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Old 03-24-2012, 01:44 PM
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327 SBC No Spark - Help!

My father and I have been working on a 32 Ford for several years. This past Wednesday was the moment of truth to start it. It would crank (new starter), we had poured fuel in the carburetor (so we had fuel), and we had a spark. But it would not start, so we determined it was the timing. So today we set the timing properly. But in order to set the timing we had to turn the flywheel by hand, and we thought it would be easier to turn the flywheel if we took the belts off. So after we had set the timing we reinstalled the spark plugs, reinstalled the distributor cap, and reinstalled the spark plug wires to the proper cylinders. After numerous tries at cranking we still cannot get it to fire. So we pulled out the spark plug wire and attached it to an old spark plug and now, no spark! We are baffled! Could it possibly be that the alternator is not sending power because we took the belt off of it? Any help would be much appreciated!
Here are some specs: 1968 327 SBC Corvette engine, HEI distributor, 4 barrel Holley Carb, and an edlebrock intake manifold (No idea what model)

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Old 03-24-2012, 02:47 PM
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Probaly not the alternater, unles you have the wire to HEI somehow connected there. Check and make sure you have 12 volts at battery terminal on Dist. Cap. This should come from the key switch. Check tach terminal with tachmeter and see if you have rpm reading. Make sure solid ground on motor.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:40 PM
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be aware sometime you loose the 12V when you crank the motor. Make sure there is 12 volts at the HEI battery terminal as you are cranking it.
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:01 PM
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Have to ask...did you have the old plug grounded to the head when you looked for spark?
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:06 PM
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Are all wires reconnected to the distributor? Is power reconnected to the coil? Ignition module plugged back in?

The alternator doesn't play a role in starting. In fact it may not produce any power during cranking. Starting is one of the main jobs of the battery and after the engine is running the alternator will power everything along with recharge/keep the battery charged.

Rather than roll the engine over from the flywheel it is easier to pull all of the spark plugs then turn it from the harmonic balancer bolt at the front of the engine. The spark plugs should be pulled when you do it this way otherwise you'll; 1) have a hard time positioning the engine and; 2) risk pulling threads out of the crank snout.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:19 AM
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I figured it might not be the alternator. But removing the belts and changing the timing are the only two things that we have changed that have caused it not to spark.
How would I test the voltage at the Battery terminal on the distributor cap? All I have is a test light, I don't have a specific voltage tester, however we do have the a voltage gauge. Should I watch this when we crank and report back what happens?
Also, we don't have a tach because we are running a TH400 and we felt a tach wasn't necessary for an automatic. Plus a tach was more expensive.
As for the old plug we had it in spark plug wire 1 and held the cap on the spark plug wire with a pair of pliers. The day it did spark I got shocked, so maybe I was acting in as a ground? I tried not to get shocked a second time, so I made sure not to act as a ground. Could this be the spark issue?
Finally, we can't turn the engine with the bolt on the harmonic balancer because the bolt keeps turning and the crank shaft doesn't. So we don't want to strip it out. I will try and crank it tonight and look at the voltage meter. Thanks!
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:46 AM
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Good News: After properly grounded the spark plug I successfully got spark to it. I also got one cylinder to fire. But Bad news: Battery is almost gone from cranking it too much so I couldn't really get the the motor to crank properly again. However, I think I might know what the problem is. Please either confirm or deny my theory here. I think when we set it to 4 Degrees BTC we accidently set it on the exhaust stroke as oppose to the fire stroke. Meaning that when the cylinder is coming up it is pushing out the exhaust since the cam for the exhaust is open. Rather, the cam for the fuel to be let in should be open so fuel can be let in the cylinder momentarily prior to a spark. Do you think I am correct, or do you think I have no idea what I am talking about? hahaha
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