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340 Buick engine wont start. HELP!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 1951mercury, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    So after a long winter, its finally getting nice out so i went to start the 340 and it wont start. :mad: It was last started about 4 months ago and ran fine but was sitting outside all winter. It turns over fine, has spark at all the plugs and is getting gas in the carb and to all the plugs. The timing was not changed at all. I put a different coil on it thinking maybe it wasnt getting a strong enough spark, but still wont run. I tried starting fluid in the carb too. Wont even fire once. Any other ideas? Any help would be awesome.
     
  2. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,820

    53sled
    Member
    from KCMO

    I would say gas went bad, and fouled the plugs with gunk.
    suck squish bang blow, don't let it get to ya, start simple and put 4 or so new plugs in, make sure your battery is all charged up and a little heet in the tank to maybe capture moisture. too late for sta-bil
     
  3. Fuel + air + spark = Expolsion. Yes it's that simple. Start pulling plugs to take a look at them. Check the actual plug for spark, not the lead going to the plug.
    Sounds like your flooded.
     
  4. rainh8r
    Joined: Dec 30, 2005
    Posts: 792

    rainh8r
    Member

    I'd check the inside of the distributor cap first to make sure the contacts are clean. Furry contacts can be miserable to trace and give false spark readings. Check the points too if you have them, maybe with a little sandpaper or file and a cleaner afterwards. Those are the items that are most effected by being outside. Gas quality is pretty low now, which means it goes bad in a carb bowl quickly and plugs up small passages. I've seen several carbs lately with lots of corrosion in the bowls from sitting for a few months outside. Good luck.
     
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  5. SuperDan
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 77

    SuperDan
    Member

    had a chevy that did this,ended up being a cracked rotor in the dist.,spark at the plugs in the open air, spark went to ground thru the crack in the rotor under compression, would not jump the plug gap.
     
  6. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    I checked the actual spark plugs and they all spark just fine, so i cleaned them and put them back in, still not even a single fire. wouldnt they fire just a little? and nope not flooded, i tried starting it yesterday and today and same results :( i dont think that its the contacts or points because i have spark coming from the dist. and at the spark plugs. so i dont think its gas or spark because i have both but it wont fire still. any other help?
     
  7. pugs
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 499

    pugs
    Member
    from Hamburg Pa

    pull the valve covers off just to make sure all the valves are moving properly, maybe the lifters bleed down and are filling up properly. also pull the #1 plug and make sure dizzy is in the right position just a couple suggestions
     
  8. pugs
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 499

    pugs
    Member
    from Hamburg Pa

    meant to say filters are NOT filling up properly, causing the vales not to open all the way
     
  9. pugs
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 499

    pugs
    Member
    from Hamburg Pa

    lifters not filters, oh hell you know what i mean
     
  10. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    will do tomorrow. thanks! and I dont think the dist. would be in the wrong position since i never took it out and it ran a few months ago. but thanks
     
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 24,181

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Check for moisture inside the cap along with crud in the terminals of the cap where the wires go. It is getting spark to the plugs but there may be enough resistance so that it isn't getting all the spark voltage it needs.

    I'm trying to fire up a 500 Cad that has been sitting out in the open for a couple of years and running into similar issues. Spark at the plugs (new) but weak for an Hei now that I think of it.

    Now to the fuel side, If you look down the carb and work the throttle do you have squirts of gas from the accelerator pump discharge nozzles?

    It may be that the pump has lost it's prime or that you have something restricting fuel. And lately some of these engines don't seem to want to pop on the starter fluid that they are selling now. You might try filling the float bowl of the carb (through the vent tube) with fresh gas so that it will have gas to run on for long enough for the pump to pick up the gas from the tank. It does for sure have gas in the tank?
     
  12. If you pull the plugs again, give each hole a few squirts of Marvel Mystery oil. The rings may be dry from sitting and you don't have full compression. I used to have the same problem with my bomber stock car that sat out all winter under a tarp.

    Bob
     
  13. I just had the same problem on my 235 chevrolet 6. I was getting spark and had fuel as well at the carb. On first inspection the cap looked ok but after looking more closely the contacts inside the distributor cap were black. i cleaned the contacts inside distributor cap and that solved the problem.
     
  14. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    yep, the car has gas in the tank and the carb is getting gas, its squirting in there. also added fresh gas to the carb and still didnt fire. well i pulled the dist. cap last night and everything was dry. i think i will clean the points and the terminals on the cap today and hope that helps. or i will get a new cap. also, i pulled the valve covers today and all of the valves are opening and closing properly. so im just gonna assume that its just not getting strong enough spark. if that doesnt help, i will try the Marvel Mystery oil. thanks everyone
     
  15. larry_g
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 25

    larry_g
    Member
    from oregon

    You are seeing gas squirt from the accelerator pump shot, that is good. Have you confirmed that it is gas and not water? We had a Jeep come into the shop once that quit running. The boss worked on it for 2-3 days and could not get it to go. He finally asked me, a kid at the time, to look at it. We talked about what he had done and I pumped the gas a couple of times, good squirt, but no gas smell. I asked him for a match, lit it and tried to burn the 'gas' and it would not. Drained ~ 2 gallons of water from the tank and all was well. You may have Al heads on that engine and I would check the compression to confirm that valves are not sticking. They may move but not seat and give no compression. I know that from working on old Wisconson engines that sat over winter on the farm equipment.

    good luck
    lg
    no neat sig line
     
  16. cornernfool
    Joined: May 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,112

    cornernfool
    Member

    How about checking the cam timing? Did the timing chain jump back the last time you shut it off?
     
  17. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 15,941

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    This has worked in the past for me.... Spray some WD-40 on the distributor cap and plug wires.... If you have a compressor, pull out the spark plugs out one by one and blow the cylinders out through the plug hole and the plug itself to dry those off. It's worth a try!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  18. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    Yep its definately gas in the carb and at the spark plugs. So today i put in all new spark plugs and all were sparking. still nothing. so tomorrow im going to pull off the engine's front end and check the timing chain...hopefully thats it.
     
  19. pugs
    Joined: Dec 18, 2008
    Posts: 499

    pugs
    Member
    from Hamburg Pa

    pull #1 plug and tap the key till you you bring the piston up on compression and see if the rotor is in the right position before pulling the engine apart
     
  20. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    o good thinking, Thanks! will try that tonight or tomorrow. glad i didnt pull the engine apart yet
     
  21. larry_g
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 25

    larry_g
    Member
    from oregon

    If Pugs idea of looking at the timing doesn't prove the cam has jumped then try the compression. You will not have good cranking compression if the cam is out of time with the crank.

    lg
    no neat sig line
     
  22. Before you dive too deep into it, put a new set of points in. I've seen them oxidize from sitting and even "weld" themselves together and bend the arm. Clean the tip of the rotor, scrape the green crud off the inside of the cap and it should fire.

    Bob
     
  23. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    well just checked the timing today and its at least one tooth off :( but hopefully will be fixed today...will let everyone know if it works. Thanks
     
  24. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    this is different then a small block chevy...so now im stuck at getting to the timing chain...i took off the water pump and took out the dist. and all the bolts holding on the whole cover for the chain and still nothing, it wont move even with a hammer. any one have pics or any other info?
     
  25. 1951mercury
    Joined: Sep 5, 2005
    Posts: 277

    1951mercury
    Member
    from Illinois

    nope, ive been looking for a manual the past 2 days...no luck. and didnt even realize there were bolts through the oil pan that hold the cover on, guess ill have to look. thanks. and i checked the timing by clicking over the engine till the first plug popped out a towel and then i checked the timing mark to make sure it was TDC. then i took off the dist cap and it was pointing to 2 wires off from number 1 spark plug wire.
     
  26. Dzus
    Joined: Apr 3, 2006
    Posts: 321

    Dzus
    Member

    I suppose it could still have the nylon timing gear and it finally disintegrated. If you know chevy's the timing set is similiar. The buick differs in having the cast front cover with the integrated oil pump and distributor.

    Attached is a rear view of the front cover. I circled the bolts holding the front cover on this pic in red. There are also 2 dowel pins I circled in blue.

    Treat her like your best girl. You can be firm and strong but if you get rough with her you'll break her.
     

    Attached Files:

  27. DON'T PULL YOUR TIMING COVER OFF YET! Though you'll probably have to eventually to reaseal it.

    You're making a few assumptions here that might haunt you later, mainly that the timing mark on the balancer is properly indexed. On something this old it wouldn't be surprising if the inertia ring has slipped a bit and the timing mark isn't as "dead nuts" on as you think. But if it's only off a couple degrees you'll be alright for now.

    Are you sure you know where #1 cylinder is? It's not always the front hole on the left side for all engines. I don't know where it is on a 340 Buick.

    Bring #1 up on the compression stroke then align the timing mark to zero. Turning the engine by hand may make this easier. And I'm going to make the leap of faith that the timing mark IS close enough to where it should be in relation to the crankshaft. Now pull the cap and see where the rotor is in relation to the #1 plug wire in the cap. If things don't line up right, it probably isn't a timing chain issue as much as the distributor being installed a tooth or two off. Or it could be that the plug wires are out of phase the way they were installed in the cap. In either case you won't have to disturb the timing cover to put things right. But you still may need to do a bit of research to find out the correct rotor position when you install the distributor. Then rewire the cap, if needed, for the new #1 rotor position.

    It may make more sense if you consider that the distributor has to be properly timed to the crankshaft. The camshaft in this case is just kind of an idler gear to facilitate that, and by design it turns at half of the crank speed. But the cam also has to be properly timed to the crank, not so much for the distributor but for proper valve timing. And this is where I get to make the assumption that your cam timing is OK, (which I think it likely is) at least until you find out otherwise. I don't know if these motors were prone to timing chain problems but if it jumped timing it's not likely to have happened just now and it would have run poorly before you put it in storage.

    Technically, with the engine at true TDC on #1 cylinder on the compression stroke, you could drop the distributor in with the rotor pointing anywhere and make it runnable by reorienting the plug wires in the cap to the new #1 rotor position, assuming that they're long enough to let you rewire the cap in the proper firing order. The problem with doing it this way is that sometimes you'll end up with clearance problems for the vacuum advance or access to the holdown bolt. And make dead sure you know which way the distributor rotates.

    To make things simpler in the long run it will be worth the extra trouble of making sure that the timing mark is at least semi-accurate, that the cam timing is correct, that the distributor is installed with the rotor indexed where it should be, and the plug wires properly indexed in the cap.
     
  28. have you happened to check with the guys on the forum over at teambuick.com? lots of info & guys willing to help.
     
  29. enjenjo
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,433

    enjenjo
    Member
    from swanton oh

    340 Buick are famous for jumping time, and even breaking chains. Mine did it a 65,000 miles. Also I have sheared the pin in the distributor gear twice on small block Buicks.
     
  30. ironfly28
    Joined: Dec 22, 2003
    Posts: 928

    ironfly28
    Member
    from Orange, CA

    I had a problem like like this twice..on a dodge and a chevy.....first time.. it was the condenser, second time a ballast resistor... I don't know anything about buicks and I'm electrically cursed apparently. just .$.02
     

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