Or---- Farewell to flat cap blues !! At least for 283F & 327F engine owners. Owners of 27's, 31's, & 35's with these engines know (or should know) that the flat type distributor cap on these engines is out of production and existing stock of these caps has dried up --- In other words, if you need one you are in a world of hurt. New distributors are an expensive answer, but then what about the mechanical drive original tachs? No matter how you approach this problem, it is gonna require a serious outlay of cash :-(
Three members of the club collaborated  to solve this problem. Tim Gressett of Florida started the ball rolling by coming up with a unique replacement using a Chrysler cap. Chris Hebert of Texas supplied pictures of his 31 with a different cap and did some subsequent research and came up with a Sierra cap & rotor number that could be made to work with some modifications, and I, from the frozen north, did a little design & engineering work on the modifications. I machined 4 spacers to use on these caps and then had a machine shop make 40 more.The finished result is currently on one one of Tim's engines and is running fine.
The club has decided to offer these in a kit to interested members who need a spare or new cap. The price is very nominal, and will generate a small profit for the club which will help keep us dues free. There is even a video showing how to install the modification kit on a distributor.
The whole development story behind this, while lengthy, is an interesting example of the value of collaboration and is a PDF attachment to this post.  FAREWELL to distributor cap blues !! :-) 
All the details, video and ordering information are available by clicking on this link:
PS -- If you read the development story in the link above or the attachment to this post, remember to scroll down all the way to the end of the PDF file.

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Dick,

I’ve purchased a set of spacers. Please confirm the receipt of the order and advise when they’ll ship.

thanks.

I've got a question...

If you're going from the flat cap to a stack cap, how do you know where to put each plug? I would assume that I could just put the plugs in the same position as the distributor on my starboard side couldn't I?

E-mail confirmations will be sent.  Thanks for the order!!

Christopher Hebert said:

Dick,

I’ve purchased a set of spacers. Please confirm the receipt of the order and advise when they’ll ship.

thanks.

NO !! I take it this new cap is for your sick port engine. You have contra-rotating engines and the firing order for your port engine is different than your stbd. engine. You can place the wires in the new stack cap in the same location relative to the indexing key on the outside of the cap as they were on the flat cap you are replacing.

Christopher Hebert said:

I've got a question...

If you're going from the flat cap to a stack cap, how do you know where to put each plug? I would assume that I could just put the plugs in the same position as the distributor on my starboard side couldn't I?

ooohhhh... good thing you said that. I didn't even think about it.

Dick Morland said:

NO !! I take it this new cap is for your sick port engine. You have contra-rotating engines and the firing order for your port engine is different than your stbd. engine. You can place the wires in the new stack cap in the same location relative to the indexing key on the outside of the cap as they were on the flat cap you are replacing.

I just watched the video Dick - stellar job! 

Although I don't feel like I contributed much, it's nice to be part of this group and have the support from other members like yourself. Without it, I know there's no way I would be at the point I am with my boat - and probably would have given up long ago. 

I've been a member of lots of forums over the years, and at first I questioned how valuable this one may be. However its proved its worth ten fold. I'll definitely be buying some Commander Club swag, and supporting it far into the future. 

Mr. Morland,

I received my Sierra 18-5369 today, and I got to looking at it and the center spring part looks like its plastic. Can you explain how the current flows from the wire to the rotor properly if this is plastic?

The cap has a small spring loaded plunger. It's not plastic. You did get the rotor for this cap, didn't you? It will not work with the rotor in your distributor right now. BTW, pictures are worth a thousand words. Lets see one of the interior of your cap and one of the rotor.

I don't know if the distributor cap spring loaded center plunger is pure carbon, but I'm sure it's a highly conductive material with a lot of a conductor similar to carbon at the very least.

Thats interesting.  It's certainly doesn't feel like metal. 

I did not buy the rotor for this cap because I installed a Pertronix Ignitor, which came with its own rotor. However, the rotor that was under my flat cap did not have the spring on the end of the rotor. The brass part was flat all the way across.

I'll get photos of the inside of my cap and rotor on Monday when I'm off of work and back at the boat. It's fairly "interesting" to say the least.

Dick Morland said:

I don't know if the distributor cap spring loaded center plunger is pure carbon, but I'm sure it's a highly conductive material with a lot of a conductor similar to carbon at the very least.

Mr. Morland,

I absolutely cannot thank you enough for developing the spacers. They worked perfectly!! I installed my new stack cap today and it ran so very smoothly! I ended up filing a slight inward angle on the top of my spacers so that the clips would stay put and it was a very snug fit. Between the new cap, the pertronix ignitor, and the pertronix flamethrower coil, its running like brand new now! And there's no more hesitation on the acceleration! Only thing I have left to do is rebuild the carburetor, and install new spark plugs.

Here is a video of it running with the new cap. I have the tape on there to note the cylinders until I can permanently mark them on the cap. After it warmed up, after the cold start, it would start on half a crank!

And here is some photos of my old crab cap. You can see that the center contact is chipped and broken off, and the contact points are caked with carbon and corrosion. 

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