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Discussion Starter #21
I'm frustrated because I dropped a pretty good amount of money on the rebuild and can't even enjoy it.

I've been reading too many different things. Could it be a possibility the distributor is 180 off because I'm an idiot?
 

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I'm frustrated because I dropped a pretty good amount of money on the rebuild and can't even enjoy it.
I totally get that, believe me. I've been in that place myself.
I've been reading too many different things. Could it be a possibility the distributor is 180 off because I'm an idiot?
OK, look, we'll get this sucker running. You're not an idiot. Take a step back, calm down and focus on the logic of it, and don't start flailing.
Back to a methodical examination of first principles.
We need compression, an ignition spark at the right time, and adequate fuel delivery at the right time.
Right?

So what have we got so far?

Compression? 122 on cylinder #1 and no real reason to think there's not similar compression on all the others, but we haven't checked for sure. I'm betting we're good, but maybe we should check them all just to eliminate this as a problem. Anything we can do to narrow the road, the better, right?

Spark? Check. We have spark on #1 for sure. We haven't checked the other 7, but it would be weird indeed to have spark on #1 only, so let's move on for now.

Electric signal to injectors? Check. (But we don't know for sure if there's problem with rail pressure due to a leak that's impeding injector performance. We also don't know for sure if the electric signal is timed correctly.)

Ignition timing (ie spark at the right time)? We think so, but not 100% sure.

So how about trying quickstart, and if the spark is happening when it should, and it has compression and no horrendous vacuum leak, the engine will at least fire and try to run regardless of potential fuel delivery issues.
If the engine fires on quickstart, the ignition timing must be at least close enough to get it running so the main problem must be fuel delivery.
If it does not fire at all, there must be a problem with ignition timing. (Distributor 180 off? It's time to check that out now)
There could still be a problem with fuel delivery as well of course, but if we can get it to fire on alternative "fuel", we can be confident the ignition timing is close enough for now and we can move on to fuel delivery issues if there are any.

Right?
Am I missing something?
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Okay. It's not a hobby if it's not fun. Thank you. I was flailing for sure. Gonna take all your steps and put them in a checklist and just run through them.

Thank you. Seriously. I'm pretty mechanically inclined, but this is my first major project. Gotta keep that in my mind and not get down on myself.
 

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I would do a compression test on all the cylinders. With a "new" rebuild i would expect to see compression up to the 150 range. But that may be because lifters are not pumped up all the way since it has never started. Also it could be an issue with the heads as i mentioned before. If it was a knowledgeable builder who built it that shouldn't be an issue. If you have timing light you can see if it's timed right. Even though the PCM controls timing. Same as any other motor hook the lead to #1 plug wire then crank the motor. It shout flash before the "tdc" on the balancer. And yes that was my concern about the TDC on the balancer. If the outer ring moves it will not be correct.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Okay, so it's been a few days and I finally got around to checking things out. Going through my checklist I found no major vacuum leaks, all grounds connected, and compression was as follows:
#8 - 125 #7 - 125
#6 - 125 #5 - 115 (low)
#4 - 135 #3 - 135
#2 - 130 #1 - 143

While I had all the plugs out I tested each injector connect via noid light and all 8 were getting pulses.

I pulled the fuel rails and fixed the leak. Pressure tested good so no more worry about leak.

Then I decided to double check the distributor position. I pulled the driver's side valve cover and rotated the engine until I saw the intake valve for #1 close then moved to the mark on the harmonic balancer. (Mark may be off though.)

Pulled the cap on the dizzy and the rotor was facing the opposite way of the cyl 1 mark, but not 180 degrees. when I flipped the rotor shaft it was still about 30-40 degrees off of the mark on the cam plate This is why I think the HB mark is incorrect and I need to check it all again.

I got everything thrown back on and the battery charged up. Primed oil pump, primed fuel pump, turned key and prayed.

The engine turns and it is catching like it wants to go, but just won't. A couple times it fired and I could here the starter spinning with it making that God awful sound but it dies immediately. Tried a couple times, but gave up because I don't want my starter to light on fire.

I'm think the dizzy is still off and my battery needs some more juice. Not sure how old it is.
 

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I'm think the dizzy is still off...
From your description of your last adventure, I'd say that sounds about right. It now certainly sounds like the timing is off. You're getting fuel for sure, which was an unknown previously.

I thought we had established that the mark on the HB accurately represented tdc on #1, but I guess that needs revisiting. An inaccurate mark is what @Moparite was concerned about if you recall.

Get the battery charged up and go over the ignition timing again, meticulously. Then when you try starting next time, you could turn the distributor back and forth a bit to see if you can smooth things out.

You're getting closer!!!

While those compression readings are a bit lower than one might expect from a fresh engine, I wouldn't fret about that at this point, not even a little bit. That's enough compression for the engine to run and it's not at all unreasonable to think those numbers will go up after a bit of running time.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I think the marks are off and I was being a little too prideful in my work. Clearly, I'm no master mechanic and should be a little more open to suggestion.

I will pull the valve cover and plugs to check the distributor again when I get the chance. It was pretty far off when I flipped it 180.

What's the best way to see when the piston is at TDC? I don't trust the lines at all at this point and can't seem to see it very well through the plug hole.
 

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If it's too difficult to actually see the piston with a strong light, it might be possible to poke a chopstick or something similar through the plug hole to give a feel for tdc. Just don't use anything that could bugger up the threads in the head or do other damage. I've had success with a stiff plastic drinking straw even, if there's a reasonably straight shot through the plug hole to the piston crown, and they have the advantage of being unlikely to break and drop debris into the chamber.
It can be a bit of a juggle to turn the engine slowly in a controlled manner while kinda guiding the straw or whatever so it doesn't get in a bind and so you can get a good feel for when it's at its highest point. A helper to gently and slowly turn the engine can be real helpful in that situation, and it's certainly easier if all the plugs are out so you're not fighting any compression while hand turning.
I pulled the driver's side valve cover and rotated the engine until I saw the intake valve for #1 close then moved to the mark on the harmonic balancer.
Just curious, how far from the mark was it when you observed the intake valve close, and which way did you turn the engine to get the mark aligned, forwards or backwards?

PS.
Don't forget to breathe!!
?
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I'm not sure how far from the valve closing to the mark it was. Seemed like a pretty good turn. I turned it clockwise (forward) with the normal rotation of the engine after the valve closed.

I'm doing okay. I will get I working eventually so I'm not stressing as much now. Thank you.
 

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The intake valve will close somewhere in the neighborhood of bdc at the end of the intake stroke/beginning of the compression stroke, so you'd expect to have to turn the engine a good bit to reach tdc on compression. Somewhere in the neighborhood of half a revolution of normal rotation in fact.

Yep, you'll get there. You're gaining on it now I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Haven't been able to get out to the truck because of work. Hope to get there soon and update y'all.

Dannewman, yeah I am pretty sure my distributor is off. That's why I need to go back and check the TDC again and position of the dizzy. As far as the coil, I'm not sure if it's getting 12v, but I assume it is because I was getting spark last time I checked it.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
SHE LIVES!!!

10 days and I finally got time to work on her. My dad came into town to visit and asked to help which was a great help.

Pulled the valved cover and plugs. Had my dad stick a wooden rod down the spark plug hole and watch the valves as I turned the crank.

Once the intake closed I turned until he felt the skewer stop and the cylinder was at TDC. Looked at the timing marks and HB line was perfectly lined up with the TDC mark on the cover.

Pulled the cap off and.. you guessed it. The distributor was off. By about 45 degrees.

Turned the distributor and put everything back together. (After a trip to the parts store because my dad tore a plug wire trying to get it off the plug.) Anti-sieze on all plugs, dielectric grease all around.

Unplugged all the fuel stuff and cranked until I got oil pressure. Plugged everything back in then said a quick prayer and turned the key.

Half a second of turning then vroom! She roared to life. No jostling, no fumbling. She just cranked and went for it. Sound smooth and no leaks I could find.

I could not be happier!!!

So, the marks on the HB were right, I just rushed things when I needed to slow down. I'm glad I got new injectors though since the others were pretty gross looking.

Thank you all for all the suggestions and help. I'm glad it worked out and I'm so stoked to get her back on the road!

(And maybe try again with another engine) :sneaky:
 

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SHE LIVES!!!
?????
I was wondering how your project was going.
Really happy to hear you got it sorted. Glad the chopstick trick worked out for you too. It's saved my butt a time or two over the years.
And maybe try again with another engine)
Why the hell not. Your instincts seem pretty good (you suspected timing right at the beginning if you recall) and your understanding of the fundamentals are strong.
Go for it, and have fun!

(Don't know if you've ever read Robert Persig's book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", but if not maybe give it a look. It's not so much about Zen or motorcycle maintenance as it is a story about life and mindfulness. Among other things he talks about if you step back from a puzzle that's making you nuts and get quiet and just do nothing but pay attention to what's going on in your head, sooner or later you'll notice what he describes as something like " a little guy over in the corner somewhere jumping up and down and waving a little flag and going " look over here! look over here!" ... then he talks about how we so often get so intense we just ignore that and chase some other shiny objects. It's a really lovely book.)

Anyway, she's running and sounds good. Well done!!
 
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