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1974 Nova, 355, TH400, posi running 410's
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I was always taught to point the rotor at the #1 cylinder when dropping in a distributor but when I look at any of the 1974 manual diagrams (Haynes, etc) it shows the #1 on the distributor cap as being left of center looking straight at it, basically pointing at #2. So I set the rotor there, but I'm having a hard time getting the timing set on this motor. Should I try taking the distributor out and resetting it? The motor has a Crower solid lifter cam. (first time with solid lifters, a lot noisier than I expected!!) With 5.7" intake lift and 5.9" exhaust lift. The power band was 4000 rpm to 8000 rpm. The camshaft was advanced 2 degrees to lower the power band. So, 3700 to 7700 now. This was all done by the original builder. I bought it done but not running and I've never dealt with a cam like that. I think that is throwing off my ability to time it as nothing lines up with the timing tab. It'll start but its a struggle to get it to idle at less than 900rpm and I'm still getting a backfire through the carb. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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It is irrelevant where the rotor is phased so long as that is #1 wire and you follow the 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 firing order... You can have it pointed to the firewall and it still does not make a difference... so long as the order is in a clockwise fashion and starting at #1 for rotor phasing.

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Should the intake and exhaust be different? .022? .023?
If you're trying to narrow down a lash issue, I would first wipe all that lash to 0.030 on intake/exhaust to make sure that's what is causing your issue but only run it a short while so you don't beat the hell out of everything. If it's not, then you have a timing issue or possibly off one tooth or two on the timing gear... or, you don't have a full 12VDC to the dist/coil, that could be it. I would check there first... before any other changes. What are you running for ignition? Distributor? box? plugs? wires? That's a good place to start... If I recall correctly, 1974 had a period they were still using breaker points distributors, then went to HEI later that year (Don't quote me on that but I heard that somewhere here I think...) where if you have an old points car, unless you have replaced the resistor wire to the coil wire, you will not have a full 12VDC needed for new electronic ignitions. Just one more facet to add to the components you need to check out before diving into the engine... My thoughts.
 

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1974 Nova, 355, TH400, posi running 410's
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Youre right on the money. If I dont have a full 12v in the battery this car wont start. I'm running points as there is no room against the firewall for a HEI. Everything is new and I had to replace the solenoid on the new starter, as it wasn't putting out enough juice. But as long as the battery is fresh it'll fire. If not, no luck. I was thinking about putting a Petronix unit in to replace the points to get a little hotter spark.
I guess I'll start by backing off the lash and going from there. Thanks again
 

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Youre right on the money. If I dont have a full 12v in the battery this car wont start. I'm running points as there is no room against the firewall for a HEI. Everything is new and I had to replace the solenoid on the new starter, as it wasn't putting out enough juice. But as long as the battery is fresh it'll fire. If not, no luck. I was thinking about putting a Petronix unit in to replace the points to get a little hotter spark.
I guess I'll start by backing off the lash and going from there. Thanks again
Wishing you all the luck in the world!! I'm sure others will chime in here with more advice that will be helpful too. Before loosening up your lash, I'd check your points though and your dwell once started and maybe change the points and condenser to new to at least rule that out of the equation. Also, what coil are you running? And if you're running a roller cam, you may need a melonized or composite distributor gear so as to not destroy your cam... Best check on that before running the engine much more. Points are okay but honestly, running a solid roller with that setup and using a single point ignition is asking for less than the E-ticket ride you hope for with a higher-horsepower car. Pertronix is a good solution for sure! Get a new coil while you're at it and enjoy the hotter consistent spark of electronics!! :p
 

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I'm with Stroker on this, you could be chasing your tail a bit since some issues can mimic others. I used Crower cams all through the 80's and if I recall the solid lifter (flat tappet lifter) specs were .022 in and .024 ex I'd just double check those. I'd ditch the points for a Pertronix set-up, module and new coil. Make sure your battery has a solid 12.6 volts and point the rotor right at Cyl 1 on a compression stroke. Funny thing I found 2 brand new Crower cams and lifter sets (1 hyd 1 solid) brand new in the boxes with the plastic still on the boxes. My mom was cleaning out the basement when she sold the house I grew up in recently. I know they were from 1982/83 era when a speed shop near me closed and was selling stuff for almost nothing. Also had a brand new case of B&M Trick Shift ATF.
 

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Hello, I was always taught to point the rotor at the #1 cylinder when dropping in a distributor but when I look at any of the 1974 manual diagrams (Haynes, etc) it shows the #1 on the distributor cap as being left of center looking straight at it, basically pointing at #2. So I set the rotor there, but I'm having a hard time getting the timing set on this motor. Should I try taking the distributor out and resetting it? The motor has a Crower solid lifter cam. (first time with solid lifters, a lot noisier than I expected!!) With 5.7" intake lift and 5.9" exhaust lift. The power band was 4000 rpm to 8000 rpm. The camshaft was advanced 2 degrees to lower the power band. So, 3700 to 7700 now. This was all done by the original builder. I bought it done but not running and I've never dealt with a cam like that. I think that is throwing off my ability to time it as nothing lines up with the timing tab. It'll start but its a struggle to get it to idle at less than 900rpm and I'm still getting a backfire through the carb. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Sounds like you built this motor and should have all the relevant specs or @ least pt. nos. for mfg reference. Stated power band indicates race only use. Unlikely to idle under 1000-1500RPM due to poor lo speed air flow. Undoubtedly there are others in your hot rod circle whose expertise can solve/explain your issues. That or just play with it (keeping copious notes) til you understand the Tiger you've got by the Tail , as early rodders did.
 
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