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Virtual Wrench
Virtual Wrench, Classic car expert
Category: Classic Car
Satisfied Customers: 14618
Experience:  35 years experience Foreign and Domestic
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Pontiac firebird: my car was running fine and it cut out and

Customer Question

my car was running fine and it cut out and now it will not start
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Classic Car
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
How did you check for fuel pressure?
What year is the car?
What size engine please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1968 firebird 400 I removed the fuel line at the carb and crancked it oved plenty of gas.Tthis is something that's been happening for a while the things Ive changed to rule out are electronic ignition ,carb and fuel pump ive tried three different of each. the car on test drive is fine for 1 hr then cuts out now wont start at all.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Thanks,
If it wont start now can you pull a spark plug wire and hold it close to ground and see if it has a nice blue spark when cranking the engine.
Let me know
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I did get a nice blue spark but its not on and off like it should be it stops sparking
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
What kind of electronic ignition did you put in it?
Was it the GM HEI with the coil on top of the dist cap like below?
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33691145/hei.PNG
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
yes
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
So you tried 3 different distributors??
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes its been frustrating. If I remember the last time I pulled the distributer put in a new one and it ran fine for about an hour.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
If it's losing spark and you have tried 3 distributors, all i can think of is power to the dist is being lost when there is no spark. If it starts now, next time it dies check for power at the BAT+ wire on the dist....
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Had to work 12 hrs. It still won't start . Maybe the ignition switch but then the starter would not turn.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Did you check for power at the BAT + side of the coil on top the dist with the key both in the on position and the start position?
This distributor is 100% self contained and all it needs is 12 volts to it to deliver spark. Check it and let me know.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I checked and yes there is power at the battery connection on the distributor so I have another bad distributer. Any ideas what mite be killing them?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is power when the key is on and cranking.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Good,
Do you have a can of starting fluid, or carb cleaner you can spray a shot down the carb and see if it kicks?
If you dont have any, you can pour a little gas down the carb and see if it kicks. This way we will know if there is spark at the plugs.
We have to determine for sure if its a fuel or spark problem.
This is very important because you are just chasing your tail if you dont know which one is missing for sure.
let me know
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I pored gas down the carb cranked it but it won't start
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Ok, i am assuming that you still have power going to the dist...right?
Did you put a BRAND NEW rotor in the dist?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good power to the distributer poor spark coming out. I will try the roter
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
I have seen those rotors actually burn a hole thru the center and it lets the spark go straight to ground. Its so small of a hole you cant even see it but its worth putting a new rotor on for sure!
Let me know.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I put a new roter and no start
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
That was quick!!!! A brand new one??
You must be getting some bad distributors if it ran for an hour with one of them......
where are you buying them from?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ebay maybe I should try another ?
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
I would.
You can get one at most any parts store. They might cost more but you sure are not having luck with these....
The nice part about these distributors is EVERYTHING is inside it for the ignition to work, and all it needs is 12 volts going to it so if it has the 12 volts but no spark,,,it really cant be anything else but i sure as hell wouldnt think you would get 3 bad ones! Just bad luck i guess????
Best wishes my friend!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Now the next time i hear from you it better be. IT RUNS!!!!!!!! LOL
Good luck bud.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I bought a new accel hei distributer and installed it now I have 4 distibuters .The car still won't run .I tried this service to see if it could help. Now I will have to have it towed to a repair shop. At this time I wish to terminate this service is there anything more I need to do?
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
You MUST be overlooking something...i know you said you have power to the distributor BUT did you check that when you were cranking the engine trying to start it.... you can have power there with just the key turned on but it has to have power when cranking!
Something is being overlooked here and i can only help you if you are checking this properly. I hope you understand because none of this is adding up.....
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Exactly it doesn't make any sence to me. I do have power with the key on and cranking. Its been frustrating and exhausting its getting towed on my birthday.
Expert:  Virtual Wrench replied 1 year ago.
Then it HAS to have spark at the plugs. It's impossible not to.
You have to understand an engine only needs spark, gas, air and timing to run....you say it has power to the dist so with the HEI it HAS TO HAVE SPARK unless the distributor isnt turning.
The distributor can be installed 180 degrees off. You have to make sure #1 piston is at TDC on the COMPRESSION STROKE before you put the dist in, because the mark on the crankshaft balancer will line up twice,once on comp stroke and again on exhaust stroke so when you are installing the distributor you have to pull #1 spark plug out and stick your finger in the hole to make sure its on the compression stroke when turning the crankshaft to get the timing mark at TDC. You can feel the compresion real easy with your finger.
I have NO IDEA if you even set the dist in the right way because a lot of people dont know that. My guess is that you didnt know that and the dist is off 180 degrees. Did you know that?
If it's installed correctly That ONLY leaves timing. I dont think you ever did a compression test to see if the timing chain jumped did you?

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