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M201 distributor shaft



Has someone give any ideas on the following


Had a progressive tapping noise coming from the engine on my Hotchkiss M201 which got louder the other evening. I pulled up in front of my garage and turned her off. I tried to start her to get in the garage and it didnt start then coughed and spluttered and then nothing. Couldnt get her in the garage by pushing on my own as there is a slight lip so used the Ferret to push her in.

Now to the problem, i have taken the plugs out and she turns over with compression in each cylinder. Then took the distributor cap off and the rotor will not turn. When i tried to turn it by hand it turned right round very easily. This isnt right i thought so took the complete assembly out and it would seem the shaft has sheared off at the very end.

Does anyone know how i get the sheared off part out of the engine which is now sitting snuggly at the end of the shaft housing, and does anyone know why this may have happened and if there is something else more serious at fault. :?


Many thanks and best regards to all.




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If you pull the oil pump out of the crankcase the blade end of the distributor driveshaft offset fits into it the top of the oil pump drive shaft which in turn is driven by skew gear from the camshaft and the piece may come out still in place .

If it doesnt which is unlikely you could consider taking the tappet cover off. This is pain because to get at it and see, it helps to take the manifolds off :?.

As to what caused the problem I can only suggest a seizure in the shaft from the point where it is driven to the rotor arm end or failure through old age.


Good luck






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I had this happen earlier in the year on a Hotchkiss Jeep solved the problem by

using a decent extending magnetic probe the little blade which had sheared off

came out on the end , then being a tight git just got one of the lads to weld a new

lump on the end then got it machined to fit still running on the jeep now with no

problems and repaired at a pittance


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Cheers guys,


Here`s an update, and another question!


Took off the oil pump and the sheared T part was inside where it fits snuggly into the oil pump drive. When i first took the distributor shaft out there was a black thin metal hex shaped sleeve, around the bottom of the shaft which appeared to be incomplete. When i took the pump off to retrieve the sheared T lug of the shaft there was two tiny sides off this hex sleeve which appeared to have sheared from the main part.

The Willys manual states there is a friction spring at the bottom of the distributor shaft I guess this is what the metal hex is in an M201? If so do you reckon this may be the cause of the problem?


Many thanks again guys.

best regards Tel

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