Ford 5.0L, 5.8L Windsor Ignition Tune Up

Distributor Cap, Rotor, and Ignition Coil Replacement For 5.0L and 5.8L V-8 Engines

The distributor is a vital part of your engine, as it provides electricity to the appropriate spark plug at the correct time. The cap and rotor need to be replaced at regular intervals in order to ensure the engine runs at peak efficiency. The rotor is a moving part that rubs on metal inserts in the cap and therefore wears out over time. Additionally, the high voltage energy pulsing through the system can cause corrosion of the various connectors. The ignition coil does not often need to be replaced, but since this truck was receiving a full ignition tune up and has over 150,000 miles on the factory, 25 year old coil, it was replaced as well. A weak ignition coil will lead to poor combustion characteristics and reduced fuel economy.

Cap & Rotor Replacement

Click any thumbnail to view high resolution fullsize image w/ addition details (where applicable)

Distributor with cap removed

• Locate the distributor, positioned on the the front of the engine (all the spark plug wires connect to the distributor cap).

• Start by removing the distributor cap retaining clips (do not remove the spark plug wires at this point). The clips are located at the 11 and 5 o' clock positions and secure the cap to the distributor body.

• Lift the distributor cap from the distributor body to access the rotor. You should have a few inches of space beneath the cap, even with the wires still attached.

Distributor rotor

• Remove the rotor and install the new one in the same position as the original. A foot on the rotor slides into a corresponding slot on the distributor body to ensure proper alignment (red arrow in image at left).

Installing new distributor cap

• Install your new distributor cap in the same position as the original (retaining clips at 11 and 5 o' clock).

• If the original cap has a heat shield, you will need to install it on the new cap. Remove the wires that hold the heat shield in place, then swap the heat shield onto the new cap.

• Remove the spark plug wires from the original cap and install them on the replacement cap (start with the ones you removed to get the heat shield off, if applicable).

• To ensure that you do not cross any wires, move them one at a time and move in a clockwise or counter clockwise rotation (do not randomly start swapping them over to the new cap).

Ignition Coil Replacement

Ignition coil location

• The ignition coil is located near the rear of the engine. To find it, follow the spark plug wire from the center of your distributor, it connects to the coil.

• Unplug the connector and plug wire from the ignition coil, being careful not to damage either.

Ignition coil removed

• The coil is held down by four bolts/screws with 7/32" heads. Remove the hardware and then the coil itself (this may differ with model year).

New ignition coil installed

• Install your new coil in the reverse manner you removed it.

• Reinstall the plug wire and electrical connector to the ignition coil.

• Start the vehicle and ensure everything was installed correctly.