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why won't my engine start?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 56PontiacPiano, Jul 27, 2013.

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  1. 1964countrysedan
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,131

    1964countrysedan
    Member
    from Texas

    Post a picture of your engine compartment.
     
  2. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,380

    phat rat
    Member

    Step away for a while and lose the frustration. It'll probably look a bit different then. In other words patience grasshopper
     
  3. @1964countrysedan
     

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  4. creepjohnny
    Joined: Dec 1, 2007
    Posts: 871

    creepjohnny
    Member
    from Sunland,CA

    Needle nose pliers. Grab the top of the clip and pull up and on. Mine on my Buick were always a pain. You can kinda softly bend me to fit better but don't take a lot o spring out of them. The cap usually has a groove to line up and the clip closed.
    Take it easy and slow man, take years to learn about cars. One step and one beer at a time.
     
  5. 1964countrysedan
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,131

    1964countrysedan
    Member
    from Texas

    It might sound crazy, but try putting the second clip on from the other side of the car. You may need a stool. Sometimes those clips are tough and a change in leverage is just enough to get it done.

    All of this assuming the cap is in the right position and aligned.
     
  6. I have tried both sides, with needle nose pliers. the front clip is already on, and that is the more tough one to get on. It is aligned and in position. Just can't get it up far enough to go over the side and into the groove...
     
  7. ginuine555
    Joined: Jun 17, 2006
    Posts: 104

    ginuine555
    Member
    from louisiana

    Are you sure the cap is flat on top of the distributor and not a little lopsided.
     
  8. 1964countrysedan
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,131

    1964countrysedan
    Member
    from Texas

    Hey, undo the one that's on there and make sure the other one will go on maybe even with the cap slightly angled. This will convince you that it is possible.

    Try some blocks of wood and a screwdriver. GET CREATIVE, but don't give up!
     
  9. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    Nobody is saying you can"t get the job done man,but as suggested earlier get you some help instead of getting frustrated and messing it up. Nothing wrong with asking for help even if its a simple fix. You always pickup knowhow by watching and learning from others.
     
  10. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,103

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    If and when you get the cap back on, check for spark. If no spark, it could be different causes. Here are some listed as more common and least common:

    More common:
    Points misadjusted
    Cap is cracked
    Rotor spring is weak
    Coil is bad
    ballast resistor is bad

    Less common:
    Condenser is bad, even shortly after being installed (it happened to me)
    Pigtail from external terminal of distributor to point plate is bad
    Point plate pigtail to ground
    Wiring from ballast resistor to coil
    Wiring from coil to distributor
    Ignition switch is bad

    Now, if you have spark, then pour some starting fluid down carb and if still no start, then what a few others have already written: TIMING CHAIN HAS SKIPPED!

    BTW: How many miles on the car? >100,000, timing chain is a very good possibility. Check compression to narrow down to timing chain.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  11. mashed
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,474

    mashed
    Member
    from 4077th

    There's a definite learning curve with those clips.

    Many cars use them and when you figure it out you'll not likely forget it. Remember, you'll have to take the cap off again sometime so right now it's practice.

    We've all been there.
     
  12. Well I wish I could find someone nearby that wouldn't mind coming over, but I have to have this running either tonight or tomorrow and I don't know anyone on here or anyone that's in town who can. I made plans to go to the nearby mechanic shop and I don't really want to drop money on a tow truck...I'm gonna take off the cap and try to do the rear spring first and then the front. I may cuss, get frustrated and say I give up, but I won't give up!
    Yup.
     
  13. I don't get how all that can go bad from just sitting for 3 weeks due to a dead battery. It ran perfect right before except for a loose alternator(new) belt. I have 80,733 miles on it.
     
  14. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,103

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    The first time you went to start the engine, the timing chain could have been right at the end of it's life, and enough force can skip the chain. I put this down on the list should you get spark and even with starter fluid, no start. An easy way of checking the timing chain, if it is real bad, is just crank the engine and if it spins really fast, then the timing chain is probably gone.

    Go ahead with the other stuff first.
     
  15. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,103

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    One more cause I forgot to mention:

    RATS! If rats got into your wiring, that could be the no spark cause.
     
  16. This is under my distributor cap in case anyone wanted to see a shot.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. GOT IT I GOT IT IN OMG OMG YEA THAT'S RIGHT I AIN'T NO ONE'S B*TCH.
    CELEBRATION DANCE.
    ahem, but yes, I got it on. Now what. Try to start it?
     
  18. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,103

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    What is the part shown by the red arrow? Is it a wire that looks like the insulation is burned or melted. If so, that is the pigtail to point plate. And if that is not grounded to distributor outside shell, then no spark. See photo

    pontiac disty.jpg
     
  19. Okay, are you sure that the cap is sitting flush on the top of the distributor when your trying to snap the clips back on? In your photo there is a notch in the top of the distributor just before 9:00 position. There should be a protrusion on the cap that fits down in that groove. If you don't have the cap in the righ position you're not going to get the clips back on. So, make sure it's sitting in that groove. If it is then you should be able to snap the clips back on by pressing in the center of the clip. It sometimes takes a bit of force.

    How did the inside of your cap look when you had it off? Any sign of moisture? No cracks in the cap?
     
  20. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,103

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Yeah, try and start.
     
  21. No moisture inside. Going to start now.
    and uh, I dunno what that red arrow is lol. If it doesn't start then maybe that will tell me something...
     
  22. Cool! Try to start it. If it doesn't start then you need to back up and start following some of the direction you were given earlier in this thread to check for spark.
     
  23. Still no start...sprayed starter fluid a couple times and nothing, just the smell of the fluid...so I guess I'll go back to earlier pages and try some of the other things.
     
  24. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,103

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    If I think what the red arrow is pointing to is what I think it is, the car will not start. I had a friend's 68 Firebird 400 die on the side of the road. Guess what it was the grounding pigtail. This grounds the point plate to the distributor shell, and yes, the connection can go bad overnight. Call it gremlins or whatever, it happens.
     
  25. my mother insists that it sounds like there isn't enough gas in it. I put a little more gas in there, a good amount. Gonna go try and start again...
     
  26. You're going to get real good at taking that cap off and on.:)

    Don't lose patience though. Sometimes these things take time but you're learning as you go along, which is good.

    Like they said, check for bare or broken wires going into or inside the distributor and also check for spark.

    You can do this. Like you said, "You ain't nobody's bitch!"
     
  27. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,103

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Do this first:

    Turn on ignition switch and take test light and check for a light on both sides of the ballast resistor (on the firewall) One side should be dimmer than the other.

    Next:

    If no light on either side of ballast resistor, then there is no power to the ballast. That points to anything from ignition switch, to wiring. Easy way of checking, take a wire and jumper the + terminal of coil (SMALL WIRE GOING TO BALLAST, NOT THE ONE GOING TO DISTRIBUTOR) to the + of the battery and try to start. If it starts, the problem is from BALLAST RESISTOR BACK TO IGNITION SWITCH. If no start, it could be the coil, or the distributor.
     
  28. mashed
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,474

    mashed
    Member
    from 4077th

    If those darn spring clips gave you such a hard time, chasing a no spark issue is going to be a lot more complicated.

    Not trying to be a dick but a tow to a qualified mechanic may be worth your frustration.
     
  29. Even if there wasn't gas in it, with the starting fluid it should be trying to start.
     
  30. I'll check back later. I gotta meet the wife for dinner. Good luck. You'll get it.
     
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