Always appreciate your comments and perspective on things. I looked at the rotor and there was no apparant damage to it. Although there appears to be some plastic shedding at the internal terminals of that bad cap, I don't think there was an actual physical contact. I'm normally much more careful than that, but as noted, if the rotor and cap don't match up, being careful really doesn't help because they are going to rub or strike.
I got two freshly rebuilt distributors back from Mallory several years ago, with caps, rotors, etc., and when I put the caps on, the darn rotor struck the underside of the cap.
Upon discussing this with Mark Weller one evening, Mark said there are three types of crab caps, maybe more.
I actually have three different types aboard TRADITION now.
I have the black one on my Starboard motor, I just took a creme colored one off the Port motor and put a new one just like it on that motor and everything works great, and then I have some old red ones.
The creme colored version I just installed does not have a gasket under it.
The red ones DO have a gasket, and Mark was mentioning the gasket to me during a conversation about how these caps fit.
The black one I do not think has a gasket, but I will check.
Natually, I have some spares aboard the boat like eveyone else does. One of my spare red caps has a note taped to the underside that says, "ran well, but with a slight miss". That one will be able to get me home some day, but that's about it.
The interesting thing about the internal contacts in these crab caps, they look like rods that are coming in from the side, and they are ground off accordingly. Some of the contacts are dead-on-perpendicular to the outside of the cap, and some of them come in at an oblique angle, and those look like they have been hit and lodged out of alignment.
After seeing the condition of my bad cap, does this look like I'm running a coil too hot, bad timing, whatever, or is this just the normal life of a crab cap?
One thing for sure. Anyone running a classic boat with these caps, would do well to keep a couple spares aboard. If mine went sour so fast, it can happen to you to, and it is hard to know the condition of these caps unless you LOOK at them from time to time. If you see carbon tracks building up, better get a spare ready!