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Discussion Starter #1
I'm assuming this is a bad thing...

1999 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L gas

I've been dealing with a crap ton of issues. Recently replaced the timing chain, PCM, ignition coil, distributor with cam sensor (pickup coil), cap/rotor/plugs, crankshaft position sensor, and found that my upstream O2 sensor was completely disconnected.

I got codes P0430 (crank position sensor) and P1391 (crank/cam sensor disagreement).

Main issue right now is an intermittent crank-no-start (no spark) issue. Happens for a while and then goes away for a while... I get 15-20 perfect starts and it drives great, then suddenly no spark for a bunch of tries, then after 5-30 tries it starts.

Figured it was the pickup coil (cam sensor) under the distributor cap, but when I got up there I noticed that the distributor cap rotated freely in my hand... back and forth at least 20 degrees or more... as far as the plug wires will allow.

Should that cap rotate like that??? Would that rotation cause those codes and the intermittent crank-no-start (no spark) problem? What is supposed to hold it from rotating? And does it have to be in an extremely specific position to tighten it down, or is visually centering it sufficient?

Sorry... lots of questions all at once...

Thanks in advance!
 

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Is the cap itself rotating or is it the whole distributor (as in the clamp loosened)? The cap itself once fastened down is not supposed to move. If the whole distributor is moving, yes that would totally screw up your timing because the intial set as been disturbed; once intitally set and tightened down, the PCM handles advancing/retarding timing. From what you're describing, that's about the free range of moment the distributor should have.
From factory service manual:

INSTALLATION
If engine has been cranked while distributor is
removed, establish the relationship between distributor
shaft and number one piston position as follows:
Rotate crankshaft in a clockwise direction, as
viewed from front, until number one cylinder piston
is at top of compression stroke (compression should
be felt on finger with number one spark plug
removed). Then continue to slowly rotate engine
clockwise until indicating mark (Fig. 18) is aligned to
0 degree (TDC) mark on timing chain cover.
(1) Clean top of cylinder block for a good seal
between distributor base and block.
(2) Lightly oil the rubber o-ring seal on the distributor
housing.
(3) Install rotor to distributor shaft.
(4) Position distributor into engine to its original
position. Engage tongue of distributor shaft with slot
in distributor oil pump drive gear. Position rotor to
the number one spark plug cable position.
(5) Install distributor holddown clamp and clamp
bolt. Do not tighten bolt at this time.
(6) Rotate the distributor housing until rotor is
aligned to CYL. NO. 1 alignment mark on the camshaft
position sensor (Fig. 19) .
(7) Tighten clamp holddown bolt (Fig. 20) to 22.5
N·m (200 in. lbs.) torque.
(8) Connect camshaft position sensor wiring harness
to main engine harness.
(9) Install distributor cap. Tighten mounting
screws.
(10) Refer to the following, Checking Distributor
Position.

Checking Distributor Position
To verify correct distributor rotational position, the
DRB scan tool must be used.
WARNING: WHEN PERFORMING THE FOLLOWING
TEST, THE ENGINE WILL BE RUNNING. BE CAREFUL
NOT TO STAND IN LINE WITH THE FAN
BLADES OR FAN BELT. DO NOT WEAR LOOSE
CLOTHING.
(1) Connect DRB scan tool to data link connector.
The data link connector is located in passenger compartment,
below and to left of steering column.
(2) Gain access to SET SYNC screen on DRB.
(3) Follow directions on DRB screen and start
engine. Bring to operating temperature (engine must
be in “closed loop” mode).
(4) With engine running at idle speed, the words
IN RANGE should appear on screen along with 0°.
This indicates correct distributor position.
(5) If a plus (+) or a minus (-) is displayed next to
degree number, and/or the degree displayed is not
zero, loosen but do not remove distributor holddown
clamp bolt. Rotate distributor until IN RANGE
appears on screen. Continue to rotate distributor
until achieving as close to 0° as possible. After
adjustment, tighten clamp bolt to 22.5 N·m (200 in.
lbs.) torque.
The degree scale on SET SYNC screen of DRB is
referring to fuel synchronization only. It is not
referring to ignition timing. Because of this, do
not attempt to adjust ignition timing using this
method. Rotating distributor will have no effect on
ignition timing. All ignition timing values are controlled
by powertrain control module (PCM).
After testing, install air cleaner assembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your help Magnoom.
Whole distributor rotates, I found the bold that tightens the bracket.
Now to position it correctly...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It says that "rotating the distributor will not affect ignition timing" and that it's for "fuel synchronization only".

Is that really the case with this Dodge?
Does that distributor position really not control the ignition timing? Only fuel distribution?
 

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It says that "rotating the distributor will not affect ignition timing" and that it's for "fuel synchronization only".

Is that really the case with this Dodge?
Does that distributor position really not control the ignition timing? Only fuel distribution?
Really, it was the only way they could use that old a design (Magnum traces it's roots to the LA in 1964 and even further back to the A engine) with the current computer controls at the time.
 
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