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weird timing issue

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dannyego, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    Okay...here goes and hopefully I am describing this right. New GM crate motor (350)will not run at TDC. So I have done this many times before without an issue and it is stumping a couple of other people other than me. The motor was running, just poorly the Dizzy was put in (two teeth off) which I have heard from some people that it makes a difference, and other people said it doesnt. Either way it ran there but not as well as a new motor should. So I decided to pull it and restab it and dial it in. I put it back in at TDC and couldnt get it to start, checked everything that would cause it not to start spark fuel etc.. everything was right. Called a buddy over who busted my nuts about not being able to time a car, and he did the exact thing as me and could not get it started. Long story short it is currently at a buddy of mines shop and he has been going through it without much luck. He can get it to run with the cap two off(crappy) but it will not run where it is supposed to. Checked the timing chain nothing is off, checked the valves, they are moving as they should no cam lobes wiped or anything. Am I missing something stupid? It has a points dizzy now. I was going to go HEI but it doesn not fit. The dizzy is out of a chevy 283 but I dont think that matters. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,258

    squirrel
    Member

    Did you confirm that the timing pointer is lined up to TDC when the #1 piston is actually at top dead center?

    When you say the distributor is "two teeth off" what do you mean?
     
  3. J&JHotrods
    Joined: Oct 22, 2008
    Posts: 549

    J&JHotrods
    Member

    2teeth, 1 tooth- off is off. Put cyl#1 on compression stroke at TDC and stab the dist.(fully seated) with the rotor pointing towards #1cyl. Sounds like you could be 180 out. What do you mean an HEI dist. doesn't fit? Hitting the intake runner?
     
  4. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,539

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Do what Squirrel alluded to and pull number one plug. The front one on the drivers side head and have a helper bump the engine over with the starter so you can bring it up on compression. With the number one piston at tdc does the timing mark line up with the timing tab? You have to have that solved before you drop the distributor in place.

    A lot of the later SBC engines had the timing mark straight up at 12 O'clock and if you are running a timing tab bolted to the cover bolts it will be off.

    Probably the biggest problem is that you call the damned thing a dizzy instead of it's proper name distributor. I hate that silly assed nickname with a passion.

    Hei is probably hitting the intake or firewall J&J. Some of these bodys don't have a hell of a lot of firewall clearance. Even a a V8 in stock position would be hell for close to the firewall or an hei in a tri 5 Chevy.
     

  5. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    Hei does not clear the firewall.

    and yes it is at TDC confirmed by three people double checking it. It is not 180 out. by two teeth off, I mean it will run but run crappy with Number 7 in the firing order as number one. So basically it will run crappy not at tdc. It is a brand new motor with the balancer marked from the factory. The tdc mark matches up with #1 at tdc. Thats what I originally thought, that the mark was off on the balancer but it is not.
     
  6. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    basically everything appears to be done correctly but it will not run. when the number one piston is at TDC, the timing mark is where it should be. Put the distributor, run the wires and nothing. Thats why it is racking my brain. I have done it plenty of times before and it is not rocket science.
     
  7. BobF
    Joined: Dec 30, 2004
    Posts: 230

    BobF
    Member
    from Poway, CA

    Take out #1 spark plug, twist up a chunk of newspaper or other paper and screw it into #1.
    Now bump the starter until you hear it pop and blow the paper out. Now insert the dist with rotor just past the terminal with the wire to #1.
    Should start and you can dial it in by ear until you get a light on it.
     
  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,539

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Pull the distributor and move it the two teeth and see how it does then. And make sure that you have the firing order correct. I've seen 5 & 7 crossed on sbc engines more times than I can count. Also check the cap to make sure it didn't get cracked in moving it around.
    firing order 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 Odd numbers on driver side (US) and even on passenger side front to back. Distributor rotation clockwise.
    The first sbc I had, I wired up the same as the 350 Olds I had and it didn't run at all because I had it wired all backwards. Check the simple stuff.
     
  9. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    The only thing that seems weird to me in the whole thing as that when I drop the distributor in is that the rotor doesnt point at #1 its pointing at #2. Now the cap is wired correctly so that number one on the cap is matching where the rotor is. Now if I bump it around to were the cap is pointing at #1, and wire it up that way it will run but the the timing mark does not match up, and it runs crappy. Which is the way it was running and what I was informed as being two teeth off because it had to be heavily advanced(if I remember correctly) to run that way. Now is it 100% true that at tdc that the distributor should point at #1 or should it not matter as long as you have #1 plug on the cap above the rotor. This is another thing I have heard both ways from "experts"<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
     
  10. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    KrisKustomPaint
    Member

    check the points. they can act up outa nowhere. How bad is the timing? Does it sputter at all? backfiring? kicking back on the starter? any signs of fire at all? If not check everything, coil, cap, condenser, points. SBC are tolerant of bad timing they should run, although very crappy, with a distributor thats 2 teeth off and a plug wire not even connected.
     
  11. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,128

    Truckedup
    Member

    You need someone there you knows how to use a screwdriver to turn the oil pump drive so the distributor can be dropped in on timing.Firewall clearance aside,it makes no difference how the distributor goes in so long as the rotor is pointing at number one plug terminal while the number one cylinder is at TDC on compression stroke.Endless dicking around trying to start a new engine and then it running poorly doesn't do the engine any good,can compromise ring seal.
    Get it right and double check .
     
  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,258

    squirrel
    Member

    As far as getting the engine running, you can have the wires in the cap with #1 in any of the 8 holes, as long as the rotor is pointing at #1 wire when #1 piston is tdc on the compression stroke.

    Running crappy...could be a lot of things, since it's an old distributor, first I would check that the points/condenser are in good shape, points properly adjusted, breaker plate ground wire is good, etc.

    If you spent some time cranking it with it not running, it's possible that one or more plugs is fouled, spend $10-$20 and buy a brand new set of plugs, and put them in.

    I'm assuming that you have everything else "right", sounds like you've messed with them enough to know what you're doing.
     
  13. V4F
    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 4,185

    V4F
    Member
    from middle ca.

    try rotateing the wires one hole . try putting #1 where #2 is , etc . just back it up a hole .
    to be sure of TDC , i pull a vavle cover to watch #1 valves work . if the intake closes , then the piston will come to TDC . make sure its between the intake stroke & exhaust valve opening . as in : intake/compression/power(fire),exhaust ........ good luck .. steve
     
  14. Standard gas&oil
    Joined: Dec 3, 2010
    Posts: 289

    Standard gas&oil
    Member
    from USA #1

    Good call, I have used this way many times after cam swaps and rebuilds and it works like a champ.
     
  15. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    with it two teeth out, it was backfiring, not horribly bad, but enough I wanted to set it right. I have gone through three sets of plugs trying to get it right. I have definately fouled some out. I have replaced the points/condesor. I have pulled the valve covers to make sure the valve was where it needed to be. It really doesnt make any sense.
     
  16. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,128

    Truckedup
    Member

    I been there,it's real fustrating.Take a break :D
     
  17. SKULL ORCHARD
    Joined: Jul 22, 2009
    Posts: 431

    SKULL ORCHARD
    Member
    from KS
    1. The Gas House Gang

    Did the motoor come with the balancer or did you install one may not be the rite one.
     
  18. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    came with the balancer.
     
  19. chuckles0
    Joined: Jan 8, 2009
    Posts: 117

    chuckles0
    Member

    If you don't get it right, and you keep trying what you've been doing and it is a new engine, I have seen people wipe the cam before it got broke in.
    Better stop and think and start from step 1 one. jmo
     
  20. BudJ63
    Joined: May 3, 2009
    Posts: 69

    BudJ63
    Member
    from Florida

    Crate Motor? Check to see if you didn't mistakenly get a marine, reverse rotation unit.


    oops
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  21. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    I already broke the motor in, It wasnt running horrible with it two teeth off it just could have been running better(it would slightly backfire every now and then). I have been dicking with it since last summer. I finally gave up and brought it to my buddies shop. He is going through it piece by piece trying to figure out why the hell it is not running where it should be. I was just hoping someone here might have an idea to throw in about it.
     
  22. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,633

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Danny...

    1.) Remove #1 plug, insert a wooden dowel into the plug bore. Turn the engine slowly by hand (clockwise) until the piston touches the dowel.

    2.) Mark the balancer with a permanant marker at the pointer.

    3.) Turn the engine counterclockwise, until contact is made with piston/dowel.

    4.) Mark the balancer at pointer.

    5.) Remove dowel, mark TDC between the 2 lines. This is your timing mark (TDC)

    If there is still a problem, remove the timing cover and check the crank sprocket:
    If it has 3 woodruff keyways, it is a variable timing sprocket and is indexed positive or negative on the cam timing.
    If you kept the crank position at the newly found TDC, the cam sprocket mark will line up with the centerline. If it is 'off', the cam is out of time with the crank.
     
  23. ANDEREGG TRIBUTE
    Joined: Jan 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,371

    ANDEREGG TRIBUTE
    Member
    from Bordertown

    Find #1 TDC and set the piston there, make sure it is at zero on timing mark. Then turn motor to 8 degrees before TDC. Dont move... With distributor removed check position of oil pump shaft slot. Turn with long screw driver till it is pointing towards #1 cyl (approx 5:30). Put cap on distributor looking down on distributor with vac advance at approx 7:30 possition, make a mark on dist housing below cap lining up with spark plug wire post that is at about the 5:30 position, (this will be number 1 spark plug position). Remove cap, ensure that rotor is installed correctly, turn rotor to about 3:00 position, drop distributor into manifold (dont forget gasket), so as the vac advance is around 7:30. As it hits cam the rotor will turn clockwise towards your mark on the housing. Align rotor pointer and mark, snug down distributor, attach wires, starting with #1, and going clockwise, 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2.....fire it up, and set initial timing.....its always worked for me.
     
  24. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949

    George/Maine
    Member

    I don,t have book in front of me but make sure # 1 is on the correct side of engine.
     
  25. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,531

    Francisco Plumbero
    Member
    from il.

    Don't you Chevy guys have two totally different cams that you can use in an SBC? Isn't there a cam kit out there that changes your firing order and gives your engine a more efficient firing order? It swaps out the 4 and 7 or something. Might this be the problem?
     
  26. ANDEREGG TRIBUTE
    Joined: Jan 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,371

    ANDEREGG TRIBUTE
    Member
    from Bordertown

    [​IMG]

    How I have always wired my plug wires, points or hei, didnt matter.
     
  27. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    Member
    from Central Ca

    Good info worth checking, been there! not with a crate motor but a boat motor not realizing they even made a reverse rotation...but I damned sure got educated before it was over with.
     
  28. Listen and follow ATWATER JACK.......This is what you needed to do first. This tells you where the balancer is indexed to. Put the wires on in their proper place (see above post by slowpoke). Line up #1, it should fire, unless the cam is not indexed to the crank...timing chain. It is very frustrating...I went through this with my first rebuild a 396.
     
  29. dannyego
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 1,387

    dannyego
    Member

    #update# something was goofy with the distributor. Put in a new one and it's good to go. Weird though. Not sure why the old one wouldn't go in right
     
  30. tig master
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 416

    tig master
    Member
    from up north

    Get your tdc on #1 correct.without dist in. You now have to make the slot in the oil pump drive point at the #5 exh valve done with long screwdriver .easy to estimate where that valve is is.Put dist in with the slot pointing at same #5 valve position. The dist slot and rotor tip coincide with each other. when it drops in it will be all the way down if it is not seated you didn't have pump slot pointed at # 5 exh valve.hope this helps

    Tig.
     

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