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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I have a 1996 Ram 1500 with the 5.9 Magnum. I recently pulled the engine and had it rebuilt. It was bored .020 over, the crankshaft was machined, and the heads were replaced with new EngineQuest complete heads from EQ. Other replaced parts include:
  • Pistons
  • Pushrods
  • Lifters
  • Cam Sensor Plate
  • Cap & Rotor (Set distributor position using Factory Service Manual suggested method)
  • Spark Plugs & Wires
  • Ignition Coil
  • Timing Set
  • Water Pump
I reused the old camshaft as it was still in good shape. Because the engine was already apart I decided I would install the Hughes AirGap FI intake manifold at the same time.
I got everything put back together and all the wires/lines hooked up in their right places. When I try to start it, it cranks over and everything turns, but no bang. I pulled the #1 plug and confirmed I was getting a spark at the plug. I also feel compression from the cylinder, although I have not tested the compression officially. I have fuel at the rails which I confirmed through the Schrader valve (small fuel leak on the crossover line which I will address).
So, if I have spark and compression, my only other option is fuel. I reused the old injectors even though I ordered new injectors which come tomorrow, but I guess I was too anxious to wait for them. Would the next logical step be testing if the injectors are getting a pulse with a noid light? What other things might I check for this issue? I've read crankshaft position sensor, throttle position sensor, MAP sensor, among other possible culprits.

Can someone point me in the right direction here?
Thanks.
 

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(Set distributor position using Factory Service Manual suggested method)
This needs to be on #1 cylinder on the compression stroke! Very important. If it's not it won't run. Did you prime the lifters in oil before putting them in? Also there have have been issues with the EQ heads. The rocker shaft pedestal Is different heights(not machined correctly) or need to have adjustable push rods/spacer installed under the pedestal. Who ever built the motor needs to investigate this.
 

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'18 RAM 3500 4WD Tradesman 6.4
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Looks to me like your thinking is already headed in the right direction. As you say, for the engine to run you need compression, fuel delivered at the right time, and spark ignition at the right time..
You'd probably sense a problem with the sound the engine makes when you crank if over if there was no compression on any or all cylinders, but I'd double check them all if it was me just to be sure. Doesn't take too long and will eliminate that as a problem for sure. I doubt it's that with new heads and pistons unless the valve timing is off somehow.
You know you have spark, and if you set the distributor according to the manual your spark timing should be close enough for the engine to fire up at least.
That leaves fuel.
The injectors are getting fuel at the rail (though you don't mention any fuel rail pressure measurement) so maybe they're not firing when they should. So yeah, checking to see if they're getting the electrical signal they need to fire makes perfect sense. If they're not, well that needs fixed. If they are, then crank position sensor comes up on the list maybe.

Any sign of fuel (wetness) on the plugs after cranking the engine for a while?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This needs to be on #1 cylinder on the compression stroke! Very important. If it's not it won't run. Did you prime the lifters in oil before putting them in? Also there have have been issues with the EQ heads. The rocker shaft pedestal Is different heights(not machined correctly) or need to have adjustable push rods/spacer installed under the pedestal. Who ever built the motor needs to investigate this.
Yes, I set distributor when #1 was TDC of the compression stroke by lining up the groove on the harmonic balancer with the mark on the timing cover. The engine was assembled with the valvetrain complete before delivery to me, so I am unaware of the process he used with the lifters. I primed the oil pump myself using a drill until I got oil through the lifters and pushrods.

Reading around other threads and sites, my next guess was the crankshaft position sensor. Before I drop $80 on a new one, i thought maybe I should test the injectors are getting a pulse first.

Looks to me like your thinking is already headed in the right direction. As you say, for the engine to run you need compression, fuel delivered at the right time, and spark ignition at the right time..
You'd probably sense a problem with the sound the engine makes when you crank if over if there was no compression on any or all cylinders, but I'd double check them all if it was me just to be sure. Doesn't take too long and will eliminate that as a problem for sure. I doubt it's that with new heads and pistons unless the valve timing is off somehow.
You know you have spark, and if you set the distributor according to the manual your spark timing should be close enough for the engine to fire up at least.
That leaves fuel.
The injectors are getting fuel at the rail (though you don't mention any fuel rail pressure measurement) so maybe they're not firing when they should. So yeah, checking to see if they're getting the electrical signal they need to fire makes perfect sense. If they're not, well that needs fixed. If they are, then crank position sensor comes up on the list maybe.

Any sign of fuel (wetness) on the plugs after cranking the engine for a while?
Glad to hear I'm at least somewhat knowledgeable :cool:. The plugs didn't really look wet when I pulled them. I can smell gas because of the leak on the crossover line, but nothing from the exhaust. Now, that I'm typing it out, I feel it's injectors not firing more and more... I don't have a fuel pressure tester, compression tester, or noid light. So, I cannot give exact measurements yet. I will rent them and advise measurements when I can. I might just buy them and have them on hand. Can never have too many good tools lying around.
 

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I agree with checking timing first but what timing set did you use? Against my better judgement, I rebuilt one of my old 4.7's and went real cheap on the timing set. It would fire and run but very rough. Once it went closed loop, I had to unplug the cam sensor to keep it running. I chased my tail for weeks until I finally noticed that the cam trigger was absolute garbage and causing all kinds of misfires.

So, if everything is on the timing marks and it still doesn't fire, don't overlook a faulty aftermarket component.

130261
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Discussion Starter #6
I agree with checking timing first but what timing set did you use? Against my better judgement, I rebuilt one of my old 4.7's and went real cheap on the timing set. It would fire and run but very rough. Once it went closed loop, I had to unplug the cam sensor to keep it running. I chased my tail for weeks until I finally noticed that the cam trigger was absolute garbage and causing all kinds of misfires.

So, if everything is on the timing marks and it still doesn't fire, don't overlook a faulty aftermarket component.
I'm not sure what timing set the shop used that rebuilt it for me. I remember he showed me the box quickly and I remember the color was red and black. So, my best guess with my memory is he used the Sealed Power timing set. The cam plate/sensor in the distributor I got from amazon i think for cheap. I tested it using a multimeter and it appeared to be working.
 

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Yeah, at this point you need to know if the injectors are getting a pulse. A decent noid light is not a ton of money, and seriously handy. And you kinda do need to know fuel rail pressure too, otherwise you can be chasing your own tail for hours, which is annoying as hell.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, at this point you need to know if the injectors are getting a pulse. A decent noid light is not a ton of money, and seriously handy. And you kinda do need to know fuel rail pressure too, otherwise you can be chasing your own tail for hours, which is annoying as hell.
Okay. I will pick up a noid light, compression tester, and fuel pressure tester. Would the ones sold at Harbor Freight be good enough? Or should I shell out a few bucks for nicer ones?
 

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I think I paid about 30 bucks or so for my noid light at Harbor Freight a couple years ago, and it's been fine so far.
Not the kind of thing you use a lot, but when you need one, you need one.
Fix that leak too, ASAP, eh? You don't want gasoline squirting all over the damn place while you're trying to start an engine!
:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Harbor Freight it is, then. Think they have a 25% off coupon this week. Just have to go in 3 separate times and buy each tool.

I didn't really notice the leak until I had given up trying to make it run. I haven't turned the key since I saw the leak even though it's very VERY small. I have to pull the fuel rails for the new injectors when they come anyway, so I'll fix the crossover then. The nylon fuel line is just such a PITA to put on the barbed fittings. Seems like i can't get it hot enough to slide over or I get it too hot and it buckles when I put any pressure on it.
 

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Hey, keep us posted on how it goes, eh?
I'm in Colorado too, btw, over on the west side. A trip to Harbor Freight for me is a trip to Grand Junction, which is close to 3 hours at least this time of year.
 

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Hey, keep us posted on how it goes, eh?
I'm in Colorado too, btw, over on the west side. A trip to Harbor Freight for me is a trip to Grand Junction, which is close to 3 hours at least this time of year.
Ouch! I actually moved to California 4 years ago, but haven't updated my location on here. (Maybe I just wish I was still in CO).

I will keep you guys posted actually. I was thinking that I should probably check the ASD relay too. Just add that to the list of stuff to check I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So, I've been sitting here at work researching because I have nothing else to do.

I think I'm an idiot and may have caused this problem myself. I set the distributor on TDC of compression stroke for cylinder #1. I then tried to do the cheap version of fuel sync setting with a multimeter and turned the dizzy to the spot between 5 and 0.05 volts like all the guides say to do. Looking back, I didn't turn the crank to the "V8" mark on the harmonic balancer to do this. I left it at the timing mark instead. Which means my timing would be something like 17.5° off from where it should be. That sounds like more than enough to completely bugger up everything. I'm gonna fix that when I get home and just set it to TDC, then take it to a shop to set the fuel sync.

I think this might do it.. I hope.
 

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I just read through all the posts since my last reply.

Yes, I set distributor when #1 was TDC of the compression stroke by lining up the groove on the harmonic balancer with the mark on the timing cover.
Remove the valve cover and turn the motor(by hand) until both valves close(#1). Remove the spark plug and see where the piston is. Don't go by balancer, Get it to TDC then set the distributor like this...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Is there a reason I shouldn't use the marks? When it was still on the engine stand I used your method of looking in the plug hole and it appeared to be in the same spot as the mark on the HB.
 

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is there a reason I shouldn't use the marks?
I could be wrong, but I think @Moparite is concerned that the marks sometimes don't coincide well, or even at all, with the actual piston position.
But if you've confirmed that on your engine the HB mark accurately represents TDC, there should not be an issue.
#1 does have to be at TDC on compression stroke, of course, not on exhaust stroke, and the mark on the balancer alone can't help identify which one the cylinder is on, but it sounds like you're not overlooking that.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Gotcha. Yeah, I put my finger over the plug hole and felt the compression pushing on it. Then I looked down the hole so I could watch the piston to see where it stopped and it lined up with the HB mark on TDC on the timing cover. At least to the best of my knowledge, it's accurate.

That being said... Once I did that, I had my phone and did a video straight over the top of the rotor. Sure enough it was misaligned from the mark on the cam pickup plate so I moved it back. I did a few other things and will try to start it since it's a little late and I don't want to piss my neighbors off.

Will check back in when I get the chance to try starting it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay, after changing the distributor position it still won't start. So I grabbed some test kits from HF.

1. Noid Light - the light came on for cylinder #1 indicating the fuel injectors were firing.
2. Compression Test - I was only able to check cylinder #1 because my son was outside with me, but it showed 122psi.
3. Fuel Pressure Test - I tried to hook up the fuel pressure test kit to the Schrader valve, but looks like the new crossover I put on is still leaking. So, I'm starting to think maybe it's a fuel pressure problem because of the leak?

Going to give the nylon crossover another go tonight. If I can't get it, then I'm throwing a rubber line on instead.

So, I have compression, I have spark. The fuel injectors are getting a pulse. I'm leaning towards fuel pressure being too low because of that leak, but I would like there would be SOME indication the engine would start even with low pressure.

I'm going to check the distributor again too. I'm just getting frustrated.
 

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I'm just getting frustrated.
Yeah, I get that.
Maybe squirt a shot of quickstart into the intake then crank to see if it shows any signs of life and at least tries to run.
If it does, then it just about has to be a fuel delivery problem.
If it doesn't, and you have compression, it just about has to be some kind of timing problem.
 
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