Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

I goofed....(plug wire/distributor cap installation)


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 Tim Romans

Tim Romans

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 06 June 2012 - 01:19 PM

Hey fellas,

First, thank you for all the ideas on timing. I actually sprung for a timing light powered by 2 D batteries and it worked rather well.

So, I installed new plugs the other day and gapped them at .25 (the shop manual calls for .23 to .28 so I settled for in between.) After I installed the plugs, it started right up again and then I went on to change the wires and distributor cap that I bought from Bob's. During installation I didn't get the plug wires attached firmly and some came loose and I lost the order, but no worries right? I used the spark plug cover which has the firing order listed and the shop manual that shows where each plug goes in the distributor. I triple checked the order and I went back and tried to check and make sure that each plug snapped firmly into place in the distributor.

I tried to start her up and it tried to "hit," but was accompanied by "cough" and "chuff" through the carb.

I'm planning to go home tonight and quadruple check the order and may disconnect them all and start again. Does anyone have any other ideas or is there anything I've missed?

Thanks again guys!

Cheers!

Tim

#2 Grant Magrath

Grant Magrath

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:12 PM

Check the gap on the points too Tim.
It's fairly easy to get a couple of leads switched at the distributor end. Have another look there.
Cheers
Grant
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
1939 Buick Model 46 LHD
1935 DU Dodge Sedan
1974 Corvette Stingray L48 Convertible:cool:
1992 Nissan 300zx Twin Turbo:eek:

#3 Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,900 posts

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:15 PM

Your distributor could be 180 degrees out of time...

I suggest you verify #1 is set to fire on the distributor lobe with both valves closed on the #1 cylinder.
Mark Shaw BCA #40988
BCA PreWar Div. Director
HCCA Member (Skagit & Portland)
1912 Buick Model 34 roadster
1913 Buick Model 31 Touring
1915 Buick Model C-25 "Speedster"
1924 Buick Model 45 "Roadster Truck"
1929 Buick Model 29-27 Sedan (Now my son's car)
1931 Buick Model 57 Sedan
1938 Buick Model 48 Sedan

#4 danhar1960

danhar1960

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts

Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:55 PM

Maybe you have the correct firing order but went the wrong direction.
From memory, the distributor rotates counter clockwise.
Check the direction you installed your leads.
Danny
1939 BUICK 8/40 Special -Holden Body (30 year project) :) :):
1938 BUICK 8/60 Century-Holden Body (Retirement project) :)
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#5 Terry Stock

Terry Stock

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 119 posts

Posted 09 June 2012 - 12:18 AM

Confession of a non-mechanic.
Bought a new distributor cap, years ago. Put the wires back in the same order (I'm sure I did). Couldn't even get a cough or a chuff!
A mechanic came to the rescue. Put the wires where they should be and hey-presto the sweet sound of a Buick motor again. I'd be looking at your placement of the wires in the distributor cap.
Terry Stock
1939 Buick Special sedan

#6 Tim Romans

Tim Romans

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 10 June 2012 - 01:04 AM

Ok,

Grant, I pulled the cap and checked those points. Charbroiled would be a mild term so I replaced them, and set the gap at .15 (double checking after tightening them.) I also replaced the condensor, rotor, and coil. Tuneup complete, but still no joy. The spark is definitely stonger and the carbs are in working order so fuel, check, air, check, spark, check although I can hear and feel from the vibration that something isn't right. It is definitely trying to hit, but like the order is out of whack. I checked those distributor leads again and they match up to the firing order (counterclockwise) per the plug cover and shop manual which brings me to my next question.

Mark, you mentioned checking to see if the distributor was 180 degrees out. I didn't remove the distributor, but is it still possible to get it out of whack without removing it? I did set the timing to 4 degrees of advance about a week before I did my "tuneup." If the distributor is bonkers, will I need to remove the valve cover then to check the valves or will the "finger method" work? (I just installed a new gasket.)

Thanks again guys for helping me through my first botched attempt at a tuneup and yes, if I could find a mechanic to come to the house I would be sorely tempted, though I really do want to try and fix this myself.

Cheers!

Tim

#7 5219

5219

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 191 posts

Posted 10 June 2012 - 01:41 AM

I had a similar experience on my 1940 Lasalle. I installed new wires and used the diagram in a Chilton Book. The car had spark, but only would cough and spit.

As it turned out, I had the order right but had #1 cylinder where it was supposed to be rather than where a previous owner had set it.

I removed the plugs, rotated the engine until #1 was on the upstroke, and then installed the #1 wire to the terminal where the rotor was pointing.

After that, I just followed the order around the cap and all was well.

After, I was finished, I marked the new #1 terminal on the cap with a dab of white paint. It has been fine since.

#8 danhar1960

danhar1960

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts

Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:36 AM

Tim,
Why not put the original leads and cap back on and see if the problem goes away. You may have just got a bad cap. Check it for defects, cracks etc.
Are the leads the modern suppression style or the old copper core style ??
Danny
1939 BUICK 8/40 Special -Holden Body (30 year project) :) :):
1938 BUICK 8/60 Century-Holden Body (Retirement project) :)
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#9 Terry Stock

Terry Stock

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 119 posts

Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:49 AM

I'm pretty sure 5219's solution was the answer in my case too.
There was also a wee squirt of oil in each cylinder to loosen it up after so many dry cranks! It sure smoked when it fired.
Terry Stock
1939 Buick Special sedan

#10 Tim Romans

Tim Romans

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 11 June 2012 - 01:06 AM

OK, I had the wife bump the starter while I plugged the spark plug hole over the #1 cylinder (I couldn't get her to do the reverse as she was sure I was trying to zap her.) I felt the nice "whoosh" of air and had a look at the distributor. While not completely 180 out the rotor was pointing to where #5 should be according to the manual. I tried to re-order the plugs with #1 from there in the counterclockwise order and it hit, but did not fire. I rechecked my points and verified the correct gap. I tried about 6 other combinations and called it quits for the night.

Pardon me as I slowly lose my sanity and begin questioning myself, but I wanted to verify the numbering of the cylinders. The number one cylinder is the one closest to the firewall and the next cylinder is 6 followed by 2 and so on correct? I should not be counting them sequentially and plugging them into the distributor according to firing order, am I right? Man, the next time I change plug wires I will be sure I'm paying full attention and not yacking on the phone to my mom.

As for the old cap, it has the copper ends and the new one from Bob's is silvery. I did try the old cap and it still wouldn't work. As for the old wires, they went out with the trash as they were pretty cracked up and were arcing. Still at a loss....

#11 danhar1960

danhar1960

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts

Posted 11 June 2012 - 03:37 AM

I think you've found your problem. No.1 cylinder is the one closest to the front of the car (closest to the waterpump), then working back toward the firewall is 2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8. Bring the No.1 piston to the top of its compression stroke. Use a pen or something to feel when the piston is at its top. You should now be able to see the timing mark on the flywheel. Line up the mark on the housing and the flywheel. Rotate the distributor until the points close but are just about to open. Where the rotor is pointing is No.1 on your distributer cap. The firing order is 1-6-2-5-8-3-7-4. Going counter clockwise, your next lead goes to No.6 cylinder, then No.2 and so on. Give that a try and see how it goes.
Danny
1939 BUICK 8/40 Special -Holden Body (30 year project) :) :):
1938 BUICK 8/60 Century-Holden Body (Retirement project) :)
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#12 Grant Magrath

Grant Magrath

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 11 June 2012 - 06:44 AM

I could be wrong Danny, but I took it to mean Tim was refering to the sequence of leads on his distributor cap?
Cheers
Grant
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
1939 Buick Model 46 LHD
1935 DU Dodge Sedan
1974 Corvette Stingray L48 Convertible:cool:
1992 Nissan 300zx Twin Turbo:eek:

#13 danhar1960

danhar1960

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts

Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:13 AM

Grant,
It wouldn't be the first time I've misread something and/or been wrong. ( your American is better than mine :) )
It would still help to verify that he is using the correct terminal as No.1 in the cap and that the leads are in the correct position and order. If the distributor has been removed at some point in its life, there is no guarantee that it was put back in with respect to how the original distributor was set up. With that in mind, the rotor could be pointing anywhere. It doesn't matter really as long as you use the terminal the rotor is pointing to as No.1 when No.1 piston is at TDC on its compression stroke and the firing order is followed on from there.
Imagine the fun doing this on a V16 :):)

Danny

Edited by danhar1960, 11 June 2012 - 09:16 AM.

1939 BUICK 8/40 Special -Holden Body (30 year project) :) :):
1938 BUICK 8/60 Century-Holden Body (Retirement project) :)
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#14 Grant Magrath

Grant Magrath

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:03 PM

I didn't pick it up at first either Danny! I agree with what you say.
Another trap you can fall into is the leads not seating in the distributor cap. Had that problem with the 38. They looked and even felt ok, but still had more distance to go before they made contact.
A V16? Damn! The SBC is easy to set up in comparison!
Cheers
Grant
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
1939 Buick Model 46 LHD
1935 DU Dodge Sedan
1974 Corvette Stingray L48 Convertible:cool:
1992 Nissan 300zx Twin Turbo:eek:

#15 Tim Romans

Tim Romans

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:54 PM

Danny/Grant,

Thanks for keeping hope alive! I briefly played around with changing the wires last night, but the battery was too down to really do anything, plus I had a massive migrane, no doubt caused by my Buick. Going to put it back on charge tonight and test the #1 cylinder to see when it hits TDC. It seems I set the timing off the #8 cylinder (which I thought was #1) a couple of weeks ago, which would explain why she still ran rather ragged and why I got more invasive with tuning her up. If anything good comes of this, at least I found that the set of points on it were bad and replaced those.

I'm hoping against hope that I'll get to make a rather big car show on Saturday (one of the biggest in the area for old cars) at the Sully Plantation. Rather ironic that the show is 2 miles from the house.

Love your signature block Dan, but I'm really starting to wonder if I've already died and went to hell in a Buick.....

Cheers!

Tim

#16 Tim Romans

Tim Romans

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:23 PM

VROOM! She started last night. I put the old cap back on and had the wife turn the car over until I could feel when the #1 pistion was ready to fire (using a pen.) The rotor was pointing to where I believe #4 would normally plug in according to the manual and I went counterclockwise from there. She runs better with a fresh set of points, but I'll still need to set the timing again as the last time I set it I based it off the #8 cylinder so she backfires a little out the exhaust when I let up on the gas.

Cheers!

Tim

#17 Grant Magrath

Grant Magrath

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,517 posts

Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:45 PM

Great to see a result! Well done Tim!
Cheers
Grant
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
1939 Buick Model 46 LHD
1935 DU Dodge Sedan
1974 Corvette Stingray L48 Convertible:cool:
1992 Nissan 300zx Twin Turbo:eek:

#18 danhar1960

danhar1960

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts

Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:16 PM

Tim, goodonyamate. You did it yourself and learned something about your car at the same time.
There is nothing sweeter than the sound of a symphony of cylinders purring away in a Buick straight 8. :):)
I've never been a big fan of timing lights on these old beasts, especially if the engine has been reconditioned. I do use them but prefer to use a vacuum gauge. It's amazing how much you can read from such a simple gauge.
Danny


Danny
1939 BUICK 8/40 Special -Holden Body (30 year project) :) :):
1938 BUICK 8/60 Century-Holden Body (Retirement project) :)
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#19 J. Velde

J. Velde

    '39 Buick Team Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 366 posts
  • LocationNorth Texas

Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:02 PM

Okay, I am going to open an old discussion to see if someone can shed some light on an issue I am having related to this topic. When I changed the spark plug wires several months ago I noticed the old wires were not plugged into the distributor in the proper order. I didn't have time to delve into that issue then, so this week I have exerted some effort to sort this out.

The firing order 1-6-2-5-8-3-7-4 as depicted in the manual and on the spark plug cover is how mine is, but it starts with cylinder #8 (at firewall end) wire in the number one firing position on the distributor and continues on around counter clockwise, so the order is 8-3-7-4-1-6-2-5 . So, I found TDC on piston #1 (at water pump end) and rearranged the plug wires according to the manual and could never get the engine started. Tried advancing and retarding timing with no luck starting. Since I need the car for an event on Sunday and no time tomorrow to work on it, I put everything back like I found it and the engine started right up.

So, is there some reason that this order is working and should I worry about it seeming to be 180* out of time....? I know the PO rebuilt the engine, so is it possible it was set up this way in error? The vacuum advance is on the left side of the distributor, as it should be, else I would think the distributor was just installed 180* out. Anyway, any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,

J. Velde
AACA & BCA Member
1939 Buick Special Business Coupe


#20 JPIndusi

JPIndusi

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 486 posts

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:06 AM

Seems to me the two firing orders you mention above are the same. You just chose to start one off with cylinder 1 and the other with cylinder number 8. If you are sure the engine is ready to fire cylinder number 1 by checking that the piston is at the top of the compression stroke, and you can see the timing mark on the the flywheel aligned with the little pointer in the bell housing window, then the distributor rotor should be pointing to the cylinder number 1 spark plug wire on the distributor cap. It is easy to mistake that the number 1 cylinder is at the compression point just before the ignition fires. Be sure and it should run fine if the order of the plug wires is correct. As stated above , the rotor moves counterclockwise as the engine runs.
Joe, BCA 33493




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users