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set up the timing belt correctly but still back fires wont start


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71 replies to this topic

#1 soobies

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 12:30 AM

somebody gave me the subaru cause the guy couldnt figure it out why it wouldnt start and i already reset the timing and still wouldnt fire and did the procedure from this site and still need to figure out why it wouldnt start
maybe timing on the distrubitor set wrong ?

#2 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 12:46 AM

if you Already set the Timing Belts using the Three Marks on the Flywheel, and you are Sure that Rotated 180º one Head's Belt from the Other... the Failure cause could be Somewhere Else...

I Kindly Suggest you to Start Checkin' the Electric Basics, in Example: the Fusible Links, the ignition Coil and the wire that comes from that coil to the Disty... Could be Broken.

Kind Regards.

#3 soobies

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 01:09 AM

yup checked that
when i did the timing the dots are on the opposite side like it should be ..

coil packs is still good still sparking..
i wonder if the plug wires are crossed.. i m sure the firing order is
1324.

so the plug wire should be

3 1
o
2 4

the 0 is the coil plug wire

if i am correct will check into that after xmas


i dont understand why this person gave me the subaru for free
he said take it and i cant even get it running so you can have it

so i guess i might have opened up a can of worms..

#4 doobieryan

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 09:16 AM

Im sure its fixable. Its definitely something wrong electronically if the timing is right. I would say it could be spark timing too.

#5 soobies

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 10:25 AM

firing order is right what else to look for ?

Edited by soobies, 25 December 2010 - 10:36 AM.


#6 NorthWet

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 11:42 AM

Information on year, model (engine-type), and carb or fuel injection
would be REALLY helpful...

Fuel, spark (properly timed), and compression. Which one are you missing?

Do you have any spark at all?
If so, does the spark occur every time that it should? (Coil producing 2 sparks for every crankshaft revolution.)

If so, does the spark occur on the compression stroke?

Do you have fuel? Are the fuel lines pressurized? Does the fuel pump run for 3-5 seconds when you first turn on the ignition? Other fuel issues depend on carb/injection system.

#7 MilesFox

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 12:06 PM

firing order is right what else to look for ?


Timing belts are to be lined up to the hash marks (|||) on the flywheel. I bet the belts are lined up to the 0 deg mark, which is not correct.

This is not the forst time subarus wer given away or acquired for free over timing misunderstandings.

You are essentially timing 2 inline twins on a common crank. You have 2 cams, although its a SOHC

#8 Indrid cold

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 05:00 PM

If it is backfiring then here are some ideas: you have plug wires are crossed to wrong plugs (double, double check), timing is off so one cam is off a tooth so the holes on the cam pullies arn't exactly 180 out from each other.. if they are then back to setting to hash marks, or loose rotor under the distributor so remove distributor cap and give the rotor a firm twist.. it shouldn't. Highly unlikely but I have seen the rotor pin on the bottom of the distributor shear so it kind of turned which messed up the firing sequence evertime it would skip and bind back up..


just tossing ideas here..

#9 soobies

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 07:49 PM

i did the three lines like i said i resetted it already
and it is 89 subaru gl 1.8 litre . spfi
the coil is fine and i am wondering if it is the pick up module gone bad ?
and i am very sure the cam dots are spot on .. not one tooth off

its sparking just fine on the coil that is but just back fires and hard to start but once you get it going it would idle but you would keep it on the floor to get it going and then once it gets past 2k rpm it runs but still misses.. but if i let go the gas it dies
i dont think it is firing correctly and i have resetted timing like 4 times already i dont think it is the timing belts because i did the three lines like this ||| i followed the direction from here..

Edited by soobies, 25 December 2010 - 07:54 PM.


#10 grossgary

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 08:31 PM

vacuum leaks will cause similar symptoms - won't idle on their own, can get it to rev high by pounding and feathering the gas.

you probably know but just in case, standard vacuum leak testing is carb or starting spray around the hoses, engine, intake runners while trying to start.

twice i've seen distributors (the ones with the crank angle sensor embedded in them) cause this issue too. no check engine codes, it tested fine and sparked fine but swapping in another disty fixed it. both of those vehicles had sat for a long time (maybe just coincidence but i've never had to replace a disty other than those two).

you checked for spark at every cylinder?

you've got good fuel pressure (that doesn't sound like it's it though)?

#11 soobies

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 08:43 PM

brand new fuel filter and pump installed
i havent pulled the hoses or the air filter or anything like that i left that thing alone .. so will have to trace every thing electrically now i think it has to do with the electrical .. it has to be something simple that i missed..
so will have to eliminate every steps i could think of ..

#12 donnieru

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 12:44 AM

It's easy to check the disty timing in these. Set the flywheel to 20*, Look at the passenger side cam sprocket, the little dot should be at approximately the 10 o'clock position. If the dot is low on the right side rotate the engine a full revolution to 20* again. Take the 2 bolts out that snug the disty down(8 mm wrench size) unplug the elec. connector and lift the disty straight up and out. Once you have the disty out look at the gear on the bottom, it has a little circle dimple in it (Not the place where the roll pin that holds the gear on goes). Line the little dimple up with the arrow that is on the aluminum at the bottom. This will point the rotor where the num 1 plug wire goes. Take a marker and make a slash on the top lip where the center of the rotor is pointing. Drop the disty back in and make sure that when it is all the way down the center of the rotor is lined up with your little marker slash (The rotor twists as the disty goes down because of the gear). Put the bolts back in and snug them down. Then when you put your cap back on, the plug wire for the num 1 cyl goes on the terminal that is right at your marker slash. From there you can set the rest of your plug wires in their proper place. Plug the elec. connector back in and your timing is set. Best of luck to you, hope you get the little fella running again.

#13 soobies

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 12:57 AM

my right side .. ( im a little confused) or am i looking at the right behind the engine or am i looking at the right side of the engine when i stand in front ?
or are you talking about the passenger side that has to be at least ten o clock on the cam ?

i thought it has to be at 0 degrees ?

Edited by soobies, 26 December 2010 - 12:59 AM.


#14 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 01:26 AM

By the Last Symptoms that you Described, seems like the Engine only have an Unplugged (or Stuck Opened) PCV Valve... Have you Checked that? :confused:

#15 soobies

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 02:22 AM

By the Last Symptoms that you Described, seems like the Engine only have an Unplugged (or Stuck Opened) PCV Valve... Have you Checked that? :confused:


humm.. wheres the pcv valve at ? i would like to go through the list
to check
i know my timing is spot on will go through disty make sure its on right.
i would like to go through the check list of what it could be wrong

#16 Indrid cold

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 03:01 AM

my right side .. ( im a little confused) or am i looking at the right behind the engine or am i looking at the right side of the engine when i stand in front ?
or are you talking about the passenger side that has to be at least ten o clock on the cam ?

i thought it has to be at 0 degrees ?


I read donneru's post... at first I didn't understand but now clearly it is a smart way of aligning to the number one plug if you think your distributer is not on the right tooth or ?. Read it slowly (I had to read it twice), think about it.. follow the steps if you believe your distributor isn't aligned to the number one plug at the top of the compression stroke (this is what he is trying to have you assure.)

If you set it as he discribed, that being the left cam pulley (passenger side) with the hole at about the 10'clock position/timing set at 20 deg. then lift your rotor cap it should be pointing exactly at a plug wire post in the distributor cap that you will call #1 that will run to the #1 cylinder, perferably in corralation to the cylinder and distributor locations as seen in chiltons/repair books.

Your dealing with an engine that sounds like several people have probed and tweeked and he is trying to get you to confirm that the distributor is set correctly. As for understanding what he wrote it helps to stand back, sleep on the issue and start fresh... and read again.

Although I don't like the shot gun method of replacing parts and sounds like you have begun where I excell (sometimes it works) but all it takes is $ :banghead:, you must be gettin close... some say spark issue which could include weak coil, bad spark wires, no power to carb/distributer, crossed plug wires or some say timing that could include dist. one tooth off etc ... so keeping working on those issues.

Keep us posted on this... would like to know what is making it sickly. What I do like is after I get done chasing something like this I am that much more familiar with the engine when done, so all this is a good thing in that it is your turn and not mine!

Edited by Indrid cold, 26 December 2010 - 03:04 AM.


#17 MilesFox

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 09:04 AM

if you are looking at the motor from the front of the car, #1 cylinder is the front left, with #3 behind it, #2 on the front right, and #4 behind it.

I would think the wires are correct on the disty, but incorrect on the cylinders. The only time i have seen subarus backfire, pop, and not rev out is over crossed ignition wires. I would doubt you have a vacuum leak.

please watch this video:


#18 soobies

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 10:38 AM

yea the poor sub i have has been prodded and tweeked by someone else
i am going to get it back to where it should have been . i will do the timing
but i am certainly the timing belt is on right with the hash mark III and the cam is on the opposite of eachother at extactly 6 and other at 12
when i turn 360 it becomes 12 then 6

so i should be able to rule that out . ill do the disty make sure its back in correct place then ill go step futhur and trace to what is the really the problem

#19 MilesFox

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:13 AM

just pull off all the plug wires and start over with them once you get the disty correct.

just so you know, the plugs will fire on the exhaust stroke, too, so don't go by that alone.

if you remove the disty, line up the flywheel with the 3 marks and the cam on the driver side at 12:00. if you get 6:00, turn the crank again

from there, rotate the engine until the 0deg mark shows. this will be your #1 cylinder compression stroke.

drop in the disty, then run your wires.

I hope the video helps you. There is also one pertaining to the timing belts themselves

#20 soobies

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:28 AM

yes the video helped me so much and i know i got the timing belt right
i am going to do the disty right now in few minutes and before i did that
at 20 degree mark and the passenger cam dot is at approx 10 o clock
and the rotor is pointing at number one . so it dont back fire no more since i re done the wires .. it cranks but it acts like it want to start like this
cranking fires then crank fires fires but not running no back fires though

#21 soobies

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:41 AM

just did the disty its on right now thank god no back fires it just wants to start.. but not running it just goes crank then fires then cranking cranking then fires fires then back to cranking

#22 MilesFox

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:49 AM

yes the video helped me so much and i know i got the timing belt right
i am going to do the disty right now in few minutes and before i did that
at 20 degree mark and the passenger cam dot is at approx 10 o clock
and the rotor is pointing at number one . so it dont back fire no more since i re done the wires .. it cranks but it acts like it want to start like this
cranking fires then crank fires fires but not running no back fires though



your marks should coordinate with the 0deg mark for installation. the passenger cam at 10 oclock position will be in line with the hard edge on the valve cover above the 'subaru' lettering.

try turning the distributor one way or the other to see if she fires. sounds like you are close.

try lifting the disty juat a little to catch the next tooth on the gear. it will feel like there is a tooth 'in between' if you feel for it.

once the car is running, plug in the green test connectors, and use the timing light to tune in to 20 deg btdc

#23 soobies

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 12:34 PM

i did the 0 degree mark and the dots is already at the 10 o clock just like you said .. tried other way one tooth on the disty cranking no fire so i went back to the other way and now it just fires but no start it still wants to start cranking and fire then cranking cranking then fires then cranking

#24 MilesFox

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 12:57 PM

Have the fuel lines been disconnected? I wonder if they could be connected backwards. The fuel pressure regulator is after the injector. The regulator is the return side of the fuel lines.

I am trying ot remember if the fuel supply is the top or bottom fitting, but if you can find the one that originates formt he FPR, that is the return side.

Also, do you know that the fuel pump is working? if the green test connectors are plugged in, the fuel pump will cycle off and on every 2 seconds.

see if the car will start with a shot of starting fluid or a little bit of gas dowm the throttle body.

#25 soobies

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 05:16 PM

thank you for pointing me in right direction .

once again! its alive starts fine but have to keep the throttle wideopen it starts and runs but not below 1500 rpm it idles kinda..
but revs fine after 1500 rpm and such runs smoothly
just wont idle at 700 rpm it idles just fine at 1200 rpm or above
however from that spot below hard to start though. have to keep the throttle pinned to the floor and it starts then if i let go the throttle below 1500 rpm it dies

seems like i have never ending problem! i only paid like 20 bucks into it not bad for a free car... new belt already in it and that 20 bucks i have is also the new belts so i am saving it just in case if it breaks again

Edited by soobies, 26 December 2010 - 05:29 PM.





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