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Old 03-15-2007, 08:20 PM
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283 starting issues

I have a '63 Chevy 283 with a TH-350 that have been transplanted into a 74 Jeep CJ-5. The Jeep actually belongs to my father, and has been sitting up for about 7 years. I've been trying to get the old heap running. I have already replaced the starter, oil, oil filter, plugs, wires, distributor, rotor, and cap, but the engine just won't fire up. It sounds decent when I attempt to crank it, but the engine won't fire. I'm inclined to think that a rat may have chewed through an important connection over the years. Any ideas?

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Old 03-15-2007, 08:31 PM
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new fuel, new fuel filter, check spark at pluges,carb may be stopped up
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:35 PM
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A motor only needs spark,air and fuel and compression to start and run.
Start your search by checking for a good healthy spark.
Remove the coil wire from the top of the distributor. Put an old spark plug in the end of the coil wire.
Place the metal body of the plug against some metal point on the motor or body. (Grounded)
Have some one crank the starter over while you watch the spark plug for a spark.
If the the distributor is a HEI that does not have a coil wire, remove one sparkplug wire from a sparkplug on the motor and do the same thing. the spark plug body must touch a metal part of the motor to be grounded.
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Old 03-16-2007, 03:23 PM
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Thanks for the input gentlemen. I plan to wrench on the Jeep this afternoon, so I'll keep you guys posted on my progress, along with any other questions that arise.
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Old 03-16-2007, 03:47 PM
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Cranks decently huh?

I ran into the same situation recently, I have a high compression 305 with SS monte carlo heads from 81'. I too bought a starter, replaced the battery, checked the alternator, but it still would not turn as fast as it should, and definitely would turn over slowly while it is hot. A friend of mine checked out the battery cables and charging amps to the battery, all great. Then he noticed my new starter, most starters that you buy at the auto parts now are for low torque, low compression engines, and are fine for the new stuff. But for earlier high compression motors require the high torque starters. They are identified by being 1" longer armature. They have a 1" spacer for the terninal on the starter housing to the solenoid. I replaced mine and no more problems, I am shocked about the performance, no more stranded in traffic. If you jump it with a running engine, your new starter may crank over enough to start, but the new stuff is inadequate. Even with the distributor slightly out, it still cranks good.
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Old 03-17-2007, 04:55 AM
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Doc here,

BASICS FIRST!

You need to first determine if it's fuel or fire...

Spray start fluid down the carb throat ( throttle Open) and crank it..if it fires, you have fuel delivery problems..check the tank for clogs, (OR bad gas) replace the filters, check the fuel pump for volume and pressure..and primary squirter's for fuel on throttle..

IF the fuel is good or it won't start on fluid, check the Ignition. With a DVOM set for dcv X 50 or auto range, measure the voltage at the coil +, it should be 12 volts (or whatever your power at the battery is static..)

Next Crank the engine, it should still be around 12 volts, if not you may need a secondary ignition wire from the "I" or "R" terminal off the starter solenoid..This provides coil power during crank mode.Without it it can make it hard to start or not start at all..

if Good, check the points (assuming the 283 is still stock) set the points for 17 to 19 thousands, BE SURE you still have a rotor! (after running, Dwell to 28 - 32 at 2000 RPM's, check timing after) MAKE sure the points aren't shorting on anything and that you have spark when you mechanically open and close them..(too wide a gap will not allow a spark..) If you put in an HEI, check the module at the local auto zombie for free..replace as needed..and don't forget the heat-sink grease!

Pull a plug, get a jumper cable to the battery ground, clamp the other end to the spark plug base, plug in your wire and crank, if you get spark, move the cable to the block from the battery, if you lose spark, you need a better grounding system, also be sure the coil is mounted on a good ground.

Make sure it is properly static timed..(verify #1 and timing marks on compression TDC both valves closed really is on #1..) and if good,

Do a compression test, low values (like around 60 or 70 ) indicate a jumped timing chain..

Doc
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:06 PM
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Damn Doc!

Thanks for all of the info! I'm accustomed to wrenching on fuel-injected sport bikes, so the jump to a carburated Chevy V8 is a bit of a stretch for me. What is the simplest way to go about finding TDC on the #1 piston? I know I'll need to rotate the crank by hand, but what exactly does that procedure entail? I'm fairly certain its not the fuel system, because I have a relatively new Edlebrock 600 on the engine, and I can see gas being sprayed when another person attempts to start the Jeep. I'll be replacing the fuel filter today, and I siphoned all of the old gas out of the tank as soon as I started working on the vehicle. It does seem sluggish and underpowered starting-wise, so I'm wondering if the problem lies there. Another fellow mentioned that I might be attempting to start the engine with a starter that does not have sufficient power to crank it. The engine was apparently used as a marine powerplant before it was transplanted into the jeep. Would an ancient 283 really be considered a high compression engine? As for the starter itself, the wiring i found to be a bit odd. On the left side of the solenoid is a green wire, which I assume is the "neutral", dead center is the battery hot lead, as well as a second hot lead which I assume to be the secondary ignition lead you mentioned, and the far right post is the ground. How does that sound? I apologize for the length of this post, but I'm a young guy, and as you can see, still learning. Thanks in advance for your help, it is appreciated.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:24 PM
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Remove #1 plug
Put finger over hole
Have someone bump the starter until it blows you finger out of the hole
Bring the timing mark up by turning the crank by hand with a socket on a bar
Pull disributor cap and check rotor for alignment with #1 post

This is the simplest way without pulling a valve cover.

Chet
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:30 PM
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The older chevys used 3 wires on the starter. I was the hot lead, the large one in the center, one is the lead to engage the starter, this is usually the terminal labeled s and one to supply 12 volts to the coil while starting. After the car is running and the key is released the coil was feed through a resistor wire.
It could be cranking slow if the timing is too far advanced. 283's were not typically used as performance engines but it is not unheard of either.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:38 PM
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Also Doc,
I read your responses to the thread started by Huug on his starting issues. I actually had the exact same problem initially, and like Huug, I stupidly yanked the hot lead off of the battery to kill the starter, which would not disengage. I'm lucky I'm not a crispy critter right now. After the incident, I examined the starter, and saw that the bendix was not retracting. I shimmed the starter (not much) and the problem seems to have been remedied. No more starters that refused to stop starting, and the bendix also retracts back into the starter housing like it should. Should I consider that an isolated incident, or does that indicate that I'm using an underpowered starter?
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Old 03-18-2007, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 283jeep
Damn Doc!

Thanks for all of the info! I'm accustomed to wrenching on fuel-injected sport bikes, so the jump to a carburated Chevy V8 is a bit of a stretch for me. What is the simplest way to go about finding TDC on the #1 piston? I know I'll need to rotate the crank by hand, but what exactly does that procedure entail? I'm fairly certain its not the fuel system, because I have a relatively new Edlebrock 600 on the engine, and I can see gas being sprayed when another person attempts to start the Jeep. I'll be replacing the fuel filter today, and I siphoned all of the old gas out of the tank as soon as I started working on the vehicle. It does seem sluggish and underpowered starting-wise, so I'm wondering if the problem lies there. Another fellow mentioned that I might be attempting to start the engine with a starter that does not have sufficient power to crank it. The engine was apparently used as a marine powerplant before it was transplanted into the jeep. Would an ancient 283 really be considered a high compression engine? As for the starter itself, the wiring i found to be a bit odd. On the left side of the solenoid is a green wire, which I assume is the "neutral", dead center is the battery hot lead, as well as a second hot lead which I assume to be the secondary ignition lead you mentioned, and the far right post is the ground. How does that sound? I apologize for the length of this post, but I'm a young guy, and as you can see, still learning. Thanks in advance for your help, it is appreciated.

Doc here,

Remove #1 plug, turn engine until #1 plug pushes air out the hole, check Timing marks, Should be lined up (close to it) ,

Get a Slurppe Straw from one of those 64 gallon drinks..insert it in the plug hole, and set it by hand , until no mater what direction you turn the crank, the straw moves only DOWN..

This is absolute TOP DEAD CENTER..(My version of "poor-man's " piston stop..and it won't gouge a piston..)BOTH intake and Exhaust valves DEAD closed ..

IF you have this, mechanical timing is correct, (no cam / crank errors with the timing chain) ...

Next, pull the Cap, Observing the #1 plug position on the cap tower. look at the rotor, it should point dead on the tower position, IF not reset it until it does..

Rotation of the dizzy is clockwise, Traditionally, #1 is located on the 5 to 7 O'Clock position on the cap..Plugs on the driver's side front to rear are 1,3,5 and 7..Plugs on the passengers side are 2,4,6 and 8...The Firing order is:

1,8,4,3,6,5,7,2

IF you have that, it's timed right, and wired right..

Check your Points, look for pits or bent point contact arm..if any found, replace the points and condenser, Set the gap for between 17 and 19 thousands. Be sure nothing is hitting the advance plate (move it forth and back and watch.)

Next Check your timing, get a timing light, start and warm the engine,remove and Plug the vacuum advance line, ..curb Idle should be about 650 for manual trans, and 950 for auto..Set your timing for about 12 degrees. replace the vacuum advance, Recheck your idle and adjust if required..

Next, check your Dwell, get a dwell meter, set it for 28 to 32 Degrees at 2000 RPM..then, re~check the timing, Dwell will change it..reset if needed.

Once you have that, it should be good..

Your Starter, The solenoid is setup as Follows:

The (as your looking at it) Far left terminal, (Fender-well side) Is The "R" or "I" terminal, This is secondary Ignition, It (with the wire disconnected) will only have power on it when the key is in Start mode..It provides power DIRECTLY to the coil + Terminal on start..


The "Center" is the Big Cable is Battery "Hot At All Times" and Traditionally , a 10 gauge red wire that brings power to the fuse buss and powers up the whole car, the fuse link is usually found here also..

The Terminal on the right, (Block side) Is the "S" wire, this is hot only when the key is in the "Start" position..and energizes the starter. This wire comes from the Ignition switch, goes to the Neutral safety Switch , then to the "S" terminal.

Your battery ground should go somewhere on the block AT or near the starter..Two 10 gauge wires should be run from there, One to the firewall, and one to the Alternator Ground lug OR mount bolt.

A Third 4 gauge CABLE should be run from that bolt to the frame..AT every ground point, burnish the paint and grease off the area, use a STAR and LOCK washer, Be sure they are tight..If yours is not this way, you NEED to get it this way..

Be sure you have a FULL charged battery, 6 to 10 hours at 6 amps ought to do it.

Doc
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Old 03-18-2007, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 283jeep
Also Doc,
I read your responses to the thread started by Huug on his starting issues. I actually had the exact same problem initially, and like Huug, I stupidly yanked the hot lead off of the battery to kill the starter, which would not disengage. I'm lucky I'm not a crispy critter right now. After the incident, I examined the starter, and saw that the bendix was not retracting. I shimmed the starter (not much) and the problem seems to have been remedied. No more starters that refused to stop starting, and the bendix also retracts back into the starter housing like it should. Should I consider that an isolated incident, or does that indicate that I'm using an underpowered starter?

Doc here,

The shimming should have taken Care of it..unless it's noisy, or hangs sometimes, I'd call it good..

Doc
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:23 AM
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Conclusion...maybe

After more tinkering with the electronics and fuel system, I concluded that the engine was getting ample spark and fuel, but the starter just didn't have enough grunt to turn the engine over. That decided, I installed a pro-torque starter from Summit (pretty nice piece, by the way). Engine turns much better, but still will not start. As mentioned before, I installed a new distributor during the initial stages of the reworking of the engine, and in doing so, probably threw off the timing. So, I'll be taking Doc's advice-setting the timing. I'll update with news of success or more questions.
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Old 03-27-2007, 08:41 PM
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Attempted to set the #1 at TDC today, and ran into the "minor" inconvenience of being unable to turn the crank manually. On the crank pulley of the 283, there are 3 bolts that hold the pulley on, and one in the center of them that i assume is the bolt that should turn the crank. However, when I crank on the bolt, it tightens for a revolution or two, then gets VERY tough to move. I can force it, but I don't want to strip the threads or break of the head. suggestions?
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Old 03-27-2007, 09:02 PM
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Doc here,

Remove the plugs then turn it by hand or wrench..

If it's still too hard, you have bigger issues to wory about..like seized bearings.

Doc
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