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Old 08-29-2005, 10:57 PM
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NO spark and mere hours away from pushing the whole truck in the river

I'm BAAAACCCKKK!!

Some of you may remember me from "Ball Joints: A trip to Hell" and "A Magical Pixie Dust Solution to a Maddening Battery Draining Problem". Well, I am back for a (hopefully) encore performance in "Too Damned Ambitious for Your Own Good? Rebuild Your Own 350 in Your Very Own Living Room Like a Damned Fool and Beat Your Head Against the Wall for Three Days When You Find You Have NO spark After Spending Half Your Money and All of Your Free Time Putting it Back Together"

So here is the deal. A mid 70's 350, HEI. No spark. Tested with stepdad and timing light yesterday. No strobe...nothing. So put in new coil, new ignition module, new cap, new rotor (which only goes on one way cuz of the little tab, trust me I was HOPING it was just in backwards), 12v to the coil (can't test when cranking because I have no friends that want to be around me when I am wielding large tools and am madder than a two-peckered billy goat). I did end up with a little bit of water in the distributor because it started raining on me when I tried to put the new rotor and ignition module in but it has been dry for 5 hours or so now. ANd like an idiot forgot to hook up the little clippy from the distributor thingie (how's THAT for technical) before I tried to start it last time. Did I blow up my coil? Does it hate me? Is my distributor in wrong? I THOUGHT I put it in with #1 at TDC and the rotor pointing a little behind the #1 spark plug position and when it dropped in it SEEMED like it rotated like it should and SEEMED to end up in the right place and it SEEMS like it is seated. It turns over fine but never catches...incidentally, I can't seem to turn it over by hand now that it is in the truck so I have to tap the starter to rotate the timing mark...(FYI, it turned smoothly and easily by hand before I put it into the truck)....this whole issue no turning by hand thing scares me and makes me think I did something horribly, horribly wrong in putting it together but I am hoping that I am just a wimpy girl and not an incredibly stupid one. (A MILD to MODERATELY stupid one I can handle so feel free to include "DUH!!" before anything that is painfully obvious to everyone but me. )
Help!

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Old 08-29-2005, 11:17 PM
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Hey, I bet that having all the spark plugs in makes it harder to turn by hand, eh? Go ahead, say it...God knows I did. DUHHHHHHH!!!
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Old 08-30-2005, 01:52 AM
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mag pickup / reluctor..

Doc here,

Well, If you did all those tests as advertised, Check the Batt wire going into the Cap (coil) for 12 volts On and while cranking..make sure it doesn't drop out in crank...If it does you will need secondary ignition source, Or relocate the BATT wire to a source that doesn't drop out in crank...

However, The most likely thing that has failed is the mag pick up inside the dizzy..to replace it you must remove the distributer..To test isolate the 2 wires going into the mag pickup, put a DMM on it set for R x ! and crank (coil etc, disconnected), or pass a pocket magnet over the pickup, It should make the meter jump quickly from 000 to infinite..If it's working..If it is not working , the meter will just read infinite.

If it's bad set the dizzy up for TDC #1 , line up the timing marks, then draw an index line on the base of the dizzy,. Withdraw the Dizzy slowly, and note the rotor turn, when it stops turning, mark that like on the base..now withdraw the dizzy.

You must remove the drift pin from the bottom of the dizzy as well as the gear, then remove the shaft, from there the replacement of the mag pickup is straight forward...

When done, reverse the procedure, and it SHOULD fire right up..with little more than advance / retard timing to do.



Doc
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Old 08-30-2005, 02:28 AM
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Thank you for the quick response!! I will try that tomorrow and see what it does.

-Megan
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Old 08-30-2005, 02:55 AM
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If I do have to replace it, where do I get one and do you have any brand recommendations? Do I have to know who made my distributor? So far I am only finding them included with a new distributor (with the exception of an MSD Mag pickup which specifies that it is not for use with OE distributors and since I know nothing about mine it would be unwise to run out and waste $30)...and if I am going to have to go so far as to buy a new distributor I may as well jsut put the new one in and fix the old one when it is 40 below out and I have nothing better to do, right?
Thanks again for all your patience.
-Megan
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Old 08-30-2005, 03:09 AM
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replacement

Doc here,

Not familiar with the auto parts stores in Fairbanks area...Do you have like a Napa Autoparts?

You should be able to get one there aftermarket DELCO or any..no problem...

Is yours a GM HEI? or MSD...you didn't say...If GM you shouldn't have a problem..If MSD you have to order from them..

If you can't find it there go online and order it there..Try CSK auto..just type that in on a goggle and it will take you there...

HINT: When it's 40 below...pull the Dizzy and bring it INSIDE to work on it where it's a blistering 68 degrees...
Since it's small enough and easy enough to work on on the kitchen table...

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Old 08-30-2005, 03:20 AM
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Good advice from docvet, if it were a timing issue it should at least back fire on overlap with a load of fuel on. No over length screws shorting against connectors? Is the timing light ok? use an earthed spark plug or spark tester. By the way it's winter here.
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Old 08-30-2005, 03:24 AM
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Double checlk all the wires on the distributor and make sure the distributor is not shorting out and the spark is going to tthe block. It happens. A cheap $5.00 volt / ohm meter can come in very handy when tracing wires. Just take your time, the problem is simple. The hard part is finding which wire is wrong.
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Old 08-30-2005, 10:54 AM
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I think it is a GM HEI but I am not positive...it was in the truck when I bought it.
As for the timing light, it is brand new also...I've used it once before and it was working then....and I have a Fluke DMM (170 series, I think....funny that men don't buy me flowers for Valentine's day they buy me car parts and tools..)
With regard to screws, I used the ones that came with the coil and rotor so if they are overlength I'll be unhappy.
Australia, huh? Kick ***. I dont think you and I could get farther apart but yet we are discussing car problems....love the internet, I tell you.

-Megan
P.S. there is a Napa...they are thinking about giving me my own parking space...well not really, but they should.
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Old 08-30-2005, 05:26 PM
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A quick test...

You can test the HEI out of the motor quite easily.

Put it in a vise (wrap a rag around so as not to hump it up with the jaw teeth).

Put a pigtail wire onto the BATT terminal (crimp a stake-on coneector to a short piece of wire, shove it onto the BATT blade).

Hook up jumper cables from your battery to the body (-), and one to the pigtail (+).

Give the bottom a quick spin with your HAND.

SPARKS SHOULD FLY! While this is not good to KEEP DOING (you'll make carbon traces all over your NEW cap), it will give you a quick check.

If you wish, you can hook up plug wires, stuff in some plugs, and wrap some bare wire around the plugs and to the aluminum body of the HEI. Give it a spin by hand from the bottom and the plugs should fire. If NO, BAD HEI...

If BAD, you can try whatever fixes you want out of the car and get it working.


Tom
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:02 PM
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The distributor, I've discovered, is the least of my problems...it will turn about halfway by hand with the spark plugs out and then it binds up...I have no idea why because like I said, it turned over fine by hand OUT of the truck and I made sure all the valves on all 8 cylinders opened and closed smoothly...now it is making a damned racket and, like I said, won't go over by hand past a certain point.
So I got very irritated and did an impulsive and probably stupid thing and just yanked the distributor with zero regard for how it is going to go back in...and quickly realized that maybe it wasn't seated all the way after all...so I've been getting no oil moving for the entire time I have been testing it for spark...(yes the rotor did turn and no that isn't why it wasn't sparking.)
How much damage do you figure I did and what do you think is going on?
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:23 PM
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Hei

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwitchinak
I think it is a GM HEI but I am not positive...it was in the truck when I bought it.
As for the timing light, it is brand new also...I've used it once before and it was working then....and I have a Fluke DMM (170 series, I think....funny that men don't buy me flowers for Valentine's day they buy me car parts and tools..)
With regard to screws, I used the ones that came with the coil and rotor so if they are overlength I'll be unhappy.
Australia, huh? Kick ***. I dont think you and I could get farther apart but yet we are discussing car problems....love the internet, I tell you.

-Megan
P.S. there is a Napa...they are thinking about giving me my own parking space...well not really, but they should.

Doc here,

Megan,

If it's a stock unmolested HEI, It's probably an HEI from GM...Not a MSD or unilite...It doesn't have a Red box wired to it right? if not it's probably GM...

Quote:
...I've used it once before and it was working then....and I have a Fluke DMM (170 series, I think....funny that men don't buy me flowers for Valentine's day they buy me car parts and tools..)
Don't feel bad...When served on my last divorce...The process server tapped me on the shoulder while I was working on one of the Vettes...Handed me the paper...""Named Respondent: That Butt hanging outta the hood.."

My Ex said to me "You love those Cars more than me Huh?"

My reply" The thing (other than the obvious , Her being a solar powered Barbie) That attracted me to you the most...Was your astute grasp on reality" Took her 3 days and a Websters to figure out my reply...Not the sharpest crayon in the box...

We have 1 NAPA in our town here...Not that there is a whole lot of interaction here..There's "Doc's Drive up window" Just speak to the clown and pull forward...AND I have MY own personal Coffee Cup There...They order Flying Magazine for me to read in MY chair marked "Doc's Chair"...I receive my mail there...AND they are a legal Deduction until I have been with them for 18 years....

Uhhh...If it's 40 below..in Fairbanks...and your going to push this truck in the river...Isn't that a long process? Have to wait for the thaw for it to go down???

Doc
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:47 PM
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Ouch

Quote:
Originally Posted by wickedwitchinak
The distributor, I've discovered, is the least of my problems...it will turn about halfway by hand with the spark plugs out and then it binds up...I have no idea why because like I said, it turned over fine by hand OUT of the truck and I made sure all the valves on all 8 cylinders opened and closed smoothly...now it is making a damned racket and, like I said, won't go over by hand past a certain point.
So I got very irritated and did an impulsive and probably stupid thing and just yanked the distributor with zero regard for how it is going to go back in...and quickly realized that maybe it wasn't seated all the way after all...so I've been getting no oil moving for the entire time I have been testing it for spark...(yes the rotor did turn and no that isn't why it wasn't sparking.)
How much damage do you figure I did and what do you think is going on?
Doc here,

Does it crank with the starter? or do the same thing?

The starter may be hanging up and binding...as well as a bolt from the torque converter not tightened hitting the infamous immovable object
...(Bell housing)

I assume this was a fresh engine...Did you pre lube it using the oil pump and drill motor with a bit down the dizzy hole before you started it?

Also Did you use assembly lube on the rotating mass? If so..and it never started you should be all right as far as wear / breakage...

What kind of racket ( and please don't say "Numbers... )?

Is it POSSIBLE you left/dropped something in one of the cylinders? and missed it when installing the heads?

Could the oil pump sump have fallen off and may be fouling the Rotating mass at the bottom of the pan?


Check those before going into "Official Panic"

Don't sweat the Dizzy...I can get you back on track with that easy once you locate the refusal to rotate...

Exercising is a good thing to...Cross..little holy water ... and an ASE certified priest...

Doc
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:48 PM
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Its not 40 below yet in Fairbanks..it is fall and about 40 above..but it could be forty below in Oct so as long as I push it in the river soon, I will be good to go.
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Old 08-30-2005, 09:04 PM
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Yes it cranks with the starter...but it sounds unhappy...yesterday and sunday it sounded smooth and quiet, now it sounds like something is cutting loose somewhere...I can hear an audible click from the passenger side (head, it sounds like) when I meet that resisitance.....valve, perhaps? But I checked my valve-piston clearance when I put it together..did the clay thing...it was fine and like I said me and my brother in law rolled it over by hand through a few cycles to make sure everything was clear and good.

Yes it was a fresh engine and yes I pre lubed it with my amazing homemade priming tool (read: a $5.00 plastic handled screwdriver with a screw drilled into the center of the top of the handle and the old oil pump retaining sleeve thingie duct taped to the screwdriver to keep the screwdriver from slipping off the shaft all of which is turned by my DeWalt Screw gun...it worked well, actually...I got oil in my hair from it shooting out of the oil pressure sending unit hole...I'm nothing if not resourceful)

I used nearly a whole tube of engine assembly lube putting it together....and read the book twice just to make sure.


No there was nothing in the cylinders when I put the heads on...I checked very carefully because I never wanted to do this again...besides it turned over fine when I bolted up the torque converter and it turned over fine and quietly with the starter for three days....what IS possible is that my drug dealing, dog abusing, next door neighbor with whom I had a little tiff on Saturday may have screwed with it. I'll push HIM in the river if that is the case.
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