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All she does is crank but wont turn over. the timing light is not firing neither so I reestablished TDC with a rag and harmonic balancer indicator. lined up the rotor on a terminal and ran my wires in the firing order. there still was no flashing coming from the timing light, the engine just kept cranking without starting. I pulled out the multimeter and traced my 12 V throughout the ignition system and the distributor is getting 12V. So i checked the plugs and the were oily. Will this prevent the engine from firing? I replaced the intake manifold gasket a few weeks ago, and removed the valve covers without changing the gaskets. there was a little oil on the manifold smoking when it was running. I think it came from the valve covers when they were open. The last thybg i did was pull the number 1 plug, connect the plug wire and used the exhaust manifold as a ground, cranked the engine and checked for a small blue spark. there was none


Should I change the gaskets and get new plugs first? Or is there some other tests of spark I can do?
 

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Won't start

I am assuming this is an HEI distributor? 12 volts hooked to the right terminal on the distributor? Is the rotor in the distribitor in there? I have forgot to put that on at least once in my life. Other than that the ignition module inside could be bad. If you take off the coil cap, is the wire tied to one of the screws? Thats about it if your not getting spark.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am assuming this is an HEI distributor? 12 volts hooked to the right terminal on the distributor? Is the rotor in the distribitor in there? I have forgot to put that on at least once in my life. Other than that the ignition module inside could be bad. If you take off the coil cap, is the wire tied to one of the screws? Thats about it if your not getting spark.
Yes, sorry, Hei distributor. yes to the first two thoughts. I am not exacturely what wire I will be looking for inside the cap, but I will inspect all connections.

One thing I am concerned about is maybe I didnt check the plugs spark correctly, isnt there a spark plug tester I can buy from the parts store to see if I am getting spark? I used to check the lawn mower plugs the way I stated and it was obvious if there was spark. Can I get just the ignition module or have to purchase a complete distributor? So the oily plugs wouldnt prevent spark?
 

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You can check spark with a screwdriver, but I can't remember how off top of my head as I've never actually done it.

Are you sure you are getting fuel? The other thread, you mentioned changing from temp gas can to fuel tank. You may have to prime it although you would think the carb would still be full.
 

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You may have fuel fouled the plugs trying to start it with the choke closed. If the plugs are fouled it won't start. You already said you are not getting spark though, so the ignition module in the distributor might be bad. They don't go out that often, but they can work one minute and quit the next without warning. If you are not getting spark, have the coil and the ignition module checked or swap in a HEI distibutor you know is good.
 

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Make sure you are getting spark through out the distributor. First get a test light and check the wires second pull the wires and check the cap. If still no go then make sure you have clean contacts on the bottem side of the cap. and the tops of the rotor. A cap and Rotor are one of the cheapest things to replace I would start there and work my way up or as someone else has said you could always stab another distributor that you know works. But I have one question you said the plugs had oil on them were did it have oil excatly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You may have fuel fouled the plugs trying to start it with the choke closed. If the plugs are fouled it won't start. You already said you are not getting spark though, so the ignition module in the distributor might be bad. They don't go out that often, but they can work one minute and quit the next without warning. If you are not getting spark, have the coil and the ignition module checked or swap in a HEI distibutor you know is good.

I ordered a replacement unit from Summitt. its on sale for $80. I didnt know they are they same for sb and bbc. I also ordered frame bushings, and a set of summitt headers for $80

Make sure you are getting spark through out the distributor. First get a test light and check the wires second pull the wires and check the cap. If still no go then make sure you have clean contacts on the bottem side of the cap. and the tops of the rotor. A cap and Rotor are one of the cheapest things to replace I would start there and work my way up or as someone else has said you could always stab another distributor that you know works. But I have one question you said the plugs had oil on them were did it have oil excatly.
I did some further inspections today, and the even numbered plugs were pretty dry, but the number 1, 3, 5 plugs had some oil in the threads and at the tip. I pulled the manfold, and am going to redo the gasket. Can I reuse the intake manifold gasket?
 

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I agree, one issue at a time. Are you sure it's oil and not fuel? If the timing light is not flashing you either have a defective light or no spark. As long as you have 12v at the right spot, no spark can be either the module or the pick up. Sounds like you bought a new distributor so you'll have both covered.

A common problem with module failure is the coil ground strap. Some coils have a wire that hooks in with one of the retainer screws, others have a strap that goes from a retainer screw to the terminals at the cap. Make sure you have on or the other. With out it you will fry multiple modules looking for the issue.

I don't have an HEI lying around or I'd post a picture.

 

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I agree, one issue at a time. Are you sure it's oil and not fuel? If the timing light is not flashing you either have a defective light or no spark. As long as you have 12v at the right spot, no spark can be either the module or the pick up. Sounds like you bought a new distributor so you'll have both covered.

A common problem with module failure is the coil ground strap. Some coils have a wire that hooks in with one of the retainer screws, others have a strap that goes from a retainer screw to the terminals at the cap. Make sure you have on or the other. With out it you will fry multiple modules looking for the issue.

I don't have an HEI lying around or I'd post a picture.
If you run a tach off of the HEI unplug it and see if it will start then. I once had the same problem and I found I had a short in the lead running to the tach.

Larry at Papas Nova
 

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Re: not starting

Chevybelly - did the engine start and run before you pulled your distributor and intake to replace the intake gasket?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Chevybelly - did the engine start and run before you pulled your distributor and intake to replace the intake gasket?
Yes, it was running strong, just needed to adjust the carb for idle. I was using a siphoned gas can as a tank because my tank had bad gas from an open vacuum canister hose. All I did was hook up the gas tank and gas lines. Its getting gas because yesterday I cranked the engine over like a 1/4 turn and gas squirted accross the garage from the pump hose
 

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re- oily plugs and now it does not start

I doubt anything went wrong just from removeing the distributor so it must be something simple like the distributor went back in 180 degrees off. The batt and ignition wires have a connector plug so check that also to make sure it looks ok. Finding number one at top dead center on the compression stroke and then setting your timeing correctly 4-8 drgrees BTDC depending on who you ask may solve your dilema. I remember when I changed out all my lifters I acidentally thought I had it right only to start over again and get it right the second time. If you removed plug wires be sure to check your fireing order also. It should be stamped on your intake and the terminals on your cap should be numbered also. I think number one is one hole clockwise of the part of the cap where the ignition harness plugs in. The single wire is your tach. There is a notch in the cap so it can only fit one way. I posted a bit more on your other intake thread.
 

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Engine won't Start

Hey Chevybelly ,

I have a 77 Nova concours I had the same problem after I replaced the intake gaskets , It ended up being a timing problem as the distirbutor itself was not installed properly. Before I continued ,I would ensure that the distibutor was installed properly at TDC with 8 degrees of advance which is correct for a 350 chevy small block. Hope this helps. by the way I have some oil on my spark plugs and it still starts right up. I'm tackling one problem at a time. take care

Regards,
Magiicman
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey Chevybelly ,

I have a 77 Nova concours I had the same problem after I replaced the intake gaskets , It ended up being a timing problem as the distirbutor itself was not installed properly. Before I continued ,I would ensure that the distibutor was installed properly at TDC with 8 degrees of advance which is correct for a 350 chevy small block. Hope this helps. by the way I have some oil on my spark plugs and it still starts right up. I'm tackling one problem at a time. take care

Regards,
Magiicman
Thanks for the insight. I replaced the distributor with a Summit, new plugs and got all the proper grounds on the car and it started right up. It kinda sucks I didnt pin point the problem, but I wanted a new distributor anyways because it works for a big block also. I went in the electrical forum and those guys helped me get all the proper grounds set up on my car. ( battery to engine, battery to frame, frame to fender ) something like that. I basically grounded my firewall, frame, fenders and engine.
 

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Yes grounds are very important because electricity actually flows from negative to positive. That's why whenever you work on a car you remove the ground wire, not the positive.
 
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