ZDJK & L distributor vacuum
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Icon7 ZDJK & L distributor vacuum

    On the ZDJK & L injection engines, as fitted to the 505 2.2 litre series, the distributor is supplied with a vacuum connection for the advance / retard capsule.

    Between the throttle body vacuum port and the distributor capsule, the vacuum line has a small valve fitted, labelled CARB on one side, and DIST on the other. The CARB side goes to the throttle body, whilst the DIST side is connected to the distributor capsule.

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    If you check this valve for operation, it will allow the passage of air in one direction only - from the DIST side to the CARB side. Any vacuum applied to the CARB side results in a permanent vacuum in the valve, that is, no airflow.

    Given that the throttle body housing operates between atmospheric pressure (engine stopped), and below atmospheric pressure, depending upon the throttle valve position, the valve and vacuum line is not influencing the distributor advance / retard capsule in any way.

    I have checked several of these vacuum valves with the same markings, and they all operate in the same manner. If this is a standard operational specification, the distributor advance / retard capsule is essentially redundant. This does not seem to be correct.

    Has anybody any comments or other information to explain this arrangement?

    Cheers,
    Kim.

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Default Ignition Advance System

    Hi Kim

    This could be one of those weird and theoretical pollution requirement systems.

    It could be the advance bellows has a small orifice which allows for a slow bleed of the vacuum, thus an advance for xx seconds, whilst the engine is under decelleration or starting or WOT or something that a peverse design rule calls for.

    It's too hard to work these things sometimes - but I would tend to leave it alone if all is working well !

    regards


    Robert

  3. #3
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    Hi Robert,

    I agree with you that it would be related to an emission control specification, and probably should work the way you describe.

    However, in every set-up that I have looked at, the valve will not allow air flow (vacuum) in the intended direction. That is, vacuum created at the throttle body should act upon the distributor capsule via the said valve. It dooesn't!

    In both my ZDJK & ZDJL engines, I have eliminated the valve, and simply have a normal vacuum pipe between the throttle body and the distributor. I can only say that "seat of pants" comparisons result in improved mid-range acceleration, and better open road economy. I think I will leave both engines with this modification.

    I have been trying to find some Australian ADR data that might explain the intended function of the valve, but no luck so far.

    Cheers,
    Kim.

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Default mysterious vacuum hose

    Quote Originally Posted by KIMDEB
    Hi Robert,

    I agree with you that it would be related to an emission control specification, and probably should work the way you describe.

    However, in every set-up that I have looked at, the valve will not allow air flow (vacuum) in the intended direction. That is, vacuum created at the throttle body should act upon the distributor capsule via the said valve. It dooesn't!

    In both my ZDJK & ZDJL engines, I have eliminated the valve, and simply have a normal vacuum pipe between the throttle body and the distributor. I can only say that "seat of pants" comparisons result in improved mid-range acceleration, and better open road economy. I think I will leave both engines with this modification.

    I have been trying to find some Australian ADR data that might explain the intended function of the valve, but no luck so far.

    Cheers,
    Kim.


    I guess it is a case of :"if I feels good do it" !


    regards

  5. #5
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    Hi there,

    I just thought I would update 505 STI / GTI members with the results of some now 8,000 km of driving with this ignition advance capsule modification.

    As members will recall from this thread, I removed the vacuum valve located between the throttle body and the distributor advance / retard capsule. This was because there was simply no possibility of any vacuum correction being applied to the ignition timing with that valve in place. A check of several other 505 engines with ZDJK/L type engines revealed the same outcome.

    The modification is simply to fit a normal vacuum hose between the two connection points.

    I also checked the correct position of the cam belt cover index timing plate for TDC (it was less than 1 degree out), and then set initial timing for 8 degrees BTDC.

    With the addition now of vacuum correction to the usual distributor mechanical advance, the engine performance has improved considerably. Most noticeable is more torque, and acceleration in 4th gear, especially up hills.

    Another positive outcome has been much improved economy, from around 10 - 11 litres / 100 km open road cruising (with the air conditioning running) to now consistently 8.4 to 8.6 litres / 100 km (at 100 to 110 km/hour). I have always used a premium fuel, such as Vortex or Optimax, so now the full benefit from that grade of fuel is now being realised.

    Another important step is to use a carburettor cleaner / solvent within the throttle body to ensure the small vacuum ports located both sides of the throttle valve are clean.

    I am happy to provide any more details for anyone interested.

    Cheers,
    Kim.

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts pottsy's Avatar
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    I too had a problem with the way this thing was fitted. I pulled it out, cleaned it and started to put it back before thinking: "Hang on, this was round the wrong way!" Of course, before coming to that conclusion I had a moment of existential doubt as to whether I had forgotten which way it was connected when I removed it, but I'm 99% sure it was arse about.

    I didn't even contemplate any reasons why it should be the way it was. As far as I'm concerned, if there's a vacuum capsule it should be fed with vacuum. End of story. I wonder whether the thing was just always labelled wrong?

    Anyway I put it back in the "right way" (my way) and the car was immediately more responsive, as you would expect with vacuum advance happening properly.

    Incidentally the unit itself and the pipe leading to it were full of red scunge from the inlet tract, an indication to me that it was around the wrong way for a long time.
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  7. #7
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    they are a timing delay device

    they are fitted to cars so meet certain pollution controls and are supposed to make the car expell cleaner exhaust emissions

    a lot of volvos have them fitted on their cars and this is what i was told they were for

    it was an american thing that we adopted in this country back in the early to mid 80's
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  8. #8
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    When I was having distributor issues some time ago, I too tried removing this valve to see if there would be any difference in performance. Perfomance did increase, but the engine started pinging when even slightly loaded (and yes, I use Optimax). I didn't actually try retarding the timing with the valve off, I think I just put it back on and left it as is.

    Something has confused me though about what you previously said:

    Quote Originally Posted by KIMDEB
    If you check this valve for operation, it will allow the passage of air in one direction only - from the DIST side to the CARB side. Any vacuum applied to the CARB side results in a permanent vacuum in the valve, that is, no airflow.
    A vacuum applied to the CARB side IS a passage of air from the DIST side to the CARB side, is it not? The valve should let you suck air through it (simulating a vacuum) from the CARB side. It could possibly also let you blow air through it from the DIST side (essentially the same situation). However it should seal if you try any other combination.

    I might have to pull the valve out again tomorrow to check it out... But I am impressed with your fuel economy figures and general increase in performance. You've had no problems at all with it?

    Richard
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  9. #9
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    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Regarding the direction of flow with that valve, as you said, air (vacuum) should flow between the DIST side and the CARB side, if applied to the CARB connection (ie the throttle body on the ZDJ engines). When you try this test, the valve holds a permanent vacuum within itself, and no flow occurs at the DIST end, where it is required to operate the distributor advance / retard capsule. Thus, no distributor capsule timing correction.

    If you rotate the connections, thus putting the DIST end to the throttle body and the CARB end to the distributor, the advance capsule will be supplied with a permanent vacuum, thus playing havoc with the required TOTAL advance produced within the distributor. This permanent vacuum will exist even after engine switch off, until vacuum leaks etc may cause it to slowly bleed away.

    The logical solution was to remove the valve, and restore a combined correction curve as shown in the 505 Peugeot manual.

    I have had no running problems whatsoever, and no pinging / detonation etc. In all possibility, if your engine has done 300,000 + kilometers, the small build up of carbon on top of the pistons will be creating the same effect as a shaved cylinder head (that is an increase in compression ratio).

    This issue does not apply to my vehicle, as I had to replace the head gasket due to an oil leak at the lower rear of the head / block interface. During that process, I removed the carbon build-up on the pistons, and had the head cleaned also. Compressions before head removal were all over 200+ psi, with 404,000 km. This was when I also discovered the issue with the distributor valve.

    If any pinging does occur after the valve removal, re-check the timing index mark on the cam belt cover, and if set to 8 degrees BTDC, re-set to 6 degrees BTDC. The benefit of no valve, plus no pinging, will still make the exercise very worthwhile.

    Cheers,
    Kim.

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    sounds like the valve was buggered in that case

    there are also different valves for different engines and cars but you can find them in most wrecking yards

    they do work when they are working

    if the car is pinging then a redex treatment could be the go for the car to rid it of any built up carbon in there or use water to internally steam clean the engine
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  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default Dist vacuum delay valve?

    Kimdeb,
    I have found some info on the delay valves in Clifford Tempest's book "Automotive Service Technology". Book 3.

    Verbatim I will quote it. "It is directional and allows unrestricted air flow in one direction via the bypass/check valve, while restricting air flow in the other direction by allowing air to pass through a sintered metal orifice valve.
    Its effect when inserted in the line between the carburettor spark port and the distributor is to either delay vacuum advance [spark delay valve] or sustain the distributor vacuum advance by a bleed effect [spark sustain valve].
    The same valve can therefor be used for either effect simply by reversing the connections".

    The last line should have everyone rushing outside to refit or swap about the valve connection disregarding the Carb and Dist markings.

  12. #12
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    Hi Wildebeest,

    Thanks for the ADR research regarding the operation of this valve.

    Whether fitted for a "spark delay" or "spark sustain" outcome, the bottom line is that the valve should perform as described. The "delay" or "sustain" function of course modifys the behaviour of the distributor capsule in order to comply with an emission specification under ADR 27A.

    I have opened up one of these valves, and yes, there are two small scintered metal openings which will control the rate at which air (vacuum) flows though them. I think the scintered metal becomes contaminated after some years of operation, hence blocking the flow of air. The scintered metal does not seem to respond to cleaning fluids etc - in any case, the valve needs to be cut open to gain access.

    I am not convinced that simply reversing the valve is the answer. If the valve is unserviceable (blocked internal scintered metal passages), then new problems arise with the distibutor advance settings.

    I am very happy with the outcomes for both engines (K & L types), and have been using Flashlube directly in the fuel tank for some years. In addition, since the demise of leaded type fuel, I have only used a premium fuel such as Vortex, Optimax etc.

    I guess a rolling road dyno would spell out accurately the changes in engine performance since removing the valve. I think it would confirm what I have experienced with regard to improvements in torque and economy.

    Cheers,
    Kim.

  13. #13
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    I guess it all comes down to how "responsible" we are with maintaining the original anti-pollution specs.

    My view is that the car is in good condition, runs as clean as 1993 technology could make it, within reason and allowing for age (and reversal of this stupid valve) and is therefore not a menace to society.

    Taking into account the fact that the pollutants produced in manufacturing a new car far outweigh those my wagon can muster, I reckon that I can live with the delay in the ignition system not being kosher.

    In any case, anything I do to the car that makes it run more efficiently must make it less of an atmospheric hazard anyway.

    In addition, I like my machinery to work properly, and in my case this means that the valve was functional, in that it allowed flow one way and not the other, but was functionless in that it was not allowing any vacuum flow to the diphragm. So I reversed it, it's now working, and car runs better. QED!
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  14. #14
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    Default SLi delay capsule

    Quote Originally Posted by KIMDEB
    On the ZDJK & L injection engines, as fitted to the 505 2.2 litre series, the distributor is supplied with a vacuum connection for the advance / retard capsule.

    Between the throttle body vacuum port and the distributor capsule, the vacuum line has a small valve fitted, labelled CARB on one side, and DIST on the other. The CARB side goes to the throttle body, whilst the DIST side is connected to the distributor capsule.
    Hi Kim,

    FWIW

    The factory Peugeot manual for the 505 SLi (XN6; KE-Jetronic) insists that the DIST side of the retard valve should face the throttle body. The CARB side, therefore, is left facing the vacuum advance switch (different vacuum management system than to the STI: vacuum to advance capsule triggered by microswitch).

    I can also vouch that vacuum is retained on the CARB side of the retard valve, air flowing freely from the CARB side to the DIST side. I put a vacuum gauge on the CARB side and it held vacuum for many 10s of seconds.

    My SLi runs beautifully. I have removed the retard valve from my STI, it runs well too!

    Cheers, Todd
    1986 505 SLi wagon (XN6; 3HP22; silver)
    1984 505 STI sedan (ZDJK; 3HP22; silver light blue)

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    Quote Originally Posted by blizzardboy
    Hi Kim,

    FWIW

    The factory Peugeot manual for the 505 SLi (XN6; KE-Jetronic) insists that the DIST side of the retard valve should face the throttle body. The CARB side, therefore, is left facing the vacuum advance switch (different vacuum management system than to the STI: vacuum to advance capsule triggered by microswitch).

    I can also vouch that vacuum is retained on the CARB side of the retard valve, air flowing freely from the CARB side to the DIST side. I put a vacuum gauge on the CARB side and it held vacuum for many 10s of seconds.

    My SLi runs beautifully. I have removed the retard valve from my STI, it runs well too!

    Cheers, Todd
    If I can add my two bobs worth here, my 505 GTI has always had the capsule with the CARB side facing the distributor and the DIST side facing the throttlebody. Some time back I pulled it out to clean out.....blasted CRC through it to clean it. It did make some improvement to responsiveness.....not sure why!!!, as I have always had the same questions as this thread, ie the one way air flow.

    My problem has alway been a slight but perennial engine miss when reving the engine in neutral dispite replacing all the obvious parts, half the car in parts!!! Although it is not noticable when driving.

    Regards,

    Scott 505GTI

  16. #16
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    Hi Scott,

    The connection for that valve on your GTI is yet another variation on how some of these engines have been set up. You would expect that that CARB means the throttle body side, and DIST the vacuum capsule connection.

    However, as the posts on this topic have shown, some cars have had the fitting reversed.

    In any case, the consensus seems to be that the valve was intended to help the engine meet the applicable emission laws of the day. This means that the engine performance is compromised to an extent, due to a modified ADVANCE/RETARD curve caused by the action of the valve on the vacuum correction.

    The improvement to the engine performance after the delay capsule has been removed is most noticeable at wider throttle openings with higher engine loads, such as climbing hills etc. The resultant fall off in vacuum allows the distributor advance capsule to now immediately correct (retard) the timing slightly, causing better engine torque at lower RPM's.

    It also ensures that detonation (pinging) should not occur, as detonation actually reduces power whilst causing possible expensive mechanical damage such as broken pistons.

    I am not sure what to advise re your engine miss in neutral, as I don't know what you have done to this point. Injectors come to mind, as does an air leak on the vacuum side, tappet settings, distributor cap or leads etc.

    Let us know what you find, or if we can advise further.

    Cheers,
    Kim.

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    Hi Kim,

    Out of curiosity, I checked the direction again on the weekend, and cleaned the capsule out at the same time (using WD4). I confirmed that the capusule has DIST facing the throttle body and CARB facing the distributor, and there is a definitely suction to the distributor from the throttlebody. I confirmed that the capsule only flows one way.....if this assists with information.

    This may mean that there is plently of advance (ie vaccum suction) but delayed returning to retard for emissions slowing as suction slowly reduces???? (not sure If I have the theory correct).

    As for the slight engine, miss, it has been there for as long as I can remember, with all things such tappets, injectors,rotor, plugs etc etc checked/replaced. Perhaps it is an intemittent injector problem or slightly leaking exhaust valve. It has never got any worse over the years.

    Cheers,

    Scott

  18. #18
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default ZDJK & L.......

    Scott,
    Have you checked for camshaft or rocker wear to trace for your miss?
    If the cam or rocker is worn it will show up on the adjusting screw being wound in more than the others. Cam wear should also be visibile on your, Douvrain engine. Look for scoring and signs of full width rocker contact on the lobes. A broken or weak valve spring may cause a miss also.

    As an aside. A worn camshaft won't show up with a compression test.
    Cranking speed will allow a just opening valve to breath enough to give a compression reading. However with the engine running other things come into play and the engine will missfire! Spooky.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest
    Scott,
    Have you checked for camshaft or rocker wear to trace for your miss?
    If the cam or rocker is worn it will show up on the adjusting screw being wound in more than the others. Cam wear should also be visibile on your, Douvrain engine. Look for scoring and signs of full width rocker contact on the lobes. A broken or weak valve spring may cause a miss also.

    As an aside. A worn camshaft won't show up with a compression test.
    Cranking speed will allow a just opening valve to breath enough to give a compression reading. However with the engine running other things come into play and the engine will missfire! Spooky.

    Hello Wildebeest,

    Thanks for the information. That last time I did the valve clearance adjustment (about 10,000kms ago), I didn't notice any camshaflt wear as such, but will delve further the next time closer. If it turns out be the case. I will probably leave it as is, as it is a very minor miss only noticable when revving in nuetral (around 2,500RPM to 3000RPM mark)

    Thanks,

    Scott

  20. #20
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    Hi Scott,
    Yes, re the operation of the vacuum valve, you do have the theory correct.

    The problem is that, depending upon the efficiency (serviceability) of the valve, the vacuum return delay may be faulty to the point of not allowing flexible compensation in the advance / retard functions.

    This could mean that at a time when high power (wider throttle openings) is needed, and the distributor should be retarded slightly due to a loss of vacuum, the engine will in fact be over advanced. This causes power loss, and a possibility of detonation as discussed.

    I am much more comfortable knowing the advance / retard function is as intended, and hence have removed the valve. The performance and improved economy as a result more than justifies the removal.

    Incidentally, I looked at an '87 505GTI (unleaded engine) last weekend, and that engine does not have the vacuum valve. I am surmising that there is now not an emission issue with unleaded fuel (compared with the leaded engines), so the valve on the leaded engines (if it was working) is perhaps not contributing to an emission reduction anyway.

    Cheers,
    Kim.

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    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the feedback, you have confinced me! I will remove that dam capsule ASAP and put in a direct vaccum line between the distributor and injection throttle body.

    Cheers,

    Scott

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    Hi Scott,
    You might have noticed at the beginning of this thread that I mentioned doing an accurate ignition timing check in conjunction with the delay valve removal.

    In my case, I re-checked the position of the index plate on the front of the cam belt cover, using the TDC groove on the crankshaft. There is a plug that needs to be removed from the engine block near to the distributor to do this. Refer to the workshop manual if in doubt, or let me know if you need more help.

    Re the ignition setting, I have set mine to 8 degrees BTDC, the specification being 8 degrees + / - 2 degrees. The engine always runs a premium fuel (Vortex), along with Flashlube in the petrol tank.

    If your confident the index plate is accurate, just set the ignition as above. If an automatic GTI, you may be able to use up to 10 degrees BTDC.

    Good Luck,

    Kim.

  23. #23
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default ZDJK & L dist vac.

    Scott,
    Despite my previous ramblings re worn cams etc and after reading your earlier posts,[this does help!]. I was wondering whether your miss at certain revs is caused by a mismatched injector. That is, one with a different opening pressure? A check of the numbers on the injectors, if they are numbered, will show this. This could explain why your Pug's condition has not worsened over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KIMDEB
    Hi Scott,
    You might have noticed at the beginning of this thread that I mentioned doing an accurate ignition timing check in conjunction with the delay valve removal.

    In my case, I re-checked the position of the index plate on the front of the cam belt cover, using the TDC groove on the crankshaft. There is a plug that needs to be removed from the engine block near to the distributor to do this. Refer to the workshop manual if in doubt, or let me know if you need more help.

    Re the ignition setting, I have set mine to 8 degrees BTDC, the specification being 8 degrees + / - 2 degrees. The engine always runs a premium fuel (Vortex), along with Flashlube in the petrol tank.

    If your confident the index plate is accurate, just set the ignition as above. If an automatic GTI, you may be able to use up to 10 degrees BTDC.

    Good Luck,

    Kim.

    Thanks Kim, the timing is accurate....I have a timing light to set at base 8 degrees, and advance about a degree, but short of pinging under load (ie road test to make sure).

    I will do the 'mod' on the weekend.

    Cheers,

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest
    Scott,
    Despite my previous ramblings re worn cams etc and after reading your earlier posts,[this does help!]. I was wondering whether your miss at certain revs is caused by a mismatched injector. That is, one with a different opening pressure? A check of the numbers on the injectors, if they are numbered, will show this. This could explain why your Pug's condition has not worsened over time.
    Wildebeest,

    Interesting point, but am sure that the injectors are all matched, unless one was swapped out when the jnjectors have been bench tested and ultrasonically cleaned. I have owned this car for ten years, with this job done about three times over this period (150,000KMs during this period). Perhaps the injectors were not bench tested at all!!!

    I will check the numbers though, if my eyesight is good enough!

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