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For those of you waiting with bated breath for news that the car is up and running - alas, no. Here she sits in the garage right now, all put together but not quite ready to go:

However, she's cooking along and all but ready to drive... except she won't start. Massive amounts of troubleshooting ensued:

Last night I pulled all the plugs to dry out the (flooded) cylinders, and today I compression-checked everything: All cylinders read almost exactly 145 psi compression, even with the big-overlap camp, with no noticeable leakdown (that's better than stock). Got a new coil and assembled the new ceramic plug wires (necessary because some plug boots touch the headers), and getting great spark now. A quick aside about assembling spark-plug wires: The difference between things going smoothly and your emitting great strings of profanity is all about using lots of silicone lubricant on the wire end before trying to push it through the boot. IT WILL NOT GO if you don't use the lube. Trust me. Then wipe it off before folding over the core and crimping on the electrode attachment.

The engine's definitely getting gas, as evidenced by the wet plugs. I even added 10 gallons of new, high-octane gas, in case the 2-year-old stuff in there went bad and was causing trouble - though I did treat it with fuel stabilizer. Some nice explosions out the carb, with attendant fire that needed to be put out, so the gas is burning ;-) Also good news is that it produces nice oil pressure when cranked over the impressively powerful new high-torque mini-starter.

Here's the engine compartment, all assembled. Notice the huge A/C unit up front. That thing weighs a little over 40 pounds, and to get it to fit required my lugging that thing over to the grinder, removing cast iron notches, and repeatedly test-fitting for a couple of hours during last Thursday's thrash to finish for Greaserama. That was a lot of fun. I could barely make a fist the next day!

A few days ago, I pulled a valve cover to test that I had not, in fact, put in the cam 180 degrees off, and it's installed correctly. *whew* I set timing about 10° advanced. Oh, and I tracked down and fixed a few liquid and vacuum leaks - better now than on the road.

Just now went out to test an idea: Maybe advancing the timing a bit more would help. Not so much. *sigh*

Why won't you fire up? Gah! Ideas? Suggestions?



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
Nope - tried that yesterday after drying out the plugs. That made me frown.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 6th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
The carb is definitely dumping in more gas than is being burned, but first I'm going to check everything as soon as I finish with the morning's work-work (and finish lunch).

I can't figure out how it might be 180° off if I'm getting spark at TDC (and the proper TDC, when both valves are closed, soon before the exhaust opens)....
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 6th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)
When I pulled the valve cover, I double-checked the rocker-arm adjustment, and they're good. Plus it uses hydraulic lifters, which "squish" down at low RPMs, compensating for such.
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
You know the drill. Spark, fuel/air mix, compression. I'm guessing you've already checked the battery to make sure it isn't weak. And you have spark at all the plugs and they're properly gapped, right? You definitely have compression. I have to assume you double-triple-checked your firing order. SO ... my guess is distributor/timing trouble or carb problem, with the former most likely.

You can't trust the factory specs to apply to an after-market distributor or a rebuild. Period. That's where I would start. (I would also start there because carbs don't like me and I don't like them, so I avoid them.)

After all that flood-crankety with no boom you might wanna check the oil for fuel contam too. Just in case.
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Yes to spark, compression, battery (new and on charger and cranks it over 2x/second), good gap. I'm going to quadruple-check the firing order, just in case.

I wonder if I should just get a new distributor. They're not expensive, and I have worries about this one since the vacuum advance was disconnected when I got the car.

Good idea about changing oil soon.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
The only thing I can think of is if the distributor is installed correctly? They can be put in 180 degrees off, just like the cam (been there, done that, with an old Jeep).

And, just to show I have dumb ideas as well-is the starter rolling the motor over the correct direction? (Heck, is that even possible? Might not be; the idea just popped into my head that maybe the starter is spinning the wrong direction.)

It's funny-I can come up with these weird ideas when my husband is working on one of our beasts, and every once in a while they are right!
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely quadruple-checking the distributor today, and if it's installed perfectly, ordering a new one.

I never considered if the starter rotates the engine in the right direction. The timing light just flashes once when the spark fires, so it could be going reverse. Huh! It _is_ a new starter....
Sep. 6th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
Well, here's hoping you find it, wherever the problem is!

I have a tendency to think sideways about stuff like this, that I know just enough to be dangerous about!
Sep. 6th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
How disappointing!

I don't have much to offer except for my superior google-fu, if if it helps.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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