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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I cannot get my car started. I verified that is it getting gas. It has a new battery, wires, plugs, and distributor. It cranks but will not fire up. I hooked a spark plug light to it and it did not light up. Where should I start. Feel free to spoon feed me the info because last time I messed with the electrical system I fried a msd ignition system and the old distributor. I rebuilt the engine myself (first build) Thanks!
 

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Hey all,

I cannot get my car started. I verified that is it getting gas. It has a new battery, wires, plugs, and distributor. It cranks but will not fire up. I hooked a spark plug light to it and it did not light up. Where should I start. Feel free to spoon feed me the info because last time I messed with the electrical system I fried a msd ignition system and the old distributor. I rebuilt the engine myself (first build) Thanks!
Verify that No.1spark plug wire is firing off of No. 1 terminal at the distributor cap. Pontiac engines fire counter clockwise, so make sure you inserted your spark plug wires in the correct firing order counter clockwise - or left rotation.

If good, then pull you plugs to make sure that the plugs are not wet. You are getting gas, but maybe too much or you flooded the engine. The engine has a hard time, if it fires at all, when it is flooded. Make sure plugs are gapped at .032-.035".

If that is good, go with a hot wire from the battery to the Pos+ side of the coil. This will provide 12V to the coil which in turn will provide the voltage to the distributor. You did not say - points or electronic? If points, they have to have an air gap .019" or a dwell of 30 degrees when using a dwell meter. Also need a good condenser. If electronic, not much to go bad other than the module - generally, and they don't go bad often.

Back to the hot wire. If the engine cranks off the key, the hot wire will act as a jumper if you have a bad ignition problem - key switch, wires cut, wires missing, wires wrongly hooked up. Once the engine cranks, the hot wire is the needed 12V to the coil to fire the plugs. The engine should fire up if all the above checks out. NOTE: To stop the engine, you have to yank that hot wire or ti will not stop because the coil is getting 12V from the battery - the key is what disconnects the 12V to the coil, but you have jumped the key, so pull the wire to stop the engine.

Sometimes you have to move the distributor around a little to find the best place it wants to be to fre the engine. You can figure where the rotor is in relationship to the #1 terminal on the cap to fire the engine, but that may be close, bit not close enough because you want the spark to fire Before Top Dead Center (BTDC) - or a little before the piston reaches the top. So sometimes you have to rotate the distributor just a little either way, or both, with the engine spinning over. Snug down the distributor hold down bolt, bit not so tight that you cannot rotate it with a little force - you can tighten it later once the engine is running and timed. As it spins, the engine might cough/sputter like it want to fire - this is good, you are going in the right direction. Make sure you have the air cleaner on because it can also cough back through the carb if going in the wrong direction - and that is how engine/car fires start. If you have a fire extinguisher, have it handy and DO NOT try this inside an enclosed garage or structure that could catch fire.

So give that try and let us know the results. If the car burns up, I never said any of this and this post will self destruct. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
maybe a picture so we understand what your working with parts wise
HEI points MSD
is it a 68 or 69 ??
what did you work on since the last time it ran ?
or it just wouldnt start the next time you went to fire it up ?
It's an electric distributor in a 68. I completely assembled the engine from a bare block from a 71 gto (400) this is the first time I'm attempting to start it.
 

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A light that connects between the plug and wire. I have a timing light but that would only be helpful if the engine is running right?
If your not getting spark at the test light then what Jim said above about running a temporary wire to the coil that has constant power so you know your getting power to the ignition with key on and during cranking

I think you said above that your running an electronic distributor so you'll want to add a relay for 12 volt power during cranking if you don't have that already
The factory wiring has a resistor wire in the harness that doesn't allow 12 volts during cranking

Just keep it simple spark + fuel+ air goes boom once you get it to make some noise from somewhere then you'll be able to figure out the details
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Motor vehicle Hood Automotive lighting Automotive exterior Vehicle door

please do not take offense but when you put the timing chain/gear set in did you align the timing marks
Yes! I did. But.... I did something even dumberer. I went out to take a pic of my mess of wiring and noticed a red wire coming off the relay and followed it and noticed it was not hooked up to the dizzy. It is a little late in the evening to fire it up and break it in but that will happen tomorrow most likely. I'll keep everyone posted and I am relieved (but not out of the woods yet)
 

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She's alive!! I plan to break in this this weekend. I'll start a new thread if/when something comes up. Heres an outtake from being too retarted. View attachment 156392

Who was too retarded, you or the engine? :ROFLMAO: Good job, got it running.

Well at least you were not looking down the carb when it backfired - has a tendency to immediately singe off eyebrows, eye lashes, and some hair. I hate the smell of burning hair in the morning. o_O Only take a few weeks for it to grow back. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey all,

Update: I've been chasing gas, oil, and coolant leaks since my last post. Today I attempted engine break in. The car fired up immediately and died. I advanced the timing a bit and it was experiencing hard sluggish sounds as the engine turned over. I retarted the timing and it fired up but backfired. I richened up the air fuel screws and it did the same on the next attempt. Would I even get this far if the dizzy was 180⁰ out? I hooked up my timing light so I can see what rpms i was running at since I do not have a tach and the timing light for the first time showed me what degree the timing was at when the key was on and it was counting down from 90⁰ to 0⁰ I'm not sure if that's just a default feature of the timing light but my gut tells me something Is off with my timing the light is a innova 3568a If that helps.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Hey all,

Update: I've been chasing gas, oil, and coolant leaks since my last post. Today I attempted engine break in. The car fired up immediately and died. I advanced the timing a bit and it was experiencing hard sluggish sounds as the engine turned over. I retarted the timing and it fired up but backfired. I richened up the air fuel screws and it did the same on the next attempt. Would I even get this far if the dizzy was 180⁰ out? I hooked up my timing light so I can see what rpms i was running at since I do not have a tach and the timing light for the first time showed me what degree the timing was at when the key was on and it was counting down from 90⁰ to 0⁰ I'm not sure if that's just a default feature of the timing light but my gut tells me something Is off with my timing the light is a innova 3568a If that helps.

Thanks for the help!
No. It won't run for even a second if you're 180 deg off. Are you trying to break in an engine with a new carburetor? It's preferable to use one that you know ran OK even if it's too small for your engine.
 
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