The M151 distributor mystery

In the 1970s and 80s my father worked for RCA in Massachusetts.  He started out in the “Jeep barn” designing testing equipment for Jeeps and other military vehicles.


During this time the Army noticed discrepancies in the motorpool procedures for the M151 and M151 variants.  They ran a study that found an excessive amount of distributors were being replaced in the M151 vehicles.  There did not seem to be a flaw in the distributors though so they were in a quandry.


My father was visiting a base motorpool one day and talking with a Sergeant.  Dad asked the Sgt. why so many distributors were replaced rather than just replacing the common wear items like the points.  The Sgt. asked my father to follow him to the supply desk.

When they reached the parts desk the Sgt. asked for points for an M151.  The soldier at the desk checked and said they did not have any.  Then the Sgt. asked for a distributor, the soldier ran back into the shelves and brought one up for him.  “This,” explained the Sgt. while holding the distributor,” is why so many distributors are replaced instead of points.”  The issue was not training or laziness, it was what parts were stocked at motorpools.


(Images are of an M151A2 restored by Hanson Mechanical Restorations.)