windsor..pulled up schematics and no help, rotor looks like this for that engine. Maybe get a new rotor, or if you do have #1 at TDC and it doesn't start flip it 180 and see what happens


this is the style I have.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

This is an MCU system, if you don;t have the tool for aligning the distributor then you can't set it properly, you may have to have a shop get it set for you. They will know how ot set it

Tracy Hooks

One set of contacts is higher than the other. Ford was trying to keep the contacts as far away from each other as possible to prevent cross-fire. Look on the top of your new cap and find the number 1. Look at the contact that is inside the cap: is it high or low? Set #1 that way. No special tool required - I don't even think one exists. Looks like this old-timer still has it huh?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

After trial and error I learned the offset contact is the one to be set for #1 at tdc. not only that but I was setting my timing as you would for a single contact rotor. my firing order was stamped 1 5 4 2 6 3 7 8 on the intake so that's how I set my plugs. wrong. starting at the #1 pos I had to place my plugs in order of 2 1 3 4 8 6 5 7 for the rotor to make the proper contact at the proper time. lesson learned.

Tracy Hooks


Sounds like you fixed your problem. I think i may have a similar issue. Im working on my 1981 Continental MKVI, engine turns over and gets plenty of fuel, but she wont catch for some reason. I think its the timing because i do have spark. Ive set the wires under the regular 15426378 and then with 21348657 and no dice. New cap and coil. She just keeps turning over and over. Any ideas?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

If you have a non vacuum advanced distributor (no other wires or vac tube coming out of the side) everything must jive together to achieve a start. If your timing has jumped, no matter what you do it wont start until the timing has been reset. its a bummer, but was a hard learned lesion. the timing chain isn't very hard to replace and my stock upper gear was plastic with a broken tooth. id assume being the same year you may have a similar issue.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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