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HELP........chevy 283 wont start.........

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by RED DEVIL #1878, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. i have a chevy 283 (1958-1962) engine, the firing order and timing appear to be correct 4 deg. b.t.d.c., the engine just cranks and wont kick over, any ideas, gas is good and carb is clean , i just dont know, anyone out there know what could be the problem ?????? seems like something simple but i am stuck......... thanks again, CHEERS..........
  2. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 18,282


    Ok since it turns over does it have spark to the plugs?
    Pull a plug wire off and stick a screw driver in the end of the wire and hold it 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the manifold or other engine part and have someone crank the engine over and see if you get a spark there.
    If it is yes, you have another problem. If it is no you have to figure out why it doesn't have a spark.
    That could be that you have a bad part, missing part or that the points aren't adjusted right or that they are burnt.

    Along the same line, has the engine run before or is this the first time you are trying to get it to run? And what's the story on the engine?
  3. DAVEO!
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 291


    dead on sir!
  4. I know that there was a spark when the engine was running before, its been about 3 months since the car has turned over, and even then the car would turn on for about 10 seconds and then shut off, it has an hei distributor on it, for the longest time it was 180 degrees off and now that it is right on the money it doesnt do anything........just cranks and wont turn over......
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  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 18,282


    Take your test light or volt meter and make sure you have power to the distributor both static and when you are cranking it.

    If there is no power there with the key on back track and figure out why.

    If there is 12V there check to make sure that the wire is on the Bat pin on the distributor cap. also make sure that the plug from the distributor body is plugged into the cap. I've seen guys pull the cap off and forget to plug that back in when they put it back on.
    I had trouble on my daily with a regular female wire end getting loose on the connection on the bat pin on the cap. I'd drive down the road and it would quit and I'd get out an pull the wire off and put it back on and go again. It was loosing connection from vibration on the road.

    If you have power to the distributor and no spark coming out the cause is usually a bad coil or a bad pickup coil which is usually a broken wire on the lead into the pickup coil.

    This might help some
  6. I will try it thanks, i will let you know if anything happens or not.....
  7. i have a edelbrock #1406 , what should the correct fuel pressure be???i have it set at 4.5 lbs, i have an hei distributor, i got it from JEGS, what is the correct firing order for this, engine is chevy 283 v-8 ???? any help would be great i am stuck , engine just cranks but wont turn over, any ideas...........
  8. 60 convert
    Joined: Nov 22, 2006
    Posts: 10

    60 convert
    from mn

    so it was 180 out and ran and now you fixed that and it won't start? if it was 180 out it wouldn't of ran, wich tells me that I would probally put it back where it was.
    firing order should be 1 8 4 3 6 5 7 2.
  9. kyvetteman
    Joined: May 13, 2012
    Posts: 761


    Firing order is 1 8 4 3 6 5 7 2. Driver's side front to rear is 1 3 5 7, passenger side is 2 4 6 8. On the distributor cap start at #1 and go clockwise.Good luck!
  10. Yuuuuuupppppp it was 180 out before and it ran sluggish ,i placed the firing order correct and it ran great for awhile ,now it just cranks and wont turn over.............ido i need anything else if i have an hei distributor??????
  11. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,265

    Master of None

    I'd check to make sure you have spark. If its an H.E.I I would suspect the module if there's no spark.
  12. donnie
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 181

    from NC

    If it was 180 out before and ran, it is 180 out now.
    It will not run at 180 off.
    Put it back in correctly, check static timing and firing order and try again.
    AND make sure that you have the firing order correct on dist. cap make sure you are going the correct direction.
  13. Will do , i will check all the components, is the module on the top of the hei dist. Under the cap?????
  14. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,265

    Master of None

    Its under the cap.
  15. ol55
    Joined: Oct 1, 2008
    Posts: 264

    from Virginia

    This is same set up as I have with '77 GM HEI. With the high lift cam and HEI my timing is set off from stock. Not sure of cfm of your carb. I went to Eldebrock 500 cfm and the 283 (292) is happier.

    Here is how I would do it (corrections please):
    Goal: Spark at plugs, gas in the cylinder, and compression(assumed)
    1) Make sure it is on #1 by putting #1 Cylinder (front driver's side) at TDC with valves closed and looking at the distributor. I think the #1 position on the distributor is the same for your HEI as points distributor.Use a diagram for a '75 HEI if you need to. The diagram should show rotation direction also)
    2) Check the wires with the firing order one at a time twice to make sure they are right.
    3)Pull a plug connect it to a wire (#1 preferred) then check for spark after plug is connected to ground (cast iron intake or other). Safety : hands back in case it starts. No spark = check cap and rotor. Module is little box under the cap held on with two screws. Hopefully you can have it checked but if you buy a new one, hold on to the old (glovebox)until it is bad.

    If spark, then put the plug in and check for fuel on the plug...
  16. your timing was probably off a little, then you moved it 180 degrees, now it's 180 degrees and a little off. follow ol55's directions to get it timed right.
    with the timing mark on tdc what spark plug wire is the rotor pointing to?
  17. I will follow the instructions and also when i took the cap off it was pointing to the #1 cylinder????
  18. it could have, but since the crank turns twice for every revolution of the distributor, the crank mark could have been for tdc #6 which means it was 180 degrees off. that is why you need to check that the valves on number one cylinder are closed, which indicates compression stroke [valves closed, piston coming up towards tdc= compression] at which time the rotor lines up with that cylinder and the spark plug fires. [compressed fuel and air plus ignition=an explosion that forces the piston back down making power]
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  19. a 4 cycle motor will bring the timing mark up once for compression stroke and once for the exhaust stroke.

    if it was 180 degrees out. it wouldn't run at all.

    Pull out #1 spark plug, stick your thumb over the hole. Have someone tap the starter. Might take a few taps before you feel compression.

    Watch the timing mark on the harmonic balancer as you are getting compression. The goal is to set the harmonic balancer on your desired timing number, on the compression stroke.

    Now that you have that done, look to see where the rotor is pointing.

    Should be pointing at #1 cylinder.

    If not pointing at #1 pull the distributor out and turn towards #1, drop back in. If it needs a little more clockwise movement pull it out and drop it back in one tooth ahead (clockwise) position. Each time you drop it in, the oil pump driveshaft will move a little bit. Eventually it will come around.

    You can also use a long screwdriver to turn the oil pump shaft down inside the engine to the desired location.

    OK now the distributor is pointing at #1. Put the rotor and cap back on.

    Turn the ignition key to run (not start)

    Go out to the distributor, use #1 plug wire with a #2 philips screwdriver in the place of the spark plug.

    Hold the shaft of screwdriver with the wire attached 1/2" from a good ground. (engine, alternator bracket, intake bolt)

    Now turn the distributor slowly by hand until you get a spark. You can do it several times until you get the exact split second it sparks.

    You just set the inital timing. Tighten the bolt on the distributor adjustment.
  20. ol55
    Joined: Oct 1, 2008
    Posts: 264

    from Virginia

    Do you have 12 Volts to the distributor with no ballast?
  21. David Chandler
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 980

    David Chandler

    Has the harmonic balancer outer ring slipped, making your timing mark useless? If it's an original one, the elastomer may have finally begun to break down.
  22. I hate to be a sarcastic ass at this point. It seems like we have a real situation here. I don't quite get that it cranks but won't turn over. Is this some kind of trick question here ? Remember I'm the sarcastic ass at this point ! Excuse me if I'm being to technical. Nothing has changed on the engine compartment wiring right ? You ran or it already has a new wire that feeds 12v to the distributor correct ?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  23. Anyone live near orange/santa ana california that would like to or would not mind coming over to help me get my car running????????
  24. anyone out there willing to come by and lend a helping hand?????santa ana/orange ,california
  25. 60 convert
    Joined: Nov 22, 2006
    Posts: 10

    60 convert
    from mn

    did you ever take the dist and put it back the 180 where it originally was? right now it sounds like you have everything but compression as you are now 180 out.
  26. dude, you can do this yourself. we will help. have you tried any of the advice already given?
    first; do you have spark?
    second; is fuel getting to the carb? is it fresh?
    pull the plugs, what do they look like? dry/burnt, clean, or wet?
    anyone that comes over will check these things.
    is it turning over fast, or just turning sorta?
    getting any pop?
    Joined: Aug 7, 2009
    Posts: 2,069


    take off the dist cap & #1 spark plug, block the hole with your finger & crank it watching where the rotor points when it blows, YOU WONT HURT YOUR FINGER, just block the hole, you dont have to stick your finger in, just block, it we show you exactly where its at.
  28. all it does is crank but wont turn over, gas is fresh , carb is clean and good , i took out the dist. placed it pointing to the #1 cylinder, set the balancer to what i believe is the mark and it just cranks, it has an hei, all the wiring is good, spark plugs are not burnt they are good , the only thing i did prior to it not starting up anymore is change the timing cover gasket.....i know its probably something simple but i cant quite figure it out, i know prior to anything being done there was a spark, i think the timing is way off but what do i know, this is why i am here.......
  29. you say it is pointing to #1 cylinder or #1 spark plug wire on the cap?
  30. it has backfired and like a puttering sound comes from the carb also comes up, the sparks plugs smell like gas slightly wet....

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