Has anyone ever heard of refurbishing an old distributor cap?

I know it sounds a bit odd, since they're normally pretty cheap, but sometimes they go out of production and you just can't get a replacement.

So if the cap is basically OK, but the contact points are just worn down and need to be replaced, is that possible?


While this is a general question, it might help to see the specific cap I'm interested in doing this to:

enter image description here

And the top:

enter image description here

  • Yes, depends on your skill level though....
    – Solar Mike
    May 2, 2018 at 11:00
  • @SolarMike Let's assume my skill level is up to it. How would I go about it? May 2, 2018 at 11:28
  • Grind off, drill, tap, make new, replace... works fine with brass pins in old caps...
    – Solar Mike
    May 2, 2018 at 12:42
  • Out of curiosity, what's the cap from? It's branded Hitachi, so could be fairly generic?
    – Nick C
    May 2, 2018 at 13:34
  • It's a 22162-78C00 off of a 99 Nissan Almera 1.6L. Many parts catalogs say it's interchangeable with the 22162-0M300, but a brief visual inspection immediately shows that it's not. May 2, 2018 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


"So if the cap is basically OK, but the contact points are just worn down and need to be replaced, is that possible?"

Short answer: Maybe.

Many plastic caps are molded around the contact pins. This would make then nearly impossible to remove without damaging the cap. Each cap being different, there is no definitive answer. Some caps may have this feature, but I have never seen it in the USA.

Even if you were to be able to replace the contacts, cracking also occurs with plastic caps as they age. This allows for moisture to ingress causing misfires or failure to spark. So, careful inspection for cracking it critical.

  • You don’t always have to remove the whole pin...
    – Solar Mike
    May 2, 2018 at 15:29
  • @CharlieRB is correct about small cracks leading to misfires and failure, particularly in damp climates. It strikes me that refinishing the exterior of the cap with paint or epoxy sealant might mitigate this risk by filling hard-to-see imperfections that might be or lead to cracking. May 2, 2018 at 23:19

So, what I have done in the past is to support the cap then drill out or to a depth the old pin. Tap it to match the new pins you have made and fit them - usually with a strong loctite or equivalent.

  • Added some pics of my specific cap. Is it possible it could be unscrewed from the wire side and the old contacts pushed out? May 2, 2018 at 13:17
  • You have the cap : so work out if the slot is a tool mark from a pressing operation or a screw head...
    – Solar Mike
    May 2, 2018 at 13:33
  • Indeed, just thought you might have encountered something like this before. Thanks. May 2, 2018 at 14:00
  • I have, old caps with screws and others of a similar age with pressed bits : as I said you have to check what you have....
    – Solar Mike
    May 2, 2018 at 15:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .