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Old 06-26-2012, 01:25 PM
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NEWBIE! Timing issue? I'm at a loss!

I'm at a loss for sure. I had a post a few days ago about my plug wires. When I swapped them out I started having a miss. Changed back to old wires and it went away................. for a moment! I also found a broken valve spring, changed it along with all the push rods. Adjusted the valves, running method. I'm sure I'm probably off in that too.



Here's where I am stuck. When I first start the engine, throttle response is crisp and 396 is ready to run. Once temp gets up to 180-200deg, I start the "bog" when I give it some juice. No longer crisp! I have been through three sets of plugs and wires. It was like one of the wires came off but all have spark.



I had an issue with it vapor locking after I ran it for a while. Shutdown and wouldnt restart til a good period of time had elapsed. I installed the Flex-Tech heat barrier over the fuel line from pump to carb but haven't tested that out yet.



I do not have HEI. It's a Petronix Flame-Thrower II , Summit suggested because I wanted to get away from the points and the dizzy is so close to the firewall. I have it set for vacuum advance, not mechanical.



Do I try and time it again? I truthfully don't know where to start. Time by ear then put the gun on it? On a 396 what is about normal? I don't know the cam specs. How do I figure initial advance then total advance? I'm confused as hell!! Someone said around 35, how do I do that?



I don't want to take it to someone. I want to learn for myself but this timing stuff has got me stumped and this is the KEY to engine performance. Should I get a MSD box? Would this help? Would it be easier?



UGGGGHHH!!!!
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:22 PM
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finding miss

One way to find the miss is to pull one spark plug at a time. Attach spark plug wire and ground plug to something you can see clearly. Use a remote start to turn the motor over with the key in the on position. If all plugs fire you are ok. BTW, which head had the broken valve spring? You might want to do a compression test and a leakdown test. This will pinpoint which cylinder is the problem. You can also remove the valve covers and turn the motor over with a remote start. Starting at No 1 watch the opening and closing of the valves to see if all are opening and closing. Be sure and check the cylinder with the broken spring closely. Make sure the valves on that cylinder is opening to the same height as the rest. If not you may have a lobe on the cam wiped.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:50 PM
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I did take one off at a time and it surged down.

My next question, since I'm very ignorant @ this, is that I have my dizzy set for Vacuum advance. Do I need to install the colored springs for the "Mechanical Advance too"?

I hope its not a cam problem. That means take to a shop and have it replaced. I don't have the means to yank the motor. More $$$$. If its out should go ahead and change heads and have it rebuilt.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:15 PM
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timing your 396

Try setting the initial timing from 12-16 degrees BTDC. Adjust the idle if too high. Your will need an Advance Timing Light. After you set the initial with the vacuum advance disconnected and plugged, you idle the engine to around 3000- 3500 rpm. Point the light at the scale and balancer turn the knob on the end of timing light until the line on the balancer is at 0 on the scale. Add the initial + this reading, should be around 36 total.

Last edited by cdminter59; 06-26-2012 at 04:42 PM. Reason: added more info
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:39 PM
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Distributor

The dizzy has a set of springs in it already. You will have to read your instructions as for the setup you want. Usually the blue springs are lighter springs and lets the mechanical advance move faster so the advance would be all in at 3000 rpms. In my previous post if you understood what you read, check the spark at the plug not pull the spark plug wire off the cap or the plug. You want to see the fire (spark) thru the plug. At this time notice if any of the plugs are fouled with gas. They will be dark colored and wet.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:56 AM
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If you are breaking valve springs then you have bigger fish to fry than setting up a distributor, describe the history of this motor and what you know about it. How did you set the valves?

You may need to tweak the distributor eventually but that may not be the issue. You should list the engine specs ie what is the compression ratio, cam specs, intake, carb etc etc.

And what exactly is the model number on the distributor, is it the plug and play version that has electronically set mechanical advance? you say it is not an HEI type.

I think it is easier for a "newbie" to be aware of all the engine details before you go chasing around issues. Sometimes engine miss matched parts and pieces can cause problems that can cause you to chase your tail for days.

As far as timing goes you will need a more aggressive approach if you are running a large duration cam, but we have no clue of what you have. What ever the case you should start here to ensure you have your ducks in a row :

http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/w...op_dead_center
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:45 PM
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http://www.pertronix.com/support/manuals/pdf/billet.pdf

This is the, so-called, instructions that were supplied with the dizzy. I'm ignorant with which springs and Advance limiters to start with.

Like I said, it is a 396/375hp, 402/454 oval, open chambers, hooker comp headers, Weiand Stealth intake, Edelbrock 1407, 750cfm. The only thing I don't know is the cam specs. I know that's a problem. Maybe the sound of it will help? I'm attaching a link to the YouTube video.

I did get it to temp today and checked the valves. Even re-adjusted them just to make sure.

I'm starting to think this new distributor is bad or worse case the cam is has a flat spot. If the cam has flat spot, wouldn't it miss all the time, not just @ operating temp?

If I can't figure this out, I'm taking to my friend's performance shop to dial it in.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:51 PM
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http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xwICx34ketw

Forgot YouTube link.
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