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Chevy 400 won't start

 
36Buick
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 18
Joined: 09/13
Posted: 09/14/13 04:35 PM

Hi guys, I'm having troubles troubleshooting why my 400 wont start.  I am positive I am on the compression stroke of the #1 cylinder, I have my rotor pointing to the #1 cylinder.  All spark plug lines are connected in the 1,8,4,3,6,5,7,2 order.  I have confirmed my TDC line on the balancer with a spark plug piston stop.  I am getting fuel, spark and air.  But for some reason the engine just not want to start.  It does crank, just wont START!!!!  Could there be anything that I am missing here?  

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waynep712222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 251
Joined: 03/13
Posted: 09/14/13 06:12 PM

a few things.

how are you verifying that its at #1 compression...

look at the image below.. the inner part of both dampers are actually aligned with the crank key...  

the crank key is 45 degrees to the right of center when the #1 and #6 pistons are at top dead center...  this is the confusing issue with engines... is it backfiring thru the carb???


Chevybalancermarks


look at the location of the keyway in relation to the 3 pulley mounting bolts..

8Inchtimingmarks  

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waynep712222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 251
Joined: 03/13
Posted: 09/14/13 06:40 PM

now... lets get the distributor installed right..

you did not mention what type of distributor you have..


Sbccamtiming

if the cam dot lines up with the cam sprocket at 6 o clock with the crank sprocket at 12 o clock.. thats it.. ...


now...  go back.. look at the harmonic damper holes for mounting the crank pulley...   if you get the damper so the timing mark is somewhere between 12 and 2:30 position..  if the pulley is on.. move damper so the closest pulley bolt to 45 degrees to the right.. see if your timing marks line up..  if not.. then we have to go farther to verify TDC...  

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waynep712222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 251
Joined: 03/13
Posted: 09/14/13 07:08 PM

so instead of taking the timing cover off... you have a 50 /50 chance of getting it right...

bring the crank around and stop at your basic timing mark... like 8 before top dead center... where is the rotor pointing..???

it should be pointing at either the #1 spark plug wire. or the #6 spark plug wire...

this chart is designed for several things... to allow mechanics to know where  the wires should be so the spark plug wire lengths are correct...

Untitled9 Zps421c2537

there is another thing that has to be done.. dead stick time the distributor..

with the damper mark at basic timing... the rotor posing hopefully in the correct direction. turn the housing to align the tips of the pick up coil and the tips of the reluctor.. when they are perfectly aligned.. lock the housing down..

if the rotor is pointing to the proper #1 wire in the cap.. you should be ready to start the engine..

hint...

when i work on a motor and need to take the distributor out.. i pull the cap.. bump the engine around until i see the damper timing mark come toward the pointer..   i start looking at the reluctor tips... when the tips line up perfectly.. i stop.. if i have gone past.. i back the crank up until the rotor moves the other way and bring it forward again to align the tips of the reluctor and the pickup coil..

i note the timing pointer marks at that point..

i can now remove the distributor.. work on it on the bench.. toss it back in.. align the pick up coil tips to the reluctor.. then lock it down.. if its on the oil pump shaft properly... i can reach thru the window and turn the key and it starts on the first try.. makes me look really smart..


perhaps this will also help...

Untitled16 Zps6bd4b651  

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36Buick
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 18
Joined: 09/13
Posted: 09/15/13 02:01 PM

How I'm verifying that its at the compression on #1 is I removed all spark plugs and placed my finger over the #1 spark plug and waited until I felt air rush through when I turned the damper.  Also I am using a point distributer.  I did get some backfiring initially, then I messed with the distributor thinking that my timing was off.  Now it just cranks without any backfiring.  Will take a look at engine with relation to pictures above to verify the two dampers and notches.  

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36Buick
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 18
Joined: 09/13
Posted: 09/15/13 03:48 PM

Thank you for your help, I verified the damper and the crank/cam sprocket.  Both are lined.  Im not able to double check distributor, I'm on my way into work again.  will take a look at it tomorrow.  Tried a "miracle fire up".....didn't work.  Still endless cranks.  

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skyeking
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 2738
Joined: 08/09
Posted: 09/15/13 04:43 PM

Hi there,
 What colour spark is coming out of the plug leads??.
 Hi Wayne....Noel in Blunderland...  
skyeking

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waynep712222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 251
Joined: 03/13
Posted: 09/15/13 07:38 PM

When points are closed,  electrons flow from neg battery thru block to dist housing thru ground strap to upper breaker a plate then across closed points contacts to create a a magnetic field in the coil primary windings.  When points open. Electrons stop, magnetic field in primary collapses thru secondary windings Creating a high voltage spark in the secondary winding.  

Points close.. Charges a primary.. Points open.. Secondary high voltage spark created.

Set damper timing mark to 10 before.  Rotate distributor until the points just start to open.  You can tell as and twist rotor against spring tension and make coil spark.. Are very close.

Pull coil wire from center of distributor cap.. A position it 3/8" from ground. Twist and release rotor.  Spark should happen as soon as you twist. This verifies spark can be created by ignition system.

You could also have flooded engine..

Do you have a test light.?.  A hook up backwards..  Clip end to coil positive terminal.. If you don t have MSD.  Stick probe into something grounded so you can see from drivers seat.

Turn key to run..  Medium bright light from test light bulb.m.  While cranking engine. Th test light bulb should go bright. Then release back to run.  It should go boot medium bright..  This proves the positive side of the coil power circuit is wired up properly.  

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WScott
V-6 Camaros rule!
Posts: 40
Joined: 03/12
Posted: 09/16/13 05:09 AM

you said that at first it was back firing  and now it just cranks,
were you pumping the gas pedal excessively ? sound like it is also flooded now
better check your plugs to see if they wet, just a thought  

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zman123
Everything in my driveway’s a Chevy
Posts: 537
Joined: 06/08
Posted: 09/16/13 05:17 PM

Good bet on the flooding, pull all of the plugs and spin the engine to clear it, check the plugs to see if they are wet.  

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36Buick
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 18
Joined: 09/13
Posted: 09/18/13 04:43 PM

Sorry guys, military has been working me good this week.  I think if I share how my engine is setup it would help best for all of us.  So the engine is mounted in a gutted 36 Buick (no electrical, panels, just the shell and frame).  My goal is to see if I can get the engine running before putting everything together and then having to fight stuff.  So anyways, the engine is mounted to the car.  radiator is connected to engine, not transmission.  edelbrock carb.  points distributor.  engine is connected to transmission (drivetrain disconnected).  I have all spark plug wires connected to corresponding terminals on distributor.  will verify compression stroke and distributor pointed to #1 today.  My electrical connection is battery (not connected to alternator)  the positive terminals are set up as:
1) Battery terminal connections: Positive to starter.  Negative to engine mount bolt.  
2) Ignition Coil Connection: Positive to ballast, ballast to battery.  Negative to Distributor.  
3) Starter Connections: Positive to starter.  Negative to engine mount.  A single wire connection between starter battery terminal and starter ignition switch (to connection gets the starter to pop out gear and to drive gear for flex plate).

On start up I connect battery negative terminal from block.  Then I connect the positive from ignition oil to battery positive.  Last to complete circuit I connect positive from starter to battery positive.  Then engine cranks with no start or any backfiring.

My TDC reader - the part mounted on block is hard to read but I believe I know the location of zero.  it looks like this:
       ___________
     /__
     \
     /__
     \
     /__
     \
       \ __ 0     this indent I believe to be zero.  between this line and line below.
       /
      /__
      \
      /__________



Would overtightened rocker arms be a problem?  The Distributor I bought was one from auto zone, it was like high 20's low 30's price wise.  Could that be an issue?  A weak distributor?  Would there be any way to tell if engine is flooded?  How could I unflood the engine?

I greatly appreciate everyones help.  Its been about a month of trouble shooting.  just haven't been able to do much work recently because of work.  

I could post pictures if this would help in any Trouble shooting.  Just want to get this step done so I can continue project.  

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waynep712222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 251
Joined: 03/13
Posted: 09/18/13 09:02 PM

post pictures...  or a link to your album...

are you in the 48 states???

Would overtightened rocker arms be a problem?    YES.. run a compression test with a gauge.. must have over 110 pounds pressure..


The Distributor I bought was one from auto zone, it was like high 20's low 30's price wise.  Could that be an issue?  A weak distributor?

there are lots of things that could be wrong in the ignition system..

protective coating on the points preventing them from actually closing and creating a complete circuit..



Would there be any way to tell if engine is flooded?  How could I unflood the engine?

after checking for spark from the coil.. then at the spark plug wires...

pull the spark plugs and examine the center electrodes for carbon buildup or liquid that allows the spark to travel from the center electrode down the center insulator to ground.. instead of jumping the gap to get to ground.. this will prevent the engine from starting..

as described above..
remove spark plugs.. examine end for liquid or carbon... disconnect ignition.. crank engine to clear cylinders...  a good time to use a compression tester to verify that you have good compression..

do you have a remote starter button.. so you can easily bump the engine around a fraction of a turn at a time..


here is an article that covers some of the issues you have...

http://www.classictrucks.com/tech/0909clt_spark_plug_ignition_system_basics/viewall.html



pictures... pictures..

see if you can get the damper timing marks lined up to 0...
then take a photo of the front of the crank pulley.. so i can see the 3 bolts that hold the crank pulley to the damper face...  hold the camera straight in front of the crank pulley..

take another picture of the timing mark and pointer..

take a picture of the top of the rotor with then..

slip the cap and wires  back on..  put some tape on the #1 wire..  

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36Buick
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 18
Joined: 09/13
Posted: 09/20/13 07:31 PM

I for some reason cannot figure how to attach photos to thread from photo bucket.  I clicked on the add image then typed in the url for the pictures.  But I have been unsuccessful all day.  

Would you be open to me sending an email to you of the pictures?  

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waynep712222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 251
Joined: 03/13
Posted: 09/20/13 07:38 PM

when you have a single photo selected.... on the right side of the page..

there are multiple links that when you click.. change color and copy to your clip board

you can then paste them here...   use the one that begins with img  

Corrsionbatterywontstart Zpsae49cdcb

and hopefully they will show up...  

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waynep712222
I have an SS396 tatoo
Posts: 251
Joined: 03/13
Posted: 09/20/13 07:39 PM

and yes.. they do post twice once in a while..

one of the moderators will delete the duplicates hopefully..  

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