Car won't start.

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by Reidk, Jan 7, 2022.

  1. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    You're probably wondering why I'm messing with my car in January. Well...I got Christmas gifts like a new steering wheel and hei recurve kit. I started doing my steering wheel installation and at first I tried to remove my steering wheel by wedging my legs into the bottom of the wheel while pulling on it and giving a good smack right on the steel shaft. The steering wheel slid off a 1/4 inch or so. I guess a bunch of guys do this with great results but I tried a few more times but quickly gave up. I drove to town to get a steering wheel puller. I took the wheel off with ease. I couldn't install the new steering wheel though because I quicky realized that I didn't have the correct horn contact pieces. So I just left the steering wheel off for now. I decided to move onto the hei recurve. I'm trying to get all my timing in by 2500 to 3000 rpm. Originally I thought I was close but the last 4 degrees don't come in until almost 4000 rpm or later. I decide to start the car to warm it up and double check my base timing before I take the distributor apart...Problem is my car wouldn't start. I quickly pull a plug and see that it's not firing. I pulled the positive wire going to my distributor and checked it with a multimeter while cranking and I'm only getting like 5 or 6 volts. (10 gauge wire directly to ignition hot) My garage is probably 20 degrees right now. A friend suggested that the old wiring is just too cold. Maybe a contact point is kind of frozen...I'm thinking something else but just not sure... could I have damaged my ignition switch when smacking the steering shaft? Could my external voltage regulator be causing this? Maybe I have a bad battery but because i have a mini starter it's still turning over just fine....I do plan on turning the heat on in the garage tomorrow and charging the battery. Please help. Thanks
     
  2. rkammer

    rkammer Gold Level Contributor

    It's correct that the resistive wiring coming from the ignition switch only provides about 5-6 volts to the coil with the engine off and about 8 volts after the motor starts. But, during cranking, the starter provides a full 12 volts to the coil by a wire that comes from the starter and is spliced into the primary wire coming from the steering column and going to the coil.

    So, if you are only seeing 5-6 volts at the coil while cranking, that's why the motor isn't starting. The wire coming from the starter that provides the full 12 volts during cranking is either open or the starter isn't providing it. Start there.
     
  3. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    I run the HEI off of the ignition hot directly from the fuse box.
     
  4. patwhac

    patwhac Well-Known Member

  5. Fox's Den

    Fox's Den 27 years of racing the same 355 Buick motor

    Check the voltage off the fuse box to see if you are getting the 12 volts. That is the place i use for power myself to the ignition.
    you could have damaged some wire in the steering wheel or the ignition in the column is off center inside and not making the correct contact there. no resistance in that pin on fuse box.
    Did you use a sheet that told you haw to take the steering wheel off? It should be easy but you know how those things are lol pain in the ... I have never done this so I am not sure what wiring can be affected there, I am sure horn is involved that could be important in the car starting I am not sure here either would take some research there. you should get an assembly manual nice thing to have

    The best way to do the total timing is to put in the lightest springs in to check that total timing then you can put in the springs that give you the curve to 2500 you want. you do not have to use the same springs on both sides of the weights you can mix and match to get you the curve you want Plus you Do have to have the springs tight enough to get the advance back down at idle.
    The best springs to use are the ones that have the loop for the spring that is in the center of the spring. The springs that do not have the loop in the center and are on the edge of the spring is junk. Those springs do not pull in the center but pull only on the side of the spring where the loop is. I just think they do not work correctly and are junk junk
     
  6. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    I will check the module but that doesn't explain my extremely low voltage while cranking.
     
    patwhac likes this.
  7. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    Even a fully charged battery won't read 12 volts while cranking the engine. The load of cranking the engine will normally drag the voltage down to about 10 volts or so. I bet you cranked the engine awhile trying to get it started. Between that and the cold, your battery may be hurting. Try charging it fully. If the battery is older, have it load tested.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
    Schurkey likes this.
  8. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    Im confused, you said the last 4 degrees doesnt come in till 4000 rpm, how did you determine that without the engine running?
     
    Michael_G likes this.
  9. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    He is talking about his prior experience. He is looking to correct that with the HEI kit he got for Christmas.
     
    Mark Demko and Reidk like this.
  10. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    Car is running. First thing this morning it was still not sparking. I checked with my multimeter at all the HEI connection points and there was juice to everything. I did notice that the brass button was completely worn down at the top of the cap. I replaced that and put the cap and everything back on and it fired right up.

    I started playing with the timing curve. The lightest Springs in the kit brought my idle timing up to 20 degrees advance and 35 degrees by 2000. One light and one medium spring dropped the idle down to around 15 degrees. But the most I could get for a total is 35. The distributor is supposed to have 22 built in. I'm going to put the stiffest springs in and see how far it drops my initial. Then I'll tune from there...
     
    patwhac likes this.
  11. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    Stiffer springs wont reduce your initial timing, the weights should be pulled back to "0" centrifugal advance at idle, even with the lightest spring.
    If you put the stiffest springs in there the total timing ( initial plus centrifugal ) wont come in till very high rpm.
    The only way to reduce your initial (base) timing is to rotate the distributor.
    You do have the vacuum advance disconnected and plugged while your doing this yes?
     
    1973gs likes this.
  12. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    Yes its disconnected. With the lightest springs it was adding around 5 degrees at idle was getting 19 degrees. With stock springs and mo other changes it was around 13/14

    Screenshot_20220108-125700_Samsung Internet.jpg Screenshot_20220108-125643_Samsung Internet.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
  13. Buick#455

    Buick#455 Well-Known Member

    Different springs WIL NOT affect initial timing period.......
     
    Mark Demko likes this.
  14. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    Yes you are correct. I didn't explain well enough. The mr gasket springs were so light that they were advancing at idle. I found an article (look at screenshots above) that explain a little further. Light springs essentially gives a false initial timing. My initial was set around 13 or 14 but with light springs I was advancing to 19 degrees at idle. I wonder how many guys just throw the light Springs in their distributor and don't even realize their initial may not be accurate. Some are so light they start advancing at 500 rpm.
     
  15. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    The only problem with advance in at idle is to create an unstable idle speed. Put it in gear and the converter drags down the RPM, and you lose that advance. Doesn't change the total advance but gives you a false reading as far as initial setting. That is why I use the lightest springs to set the total advance. Then play with heavier springs to get the total in when you want it without mechanical advance in at idle.
     
    72gs4spd and Fox's Den like this.
  16. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    I'm actually having my wife help me with this here in a few minutes. Idle will be set low and car in gear with foot on break to establish my true initial timing. I have a feeling it's still not right with these lighter springs.
     
  17. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    550 rpm Initial was actually 10 degrees. In gear it did not change. But rpm dtopped into the 400s. I bumped timing up a few degrees to 14 which raised my idle to 650 by itself. And I'm getting around 34 degrees at 2700 rpm there's supposed to be 22 degrees built in but I'm not revving high enough to see 36 total...I'm going to leave it this way until I can test drive it. When I hooked my vacuum advance up to manifold vacuum it brought me to 27 at idle (after much reading I chose to go with manifold vacuum). The preferred port for vehicles that aren't emission controlled. It helps tremendously with my tight converter. The converter doesn't pull the motor down like it use to and this allowed me to lean the idle a bit more. It's fun learning all this stuff.
     
    patwhac likes this.
  18. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    Very simple.
    Your distributor has 22 degrees "built in" maximum centrifugal advance.
    If you set your initial at 14 degrees then your total timing.... initial plus centrifugal advance, will be 36 degrees.
    Your springs determine how soon the centrifugal timing advances, as your seeing by installing the lightest springs:eek:
    DO NOT USE the lightest springs for anything else other than determining your TOTAL advance.
    Using the lightest springs for "in service" duty, such as driving the car, you will experience an unstable, varying idle speed.
     
  19. Reidk

    Reidk Well-Known Member

    The lightest springs from my summit kit are stiffer than the lightest springs from the mr gasket set. They are able to give me a good idle and i seem to be getting most of my advance in by 2700rpm. I have not drove it yet.
     
  20. Fox's Den

    Fox's Den 27 years of racing the same 355 Buick motor

    Set the total with the lightest springs, done. Now you know what the total is at. Put the heavy springs back in, check the timing now you know the real timing at idle since the heavy springs will keep the advance at 0. vac unplugged also.

    now you start to lighten up the springs until you get full advance at 2500 rpm now you are really done. Forget what that advance is doing at idle that is what the idle screw is for on carb. Once the timing is set then you can play with that carb to get the idle correct. Yes, if you put in too light of a spring the advance might be up some if the idle gets too high, When the car is in drive there will be no advance on the weights at 600 rpm. you can always double check this after you did the first steps I mentioned. even if the timing is up a hair because of the light springs that won't hurt

    Then you play with the vac advance to keep from pinging at part throttle. you can actually play with this and have it advance at idle and have the advance here go away when you step on it and let the centrifugal take over. most advance when you step on the gas.
    I don't have vac advance so I do not have to worry about that.
     

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