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Guest Message by DevFuse

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EA82 distributor and timing

distributor timing starting

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12 replies to this topic

#1 Loyale_93



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Posted 11 March 2018 - 11:34 PM

I'm trying to start a '93 Loyale with SPFI that has had the heads off.  The problem is that it won't start.  It gets fuel - have seen the injectors spraying in the intake.  The #1 spark plug wire fires a timing light so I think there is spark.  The engine ran rough for a few seconds initially and now won't run.  There have been a few ignitions when I hold the gas pedal all the way down thinking that the problem is that the cylinders are flooded.

I'm sure I got the timing belts on correctly - but I will recheck. (Cam sprocket mark up when the flywheel in on the ||| mark.)


What I am not too sure of is the initial position of the distributor.  I followed the EA82 Service Manual directions in section 2-3 on page 26.  I turned the crank to #1 at TDC as noted by the flywheel mark and the cam timing mark being 45deg left of top-center (Fig 44 of the manual). I aligned the marks on the distributor shaft to set the rotor to the #1 cylinder and this matched the #1 spark plug wire.  When I insert the shaft into the cam housing with the "feet" of the distributor lined up with their final posiiton, the beveled gears cause the shaft to turn a bit in the clockwise direction.  This puts it off the original position.  Is that what is supposed to happen?


What I did was inserting the distributor so that after it is in and lined up in the ballpark of how it is screwed down, the rotor is pointing to the #1 cylinder terminal.  I used the timing light while the engine was cranking (not running, to test connector set), the timing was close to the timing mark at 20 deg BTDC.  Is this what is supposed to happen?


Also, I don't know where this idle switch is or what the test mode connector is.  There are 2 connectors near the fuel filter that were disconnected and I don't remember disconnecting them.  Both ends of the wires come out of the same wire bundle at the same point.  Under the dash, near the SPFI controller, there are 2 connectors hanging down with nothing to plug in to.


Suggestions appreciated.

#2 Dee2


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Posted 12 March 2018 - 12:41 AM

Sounds like a timing problem.  Double check to make sure you have the spark plug wires connected correctly. It's an easy mistake.

#3 jono


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Posted 12 March 2018 - 01:18 AM

I also note degrees rotor spins on insertion, pull out, rotate rotor same degree opposite direction SK when dist goes back in for the umpteenth time rotor lines up where it should be

#4 el_freddo


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Posted 12 March 2018 - 01:29 AM

(Cam sprocket mark up when the flywheel in on the ||| mark.)

One cam sprocket marking should be at 12 o'clock, the other at 6 o'clock when the flywheel is lined up on those ||| marks.

I made the same mistake with my first cam timing fix in my pre-forum days :/



#5 djellum


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Posted 12 March 2018 - 04:48 AM

double check your timing proceedure.  you have to rotate the motor over during belt replacement.

#6 subnz


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Posted 15 March 2018 - 10:51 AM

Agree check  T belt timing  -    there should be  one cam sprocket with mark at the  top and the other cam sprocket with its mark at bottom  (180 degrees of difference  with crank  on its timing mark.


If it still doesn't run it is also possible that the distributor   could be 180 degrees out of phase with engine or also agree leads connected up in the incorrect firing order.

Edited by subnz, 15 March 2018 - 11:03 AM.

#7 jono


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Posted 17 March 2018 - 07:04 AM

I made myself two 24mm holes in timing belt covers when they were off engine. One each side, above the circle on the outside, and plugged up with rubber bung plug. In future if I need to see these timing marks just a quick flick out of bungs and I should be able to see :)

#8 Loyale_93



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Posted 20 March 2018 - 09:16 AM

Update - The plug wires are set for 1-3-2-4 like they were when it ran and matches the service manual. I checked the belts again and the alignment is spot on: one side up with the other down and 1 sprocket tooth different would be obviously out of line.  With the passenger cam at 12 o-clock, the distributor is about 45 deg past the #1 post on the distributor (another crank rotation would put it 45 deg past #2).

I did find the picture I took of the distributor position before I pulled it out. The picture showed it rotated nearly to the end of the adjustment travel in the clockwise direction.  While trying to start it, the distributor was about at the middle of the adjustment travel.  That was easy to change.


The unfortunate thing is that the electrical system stopped turning the starter just before I changed the distributor setting.  It acts like there isn't enough voltage (power seat belts don't move or move haltingly, dash warning lights are dim, parking lights don't turn on).  With a jump from a running vehicle, the accessories work but the starter moves very slowly.  I had the battery checked at an auto parts store but they said it was file, recharged it until fully charged and the car did the same thing.  No fuses blown in the fuse box.  This doesn't seem like a starter motor problem.  Any ideas?


Any input on the idle switch to set when setting the timing (once it gets running)?  Where do I find the test mode connector?


Thanks for the input.

#9 idosubaru


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Posted 20 March 2018 - 12:40 PM

If it starts with another vehicle then starter is likely fine

Battery clamps and posts need clean and tight.

Wiring needs to be good - see if starter is getting 12 volts.

May need separate relay for starter signal from ignition switch.

#10 naru


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Posted 20 March 2018 - 12:52 PM

The idle switch is part of the throttle position sensor.

When they say "make sure the switch is closed" they mean make sure the throttle is closed(assuming the TPS is OK).

You can test the switch w/a meter.

#11 Gloyale


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Posted 20 March 2018 - 02:39 PM

get a timing light on it and make sure you have consistent spark at the correct time


You may be 180 out.


Try this.  Set the crank to 0 TDC  (not the III hashes, but the numbered TDC)  Look at cams....If the dots are at 45 degrees pointing "in" towards eachother and center of engine, then you are on compression stroke for #2, not #1.  Rotate crank once fully back to TDC.


Check if Cam marks are 45 degrees to the outsides.  Pass side up and out, drivers side down and out.  This is TDC on #1 compression stroke.  


when you've got #1 compression....THEN check disty rotor is on #1.

#12 sparkyboy


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Posted 20 March 2018 - 06:06 PM

It is my understanding of the ea82 that if the ground on the intake manifold is no good, then the car will not run.


Also,  once I replaced an axle and stupidly forgot to connect my engine harness back together. The starter and fuel pump still worked but of course nothing at all. I scratched my head for nearly an hour after that one. This was on my Ej22 swap, but I imagine leaving the ea82 harness unplugged will have similar results.


Are you getting any coughs or pops at all?

Edited by sparkyboy, 20 March 2018 - 06:12 PM.

#13 Tburn7



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Posted 22 March 2018 - 09:51 PM

If the disconnected connectors right behind the fuel filter/strut tower are single wires with GREEN plugs (just like on my '87 ea82 SPFI), these are your test mode connectors. If they are white/clear plugs, they are a "clear memory" diagnostic function you probably don't need to worry about. If the ones under the dash are GREEN, these are your test mode connectors.


You don't remember disconnecting them because most likely you didn't, they should remain disconnected under all normal circumstances. Only when you want to adjust/check the ignition timing should the green connectors be plugged together, along with a few other test/diagnostic procedures I'm not familiar with.


That being said, if you are trying to adjust the distributor without the green plugs hooked up for test mode, you are just playing havoc with the ECU, and it with you, because the computer thinks it's still in control of the system so it's trying to compensate for all the anomalous behavior being detected every time the position of the distributor changes.


Now, if you are reading 20* BTDC while cranking, AND the GREEN connectors are NOT hooked up for test mode, AND the distributor can NOT turn any farther clockwise, then my guess is that the ignition timing is too far advanced (I'd say about 6-8* too far). Here's a thought: reset the distributor back closer to where it was in the middle of it's travel to retard the ignition timing, then plug the GREEN connectors together, and then see if it will start/run. If so, you're in business and you can let it warm up and then set the timing as you're supposed to, just remember to unplug the green plugs when finished. If not...?


How long did you crank it to check with the timing light? Kind of sounds like you may have cooked a starter, but I'm just spitballing there.


On the ea82 SPFI, the Idle switch and throttle position sensor (TPS) are in the same unit, it's the small black box with the wire harness attached to the throttle body opposite of the throttle cable/drum. Idle switch "ON" only means that the accelerator pedal is fully released (the engine is at idle/no gas), otherwise basically any opening of the throttle past idle/closed position turns the switch "OFF" because it is then in an above Idle condition. SPFI's will have a four lead plug harness on the TPS. The continuity, resistance, and voltage tests are pretty easy, however adjusting the TPS can be quite a touchy ordeal, so hopefully you don't have to go beyond just testing it.


Cheers, and good luck!

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