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Can a mechanical distributor be used in lieu of an electronic distributor?

(1990 Volvo 240)
in Bessemer, AL on November 27, 2011
Daughter blew up the original engine and when trying to drop in a used engine, we discovered that the newer engine has an electronic distributor. The old one was mechanical. Since my wiring harness has no extra wires for the electronic distributor, can I swap them out and use my old mechanical distributor?

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Popular Answer
Take out both distributors and compare the way they are "driven" static time the distributor and make sure the advance curve for the ignition is OK and does not cause "pinging/detonation" best to use components designed for the original engine.

Recheck that the cam belt timing marks are OK then get number one cylinder up on compression and static time the engine so spark arrives a few degrees before TDC. Alldata won't cover the basics of static timing the engine but is great for all other information. Alldata is very easy to navigate
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on November 27, 2011
We put in the old mechanical distributor and also put in a new timing belt and set the timing but cannot get the engine to run. It will sometimes hit and run very rough for a few seconds and cut off.
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