This is further information on rebuilding the 16v distributor that I didn't see anywhere else before diving into mine.
Just wanted to keep this one alive, especially with people talking about no new 16v dist. available.
I recently got my distributor back together with the new seal and thought I'd share a couple of things from my experience.
First off, the volvo seal I had that I thought would work didn't. The O.D. on that seal was too big. I was however able to find an appropriately sized replacement seal from a local transmission shop (correct o.d. and i.d.). I believe the shop said the seal was from a GM manual transmission, from the gear selector input (or whatever you want to call it). I however decided to go with the Chicago Rawhide seal as the GM seal was not spring loaded (ie no spring on the inside of the seal, ya know like on the mainshaft seals.), and the C.R. seal is "proven technology."
To get to the seal, the washer on the hall sender side of the dist. needs to be removed, but be careful! What people had failed to tell me was that the washer is knurled, and after the washer is installed in the distributor at the factory, the metal lip (part of the distributor body) overhanging the edge of the washer is then slightly pressed in. This explains why it was so stinking hard to get the washer out. I also wound up breaking part of the metal surround that was crushed in, but because of the knurling, and the amount of the rim/surround left the washer would still seat when all was said and done. Also considered not a problem due to the minimal amount of axial end-play allowed through construction (ie able to pull the rotor shaft away from and push back to the engine).
The other thing I encountered was that the chuck that engages in the head of the engine is offcenter/directional. As such, it can only be installed one way (unless you want to time your distributor 180 degrees off from normal). The tab coming off the dist drive chuck needs to be on the top side of the chuck when reinstalled, with the distributor rotor referenced to tdc.
I haven't ran the car yet, so don't know how well the reseal worked, but I'll find out soon engough.
If I find this successful after a bit of driving, I might be willing to rebuild distributors for people (for a fee of course !).