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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I Moved This Post From "Introduce Yourself", I read somehwhere it said to ask your first question there, but I was told I should move it here so here goes:

I have a 1972 Chevy Nova (Fake SS) with a 350cid, with a Elelbrock Performer 600cmf 4BB carb. I think it has a mild performance cam. And no one who has tried has been able to time it right. I looked all over this site, both searching and looking in the knowledge base, but I couldnt find any information to help me. So I thought I would ask if any one has any helpful ideas.
A few days ago, the initial timing was at 27* (i think) and i dont know if it was before or after TDC. and it was running pretty good. Then one of my buddies in shop class tuned my carb, later that day my dads friend decided to play with everythign in the engine, and found that my distributor had NO springs it it, so he put some in, and we have had even more trouble timing it after that. Last night my buddy set the timing to around 17*. and adjusted my carourator to get my engine working well enough, but it kept killing when I put it in gear, but I had to go somewhere so we just upped the idle speed, so i could leave. So i have no idea what to do right now, I dont know that much about engines, and i would like some help on what I should do in attempt to get it timed right. Please Help!!! almost anything would be helpful!

I was told that maybe my ballancer is off because the rubber in it gets old and it spins out of whack, but i dont know if that is the case. and I think i read somewhere that if i have a cam the timing tab is useless. How much of that is true? Is it possible that my distributor was put in wrong?

OH! Also, its a pain in the butt to start.


Thanks!
Better to post this question in the engine forum Dude. It does sound like you have a balancer problem to begin with as it should not wobble so find another and change it over and then try you timing and carb adjustments.
I went out to work on it today with one of my buddies. We brought the timing down to 10* advanced. or around there. but it would kill when we put it in gear. But it didn't wind down, it just shut off, as if someone tunred the key off. so we adjusted the idle mixture the way the manual for my Edelbrock carb said we should. Then we upped the idle speed because the engine kept dying. But, after we did that, it popped a bunch when i would get on the accelerator hard out on the road. So i brought it back, shut it off and it deisled for about 15 second and it wouldnt stop so i turned the key forward and back really quick and it stopped. We brought the timing back about 4* so it was around 6* advanced, and it still deisles really badly, and has very little umph, but we couldnt fix it cuz my mom called and told me to get home right away. Any sugestions?
 

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It could be that your balancer is off. I use the timing tab on my engine and i have a pretty mild cam in it. If your car is dieseling when you shut it off the the timing is to far advanced. Did your carb say what hey recommend the timing to be at? On my Road Demon Jr carb it says to set timing between 12* and 14*. mine is set to 14, I think most people like to run SBC around 12*-14*. Did you put the cam in the engine? If so do you have the cam card?

Do you have the vaccum advance unpluged and the hose plugged when trying to set the timing?
 

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Yes, I was thinking the same thing, i.e. trying to set the timing with the vacuum advance still connected. 27 degrees initial advance is way too much if you have a vacuum cannister. If it was retarded that much your headers would probably be glowing.

I'm also wondering about the distributor. If someone assembled it without springs, what else is wrong?

Sounds like you have toooo many helpers messing with the timing. This is an excellent opportunity to learn to do this yourself.
 

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MI2600 said:
Yes, I was thinking the same thing, i.e. trying to set the timing with the vacuum advance still connected. 27 degrees initial advance is way too much if you have a vacuum cannister. If it was retarded that much your headers would probably be glowing.

I'm also wondering about the distributor. If someone assembled it without springs, what else is wrong?

Sounds like you have toooo many helpers messing with the timing. This is an excellent opportunity to learn to do this yourself.
I agree M12 no advance retard springs holding those centrifical
weights is a big problem iff none and replace with some ya spark timing is gonna be in a different world..

Simo,///
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Did your carb say what hey recommend the timing to be at? On my Road Demon Jr carb it says to set timing between 12* and 14*. mine is set to 14, I think most people like to run SBC around 12*-14*. Did you put the cam in the engine? If so do you have the cam card? Do you have the vaccum advance unpluged and the hose plugged when trying to set the timing?
No, the carb didn't say what they recomend the timing to be at. The cam was put in the engine long before I got it, I have NOOOO clue what it is. Yes, I did have the vacume advance disconnected and plugged.
Something that I find weird, is that when my distributor didnt have the the springs, it ran fine, or at least it seemed that way to me. I'm no engine expert, so I't may not have been, but my shop teacher and my buddies in shop said it ran great. But when Tim put the springs in it it started running strange.

Sounds like you have toooo many helpers messing with the timing. This is an excellent opportunity to learn to do this yourself.
I agree, I'm gonna try to do the rest by my self with help from you wonderful people here at hotrodders.com!

So today I plan on going out and checking to make sure the distributor rotar is pointing to #1 Wire, at TDC. What do I do with it if its not? Take it back and line up the rotar and then put it back in? Also, how do I check to make sure my ballancer is correct? Is it possible for timing chains to get stretched? Is ther an easy way for it to be checked for proper tention?

Also, the car, mostly the engine, but like if ou walk around the car, it always smells like gas, my friend thinks it might be that the intake manifold is getting too hot and boiling the gas in the carb, and causing the smell. What do you guys think? At idle it runs between 190 and 250 Degres F. But sometimes gets up to 250, which i know is way too hot. My fan pushes NO air, should my replacement be a fan with a clutch or just one that spins all the time?

(Thanks a bunch for all the help!)
 

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i bet you have a q-jet.

that is what mine was doing. so i took it off and rebuilt it.
the problem was a scew holding the bottom plate on came loose and was making the carb leak.

a leaking gasket would do the same though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i think that my gasket for my carb is shot.
I checked the distributor but i couldnt exactly tell if it was off or not. ARG! This car! What i reallt need to do, is take the engine out, tear the whole thing down, and rebuild it, but i dont have the time, money, tools, or space to do it. I could do it at school in shop, but people steel things there.
Is there another way to get to TDC, other than bumping the ignition to get the timing mark to 0. Because what if my ballancer is off. I was told i could stick like a hanger in the plug hole and feel for the piston, but that confuses me because the plugs go in sideways-ish, and how would I know ifthe hanger is on the right peice of metal. :confused: :confused: :confused:
 

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To get #1 at Top dead center take the drivers side valve cover off and watch the rocker arms when you bump the starter. When they are both closed ( push rods should feel a little loose) you are at tdc. I believe this is how to do it. If ou smell gas when your walking around the car the the engine is probably running a little rich. You might want to go ahead and put new timing chain on there just to be safe because they can stretch and wear out. Im not sure on how to check if they are worn out. Im sure someone else on here can help more than me.
 

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mine was diesiling and smelled like gas. and bad gas mileage.
rebuild the carb.
follow the directions exactly and get a new float.

i took mine off, rebuilt it, and had it back on in under 2 hours.
and then spend the rest of the day fixing it cause i did not follow the directions.

i didnt adjust the float right and i bent the needle hook cause it didnt look right, and then i had to go back and fix it.
 

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You can tell if the timing chain is stretched by turning the balancer back and forth (plugs removed) and see if the distributor rotor responds to the movement or if it lags before moving.

A Q-Jet is a little more problematic than other carbs to rebuild, but patience and attention to the instructions is a must. Also, I've found some instructions leave a lot to your imagination, particularly float settings. If you run into such a situation, ASK, and we'll try to get you an answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all for the advice! Unfortunatly, the 4day weekend is over and I have to go back to school and get loaded up with homework and will not be able to give results of what I do till next weekend. But thanks a bunch!
 

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RE timing

I agree with mi2600, this is a great time to learn to do it yourself, I think you should get the timing thing situated first, screw the harmonic balancer, take the driver side valve cover off , take all the plugs out, turn the engine with a ratchet on the crank bolt till both the #1 valves close all the way, the push rods should be loose, #1 is the driverside front cylinder, then take the distributor cap off and make sure it is pointing to #1 wire, which I don't think it will be,pull the distributor up slowly while turning the rotor and skip a tooth until it is close to where it should be make sure it sets back in the oil pump also this can be a little tricky you may have to pull it all the way out and use a long screwdriver to move the pump shaft a little but it isn't that bad, this should get you in the ball park, then double check your firing order on the cap to the cylinders 1,3,5,7,on drivers side front to back and 2,4,6,8, on passengers front to back, after that fire it up put it in drive hold the brake and stomp it , if it rattles back the timing off (clockwise), if it doesnt crank it up , counterclockwise until it rattles then back off a touch , this will be dang close, then let us know what happens,,
Good Luck
Dan
 

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I've had the same problem before. The first thing that you're having a problem with is your timing is way too advanced for initial. This is why your car is hard to start (probably cranks slow when its warm, starter sounds like it wants to die eh?). Sounds like what you really need are lighter springs so that your timing advances faster. Its advancing too slow and you're trying to make up for it with a lot of initial. Easy fix.

Are your ignition components new? A lot of people will probably flame me for suggesting you "shotgun" the car with parts, but I do suggest, if you don't know their history or condidion, to replace the plugs, wires, cap, rotor. That way you have a good starting point.

You only want 8-12 degrees initial. Get the car running correctly and up to op temp. Set your idle speed and an set your timing for initial. Put the car in gear and use a vacuum gauge to set your idle-mixture. NOW you're set to mess with the car! Reason being is you can't determine what the hell you're doing without a baseline. BTW, get a greese pencil or marker and mark the base of the distributor and intake (draw a line that connects to both). That way you know where your timing is right now, and you can use it as a reference point.

Take the car out and drive it. Get it up to temp, take it out on the highway. Bring it to city speeds and put the peddal down a couple of times. How does it perform? If we're talking about an 8.5:1 motor here, you can run some pretty quick springs on the distributor (take off the rotor, take off springs, put new on. Crane cams kit from summit- 20 bux). In fact, the OBJECT of timing is to use the absolute LIGHTEST springs you can, without spark knock or detonation. Now a couple of things on that-

Before you change back to stiff springs because your car is spark knocking or detonating, you have options. First thing you want to see is when the spark knock is happening. If you're kocking or detonating at full throttle, you're either a bit too lean or are running too much timing. Check your plugs, take out some timing try again. You may be able to fatten up the secondaries.

If you get knock at part-throttle, you have more options. The best of which is to use an adjustable vacuum canister for your distributor, so you can take out part-throttle advance.

After a few miles down the road, try to tune in your carb by reading the plugs.

Hope that helps-

K
 

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RE:

What Knocks? You will hear the valves rattle or detonation when timing is too high , back it off till it quits,,distrubutor clockwise,,
Dan
 

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RE:

Reason being is you can't determine what the hell you're doing without a baseline.
My point exactly!Get the timing right the easy way so you know that it is close and if you check it with a timing light and it seems way far off you know something isn't right, hints,, timing chain, and everthing else that has been mentioned on this thread, get the timing in the ballpark then we can tell what else may be the problem, any questions on how to do it just ask I will be glad to assist in getting it close ,, not perfect but in the bal park,, 10-4,,
BTW,,
I don't know the firing order off the top of my head but I am sure someone does, I don;t think this is the problem but after taking things apart make d$#m sure you get it back right and it is worth going through it when you get the distributor in the right spot anyway,
Later
Dan
 

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ineedspeed said:
I Moved This Post From "Introduce Yourself", I read somehwhere it said to ask your first question there, but I was told I should move it here so here goes:

I have a 1972 Chevy Nova (Fake SS) with a 350cid, with a Elelbrock Performer 600cmf 4BB carb. I think it has a mild performance cam. And no one who has tried has been able to time it right.
The first problem that you need to solve is to wade thru all the well intentioned mis-information you are getting from home and from this board.

You apparently have a basically stock 350 engine.

Your distributor has been altered (the removal of the advance springs).

The info that the push-rods would be loose when the cylinder is at TDC (Top Dead Center) is completely false if you have hydraulic lifters and they have been adjusted correctly.

OK. That being said; here is where to start.

Remove the distributor and install the stock advance return springs. Check to see that the advance mechanism moves freely.

Remove the spark plugs. Place a finger over the spark plug hole on the #1 cylinder (Front drivers side) and bump the engine over slowly until the compression forces your finger off the sparkplug hole. Look at the harmonic balancer. The engraved timing mark should be approaching the timing pointer. Rotate the engine by hand (a wrench on the harmonic balancer retaining bolt will work) in a clockwise (looking from the front) direction until the timing mark lines up with the '0' on the pointer.

Re-install the distributor. You may have to use a long screwdriver to line the oil pump shaft up with the distributor shaft. The rotor should be pointing to the #1 spark plug wire in the cap. If it isn't; then raise the distributor up enough so that you can rotate the shaft to line up the rotor with the #1 wire in the cap when the distributor is fully seated. Snug the distributor hold down clamp enough so that you can still rotate the distributor. Replace the spark plugs and the wires. Do not hook up the vacuum advance hose to the vacuum advance cannister yet. Plug the hose off.

Hook up a timing light. Start the engine. You may have to rotate the distributor a small amount to get the engine to start. Increase the engine RPM to 2500 and rotate the distributor so that you have the timing at 34 degrees BTDC. Tighten the hold down clamp. You will need to have an adjustable timing light for this or timing tape or an engraved balancer. Let the engine reach normal operating temperature.

Let the engine return to idle RPM. You may have to adjust the curb idle screw to get it to idle. Look for around 750 RPM in Park. Hook up a vacuum gauge to FULL manifold vacuum. Slowly adjust the air/idle screws to achieve the highest vacuum you can get. They should end up being about 1 1/2 turns out from fully seated and both should be about the same adjustment. Dis-connect the vacuum gauge. Hook up the vacuum advance hose to the vacuum advance cannister. If you are using FULL manifold vacuum (which I suggest), the idle RPM should increase. Re-adjust the idle RPM with the trans in DRIVE (if an automatic) to around 650 RPM. When adjusting the idle in DRIVE, be sure to have the wheels blocked and someone holding the brakes on. Do NOT rev the engine up when doing this.

Your initial timing should end up around 10-12 degrees depending on the mechanical advance mechanism in your distributor.

Test drive your car. When in high gear and going up a slight hill at a moderate speed you should not have any pinging. If you do, back the timing down 2 degrees and re-test.

I have not talked about several issues that others have brought up (timing chain, adjustment of lifters, vacuum leaks, etc.) because your original concern was the timing.

Get the timing correct and then post any new concerns that you might have. Take your time. Don't skip any steps. Good luck! :thumbup:
 

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RE

Well Said Frisco, and thanks for the help, I sometimes wish I could go show him it is a lot easier to show someone than to explain how. But washington is a little far from Alabama
Thanks Again, and Good Luck ineedspeed
Dan
 
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