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Changed distributor, now car won't start! It's running, I'm not an idiot!


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27 replies to this topic

#1 lastchance

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 09:54 PM

Hey guys,

I recently changed the distributor and disty cap in my 1984 carbed wagon.


I took off the radiator cap, marked the position of the rotor, removed the old disty, put the new (well, it's used from ShawnW) distributor in, hooked up the coil wires and was ready to go...

I tried to start the car...And it wouldn't idle. I can get it to fire and it's getting gas...It just won't start and idle.


Did I install the distributor wrong?

Please help!

Thanks,
Daniel

#2 ballitch

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 10:03 PM

you might be off a tooth or 5.........try putting motor at TDC on number 1 and put rotor on number 1 and slide her in..........might work........anyone back me up on this?






~Josh~

#3 archemitis

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 10:04 PM

pretty safe to say your a tooth off. its not hard to do. try one tooth forward and one tooth back.
or your two wires off of the disty, to the coil are mixed up.
or one of the little wires inside the disty has broken, but if its from shawn, im guessing it was assumed to be a good one.

#4 MudisFun

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 10:05 PM

Sometime getting that disty in can be a pain. When pushing her down I noticed that the gears might 'find there place' in the wrong place. Try using the manual's instructions, tdc and the arrow.

#5 archemitis

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 10:16 PM

just dont pull it out and start turning the motor.

its a hell of alot better to be just one tooth off... compared to one tooth, and 180degrees off.

#6 grossgary

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 10:26 PM

don't just turn the distributor cap an insane amount to compensate. i did that and ruined my motor. turned out the distributor was bad and i drove it like that too long. i eventually replaced the distributor and set the timing properly, but it was too late, head gaskets (brand new) were already damaged. afterwards i read that bad ignition timing can prematurely ruin headgaskets. i still have my old *bad* one, not sure what was wrong with it as i never really looked, the car wouldn't run when installed properly. but it would run if i intentionally installed it a few teeth off and set the timing somewhere off the charts. was a really weird problem, biggest pain in the rump roast that i've had with a soob because it never occurred to me something could be wrong with the distributor.

#7 archemitis

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 10:31 PM

don't just turn the distributor cap an insane amount to compensate. i did that and ruined my motor. turned out the distributor was bad and i drove it like that too long. i eventually replaced the distributor and set the timing properly, but it was too late, head gaskets (brand new) were already damaged. afterwards i read that bad ignition timing can prematurely ruin headgaskets. i still have my old *bad* one, not sure what was wrong with it as i never really looked, the car wouldn't run when installed properly. but it would run if i intentionally installed it a few teeth off and set the timing somewhere off the charts. was a really weird problem, biggest pain in the rump roast that i've had with a soob because it never occurred to me something could be wrong with the distributor.


thats on an xt6 right? thats optical. hes got the old vac operated carb style one...

i've heard you tell this story before, but i always doubted that the timing realy did that to your car. wanna send me that big six disty? maybe i can disect it, and see why mine is spitting a code 11.

#8 Cliptin

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 10:49 PM

You have to start the rotor a little bit counter-clockwise so that when the disty slips into place the rotor spins where you want it to go. It's amazing how big those teeth get when you are trying to get the disty in.

#9 lastchance

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for all the quick replies guys!


I'm going to try the one tooth forward and one tooth back thing. I was sure it was in the right position...But, obviously NOT!

I double checked the plug wires and everything is cool...I also checked the coil wires and everything seems cool there too...the yellow is with the other yellow and the blacks are with the blacks.


BTW: The old disty I pulled out...HOLY CRAP! Haha, no wonder it kept dying (it had the jumpy tach syndrome too). The old disty was soooo bad! There was some type of red dust inside the disty cap and literally a chunk of the rotor fell off...So I thought I'd be funny to jiggle the rotor around...HAHA...It literally broke off with no force!

Thanks,
Daniel

#10 Qman

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Posted 14 February 2005 - 11:07 PM

What did you set the firing order to? 1234, 1432, 1324, 4321?

Before you just start moving the thing forward and backward. Pull #1 plug and find TDC compression. Then check the disty/rotor location. Make adjustments from there.

#11 lastchance

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 01:51 PM

Okay...

So, I found TDC and set the rotor to point at #1...Didn't work...Then I set the rotor back 1 then 2 teeth...then 1 then 2 teeth forward...Nothing.

So, finding TDC...I pull that little black plug on the bellhousing and look in the little window, right? Then I turn the crank pulley with a 23mm socket to turn the motor until I see numbers and a few letters inside on the flywheel right? Okay, so setting the needle directly on 0...That is TDC correct? If so, this is what I did and REALLY don't know why the car won't run.

I'm getting more or less the same symptons no matter what position the disty is in. The car wants to start but does not, it just won't idle it sounds good when the key is turned, it just doesn't kick over and start running.

I've checked the spark plugs over and over, double checked the coil wires and tried literally every location on the disty but, have had no luck.

Could the disty itself be bad? Is my timing screwed up from moving around the disty so much?

I'm at my wits end! Please help!

Daniel

#12 Craven

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 02:20 PM

Okay...


So, finding TDC...I pull that little black plug on the bellhousing and look in the little window, right? Then I turn the crank pulley with a 23mm socket to turn the motor until I see numbers and a few letters inside on the flywheel right? Okay, so setting the needle directly on 0...That is TDC correct? If so, this is what I did and REALLY don't know why the car won't run.


Daniel

Yes the #1 piston is at top dead center, but it still could be 180 deg. out. You have to make sure your on the compression stroke. Take the #1 plug out and stick your finger on the plug hole and rotate the engine with your socket untill you feel the pressure push your finger off the plug hole, then look at the timing marks on the flywheel and 0 the timing mark. The engine should be on the compression stroke.

#13 lastchance

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 02:27 PM

Hmmm...Okay, I'll have to try that.

So a totally dead disty will not get me spark like I'm getting now correct? I'm trying to rule out that the disty is dead and I just have it positioned wrong.

So, even though I'm at 0 on the flywheel I should still do the test with my finger and the #1 cylinder?

Thanks again guys,
Daniel

#14 Craven

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 03:23 PM

Hmmm...Okay, I'll have to try that.

So a totally dead disty will not get me spark like I'm getting now correct? I'm trying to rule out that the disty is dead and I just have it positioned wrong.

So, even though I'm at 0 on the flywheel I should still do the test with my finger and the #1 cylinder?

Thanks again guys,
Daniel

Yes, you might be on the exhaust stroke, not the compression stroke. The rotor should be pointing at #1 plug wire on the dis. cap.

#15 archemitis

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 03:23 PM

yar, stabin the disty can drive you crazy.

#16 lastchance

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 01:42 PM

So,

I'm cranking the motor with my socket and I'm getting pressure pushing against my finger on the #1 cylinder before the timing marks come up on the flywheel...I feel the most pressure, right before it goes away before the timing marks are even there.

Is this normal???

Should I still find TDC and set my rotor accordingly? Or is my timing WAY messed up???

#17 Craven

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 01:56 PM

So,

I'm cranking the motor with my socket and I'm getting pressure pushing against my finger on the #1 cylinder before the timing marks come up on the flywheel...I feel the most pressure, right before it goes away before the timing marks are even there.

Is this normal???

Should I still find TDC and set my rotor accordingly? Or is my timing WAY messed up???

When the pressure stops you should be on tdc, are you sure you are finger testing #1 cylinder. Front plug on the pass. side?

#18 naru

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 02:43 PM

So,

I'm cranking the motor with my socket and I'm getting pressure pushing against my finger on the #1 cylinder before the timing marks come up on the flywheel...I feel the most pressure, right before it goes away before the timing marks are even there.

Is this normal???


Yes,at extra slow rotation speed the pressure leaks down.

If you had been a little more careful matching the original rotor/housing positioning before rotating the engine this step would be unnecessary.

If it still doesn`t start w/a ballpark timing setting, ensure the plugs aren`t fuel fouled from previous starting attempts and either use a timing light to dial it in or rotate the disty through the range of timing adjustment while someone else cranks the engine.This always works.

#19 lastchance

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 01:17 AM

So, good news...

I got the car running today!

Thanks for everyone's help!



Here's what I did: I pulled the #1 spark plug like everyone said..Then ran up the street and bought a 22mm socket to crank the motor. So, I'd crank the motor and I'd get TDC on #1 cylinder (when the pressure against my finger stops) but, when I'm at TDC on the cylinder, the mark on the flywheel is at 6 degrees (to the right of 0) not 0 degrees. So, on a whim, I put the disty in, replace the spark plug, yada yada yada yada...Start the car....BRRRRRRRRRUHHHHMMMM...1st try! Purrs like a kitten, again. I drove it briefly around my neighborhood, until it got to normal operating temp...Then I went to work (without the car).

So, here's my question...Since I'm at TDC at 6 degrees on the flywheel, does that mean my timing is WAYYYYYYYYY messed up and the car shouldn't be driven until it's timed correctly?

I didn't notice any pinging and/or rough running when I was cruising around my neighborhood, but I'm worried I still need to time it.


What do you guys think???

Thanks again, really...

Daniel

#20 grossgary

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 01:38 AM

make sure your mechanical timing (flywheel and cams) are timed dead on. i just ruined my XT6 by driving around with jacked up timing. had a bad distributor but couldn't figure it out so i just kept driving it for like 6 months like that. toasted my headgaskets and a rod bearing. i read afterwards a few articles suggesting that bad timing can cause headgasket failure. probably only in situations like mine where you drive around like that for many many miles.

#21 Craven

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 11:24 AM

So, good news...

I got the car running today!

Thanks for everyone's help!



Here's what I did: I pulled the #1 spark plug like everyone said..Then ran up the street and bought a 22mm socket to crank the motor. So, I'd crank the motor and I'd get TDC on #1 cylinder (when the pressure against my finger stops) but, when I'm at TDC on the cylinder, the mark on the flywheel is at 6 degrees (to the right of 0) not 0 degrees. So, on a whim, I put the disty in, replace the spark plug, yada yada yada yada...Start the car....BRRRRRRRRRUHHHHMMMM...1st try! Purrs like a kitten, again. I drove it briefly around my neighborhood, until it got to normal operating temp...Then I went to work (without the car).

So, here's my question...Since I'm at TDC at 6 degrees on the flywheel, does that mean my timing is WAYYYYYYYYY messed up and the car shouldn't be driven until it's timed correctly?

I didn't notice any pinging and/or rough running when I was cruising around my neighborhood, but I'm worried I still need to time it.


What do you guys think???

Thanks again, really...

Daniel

Glad to see you got it running.:banana:
Now find youself a timing light and see where timing is, then set it to specs

#22 Cliptin

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 09:21 AM

When you are at TDC are you supposed to be lined up with the zero mark? Essentially the question is this, is it possible to put the fly wheel on wrong if you take it off?

#23 blfuller

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 10:50 AM

I am having the exactly the same problem with my '88 XT6. I line the flywheel up to 0 degrees and insert the distributor with rotor pointing to #1 wire position on cap. The car runs, barely, sounds like it's running on 4 cylinders instead of 6. I'll give the finger in #1 plug hole trick a try and report back. I hope this works.

#24 Craven

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 11:10 AM

When you are at TDC are you supposed to be lined up with the zero mark? Essentially the question is this, is it possible to put the fly wheel on wrong if you take it off?

No, the holes in the flywheel only line up oneway to the bolt holes in the crank.

#25 Craven

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 11:11 AM

I am having the exactly the same problem with my '88 XT6. I line the flywheel up to 0 degrees and insert the distributor with rotor pointing to #1. The car runs, barely, sounds like it's running on 4 cylinders instead of 6. I'll give the finger in #1 plug hole trick a try and report back. I hope this works.

Line it up with the #1 plug wire in the dis. cap.




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