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Kiwi Mal
Crazy Horse

New Zealand
698 Posts

Posted - 17 Apr 2020 :  12:09:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi all I hope everyone is well in these difficult times.
It's been a long time since I have posted anything here but I still have the bird and it's still giving me trouble.

The original HEI was getting excess wear in the shaft and timing seemed a little erratic. Since I couldn't find another original HEI I decided to buy a ready to run MSD. I fitted it and fired up the engine but didn't put the timing light on it. The car had been sitting for quite some time and I was happy at that stage it was running so I left it to the following weekend to time it properly. I could not get it to start. The best I could get was to get it to fire once then nothing.
Being rather peeved off I gave it a verbal lashing and walked away.

Well that was over a year ago, so during lockdown I decided time to try again. I checked I had fuel and at first I thought I was not getting fuel to the carb a quick fuel 850 vac sec. Nothing out the accelerator pump jets which made me think the pump may be defective. Anyway I decided to pour a slash of fuel into the primaries of the carb and see if it would at least fire. It started right up and ran for about 30 seconds. Tried the same thing again and it started but died quite quickly.
Pulled the carb and took off the fuel bowls and blew compressed air through the fuel passages made sure all the jets were clean and checked the accelerator pump and refitted it. Fuel now squirting in so I thought we should be good to go now . Wouldn't even fire, so I pulled number 1 plug earthed it and wound it over. The spark didn't look that strong and wasn't always coming from the end of the electrode. I gave it a good clean and the spark was better. I did the same to them all. I tried to start it again and at first nothing, then just as I was about to give up it started. I kept it running until it warmed right up. I put the timing light on and it was no where near the timing marks on the dampner which was new with the rebuild. I ried to turn the dist to get it to the timing marks but it died. Put it back to were it was and it restarted. Time to scratch the head and try and figure out what was wrong. It was the end of the day so best to leave it until tomorrow and cool.

Today I decided to recheck the timing from the start. Pulled #1 plug stuck my finger in the hole and had the wife bump the starter until it blew my finger out. Looked at the timing marks and it had gone a little to far. Put a socket on the crankshaft nut and turned the engine over until I had it at 10deg adv. Looked at the distributor and the rotor was pointing at number one plug terminal, nothing wrong there. Pulled the dist just to check, not sure really but I did. Put it all back together and tried to start it. Did one fire and that has been it since. Turning the dist a litle does nothing. Turning it a lot nothing. I just don't get it .

HELP

Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
5399 Posts

Posted - 17 Apr 2020 :  07:10:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Mal, I've had starting problems 3 times while my TA has been in the garage undergoing restoration. Having a car sit doesn't do it any good especially with parts that corrode from humidity not to mention the ethanol content in the gas lines and carb.

There's only two areas to check as you well know. First gasoline delivery and second, spark. My suggestions:

Since you did get the engine to fire and run, though poorly, and blew out the bowls and jets on the carb, I think your focus should be on spark. Go through the entire ignition system. Look for corrosion, check continuity in the spark plug wires with a multimeter, inspect and clean the spark plugs, make doubly sure the wires go to the right terminals, set up the distributor again by removing it, getting to TDC on #1 as you did before and move the crank by hand at the crank to reach 0 (with socket and bar move the crank either forward to reach 0 TDC or move it by hand backwards to reach 0 TDC; don't turn it as you did by hand another cycle, just back it up by hand--this has always worked for me). Reinstall the distributor ensuring you have the rotor moving toward #1 terminal (close to it) as the distributor seats.

Prime the carb again and with the assistance of your wife at the ignition switch, have her try to start the engine while you're at the distributor moving it a little to advance it. Once you get it running, you must use a light to get 12-14 degrees advance at idle. Your can further tune it after the beast is running steadily.

I hope this helps. (I know your frustration.)

Bill

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.
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Kiwi Mal
Crazy Horse

New Zealand
698 Posts

Posted - 17 Apr 2020 :  4:51:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Bill.

I have been checking in from time to time and seeing how your restoration is coming along. The car is coming along very nicely. I see you have had a few issues with restarting the engine. hopefully you have it sorted with new lines and pump.

Sorry when I said that I turned the engine over until 10 deg adv. It is what I did but it was only bumping it onto 10deg adv so I didn't rotate the engine a full rotation.

The bit I really don't get is when the engine was running and the timing light on the timing marks were so far out, like 90deg retarded.
At first I thought slippage in the balancer but when I went back through the retiming sequence without removing the distributor with the timing marks on 0 the rotor was pointing at number 1 lead. So I figured if it was slipping it would be out here as well.

All the plug leads are new 9mm high temp silicone spiral core wire apart from the HT from the coil to the cap. Still the same type of wire but only 8mm. I am wondering if this could cause an issue. I will go on a hunt to see if I do have another 9mm lead somewhere. Didn't need it for the GM HEI. I will go over the timing again clean all the plugs again and see what happens. A new set of spark plugs may help as well.
Cheers Mal
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Kiwi Mal
Crazy Horse

New Zealand
698 Posts

Posted - 01 May 2020 :  10:59:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had another fiddle today. I got my wife to crank it over while I measured the voltage at the ign wire on the coil. I got 10 volts, 12 at the terminal when not cranking but know sign of life. I decided to make sure I had a full 12 volts while cranking with a wire going directly from the batt + terminal to the ign wire and + terminal on the coil, but didn't help.
So I went over the wiring and pulled apart the msd wiring connection and put it back together a couple of times. Also gave the msd earth wire a wiggle and the engine to fire wall a wiggle and they were both firm. I had cleaned them up when I first tried to restart it, and it worked that time. Guess what it worked this time as well. Gave it a crank and it fired, bit of a adjustment with the dist and it was running. If it does it to me again tomorrow I think there must be a fault with the earth wire itself.
Seems to like a lot of initial this engine. If I set it to 10deg it will hardly run. I have set it now to 18 and will see how it runs on the road.
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Kiwi Mal
Crazy Horse

New Zealand
698 Posts

Posted - 02 May 2020 :  6:02:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And yesterday was yesterday and today is today. Managed to get it to fire once and that's been it. I think I will pull the dist and see if I can find a fault inside it.
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