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64 Riviera will not run - timing?


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My 64 Riviera (425ci) has never run well since I got it. It had a new carb fitted which was poor running and then decided to stop altogether. I have since fitted Holley EFI but it will still not run properly. I suspect the timing is well out.

 

I don't have a manual. Any advice as to what the timing should be? 

 

Thanks

Dave

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I would check the dwell first then the timing.  Dwell should be 30.  Also see if it will fire off with starting fluid, take the air cleaner off, and while cranking, give it a toot of starting fluid and see what happens.  On the other hand, if the choke is stuck it could run for awhile then choke out

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The first thing to do is get a factory service manual, they are available easily on Ebay as originals or reproductions. Meaning no disrespect, you should not try to install something as complicated as an aftermarket EFI system unless the basic tune and mechanical condition of your engine is top notch first. I would pull that off and go back to the carburetor, then do a complete tuneup per the manual including a compression check. You may also need to rebuild the carb but get it running well in stock shape. Then if you still want to, consider the switch to EFI.

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A compression check is what I learned to do at the start of any engine service or tune up. Then you go to the ignition system. All a carburetor does is hold part of a cup of gasoline on top of the engine and let it get sucked through holes by the parts that created the compression.

 

My Dad and I were trying to get a 6 cylinder Chevy started when I was about 15. Amazing how elusive a broken camshaft between #2 and #3 can be until you run a compression check.

 

You remember stuff like that, but the instructions were written in all those generic tune up books of the day.

Bernie

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Suggestions:

 

(1) shop manual - ignore (2) through (4) until you have this one in hand.

 

then

 

(2) compression test

(3) ignition test

(4) carburetor test (you said new - does that mean new to you original, or new as replacement as in one size fits all, works well on none?)

 

Find out WHY the engine was running poorly, solve that issue to get the engine running correctly; then if your want to downgrade from the carb to the efi, go for it.

 

Good luck, and please keep us posted.

 

Jon.

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To MAYBE answer your question:

 

If you TRUST the aftermarket (Motors, Chiltons, etc.) manuals:

 

1964 Riv with single 4 barrel times at 2 1/2 BTDC

1964 Riv with 2x4 times at 12 BTDC

 

I don't have the factory manual, and I don't put a lot of trust in the aftermarket ones.

 

Jon.

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And just to follow up on my comment about a "new" carburetor:

 

To make one of the e-clones work properly on a Buick engine (at least for awhile), one would need to change: primary jets, step-up piston springs, step-up rods, secondary jets, and auxiliary air valve; AND re-machine primary venturii clusters and secondary venturii clusters. And the original air cleaner still would not fit, plus there are linkage issues.

 

Jon.

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38 minutes ago, carbking said:

To MAYBE answer your question:

 

If you TRUST the aftermarket (Motors, Chiltons, etc.) manuals:

 

1964 Riv with single 4 barrel times at 2 1/2 BTDC

1964 Riv with 2x4 times at 12 BTDC

 

I don't have the factory manual, and I don't put a lot of trust in the aftermarket ones.

 

Jon.

A '63 has the same timing (12 BTC) as the 64 and 65 2x4 engines'

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Manuals ordered from Rockauto

 

The engine turns over and catches but does not run for more than a second or two.

 

I recently imported the car and it has had work done ( new water pump) and has a brand new edelbrock carb that is obviously not original spec. 

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First thing I would do if it was in my shop is spray some Berryman's B12 chemtool into the throat of the carb or EFI and see if it

will stay running instead of die in a second or two. If it does continue running you have a fuel delivery issue that is causing it to die.

If that doesn't help the problem, take the coil wire out of the middle of the distributor cap and hold the terminal of the coil wire close

to a ground on the intake manifold and check the spark while someone turns it over. If it consistently pulses a hot spark, then the ignition system

is not making it die, unless you have a bad ignition rotor under the cap with a hole burned through the bottom of it. If all this checks out OK then

the most likely culprit would be a jumped timing chain. This would show up as low compression on every cylinder.

 

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5 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

First thing I would do if it was in my shop is spray some Berryman's B12 chemtool into the throat of the carb or EFI and see if it

 

Are you sure that trick still works? There used to be all sorts of carb and brake cleaners that would act as fuel for that sort of testing (also for vacuum leaks!), but I haven't had much luck lately. If that Berryman one still works, I'm gonna run out and buy a few cans. Thanks in advance.

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Yep, it will run on Berryman's just fine. On old cars with carburetors and a bad fuel pump, we'll have one guy 

drive the car while the other feeds the

carb with B12 and drive it around the parking lot of the shop to avoid having to push it.

 

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13 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

Manuals ordered from Rockauto

 

The engine turns over and catches but does not run for more than a second or two.

 

I recently imported the car and it has had work done ( new water pump) and has a brand new edelbrock carb that is obviously not original spec. 

  Check to see if you have voltage at the "+" terminal of the coil with the key in the "on" position...not the crank position, but the "on" position. Sometimes there are problems with the resistance wiring in the coil supply circuit. When you check for voltage use a DVOM and not a cheap test light. The voltage at the coil will be reduced relative to battery voltage and depending on how cheap your test light is it may not indicate voltage by firing the filament in the test light bulb.

  On another note, I have a Snap On test light I just love...it has a digital readout in the handle which reads out actual voltage in addition to an indicater light. Easier than breaking out a DVOM if in a hurry and when voltage readings are critical like gauges, ECM circuits and compromised ground circuits.

  Good luck,

Tom

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Bad ignition switch ???  Will it stay running as long as you are in the crank position? 

And you are still running the stock points distributor ??  Seems with the step up to fuel injection a step up in the ignition department would be the next step ,some of the guys here swear by Petronix ,  I love MSD stuff ... there are other electronic ignition options too that really simplify tuning . 

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By next week the car will have

 

New Flamethrower coil

Electronic ignition

New distributor cap

New rotor arm

New plug leads

New plugs

 

Fuel is getting in via the EFI and it has brand new fuel pump, filters and lines.

 

The distributor was 180 degrees out and the plug leads had been moved around to get it to run. This has now been put back to the correct position.

 

I'll let you know how we get on. Thanks for the advice so far.

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On 12/6/2018 at 6:14 PM, RivNut said:

A '63 has the same timing (12 BTC) as the 64 and 65 2x4 engines'

 

A point of clarification here:

 

The '63 vacuum advance hose is connected to "ported vacuum" on the carb.  And they call for 12* BTDC.

 

Later years with a single 4 BBL carb call for much less initial advance, BUT they also have the vacuum advance connected to non-ported vacuum on the carb.

 

I don't know where they get the vacuum advance signal from for the dual 4 BBL setup.  If they are using 12* BTDC, it MIGHT be from ported vacuum.  I'm a '63 expert, not a later years dual quad expert.

 

YMMV.

 

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OK Riviera People:  I really need to get nasty here.  Carb King nailed it.  A diagnostic procedure is the only way to begin fixin' anything.   The question is  ALWAYS...."what is the diagnostic procedure"????????  

 

I'm sayin' it and I'm owning it....anyone who suggests anything except this doesn't know what the hell they are talking about and lowers the bar for all.  Mitch

Edited by lrlforfun (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

If you can't find the correct one, a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth ballast resistor will substitute for most other ballast resistors in a pinch. Look for 1972 or older US & Canada built models (probably all the way back to the mid 50s). Unlike GM, Chrysler used them on everything. That makes it a really common part.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

The ballast resistor on the coil is now considered suspect. Anyone know the part number as I can’t find a source for one (I’m in the UK)

 

Thanks

Dave

 

 Probably not needed if ignition is now electronic.  Bypass it. All it does is reduce the voltage to the coil after engine is running. The flamethrower is probably internally resisted.

 For shits and giggles, try this. Run a jumper from positive battery post to the + post on the coil. This bypasses switch .  Dribble or squirt a little gas into the carb. Start the car. If it starts, continue introducing gs into the carb to keep it running.  This SHOULD prove if everything else is in sync.  Remove jumper wire to shut engine off.

 

 Let us know outcome.

 

  Ben

Edited by Ben Bruce aka First Born (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

The ballast resistor on the coil is now considered suspect. Anyone know the part number as I can’t find a source for one (I’m in the UK)

 

Thanks

Dave

Dave,

  Not sure exactly what you are running for an ignition system but if you no longer have the original ignition point system then you dont need to reduce key-on voltage to the coil. Electronic ignition generally uses full system voltage at the coil.

  The original "ballast resistor" in your Riviera is a resistant length of wire which starts at your ignition switch "looks cloth wrapped" and runs to the bulkhead connector. If you desire to eliminate this reduced voltage leg of the circuit you wil need to run a new wire to replace the original resistant wire or use an engine compartment switched voltage source like the downshift or wiper circuit. I prefer to run a new wire originating at the ignition switch so the ignition system is not on a shared circuit but either method will work.

Tom Mooney

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)
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I am confused. They have a resistor wire. So there is no need for a ballast resistor. If you have a flamethrower coil it is internally resisted. If you have a petronix ignition for conversion the coil should be 1.5ohms as they recommend. 

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On 12/8/2018 at 6:50 AM, Chewbacca said:

I would try to get it running with minimal parts change as not to complicate things.  Make sure that you can read dwell, you can actually set the timing statically by putting the number one cylinder on top dead center and the zero mark on the crank pulley, that way you will know that the ignition is correct, and if it still will not start and run, like a previous post said, try to run it on spray gas into the carb (carefully!!) and see if you can keep it running.  Did it run before the carb switch?

 

 

 

By next week the car will have

 

New Flamethrower coil

Electronic ignition

New distributor cap

New rotor arm

New plug leads

New plugs

 

Fuel is getting in via the EFI and it has brand new fuel pump, filters and lines.

 

The distributor was 180 degrees out and the plug leads had been moved around to get it to run. This has now been put back to the correct position.

 

I'll let you know how we get on. Thanks for the advice so far.

 

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Talk about a waste of time & dollars. Throwing time & dollars into something rather than diagnosing is a TOTAL waste of ones time & resources. Get a book, start reading, start to understand how & why systems work, then start with diagnosing  the problem. There MAY be more than one problem which can sometimes throw a snag in things, but you need to start SOMEWHERE.

 

 

Tom T.

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This set of books is on the shelf right above my monitor: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Automotive-Hardcover-Books-by-William-H-Crouse-Engines-Electrical-Chassis/223130841601?hash=item33f3a27201:g:cVoAAOSwm9lbjsxn:rk:3:pf:0

 

image.png.d4d6352aadd99996a613376565819df8.png

 

They are fairly common and highly recommended. You can never have enough references to the basics. My Mother helped me buy my set in 1959 and I still read them for just pleasure.

 

Books like this will give you a much better grounding in car operation and really help you enjoy your car a lot more. It looks like a big stack and a lot of reading but you can pick your topic and work through bits at a time. Combined with the factory manuals you will be well prepared.

 

Good luck, even though luck is not so much what you need.

 

Bernie

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