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first64riv

HELP...I pulled the rotor without marking it, 425 won't start.

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first64riv    5

Hello all,

 

So I installed a Pertronix and I forgot to mark the rotor with respect to the plug #.  I went and found TDC using my finger and # 1 cylinder.  Noted the rotors position and installed wire # 1 with respect to that.  I've tried to start the car and it won't start.  Doesn't shoot fire through the carb or anything.  Should I reinstall the OE points and start over?  What else could I try before reinstalling the OE parts?

 

Chris

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EmTee    615

Did you simply shift wires in the cap, or did you remove and reset the distributor rotor position to align with the #1 terminal on the cap?  Also beware -- #1 on a nailhead is on the Passenger side of the engine as shown in the illustration:

nailhead-firing1.jpg

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RivNut    1,013

The number one cylinder comes to the top of the stroke twice in every cycle. You could be feeling it at the top of the exhaust stroke rather than the compression stroke.  You can take off the valve cover and see that both valves are closed or look at the balancer and see if the timing marks are close when the cylinder is at the top.

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first64riv    5
2 minutes ago, RivNut said:

The number one cylinder comes to the top of the stroke twice in every cycle. You could be feeling it at the top of the exhaust stroke rather than the compression stroke.  You can take off the valve cover and see that both valves are closed or look at the balancer and see if the timing marks are close when the cylinder is at the top.

 

Ed,

 

So are you saying the pressure blowing out of the # 1 cylinder as my wife bumps the ignition may not be TDC?  It is my understanding that once pressure leaves the cylinder you are at TDC.  Is this wrong?

 

Chris

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first64riv    5
1 hour ago, EmTee said:

Did you simply shift wires in the cap, or did you remove and reset the distributor rotor position to align with the #1 terminal on the cap?  Also beware -- #1 on a nailhead is on the Passenger side of the engine as shown in the illustration:

nailhead-firing1.jpg

I am very familiar with that image/diagram.

 

I removed the distributor and marked the block but not the rotor.

 

At TDC my timing mark is way off from 0 degrees static timing.

 

Chris

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RivNut    1,013
8 minutes ago, first64riv said:

 

Ed,

 

So are you saying the pressure blowing out of the # 1 cylinder as my wife bumps the ignition may not be TDC?  It is my understanding that once pressure leaves the cylinder you are at TDC.  Is this wrong?

 

Chris

You just said that you found TDC by using your finger. You didn't say that you'd felt pressure coming out.

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first64riv    5
2 minutes ago, RivNut said:

You just said that you found TDC by using your finger. You didn't say that you'd felt pressure coming out.

Sorry.  I should have been more clear.

 

The timing marks are way off from the pulley mark.  Is this normal?  I wouldn't think so...shouldn't it be at 0 when at TDC?

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KongaMan    170

If the car ran before and the only change you made was to install a Pertronix system, then it should fire right up if the distributor is reinstalled correctly. 

 

If #1 is at TDC and the timing marks aren't aligned, then your timing chain has slipped.  That seems unlikely.  It's more likely that you're not actually at TDC on #1.  Again, make sure you're checking the correct cylinder (front on the passenger side).  You mentioned that you found TDC in part by having your wife bump the ignition, then you used your finger.  It's not clear how you positioned the engine exactly at TDC, though.  Did you put a socket on the crank and rotate it by hand?  How did you determine it was at the top of its stroke?

 

This is harder to do if you have AC, but you can put a pencil or dowel down the plug hole (make sure that it's long enough that it won't fall in). Spin the engine and watch the pencil.  The timing marks should be aligned when the rod is out the furthest.  That doesn't tell you if it's the compression or exhaust stroke, but the distributor cap should tell you that.  The cap goes on with the window facing forward.  The #1 post on the cap is between the window and the vacuum unit.  Put the cap on and mark the distributor below the #1 post on the cap, then take off the cap.   If the rotor is pointing at the mark (about 8 o'clock if looking straight down at the distributor from the front of the car), you're at TDC on #1.  If it's 180° off (about 2 o'clock), it's the exhaust stroke; give the engine another revolution. If it's pointing somewhere else, your distributor alignment got messed up while you were futzing with the Pertronix parts.  In that case, find TDC using either your finger to feel the pressure or by pulling the valve cover to see the valves.  Pull the distributor, point the rotor at the mark you just made, and reinstall.

 

 

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EmTee    615

OK, I think the issue is that he didn't set the crank to TDC, or otherwise note the position of the distributor rotor before pulling the distributor.  At this point, without removing the passenger side valve cover to verify both valves are closed, the only option is to set the crank pully at TDC and install the distributor with rotor pointed at #1 on the cap.  If it starts - hooray, set your timing and you're done.  Otherwise, pull the distributor and flip the rotor 180 degrees and try again.  One of those two orientations has to work.  The other thing to consider is that if the Nailhead is like my '56 Chevy, you may need to use a flashlight & screwdriver to 'tweak' the orientation of the oil pump drive slot to allow the distributor body to seat into the block precisely where you want it to be.

 

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1965rivgs    54
12 hours ago, first64riv said:

Hello all,

 

So I installed a Pertronix and I forgot to mark the rotor with respect to the plug #.  I went and found TDC using my finger and # 1 cylinder.  Noted the rotors position and installed wire # 1 with respect to that.  I've tried to start the car and it won't start.  Doesn't shoot fire through the carb or anything.  Should I reinstall the OE points and start over?  What else could I try before reinstalling the OE parts?

 

Chris

Dont change the wire position on the dist cap to adapt to the position of the rotor. Rather, align the rotor with #1 on the cap when the engine is at TDC according to the mark on the balancer by removing and reinstalling the dist. Be sure the dist is completely seated against the block. If it is not seated and stops about 1/4 inch above the block that is an indication the dist and the oil pump drive shaft are not properly coupled. If that is the case, put slight pressure on the top of the dist while someone turns over the motor until the dist snaps down against the block. At this point the rotor will still be aligned with #1 and the dist will be properly seated against the block. Try to start. If no start, and because you describe no backfiring which should be present if the dist is installed 180* off, check for spark. It is possible because you changed ignition components that you do not have spark. If you have spark, remove the dist and reinstall so that the rotor is 180* from where initially placed. If no start, you have other issues most likely connected to a bad new component or the installation. Otherwise, the engine should start.

I would not condemn the TDC mark based on the method you used. A more precise method would need to be employed. If the TDC marks do not line up, It is possible the outer balancer has slipped around the inner core. Although I have seen this many, many times on other engines I have not personally seen this occur on a Nailhead. But I am confident once you get the engine running you will find the balancer is correct. 

  Tom Mooney

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first64riv    5

Ok guys.  Thank you for all the responses.  YES, this car ran with points.  YES, I'm an idiot and installed the Pertronix any way.  My son pointed out that I probably should have left it alone.  BTW, he's 7.  Sigh.

 

1st - I believe my Pertronix unit is bad.  I did a test on the unit, per Pertronix, and the voltage does not fluctuate as it rotates.

2nd - In regards to TDC, I do have the AC compressor in the way of the #1 cylinder but I can still access is fairly easy.  I put my index finger in the hole and let my wife bump the ignition until it popped my finger out.

 

So I am sending the Pertronix off to Jeg's tomorrow for an exchange.  In the meantime, The distributor has been removed and I've reset the car to "TDC" and marked the crank pulley.  The real timing mark is about 2 inches away in the before position from the timing marks.  Do you guys think I should move it up by turning the pulley?  Or just start where I'm at?  I'll drop a chopstick into the plug hole when I start working on it again.

 

This is so disheartening.  It was such a dumb mistake and I'm extremely inexperienced with TDC/Distributor troubleshooting.

 

Thank you guys!

Chris

 

 

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EmTee    615

If I understand your question, I believe you should align the crankshaft balancer mark with 0 degree (TDC) with #1 at the power stroke and then install the distributor so that the rotor points toward #1 on the cap.  Timing adjustment is made by rotating the distributor body CCW slightly to advance in accordance with the shop manual specs.

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KongaMan    170

If #1 is a PITA to access, use #4.  They're at the top at the same time (just remember that when one is on the compression stroke, the other is on the exhaust stroke).  Either way, the timing mark should be at 0 at the top of the stroke.

 

BTW, I installed a Pertronix in my 64 without any difficulty.  Or much obvious benefit, which is why I still have an unopened one that I haven't put on my 63.  OTOH, it's run without problems for ~15 years.

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first64riv    5
14 hours ago, EmTee said:

If I understand your question, I believe you should align the crankshaft balancer mark with 0 degree (TDC) with #1 at the power stroke and then install the distributor so that the rotor points toward #1 on the cap.  Timing adjustment is made by rotating the distributor body CCW slightly to advance in accordance with the shop manual specs.

 

Okay.  I'll rotate the crank balancer to the 0 mark when I start working on it again.  I'll reinstall the distributor with the rotor at the #1 mark.  I've got a timing light, so I'll play with that too.  I hope this makes my car perform better than what it was, which wasn't bad...but I had no other baseline to reference.

 

Thank you

Chris

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first64riv    5
13 hours ago, KongaMan said:

If #1 is a PITA to access, use #4.  They're at the top at the same time (just remember that when one is on the compression stroke, the other is on the exhaust stroke).  Either way, the timing mark should be at 0 at the top of the stroke.

 

BTW, I installed a Pertronix in my 64 without any difficulty.  Or much obvious benefit, which is why I still have an unopened one that I haven't put on my 63.  OTOH, it's run without problems for ~15 years.

Thanks for the tip about the #4 cylinder.  I guess i'll have to check the low point on the #4 cylinder.

 

I ran a Pertronix on my 66 Impala when I had it and it fired up no issues.  I installed it while it was on the car, which was tough.  That's the reason I had no issues.  I guess the only silver lining in this is that I'm pretty much no longer afraid to work on a distributor repair or replacement.

 

Chris

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EmTee    615

A previous owner installed Pertronix on my Riviera, while my GP is running breaker points.  So far, I see no difference between the two performance-wise...

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Seafoam65    185

                 I have a Pertronix unit on all my old cars, and I have found that the spark is much hotter with the same coil than it is with

points and condensor. As far as seat of the pants, they seem to run the same as before. The big advantage is no maintenance, the dwell

is always perfect and thus the timing is always perfect. 

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)

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first64riv    5

Alright here's the latest update.

 

I lined the crank timing mark with the 2.5 deg mark on the marker at TDC.  I installed the distributor into the engine and lined up the rotor with the #1 plug.  I wired the Pertronix to the coil and fired it up.  It started for about five seconds and died.  I then tried to start it up again and it would not start.  I lined up the crank pulley again at the 2.5 deg mark and pulled the rotor.  It was off by one plug in the firing direction.  So I realigned it again.  Was that the wrong thing to do?

 

At this point I think the carb is flooded so I'm going to try again tomorrow morning before I go to work.

 

Any tips before I proceed?

 

Thank you

Chris

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KongaMan    170
7 minutes ago, first64riv said:

I lined the crank timing mark with the 2.5 deg mark on the marker at TDC.  I installed the distributor into the engine and lined up the rotor with the #1 plug.  I wired the Pertronix to the coil and fired it up.  It started for about five seconds and died.  I then tried to start it up again and it would not start.  I lined up the crank pulley again at the 2.5 deg mark and pulled the rotor.  It was off by one plug in the firing direction.

0 is TDC.  If the mark is anywhere else, you're not at TDC.  Put the mark halfway between 0 and 5, then line up the rotor to fire #1.  Check the alignment of the oil pump slot and the tang on the end of the shaft before you drop the distributor in.  Spin the engine by hand.  Every time the mark is halfway between 0 and 5, the rotor should be in position to fire either #1 or #4.

 

If the rotor moved, the distributor isn't installed correctly.  Make sure the tang on the shaft is seated in the oil pump.

 

 If you're off by a plug, turn the distributor until the rotor is lined up with #1.  Hopefully you're still oriented so you can connect the vacuum advance and access the window in the cap.  If you aren't, note how far you're off from where you want to be, pull the distributor, turn the oil pump shaft with a screwdriver by whatever amount you're off, then reinstall the distributor oriented where you want it.  If you think you're close but it's not seating, have someone press down on the distributor while you rock the crank back and forth with a wrench.

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RivNut    1,013

Here's a YouTube video that shows how to hook your test light to the #1 spark plug wire then manually turn the engine until the test light lights up.  You might give that a try to see how far off you are.  

 

 

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first64riv    5

Alright another update.

 

I went through the procedure in the service manual starting on page 10-38.  The car is alive again.  It's time to tidy up the wiring and set the timing.  I'll get on that in the morning.

 

To be continued...

 

Thank you to everyone that's chimed in so far.

Chris

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first64riv    5

Final update...

The car is dialed in at 2.5 deg of timing at 550 RPM idle.  Here are things to note for future DIY'ers like me.

 

1.  If the distributor does not seat all the way down, I would not recommend cranking it until it does as the manual suggest.  Instead I would remove the distributor and, using a flat screwdriver, align the oil pump tang with the distributor pointed at the #1 cylinder.  I did as the manual suggested and kept coming up one firing position too far after the distributor seated the final 1/2".

2.  Finding TDC using a finger over the #1 plug hole get you very close to TDC on the compression stroke.  Once you feel the air pushing on your finger, manually turn the crank the rest of the way to line up the timing marks.

3.  I did not plug the vacuum line to the advance when I was setting my timing.  The manual does not say anything about plugging it.

 

I will check timing again once I finish charging the battery.  I hope it runs better than it did before.  Next up is re-tuning the carb!

 

Thank you

Chris

Edited by first64riv (see edit history)

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1965rivgs    54
17 hours ago, first64riv said:

Final update...

The car is dialed in at 2.5 deg of timing at 550 RPM idle.  Here are things to note for future DIY'ers like me.

 

1.  If the distributor does not seat all the way down, I would not recommend cranking it until it does as the manual suggest.  Instead I would remove the distributor and, using a flat screwdriver, align the oil pump tang with the distributor pointed at the #1 cylinder.  I did as the manual suggested and kept coming up one firing position too far after the distributor seated the final 1/2".

2.  Finding TDC using a finger over the #1 plug hole get you very close to TDC on the compression stroke.  Once you feel the air pushing on your finger, manually turn the crank the rest of the way to line up the timing marks.

3.  I did not plug the vacuum line to the advance when I was setting my timing.  The manual does not say anything about plugging it.

 

I will check timing again once I finish charging the battery.  I hope it runs better than it did before.  Next up is re-tuning the carb!

 

Thank you

Chris

Chris,

  The reason you were ending up one position off using the method the manual and I suggested is because the rotor turns as it meshes with the cam gear due to the "cut" on the gears. One needs to compensate for that by checking to make sure the rotor is aligned with the correct dist cap tower AFTER the dist is fully seated. I should have been more specific but if you pay attention to the rotor while meshing the gears it is self evident. In the future, I will make note to mention this.

  Also, I find it hard to believe the manual does not mention disabling the vacuum advance when adjusting initial timing but no matter what the manual does or doesnt say that is the correct method. So redo your timing by disconnecting the vacuum advance or you will be substantially retarded from an ideal setting.

  So the balancer was OK? Glad to see you have it running,

  Tom Mooney

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first64riv    5
2 hours ago, 1965rivgs said:

Chris,

  The reason you were ending up one position off using the method the manual and I suggested is because the rotor turns as it meshes with the cam gear due to the "cut" on the gears. One needs to compensate for that by checking to make sure the rotor is aligned with the correct dist cap tower AFTER the dist is fully seated. I should have been more specific but if you pay attention to the rotor while meshing the gears it is self evident. In the future, I will make note to mention this.

  Also, I find it hard to believe the manual does not mention disabling the vacuum advance when adjusting initial timing but no matter what the manual does or doesnt say that is the correct method. So redo your timing by disconnecting the vacuum advance or you will be substantially retarded from an ideal setting.

  So the balancer was OK? Glad to see you have it running,

  Tom Mooney

Tom,

 

I did compensate for the "cut" of the distributor gear.  Even when I backed it up to meet at the pre-#1 firing position prior to install to compensate, it would drop into the gear (at the right firing position) but never seat on the oil pump.  The manual says to crank the car until it seats into the oil pump and start over with the distributor in the car.  When I did this, it would seat but it would also be one firing position off in the forward direction.  That's when I decided to turn the oil pump groove.

 

The manual does say to remove the vacuum line on the advance but it never says to plug it.  I mention that because numerous websites I visited said to plug the vacuum line after you pull it prior to setting the timing.  That's my fault and I should have been more detailed.  So, the manual says to "disconnect the vacuum line" but does not mention plugging it.

 

The balancer is okay as far as I can tell.  I took her for a drive yesterday and I felt her pull me back into my seat.  I've never felt that on any of my previous drives.  She seems pretty dialed in.  To say i'm more than happy would be an understatement.

 

Thank you to all that contributed to this thread.

Chris

 

Edited by first64riv
For clarity (see edit history)

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KongaMan    170
13 hours ago, first64riv said:

I did compensate for the "cut" of the distributor gear.  Even when I backed it up to meet at the pre-#1 firing position prior to install to compensate, it would drop into the gear (at the right firing position) but never seat on the oil pump.  The manual says to crank the car until it seats into the oil pump and start over with the distributor in the car.  When I did this, it would seat but it would also be one firing position off in the forward direction.

 

To be clear, all you need to do to fix that is rotate the distributor (like you're adjusting the timing, only moreso).  Give it a twist until you're at the #1 firing position.  The problem you may have is the cap ends up in an inconvenient location (with the window and/or vacuum advance pointing in an inaccessible direction), but the car should run fine and you can dial the timing in.  And if you're installing a Pertronix system, you don't use that window anyway. ;)  If you find that you're always one cylinder off when it seats, start with it one cylinder off in the other direction.  If you're consistent, it will be right where you want it when it drops in.

 

The reason you align the slot in the oil pump and the tang on the distributor shaft prior to installation is so the vacuum advance and the cap window are pointed where you want them when the distributor is seated.  It has nothing to do with the timing or how the engine will run.

 

13 hours ago, first64riv said:

I took her for a drive yesterday and I felt her pull me back into my seat.

 

Welcome to the dark side. ;)

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)
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