Trying to wake the old girl from winter slumber...need a little help - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Trying to wake the old girl from winter slumber...need a little help

It's been a long winter and spring has not really arrived either...but hopefully we'll have good weather soon. I used the winter to find some parts and tinker with her.

A) took out cleaned up and rebuild windshield wiper/washer assy. Reinstalled - wipers still work, rebuild on washer pump did not help it. But was still fun to work on it...

B) took out the distributor and rebuilt to remove end-play and convert back to stock from po installed HEI.

The rebuild went just fine and I got it back in OK - properly oriented and engaging the oil pump.

Yesterday - using some parts from Ames tackled getting the vacuum lines all back to stock trim (pretty funky set-up for 68 manual - check out resto guide 2nd ed page 395); feel really good about that. Next did all the ignition circuit voltage tests. All checked out.

When it was time to finally start it - sprayed in a bunch of starting fluid, set the choke and turned her over. (got maybe 3mins total cranking time before cold battery with it trickle charge life support) it only coughed a couple times. every 15 seconds I turned the distributor a little CCW. Pretty sure first min was re-filling the carb with fuel.

I set the initial point dwell at .018 during the rebuild. I had a dwell meter hooked up during the cranking and needle bounced to 11 degrees. Battery gave out so had to pack it up for the day.

So after reading a bit more - realized I should have disconnected and plugged the vacuum lines to the distributor (yes the stock set up has 2 - like I said its funky); but seeking your collective wisdom, so please chime to answer these questions:


1- would leaving the vac lines connected wreck the timing so much it would not allow combustion?

2- what is the best method to set the points closer to 30 degrees (hopefully without removing the distrib) so it will start and I can dial it in.

3 - is there a way to know the timing before the dwell is correctly set? Did not try hooking up the timing light yet.

Both dwell and timing have to be "close enough" to get the engine started and idling.
Hopefully, from that point, fine tuning will be straightforward.

I have learned a bunch this winter on this forum and looking forward to the "seat of the pants" timing method detailed by PJ.

Thanks in advance for your input-

DK

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Last edited by integrity6987; 04-15-2018 at 02:49 PM. Reason: typo and more detail
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-15-2018, 10:23 PM
 
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What comes to mind to check your distributor timing would be to pull the coil wire out and put in its place a bolt of some kind that will make contact with the cap electrode. Also pull your number 1 spark plug wire out of the cap.

Then run a 12-volt hot wire off your battery to the bolt. This will energize the rotor. Use a light tester and insert into the number 1 terminal in the cap. Rotate the engine by hand until the test light comes on. This will tell you that the rotor is at number 1 and firing. Now take a look at you timing mark on the balancer. It should be where it needs to be in firing the number 1 cylinder.

If the timing mark does not line up on the balancer, but may be close, get the balancer at the degree you want (6 degrees?) and then rotate your distributor (either advance or retard) to get the test light to light up. That should be where you distributor want to be to fire number 1.

You may want to pull your valve cover to make sure your engine is on its compression stroke (both valves closed) and not 180 out.

I would not worry about the dwell setting until you get it running and then adjust it. And, initial timing gets set with vacuum line disconnected from distributor and plugged.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-16-2018, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
 
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thx Pj - that is a novel approach to ensure I have the distributor installed correctly, although I was careful to put back the way it came out. Using the test light the current is able to "jump" the gap between the rotor and the distributor wire contact??

I also found this:
https://www.autozone.com/repairguide...00c152801c81c6

From above:
"The wider the point opening, the smaller the dwell. The smaller the gap, the larger the dwell. Adjusting the dwell by making the initial point gap setting with a feeler gauge is sufficient to get the car started but a finer adjustment should be made. A dwell meter is needed to check the adjustment."

Makes me think the gap I set was way too wide (dwell reading 11 degrees vs 30)- the coil may not be fully charging - unable to produce a "hot" spark.

I also found the gap correct point gap spec to be .016. I set to .018 during the rebuild. Going to work on that too.

DK

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-16-2018, 11:11 PM
 
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Ok, the dwell check will work as well according to the article. I have never checked the dwell other than with the engine running. Pretty easy to dial in once you get the engine running using the "window" in the distributor cap and an allen wrench to adjust the points. I have a tool specifically used for this - looks like a screw driver but has a flexible spring like shank with an allen wrench end on it.

I thought the points were .016" on the gap. In a bind, it used to be possible to use a match book cover in an emergency (like replacing points roadside) as a feeler gauge to get you in the ball park and going again.

You may be right on jumping the gap with 12 volts -might not be enough voltage now that I think about it. Swear I have done this, but might have been dreaming. However, I did find a YouTube video that may help. It uses a 12-volt light tester. Clip the alligator clip side of the test light on to the negative side of the coil. The pointed end of the test light is grounded. Put your harmonic balancer mark where you want it on your scale(6 degrees BTDC). Then turn your key "On." You can now move your distributor advance or retard until the test light goes on. When it does, your distributor will be in its correct position.

The video is not the best, but you can get the idea. He moves the engine forward/backward to get the timing dialed in using the light. My question. He did not pull the coil wire, should you? I would feel a bit uneasy with my hands in the fan, key ON, and me rotating the engine. My luck it fires off - ouch! So I think I would pull the coil wire before sticking my hand/arms in near the fan and then see if the test light method still worked to dial in your number 1 spark plug to balancer timing mark.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Got her running today !

1) fully charged the battery
2) plugged vac advance lines
3) adjusted points a little closer to 30 degrees dwell
4) sprayed starting fluid, set choke
5) friend cranked it while I turned the distributor more ccw
- she started - (lost my helper)
6) got running dwell reading, shut off to adjust/repeat until 30 degrees
7) set base time to 9 degrees bdc - tighten hold down
8) re-connect vac lines
9) off fast idle sounds a nice low burbling we love to hear
10 goosing the throttle revs w/o bog --- so a good sign.

did not yet check total advance (no load with the 100% stock set up).

ran out of time to continue

next issue before driving her and applying the PJ timing method: The Gen light was lit on the dash....but the car started several times.
Heading over to the electrical forum.

I wish you all good luck getting your cars dusted off.
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DK

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 04:49 PM
 
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Excellent, at least you know your swap to points was a success and it lives. Just have to dial it now.

Your alternator, or voltage regulator may have given up on you. Check your wiring/plug-ins first, especially the voltage regulator on the firewall where you were working with the distributor. Had to call AAA when my '73 Fury died in home coming traffic just before an intersection/light. I hate when that happens. AAA came out about 1 1/2 hours later with a battery which I bought from them and they installed it just to get me home (about 20 miles). Turned out I had knocked off one of the alternator plug-in wires when I put new belts on, but as old as it was, it held form and shape and dangled just above the spade it was supposed to plug into, so it looked just like is was plugged in. Finally found it by touching wires and plugged the wire up and problem solved. Might not have really needed the battery or the embarrassment of screwing up traffic. Had a great conversation with police officer SGT Fred who stayed with me to protect my car from a rear-ender.

You can have the alt tested at most auto stores which is the easiest to test, then go from there. Could of course be the battery, so give that a check as well.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replay.
I used the thread search and plan to try these "on car" test first based on what I found on this awesome forum. Learned how the gen light circuit works, and more...

So will:
1) check fuses
2) check grounds (and the VR connections -- thx PJ -- I was bumping stuff in that area trying to get the vacuum lines connected)
3) check alt output V to be ~14.4
4) bat voltage
5) brittle wires / connections

One post said it happened to them only when e-brake was on?? (mine was...did not check it released)

i'll post back when I resolve it.

If alternator and battery and fuses are OK - then mostly like the VR. Ames G34 has a solid state for $29.

DK

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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Everything above checked out. Looking for more advice and found this:
https://www.gtoforum.com/f50/twitchy-...02/#post688434

Going to order the VR tomorrow.

DK

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 06:39 PM
 
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Someone correct me if I am wrong. Which happens on occasion. Well maybe significantly more often than that. Growing up working on cars if you disconnect the positive cable while the car is running and it stays running your alternator is good. If it dies sitting overnight it's your vr. Assuming you have no short in your electrical system or your battery is bad.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Still need help getting the GEN light to go out - with ignition swtch in run position

The solid state VR came from Ames and I put it in today.
GEN light now only stays on while the engine is running. It used to be on as soon as the key was on.

Battery and Alternator output is 14.2v. on car engine running.

Drove the car a few miles. If not for the light in the dash - all seemed Ok.

Took the Battery and Alternator out and to AutoZone and both checked out OK.

I learned from above link if forum how the GEN light is lit if voltages on ignition side and charge side are not equal.

Anybody know what voltages should be reading :
at the VR?
Coil (stock)?

DK

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