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.
I Just put those new caps on both engines.  Amazing response.  Almost every issue I’ve had on these engines has centered on those darned caps.  At least now I can start each season off fresh!
Again, Thanks.  Daniel Neher

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Thanks Dick and Tim for keeping the basic goals of the Club alive.

Tim Miller

Geez, Dick, for a minute you scared me, thinking the flat cap 221B for the Q motors was also obsolete. Fortunately it is still available, but getting pricey at $52 - $60 each.

For the sake of all Q owners I hope the Q flat cap continues in production for many years. Even if a project like this was undertaken on the Q, due to the forward location of the distributor on the Q motor, there is not enough vertical clearance on most boats for a stack cap. When I get bored and need some shop time, I might look at the 427 flat cap. That one cries out for an alternative.

Dick. Please do. Would love to ditch my crabby caps. :).

We have crab caps from the 31 we used to own that can be purchased.

Dick, did anyone say if they had to have a different boot configuration on the wires to do this conversion?  Thanks


"Yez pays your money & yez takes your choice" :-) This modified cap uses regular 7mm wires and you can use either straight boots or 90 degree boots. Tim down in Florida uses straight boots, while Chris in Texas uses 90 degree boots. As to the height issue, the highest things on an F engine are the risers, so boot configuration is academic. If I were doing it, I'd use a nice new set of straight boot wires. On a marine engine, if you can't remember when you last changed the plug wires, it's time !

Ed, I’ll buy them. I still have one engine with a crab cap. Email me the details at coyimages@gnail.com


Edward "Ed" STONE said:

We have crab caps from the 31 we used to own that can be purchased.

Thanks Dick, I was just about to order a pair of new distributors for my 31 Commander because of the lack of replacement caps.  Instead I just ordered a couple of the Sierra caps and rotors and of course your spacer kits and saved over a thousand bucks.  So glad I checked the Commander Club forum first.

Chris Bales

Dick, impressive piece of research and a truly practical solution. Between new distributors and retrofitting tachometers my cost approached $1K. Congratulations.

Pull the points out and put in some Pertronix Ignitors. You get to keep your mechanical tachs, but get the benefit of electronic ignition. It was night and day difference for my starboard engine. I can't wait until I can do the port now!

Chris Bales said:

Thanks Dick, I was just about to order a pair of new distributors for my 31 Commander because of the lack of replacement caps.  Instead I just ordered a couple of the Sierra caps and rotors and of course your spacer kits and saved over a thousand bucks.  So glad I checked the Commander Club forum first.

Chris Bales


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


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