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khughes

getting this damn engine to go?

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Hi Guys,

still no luck getting the engine to start,

Motor has been unused for around 4 years, the butterfly valves on the 260c carby that was on the engine (without the air intake attached) had rusted shut, so i replaced it with a 240k one. Replaced the spark plugs, plumbed the fuel pump directly to a can of unleaded (to bypass crappy fuel). Fuel pump pumps petrol into the carburetta. checked the points on the distrobuter and they look fine, the plugs are getting a strong white spark. ignition timing is around 1 and a bit Advanced.

When the engine is cranked, it turns over and every now and again there is blasts of air out of the top of the carby. I have also tried spraying "start ya bastard" into the carby, and all that seems to do is sometimes catch on fire (and i thought the fire was meant to happen inside the engine). I have tried advancing the timing all the way and also retarding all the way, and still no luck..

When timing was set to 0, the carby farted a little more than at other times, but the engine still didn't fire up..

There is oily petrol on the new plugs, so petrol is obivously getting in there.. not sure if i am flooding the engine and making things worse though. Havn't tried compression testing it yet, will have to get a tester.. anyone got any suggestions on what else i can try? i am quickly reaching the limit of my troubleshooting ability (and the repair manual doesn't shed any light)

also, the ignitor coil, i have 3 wires, a black/red (+), green (- goes to distributor, looks aftermarket) and a ballast type thing.. is the wiring correct? and what terminal does the ballast thingy go (i assume it is +). I get a spark fine, so i assume it is okay

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1) Are your spark plug wires in the right places? Note that the distributor turns ANTIclockwise on an L series engine. Have you got the plug leads going to the right places?

2) Is the distributor properly phased with the camshaft, ie it's firing on the compression stroke, and not the intake stroke? The dizzy could be 180 degrees out of phase.

I have made both of these mistakes in the past, and both cause symptoms similar to what you describe (apart from the setting fire to the carby thing :o )

Apart from that, check the distributor cap carefully for cracks (inside and out). I'd then be suspecting the carby. If it's been sitting around for a while, it could have too high a float level(causing flooding) or could have blocked jets (causing insufficient or poorly atomised fuel) or many other things.

The ballast resistor goes between the positive side of the coil and the ignition feed wire. THere should be another wire that goes directly to the +ve of the coil. This is the 12V feed when you're cranking the engine over. Make sure you're getting full 12V to the coil when you're cranking (you can bypass the ballast for this process, but don't let the engine run too long without it, as it can cook the coil).

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1) Yep, i have checked and rechecked the firing order

2), do you mean just the distributor cap (i thought the locking tabs were keyed), or the whole dizzy assembly? it certainly seems as if it is firing on the intake stroke as we are getting fire in the carby. Is there an easy way to find out what the phase is? or do i need to remove the cam cover to see. The Advanced/Retard settings are currently on the bottom of the distributor, facing the front of the car (unfortunatley the book/car is at home otherwise i would be able to visualise how it could be 180 degrees out)

Ballast; maybe i have my terms mixed up? i thought the ballast was the little choke looking thing that is screwed to the ignitor mount? it seems to plug onto the + of the ignitor terminals as in the photo: http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=6295 which answers my question :D (damn.. obviously i couldn't see straight last night!)

Thanks for the help! i have been tearing my hair out trying to figure out what else it could be, but the 180 degree distributor certainly sounds plausible (though why it would have been reversed is anyone's guess). i will have a look tonight and try to make more sense of it

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You're right - the cap can only go on one way. However, the distributor can be installed 180 degrees out of phase - specially if the engine's ever been apart.

To check, pull the oil cap off, and look at the camshaft lobes for No 1 cylinder (might need a torch). When the intake and exhaust lobes are both pointing up, the valves are closed, and No 1 cylinder should be firing (ie the dizzy rotor pointing to No 1 terminal).

If this isn't the case, then the easiest fix (if you can't rotate the dizzy 180 deg, due to the vacuum mechanism fouling on something or another) is to move all of the plug leads on the cap.

The photo you show is the points condensor. This helps to prevent points burning, and can cause problems in ignition if they are malfunctioning(although I've never experienced problems with them). Can't recall off the top of my head how they should be wired though.

Hope this helps.

Cheers

Peter.

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cool, that makes sense, we had assumed that as long as the firing order was right, it wouldn't matter where it started on the cap (as there wasn't any real markings).. but now that you have explained it, obviously it has to be firing the right plug at the right time.

Don't i feel stupid!!! thanks so much, i will try it tonight!

oh well.. this is one whole learning experience!

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If you pull the front plug out and disconnect the coil wire so it wont fire. Put your finger over the hole and have some bump the engine , turn the key to start and make it turn , when the piston comes up on the compression stroke you will know and stop turning it . If you shine a light in the plug hole you should see the piston . Now that is number one . connect that plugwire to the cap in a position that the rotor is pointing . Now connect the rest of the wires in the proper fireing order counter clockwise from the #1 . Try that.

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Don't feel too stupid over it, You aren't the first, and won't be the last. As I read your description on what the engine was doing, I remembered mine doing exactly the same, except mine started at first. I didn't have a bolt in the distributor and the whole assembly jumped out enough for it to spin out of phase. All of a sudden it wouldn't fire anywhere but out the carbies. Finally realised. Just pulled the whole dizzy out of the block about 10mm, spun the arm 180 and plonked it back in. Also put a bolt in to stop it happening again.

Good luck with it. Nothing worse than something not doing what it should.

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HEHEHE

I agree, don't feel bad. I put a single plane intake manifold on my (old) GTO years ago and got the timing 180 degrees off. Wouldn't start, wouldn't start... so I'm sniffin around the carb thinkin it was a fuel problem when I had my bro turn the motor over. A two foot flame backfired out the carb and damn near fried my hair off (it was just a bit longer then!). Well, after the smoke (my hair) cleared, I realized what I'd done. Oh, the fun of shadetree mechanics!

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haha, thanks guys..

All fixed now.. she is running although the idle is a little rough, which i guess is understandable after the years of not being used (and using 4 year old petrol!).. but atleast she is running!

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