A distributor seal locks in the oil going through the distributor and the engine. Overtime, these small, circular, rubber rings tear allowing the oil to leak to the other parts of. If unattended, this little leak can escalate to becoming a major problem. Buying a replacement seal is not as straightforward as it seems. There are factors to consider when picking the perfect ring for your distributor.
Let's start with the obvious by saying this: the rubber seal should be designed specifically as a distributor seal. Gaskets and other seals for different applications look very similar with each other. Don't be fooled into using a seal not specified for distributors and oil. Using a wrong type is as good as not having a seal at all.
There aren't any universal size distributor seals. Pick a ring that has the same diameter as the distributor's oil well. You want the seal's to be tight and snug enough to make sure that the oil does not leak through it. Do not get a ring that will be extremely tight to avoid piercing the rubber, which will lead to a seal failure.
The seal should be able to face lots of stress during operation to be able to do its job properly.
- Heat control: The rubber seal is located in an area exposed to high temperatures. Make sure that the seal you will use will be able to handle the heat levels of the engine. Get a seal guaranteed not to break under any temperature. This means getting a seal that properly expands when heated, and shrinks when cold.
- Under pressure: A seal should be able to keep high-pressure oil from leaking out. Push the ring beyond its range, it will break and fail. A torn seal due to the pressure is a common source of seal failure.
As a general rule, a stronger engine should use a tougher distributor seal.