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Old 03-13-2012, 06:07 AM   #61
KSJeff
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It's been a while since I worked on a ford, but to find top dead center, pull the valve cover and watch the exhaust valve open and close on cylinder one while rotating the engine. That's the exhaust cycle. Then the intake valve will open and close. You'll have TDC before the exhaust valve opens.

My brother does it with the thumb in the spark plug hole until it blows out. That never worked for me.

On a Chevy you can stick a screwdriver and turn the oil pump shaft without any problems so the distributor will line up. Not sure about a ford. Haven't rebuilt a ford engine since '89 or '90. I do a few SBCs every year.

KSJeff screwed with this post 03-13-2012 at 09:40 AM Reason: Cleared it up.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:00 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Barnstormer View Post
edit- I can't remember if Fords have a notch or if it's hex. Look at the end of the dist. to confirm.
The oil shaft is a hex. I'm guessing the best method is to look @ the bottom of the distributor and twist the pump shaft to match, nothing special there.


Also, I appreciate the input from both on how to find TDC. I will be giving them both a shot tonight. Once I get the distributor in I should be able to get things running again. Only thing that might hold me up is the Carb rebuild. I purchased a kit from Autozone. I've rebuild a lot of motorcycle carbs so I figure a Car carb can't be any worse, just a bit bigger.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:02 AM   #63
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And don't forget, even after finding TDC, you can still set the timing 180* off.

You will know if you did this, because the engine will not start, but it will probably shoot fire out of the carburetor, or at least make strange popping noises.

Do not crank engine with your face directly over the carb.
I had this happen once on 77 trans am w/ a 6.0. That is a sight to see!

The good news w/ this distributor, You can only install it in one direction due to the vacuum advance. Also, the cap has a "1" marking and can only be installed one way it so you can't get that wrong either. As long as the distributor shaft so the button is at bottom of the first contact and you have TDC when you do it, you should be ok. I'm hoping anyways....
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:29 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by mmitchell57 View Post
I had this happen once on 77 trans am w/ a 6.0. That is a sight to see!

The good news w/ this distributor, You can only install it in one direction due to the vacuum advance. Also, the cap has a "1" marking and can only be installed one way it so you can't get that wrong either. As long as the distributor shaft so the button is at bottom of the first contact and you have TDC when you do it, you should be ok. I'm hoping anyways....
You can still be 180 degrees off if you set timing to TDC on the exhaust stroke. You need to be at TDC on the compression stroke. As mentioned above, just put your thumb over the spark plug hole and make sure you feel air pressure as the piston is coming up to your mark. (I assume you don't have the rocker covers off so you can't see the valve action. If so, it would be easy to tell by noting that both valves remain closed as the piston is coming up.)

Good luck
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:56 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Gimpinator View Post
You can still be 180 degrees off if you set timing to TDC on the exhaust stroke. You need to be at TDC on the compression stroke. As mentioned above, just put your thumb over the spark plug hole and make sure you feel air pressure as the piston is coming up to your mark. (I assume you don't have the rocker covers off so you can't see the valve action. If so, it would be easy to tell by noting that both valves remain closed as the piston is coming up.)

Good luck
Will do. I appreciate the heads up. Hopefully I'll have good news later today.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:11 AM   #66
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Purely for my own interest, give the pine sol carb cleaning idea a try. I've been wanting to try it for a while and just haven't had a carb that needed it yet. And take pics!

(thanks!)
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:41 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Barnstormer View Post
Purely for my own interest, give the pine sol carb cleaning idea a try. I've been wanting to try it for a while and just haven't had a carb that needed it yet. And take pics!

(thanks!)
it works....
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:26 PM   #68
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Ok, I have the new distributor in. Put the cap on the only way it goes on. I hooked up the plug wires as specified in the book. plugs are tightened, i'm not quite sure what I'm missing here. I guess I should check spark next to insure I have that. I know I have gas based on the smell.

Only thing I don't feel 100% comfortable on is the timing. I don't know why, but I don't. At TDC on cylinder one on the compression stroke the distributor button should be connecting to spark plug wire 1 in the distributor from what I understand. I pretty sure I have that setup properly. However, the engine is just turning over and pretends it wants to start but won't.

If the generator is shot, would it cause this issue? If I check and I do have spark, it might be timing? In the mean time, the plug wires don't feel very tight where they contact the spark plug. I'm going to make sure they are somewhat snug. i know the carb is somewhat good to go because it ran before I started on the distributor.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:29 PM   #69
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Sometimes condensors are bad right out of the box. When you check the spark if it's yellow or orange, replace it.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:55 PM   #70
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Sometimes condensors are bad right out of the box. When you check the spark if it's yellow or orange, replace it.
I had was a bit of orange / blue / white if that makes any damn sense. Either way, I went ahead and switched out the condenser for the heck of it and it didn't seem to help. I'm going to take a break for tonight and hop back on it thursday.

The only thing I've changed since it ran last was the distributor so I am thinking I don't have the timing just right. I'll go back through the whole hoopla of making sure I have the timing down before I mess with anything else.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:25 PM   #71
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When your distributor in you need to check that the place where you plug in cylinder #1 matches where your rotor is when 1 is TDC.

So, at top dead center, your rotor should be hitting your cap on #1 and firing that plug. Or in the very near area. The cap doesn't really care where it is, but rotor follows the firing order after it hits #1. I hope that makes sense.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:12 PM   #72
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your generator will not keep the car from starting. It will let the battery run down, but you have been charging that, right?

Once you are running then you can worry about the gen

Rod
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:26 PM   #73
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Point of clarification - when the distributor is timed properly, the leading edge of the rotor will line up with the leading edge of the distributor cap terminal for #1 slightly BEFORE TDC. How much before depends on the timing spec, i.e. if the spec is 10 degrees BTDC that is where the leading edge of the rotor lines up with the leading edge of the #1 terminal of the distributor cap.

The reason I point this out is because dropping the distributor in with the rotor visually lined up with #1 at TDC can actually mean the distributor is a tooth off in some cars.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:49 PM   #74
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Did you get the point gap set correctly? (I don't remember if you replaced the points).

If it's the timing, try this- first, mark the position of the distributor where you are pretty sure it's correct. Then, while someone else turns the key, turn the distributor slowly, and see if it gets closer to starting. You may be off a tooth or something. Try both directions. If it's not that, set it back to where it was.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:08 PM   #75
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Is that distributor somewhat in the middle of its adjustment? That's a good start, then adjust 1/4-1/2" either way if that doesn't work. Leave the bolt just slightly tight so you can turn the distributor by hand and try.

On the road timing...how can I forget that!

Trying to remember...too advanced on the ignition engine struggles to start, may seem like a weak battery or starter on some of the strokes.Too retarded the engine spins allright but doesn't catch....if I remember.
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