engine won't start just backires! - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 02, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Manheim, PA
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Hello,
I was out running my 69 camaro 327 for several hours on saturday, it ran excellent. I was driving it very aggressively and the tires did a lot of smoking. Brought it home and shut it off. When I tried to restart it several hours later it did nothing but backfire out the exhaust BIG TIME! People inside of my house thought i was shooting a gun! Carb is still getting fuel. pulled distributor cap, rotor is still turning when i crank. Seemed like timing is way off? It is a higher compression engine that runs 94 octane and i was told has a fair amount of base timing advance. It has a Mallory unilite distributor w/ mechanical advance. When I put timing light on #1, i don't see the mark. Distributor seems tight I don't think it slipped. When I was looking at the chilton manual it was saying that the #1 cylinder wire on the distributor should be toward the front of the engine. When i trace my #1 cylinder back to distributor it is on the passenger side of the vehicle. I haven't ever changed this and it has run perfect before. Cap is mounted correctly to the base because theres a notch that it fits in. I turned motor over until timing mark was at top dead center. The rotor was pointing at the driver seat, but that could have been 180degrees out of whack. I figured that it should be 180 degrees further which would point the rotor at the right front corner of car. I still didnt see the timing mark when hooking to this poat of distributor. The only time i was able to see the timing mark was when i hooked to one of the front posts on the distributor. When i did that the mark was showing up about 30 degrees after tdc. I tested Mallory ditributor per their directions and it tests ok, and i do get consistent spark when i test with a spark plug pulled. It seems strong too (it's nice and blue). I thought somebody might have pulled a prank and switched wires, so i put them the way chilton recommended. The engine would hardly turn over with a good battery. Just seems odd that car was running fine then it didn't run at all when i tried to restart, just makes loud bangs. Would the timing chain have slipped? I was gonna pull plugs, get #1 cylinder to TDC on compression stroke and see where rotor is pointing. Any other ideas before i do this? Am i on the right track?

Thanks in ADVANCE,
Nate
1969 camaro with flames
327 cu. in SBC
M21 3.73 posi-rear
holley 650dbl carb
mallory unilite distributor mechanically advanced
272 cam
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 02, 01:03 AM
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Welcome to the Club!!!

You're on the right track, just need some guidance.

First item I would do is to remove all spark plugs. Remove plugs. Disable electrically the distributor. Take a quick compression check of a couple cylinders to make sure there is still plenty of compression. Checking to make sure the timing chain didn't slip. When done, turn the engine over by hand, with wrench on crank bolt, and bring #1 cylinder to TDC with finger in plug hole to make sure its on the right stroke.

Remove dist cap, if not pointing to #1 cylinder as per Chilton's manual, then change everything needed. This may include removing distributor, check gear at bottom of shaft to make sure it has not moved, as in broken roll pin, and reposition dist. Check plug wiring for same. When all done and distributor is back in engine, and you're confident of the timing, and matching of the engine to the picture(s), replace spark plugs.

You might turn the crank to the timing mark in the book, say 10 degrees BTDC. With #1 plug removed and hooked to plug wire and ground, turn ign on, turn dist until spark just happens, stop, turn off ign, install plug, snug dist clamp, and attempt to start engine.

Verify timing with timing light after engine starts. Read carefully and think about what you're doing. Don't be afraid to ask, we are here to help get you back on the road.

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Everett "OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR DISAPPEAR UPON RAPID ACCELERATION"
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 02, 03:01 AM
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Ken
 
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I think you are on the right track but I suspect that your timing chain has skipped. I had the exact thing happen to a Monte Carlo a few years ago. You could pull the #1 plug and then with a helper turn the motor over until you feel your finger being pushed out of the plug hole. This means that the engine is on the compression stroke. Then use a wrench and line up the timing mark. The timing mark should be very close. If it is far off at this point then you know the timing chain has slipped. If it is close, then line it up and check the distributor to see if it is pointing to the #1 plug wire. It should be, if its not then you might have lost a few teeth on the distributor or cam gear. You could pull the distributor and take a look at its drive gear

Good luck lets us know what you find
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 5th, 02, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the quick response,

Tried doing a compression test but didn't have a helper to crank engine for me. Couldnt keep the rubber snubber of tester in plug hole. I was able to get 145 Psi one time and i suspect that was low due to ruber fit into plug hole and obviously engine was cold. What range should it be?
I brought engine to TDC on #1 compression stroke, it lined up with timing mark and i checked it with dial indicator in plug hole. After pulling distributor cap it was not close to #1 spot. Pulled Distributor out of engine to find a very wobbly situation. When grabbing distributor gear there was about 1/8in play side to side. I took gear off of bottom, dissasembled top and pulled shaft out of housing. There was a big pile of aluminum scraps under rotor. I noticed that the springs to the mechanical advance were different one being stiffer than the other. Previous owner must have mismatched springs creating an unbalanced distributor causing wear and failure. I believe the distributor gear jumped a position or two. Suprisingly the distributor gear was not broken or marked. The teeth were fairly worn due to a loose gear mesh. The distributor housing is scraped inside, the shaft is rough, and the lower bushing is way gone. So i figure my distrib is pretty well trash (other than the module possibly).

I was wondering if i should do a direct replacement with a mallory unilite or if there's a better distributor out there? ... MSD? I have a jacobs energy coil.

Another thing i was wondering is.. would a GM HEI distributor fit and work? I have a one month old HEI distributor (less than 10 miles on it) out of a 305. It has vacuum advance and does not have any connections for a spark computer. It appears as if it might fit, but would come close to firewall making it hard to install and could possibly hit if engine torques or moves much? is Vacuum advance ok with a mild cam crane 272?

I am also concerned about distributor drive gear on camshaft. I did not check it yet, but I will give it a visual inspection as someone turns the motor over for me. Any other way to easily check it?

Thanks for your professional help with this matter,
Nate
1969 camaro with flames
327 cu. in SBC
M21 3.73 posi-rear
holley 650dbl carb
mallory unilite distributor mechanically advanced
272 cam


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 02, 12:53 AM
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Yes, the HEI dist you describe only needs a solid 12 volts to power it up, no resistance wire is needed and no external coil needed. But, different plug wires needed.

However, from reading others' posts here at this site, it seems a BFH is needed for clearance at the firewall for an HEI to fit.

The cam gear should be okay, its pretty tough. Usually, the dist gear is made from softer material to avoid destroying the cam.

I haven't ran an HEI dist, so I don't know the tune-up of one to make it work. However, it will get you started. Local salvage yard might have a point dist for very low bucks and very easy to install and use existing wiring, both primary and secondary.

In my opinion, the majority of us are not professional mechanics, but, the ones here who are pro's, are [email protected] good at it and do offer very good suggestions and tips. But, the rest of us have graduated from the School Of Hard Knocks and School Of What If.

Just remember, the only stupid question is the one not asked.....

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Everett "OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR DISAPPEAR UPON RAPID ACCELERATION"
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 02, 06:24 AM
 
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Nate,

It is not uncommon to use two different spring weights to create the specific advance curve that you want. I have a Mallory Comp 9000 and it has a stiff spring that is acutally loose at 0 deg advance and a soft spring that provides the initial quick advance until the stiff spring comes into play. This would not cause the distributor to wear out like you are describing. I think that you can get a Mallory dist rebuilt.



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Kent
67 SS 427
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 02, 08:39 AM
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i think you should at least try to stuff the HEI in there- it might fit if you have the original 327 engine mounts. if it doesn't, you can either put a small dent in the firewall to make it fit, or get another smaller diameter distributor to put in it.

------------------
1971 Nova(looks like 69 camaro from underneath!)
355sb, vortec heads, HOT cam,T-10 tranny, 3.70 gears 16X8" IROC wheels. 12" Corvette brakes on the way.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 02, 12:52 PM
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One must question the appearant lack of lubrication to the distributer shaft itself. If oil is not flowing into the assembly, failure would surely result ......again, regardless of the distributer used. Is this an unusual failure? I've never seen what you described before, and i've owned a lot of high mileage small block chevys since my teens, 283, 307, 350's.
good luck
joe c
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 02, 01:05 PM
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You could install the GM HEI without the BFH, temporaily for trouble shooting purposes, if you carefully lift the rear of the tranny. This will allow clearance for the hEI, however, just move it upward enough to drop fit the distributer. Keep a keen eye on the radiator shroud and fan. Do not allow them the touch. If they touch before the distributer drops in, you can't do it! If the distribuer drops in and all is clear up front, you can start the engine. Again, this would be for troubleshooting only, while the car is out of gear!

joe c
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 6th, 02, 04:43 PM
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Matt Jones
 
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I agree with the previous post about the 327 engine mounts. I've got these, and my HEI fits great, I can squeeze my fat finger between the cap and the firewall.

My previous Camaro had the 350 mounts, and the HEI was extremely tight...the firewall may have been dimpled by a previous owner.

I think you will find the HEI to be reliable and as good of a distributor as any.

------------------
1969 Base Camaro
Vortec 355, Perf. RPM, Demon Carb., TH-400
All sheetmetal is NOS GM
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 10th, 02, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
 
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Location: Manheim, PA
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Hello,
Haven't had much time to work on the bow-tie this week. I think i'll buy a brand new distributor. I am looking at the ready to run msd distributor. I'll have to get new wires too. Anyone have any experience with this distributor? It says hooking up the vacuum advance is optional. It adds street manners. Who needs manners on the street with a muscle car? (the ruder the better!) I would be interested in rev limiting (7000rpm)Is there any other way to achieve this other than put a MSD ignition module box on? I am also concerned with lubrication of the distributor. Why did my old one bite the dust so soon? It was worn badly at the lower bushing? I have a high volume oil pump, and the gauge was showing good pressure.
Thanks
Nate
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 02, 12:44 AM
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The bushings are usually made of oil-impregnated bronze. May have been side pressure on the shaft from the driving of a high-volume oil pump.

The dist body bushing does not get oil from the engine's oiling system. This could be a good thing. Can you imagine an oil leak in the top dist bushing seal?



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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 19th, 02, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Location: Manheim, PA
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I'm back again. I purchased a Msd Billet distributor that doesn't have vacuum advance PN 85551 and a msd 6AL ignition box. I got the 6AL mounted and wired, but when i went to put the distributor down in i noticed the oil pump shaft was wobbly. When i say wobbly i stuck a long scredriver down to align the oil pump shaft it had 1/2 inch of sideplay in the oil pump shaft. Is this normal? It doesn't quite seem right and i though it might possibly be the reason my distributor gave up in the first place. If that is the case, what do i need to do to replace the pump and what pump should i replace it with?
Thanks again for helpin me here.
Nate
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 19th, 02, 08:53 PM
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Sean
 
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that sounds about right (normal).the shaft just fits on top of the pump shaft, w/ a plastic or a metal sleeve keeping it on. the shaft should sit fairly centered in the hole in the block it sits in, but can move side to side a little. honestly i would have to personally see it to be sure, but it sounds o.k. as long as it looks fairly centered so the dist. will slip over it, and it doesn't look all chewed up from the old dist. you should be o.k. also thats the same distrubutor i'm running, w/ a 6al box, you'll like it when your done. hope that helps!
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 02, 05:20 AM
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by neff327:
I am looking at the ready to run msd distributor. I'll have to get new wires too. . .<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You can buy a cap for the distributor that will work with either type of wires. That's what I did anyhow. And I love the distributor. Noticed a smoother idle immediately, and it seemed to be a little smoother at light-medium throttle.

Howdy Neighbor!!
Where do you live in Manheim?



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68 Coupe, 350 4-speed
Jim's Camaro Corner
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