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Old 07-05-2011, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by pukas84
I am a noobie to engine rebuilding. Read a lot of books, watched videos, and read forums on rebuilding engines. Got a used 350 2 bolt and rebuilt it, new pistons, vortec heads, cams, intake. Reused distributor,Carter carb, mechanical fuel pump from my 305 engine. Now engine won't start. It will crank and sounds like it wants to start. Once in a while it will start, spike to about 4,000 RPMs and then die. If I play with the gas nothing happens. I think it is a timing issue. If I turn the distributor clockwise it just cranks. If I turn it counter clockwise then it sounds like it wants to start, but I maxed out on how much I can turn it. Reset the distributor and no matter which way I turn the distributor it still doesn't start, but it still sounds like it wants to. Any suggestions on how to trouble shoot this. Thank you for your help in advance.
Because you're new to this, pull the driver side valve cover and turn the engine over until the TDC line on the damper and the TDC mark on the tab are aligned and be sure the valves for cylinder #1 are both closed and not 'rocking' as you move the crank back and forth from TDC. If the valves are rocking, the engine is 180 degrees out and needs to be rotated another turn at the crank, then it'll be right.

Once you have the engine on TDC w/#1 "firing", advance the distributor by turning it CCW about 3/4" or so past the terminal to #1 plug wire- this is just an estimate, you need the timing to be advanced a good bit to start and run easily for the cam break in (2000-2500 RPM varying the RPM for a half hour or so).

Don't be afraid to give it a quick shot of starting fluid to kick it off. Not too much, and also not too much gasoline from the accelerator pump- you don't want to wash the oil off the cylinder walls.

Lastly- you have to be sure the damper line and tab are telling the truth. There are three commonly found damper/tab combinations that can get screwed up, so you need to be sure.

DETERMINING TDC will allow you to be sure the timing tab and damper are correct for TDC.

MAKE A TIMING TAPE to see what the total timing is, w/o needing to use a dial back timing light.
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