The Indian Distributor - all v-twins 1936-53
Click for bigger pictures.
-

Mechanical distributor parts with numbers.
Same picture without numbers here if there is something you want to see more clearly
A: Distributor body, not available new. All the other parts here are available new, and most of them usually in stock.
B: Distributor cam shaft. This must be good both on the cam (so you get the right timing on the other cylinder when you set the ignition on one cylinder). We can discuss ways of checking that. It must also be good where it runs in the bushings.
C: Bushings (2) for shaft in distributor body. Occasionally, they need sizing after fitting. Single-point boring on a lathe is best, but a sharp reamer can work. They are oil impregnated sintered bronze that can not be honed.
D: Thust washers (2).
E: Collar - to be pinned on after fitting shaft in distributor body.
F: Pin.
All the above parts usually last a long time. Some of the parts below are changed more often.
G: Distributor rotor. Carry a spare in your toolbox; the "finger" terminal can break off.
H: Distributor cap, usually lasts a long time but even very small cracks can mean stray sparks.
I: Hinge clips (2); usually lasts a long time but they are hardened and can break.
J: Screws (2).
K: Washers (2).
L: Autolite distributor tag with rivets.  If you want to stamp yours with the number the factory used for your model, look here.
M: Grease cup, both parts sold together. Fill with grease and give it a twist from time to time to keep your cam shaft and bushings happy.
Here are the electrical parts with numbers.

Same picture without numbers here if there is something you want to see more clearly

The terminal post [1] takes the electrical signal from the points through a hole in the distributor body, to the outside where the condenser (capacitor) wire and wire to the coil are fitted to the threaded end. See pic below.

The points spring (see the cut-out in the spring in the pic) just sits on the inner end of the terminal post, held on only by spring pressure, so make sure there isn't any oil or rust on the post. 

The post is electrically insulated from the distributor body with the two plastic washers [3]. The ignition will not work if there is electrical contact between the points and body, so don't lose the washers.


1: Terminal post. This is sort of the central part here. More in the left column
2: Paper insulating strip. Electrical insulation between the points spring and distributor body. This should be nice, dry and in one piece, or the ignition will not work. If you get stuck out on the road you can improvise a new strip from cardboard or similar material (plastic, maybe; depending on what you can find!). The short arm of the L-shaped paper strip is bent under the terminal post when fitted. See pic below.
3: Plastic insulating washers (2) keep the terminal post electrically insulated from the distributor body.
4: Washer, plain.
5: Washer, spring, internal star.
6: Nuts (2).
7: Washer, spring.
8: Contact points set. This consists of the big moving part with the spring, and center insulation so there isn't contact to the distributor body through the fixed post it pivots on + the small non-moving part that screws onto the bracket [10].
9: Lock nut for non-moving contact point.
10: Bracket for non-moving contact point.
11: Washers (2) for bracket,
12: Screws (2) for bracket.
13: Condenser (capacitor) with bracket.
14: Washer, spring, external star.
15: Screw.

<- If you DO lose the washers out on the road, now you know what job they have to do and can better think of an improvised solution based on what you have with you or can find where you are (heat shrink tubing? Bicycle tire valve rubber? Tape + small washer cut from a plastic water bottle?) :-)


Here is how the electrical parts fit together in the distributor body. Same picture without numbers here if there is something you want to see more clearly
<- Note how the short arm of insulating strip [2] is folded under the terminal post [1] to keep it electrically insulated from the distributor body. Wire to ignition coil fits together with condenser wire between nuts [6] on terminal post.


I didn't press the two insulating washers [3] all the way into the distributor body in the picture left, but you should do that when fitting them. Here is a better picture of the post and washers. You can see that each washer goes half the way into the hole in the distributor body.



Manual advance parts.
Here is the full set of distributor advance parts. This is a staged pic I use to show it all in one place.

Most of the parts are the same for Chief and Scout from 1938-53, the main difference is the clamping for the outer advance cable. Technically all the methods can be used for more or less all Indians (with matching parts also used) if they don't need to be historically "correct".

Big coil clamp on the right is for Chief 1938-46. Twisted clamp is for 741, Junior Scout and Sport Scout. 1947-53 Chief used the neat L-clip with two special nuts on the outer cable.

These parts are shown elsewhere on the website, but they also fitted in naturally here.