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Discussion Starter #1
I'm at my wits end. After a winter of front suspension, steering and rear main seal replacement I finally went to start the engine to bleed the ps system and it won't start. When I initially started it it ran for 2 minutes and made all kinds of weird noises then died. I was unable to get it started again. I pulled the distributor to prime the oil pump (showed 40 on the gauge) then re-installed the distributor per markings made by a sharpie so that I knew where the distributor position was. Could I have screwed up the timing? Cold I be one tooth off on the distributor? If I go to start it now it turns over then a gas/air shoots out of the carb when I let go of the key.
Can anyone give me any ideas where to start troubleshooting?
When I installed the rear main I torqued the rear cap to spec. I hope I didn't ruin my engine. If I threw a rod or bearing would it still turn over smoothly.?
Thanks.
 

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You could have the distributor 180 deg off, but if it was making weird noises and died then you probably have a completely different problem.

Do you have a good spark?
 

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your timing is definately off. here is what you do:

1. remove distrubutor
2. turn engine over to TDC (top dead center) by hand
3. insert distributor so that the rotor is on the #1 plug when the distributor is all the way in
4. reinstall spark plug wires, making sure that you are following the correct firing order.

this should solve your problem. It is not hard to have it a tooth or several off, assuming it was correct to begin with
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I hope timing is my only issue. I think my timing was incorrect to begin with. I haven't touched it since I took possession. My grandfather had #1 bubba working on the car. My distributor is actually at a 45 angle as opposed to the way it should be-square to the engine bay. (if that make any sense??? It was hard to determine the #1 cylinder because it was actually in cylinder # 8 position)

I tried to save time by marking the relative location of the distributor rather that re-time the engine. My bubba mistake.

Why would the engine run for 30 seconds fairly smoothly and then shut off and not run again???
 

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you got me on that 1.

I can't count the number of vehicles I have worked on over the years where it came to the shop for a tune up (plugs/wires/cap/rotor/ect) and I had to pull the distributor and retime the engine because someone just threw it in and just adjusted the plug wires.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks-Yes, I just copied what bubba did by marking the existing position.

I notice your 82nd airborne avatar. My dad was in the 82nd, during vietnam. He told me the main reason he decided to go to jump school was to make an extra $22 a month. Go figure......
 

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hey, what could be better than getting paid to jump out of airplanes and shoot people in the face?
 

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Problem #1
You didn't need to take that distributor out to begin with. Timing problems don't cause cars to run for 2 minutes then die, and at 30 seconds run time you were 15 seconds past the need to prime.

Problem #2
You now have 2 problems. You don't trust your own work enough to believe the distributor is in right, and even if it was the car still wouldn't start. See problem 1.

Problem #3
You have a horrible noise. Power steering pumps with some air, some fluid sound like a robotic bobcat in heat. Every now and then, the robotic bobcat may whack a cast iron skillet. Is that your noise??


Solution #1
Put a timing light on the car and have a helper crank it. Adjust til it's somewhere between zero and 8 advanced. Now you know it's gonna allow the vehicle to start. The timing light flashing is also verifying distributor/coil function. You will still have to perform actual timing once it's running, but at zero to eight, timing is not the cause of no-start. Once the car runs, we can talk you thru reinstalling the distributor properly. But the way it was, despite not being "right" did allow the car to run.

Solution #2
Still not starting? Time to pull the #1 plug. Have your helper bump the engine while your finger is over the plug hole. You'll feel all 4 cycles of the engine and will use compression in conjunction with balancer position to stop the engine at true TDC. Now remove the distributor cap without turning the base Is the rotor pointing to the #1 post? If so you're correctly positioned. If it's pointing at #5 you're 180 out.

Report back, we'll talk ya thru it from here! Good luck!

Tip #1 Keep the battery well charged thru the troubleshoot, at some point you may solve the problem but have too little battery to fire a wet plug, and not realize you've solved the root problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks-You've put my mind at ease. The noise sounded exactly as you described. An iron skillet. I thought it might be the power steering pump. I took the belt off to get the engine running and it seemed to rotate more easily. I gave up yesterday because my battery did die.
All of the noise scared me so much I thought I threw a rod or something. My timing belt gave way on my 928 once and the valves hit the cylinders. The sounds was similar.

Another question: My rotor will move slightly to the left or right when I check the alignment to #1 cylinder. Is this normal? It's as if the springs are expanding and allowing the rotor to move.

Thanks once again.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK, Got it running. I primed the power steering pump properly then pulled the Dist. cap, brought the engine to 8deg before top dead center and the rotor was pointing at cylinder 8? I changed the wires so that the rotor was pointed at number one and it wouldn't start. Changed the wires back the way they were and it started and runs but the idle is high and runs with a slight miss.
It looks like bubba changed the position of the Distributor so that the Accel coil would fit behind the air cleaner. I'm changing it back to original so I will re-time it the proper way.
I don't know why pulling the distributor scares me so much?
 

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I dont think the accel coil is any bigger than an HEI wire retainer clip, do you have an aftermarket air cleaner?

The rotor movement is normal, maybe. The mechanical advance mechanism is underneath it and with added speed the plastic rotor advances relative to the shaft. You should be able to twist it about a half inch in one direction, and when released will consistently spring back to the exact same rest position

In fact, old mechanical advances are prone to corroding and sticking. It's kindof a cheesy mousetrap looking design even when new but is pretty reliable....if not corroded and worn. They'll make the timing jump around by 16 degrees or so as they stick and unstick so when the distributor is out inspect, clean, lubricate.

Also inspect the vacuum can and linkage for free movement. If you have a handheld mityvac, test for clean movement and holding vaccum. Otherwise move the linkage by hand and use your fingertip over the port to verify it holds. This is another source of random timing changes as a bad one sticks/unsticks. Upwards of 30 degrees.

Last, inspect the distributor gear, it's highly unlikely to have a problem with the teeth but check it's endplay. You can get kits to shim it if overly loose, a simple roll pin holds the gear onto the shaft. Excessive play translates to timing wander because the drive gears are curved so it walks up the shaft and advances/retards in an uncontrolled fashion.

good luck, once you got the essentials an HEI is a truly wonderful thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'll take a picture of it. I don't think it will fit but I'll try it. It's got a weird shape.
 
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