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Offline kerryann

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Replacement distributor will not run right
« on: May 06, 2014, 05:28:04 PM »
Starting a new thread because my problem here is just with timing.

I replaced my distributor with a parts store reman.  its a 1980 2.3 with low miles.  ran fine with original distributor but wasnt happy with timing curve.  i broke that distributor trying to get the timing plate off (all screws were seized in the aluminum from electrolysis) to change advance slot.

The new distributor is on the 16L slot with bushing and two light springs.  After getting the #1 cyl to TDC of compression stroke i drop in distributor and make sure rotor is pointing right at plug #1.  it will not fire, tries to but wont.  we have spark on plug checker.  if i jump a tooth ahead clockwise and line them up it will run but surge and die repeatedly.  Any ideas as to whats wrong?  This car ran fine 3 days ago with the original distributor.

Offline jonz2pinto

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2014, 06:06:44 PM »
if plug wires correct,cam timing correct,and rotor pointing at number one on cap.able to rotate  dist fowards and back.compare pickup in dist to see if teeth line up like old distributor. I know there are different colored plugs on different duraspark modules.may be possible either teeth and pickup in distributor may be off.also wrong dist for your duaspark ignition been awhile since i worked on ignition on a ford or my pinto. Also i have loosened timing belt and turned dist/fuel pump cog to line up distributor. 
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 06:15:20 PM »
i still have my old distributor.  the reluctor gear sits in the exact same orientation as the new one.  firing order is correct.  cam timing could be off but the car ran perfect before.  i only tried to dig into the distributor to see if i could change the advance slot.  big mistake i guess.  i can get the car to run so i know the thing works but its just way off, surges and dies backfires etc.  when i turn the distributor counterclockwi se just about to the end of adjustment i notice i get no spark through the plug checker while cranking.  im stumped so far.

Offline jonz2pinto

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2014, 06:45:21 PM »
if you had another stock distrbutor to swap out you could rule out new one.when i got stumped i would recheck eveything for the third or fourth time.double check to see if ground screw in dist is tight.did you change anything else that could affect the way the engine runs? Pcv valve hooked up? 
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2014, 07:11:28 PM »
didnt change anything.  we replaced valve cover gasket which it badly needed.  i did not touch anything to do with cam timing.  i marked every plug wire on the cap so not to get confused, they are in the correct 1 3 4 2 order.  theres no way ive missed the mark this many times.  there has to be something wrong, is there any chance the almuminum motorcraft "brain box" hanging on the fender is messed up now?  spent an entire day today trying to get this to run,  best i can get is a really labored surging part throttle that backfires through the carb.  not sure if i can come up with a stock duraspark distributor.  does anyone make an HEI style distributor for these cars with vacuum advance that rules out the brain box being bad?  are there any tests i can do to any of this equipment?  i'll check ground.  is the distributor grounded to the motor?  if so could dirt and grease be causing a bad ground where it seats?

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2014, 08:21:34 PM »
Is the firing order at the cap going the correct clockwise 1-3-4-2 direction?
 
Are you at TDC 180 degrees out? Try swapping all wires with the ones across from each other & see if it fires.
 
I know those are simplistic questions but even after 35 years I make the dumbest mistakes
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2014, 09:20:39 PM »
wires are going the right way.  anything is worth a try. whats frustrating me is that this motor ran great 3 days ago with the stock untouched distributor.  i didnt change anything since then besides the distributor itself.  the timing procedure seems to be just as straight forward as any.  im a pro at getting it in and out now ive done it so many times.  it just won't run right.  something is off somewhere, i think its either the distributor itself or if there is anything else in the ignition box or system that can fail.

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2014, 09:37:35 PM »
Ok, got to thinking about this at the gym and the word "reman" came to mind and I don't know why I didn't think about this before, might be a good thing to check and see if the distributor is out of phase, this article explains it pretty well....

http://www.junkyardgenius.com/ignition/phasing/phasing01.html
Art
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2014, 10:08:24 PM »
just read that rephasing page.  sounds like something that could be wrong.  however i did check the reluctor position on the shaft with the position with the old distributor and they are identical.  i havent yet pulled this distributor apart.  was hoping to not have to but im considering swapping all the old guts into the new one.

just to be sure here, when you line up the rotor nose with plug terminal #1, this is a 0 degree initial timing setting correct?  you have to turn the distributor body ccw to put advance into it for your 6 or 8 or however many degrees initial timing you want.  this is how i timed the old distributor but im just starting to second guess everything here.

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2014, 10:27:13 PM »
Yes it would be 0*, and yes you can advance it more and you'll have more initial right off, but if you knew how many degrees is built into the distributor you could set your initial right off.
Art
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2014, 10:37:57 PM »
even checking for phase right now would be near impossible.  when i do get it to run it doesnt like it and surges bad and starts to stall, can't keep a steady rpm at all, i fumbled around with the gun while my gf worked the throttle but couldnt make any sense of where i was at. 

starting to think i should look into aftermarket ignition systems.  not sure what is available for these distributors

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2014, 10:42:35 PM »
 You can't run it to check it or you won't be able to see if the spark lines up or not, nothing wrong with a Duraspark distributor it's no different than any other one.
Art
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2014, 10:49:34 PM »
i thought in order to check the phase you need to run the motor?  i can't idle mine at all now and can't hold a steady rpm either.

Offline amc49

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2014, 10:59:06 PM »
Nope, checked with motor stopped.

The pickup coil could be bad as well.

Once you foul the plugs it won't run right even if timed right. Fouling could occur in as little as 30 seconds if running bad enough, you got that big carb on there.

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2014, 10:59:42 PM »
Well, yeah you run it to check it with  the advance but not at idle, just to see if the spark lines up you just turn the power on and watch for the light to flash when you rotate the motor a bit.
Art
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2014, 11:15:24 PM »
74 pinto wagon are you talking about initial timing or reluctor phasing?  i know the light will flash if the motor is turned so that the rotor hits plug 1 on the cap.  if there is advance it should flash at whatever degree on the crank pulley it is set at right?

i think there is an actual problem with something here.  it ran before even when retarded a degree or so.  i know i have gotten the timing within the right range many times earlier today.

plugs could be fouled.  i can get another set.  how can i tell if the pickup coil is bad?  also can the motorcraft ignition box go bad?  how can you tell?

Offline amc49

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2014, 11:31:48 PM »
Easiest thing is to swap the ignition module but they can probably check it, they did at O'Reilly. The wire grommet holding wires to box needs to be blue in color and only six wires coming out of module IIRC. No blue colored wire, that would be an early module (seven wires?) that got modded to drop the blue wire. Either can work but the blue wire must be wired correctly, a transient voltage correction deal there.

The pickup has resistance values, it also can be spun by hand out of the car with a volt meter attached to the wires to look for a signal coming out, either DC (single blips) or AC (accumulative blips to make power) as low a range as you can get it. The airgap needs to be close as well, wider results in crap signal that misfires. The gap may not be adjustable on these like others. You can bend slightly the base plate thinking but the two parts must never touch. Closer is definitely better though.

I do not time with the rotor, rather the pickup/reluctor, lining them up perfectly and then checking the rotor position to back that up. The rotor will be slightly wrong since even at idle speeds some advancing will have taken place. You turn the rotor by hand against the spring to get some idea of the amount you are looking for. Disconnect vacuum advance and tune in timing without that on to simplify issues.

Offline amc49

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2014, 11:46:57 PM »
Pickup testing....... .............. ....put voltmeter across the two parallel terminals (orange and purple IIRC) and ohms reading 400 to 800. The one other terminal is ground (black) and should show zero or close when voltmeter put across the terminal and a good ground, either distributor metal body or engine itself if dist is in motor.

FYI, having the reluctor tip half on and half off the pickup center metal is a 7 1/2 degree timing error by itself. You line them up perfectly, that way you are in the center of the voltage switch, the reluctor corner coming close to pickup edge induces a one way voltage, it then induces the opposite way when doing the same as it moves away passing the pickup. An A/C volt spike there. Two impulses go down the wires a plus and a minus, the box tunes out one of them. The voltage is extremely low and the distributor plug harnesses need to make excellent contact known for sure or issue there. A loose terminal inside the plug will drive you nuts.

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2014, 07:39:04 AM »
What he said, also it has to line up with the cap thus the reason for drilling the cap... The box can be checked but they show failure if any when they get hot they'll actually quit, let them cool down and it'll work again for a while until they quit altogether, that's why I converted to HEI module.
Art
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2014, 08:33:13 AM »
how do you convert to an hei module?  i read through one of your other threads, looks like you put the gm module in the motorcraft cover.  im not that good with wiring so im not sure how to do that.i have dozens of gm modules and hei distributors.

also the reluctor tooth is very close to the magnetic pickup when the rotor points almost to #1.  like amc49 said, i figured this was because of the initial advance that cause it to line up once running.

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2014, 09:39:58 AM »
It's about as easy at it gets, you can put it in the box to hide it and make it look factory(that's what I did with mine)but you can mount it on a bracket and put it wherever you want.

http://www.fordmuscleforums.com/ignition-articles/492810-tricky-trick-hei-module-inside-duraspark-case.html
Art
65 Falcon 2DR 200 IL6 with C4.

Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2014, 09:58:24 AM »
after losing some sleep over this and doing some hard thinking i figured out the problem.  I remembered i have a port on the back of the motor on the 2 barrel spacer that i have covered with a vacuum cap.  Sure enough when i approached the thing with a level head this morning it was missing.  it blows off with a backfire, sort of like a blowout protector.  Yesterday in my anger and frustration i didn't notice it shoot off.  found it under the car, put it back on, fired up and in about 30 seconds plugs cleared off and is firing on all cylinders now.  put the gun on it and ended up with 12 initial and 36 total.  motor runs nice now.  havent addressed vacuum advance yet or checked for pinging but i now have a starting point.  Going to get a new set of plugs for sure.

I still may do the HEI swap.  for now though im just happy we're back to normal and with a better ignition curve. 

Now i have to address my brand new valve cover gasket leaking at the front corners, guess i should have used more silicone there.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2014, 10:07:26 AM »
Like I said, it's the simple things that tend to trip us up in the worst way.....
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Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2014, 10:15:26 AM »
Glad to hear it's running again, 12 and 36 is great..
Art
65 Falcon 2DR 200 IL6 with C4.

Offline D.R.Ball

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2014, 02:29:11 PM »
Why fix something that is not broken. The spark box works and it's still readily available, because they do not fail much. The HEI is not known for their heat resistance any way. The bulk of the duraspark box is a built in heat sink Good catch on the vacuum T missing a cap .

Offline jonz2pinto

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2014, 02:42:33 PM »
I thought when you changed dist that maybe you knocked loose the pcv and it was running lean.I had one that would not stay hooked up.the hose was too loose from age.I used a zip tie I think to tighten it up.does anybody know of a valve that could be used to let pressure out(and reseat)in case of a cough or backfire.maybe a pcv turned backwards.I know of an aerostar that pops vacuum line off at the firewall.I figured this solution may also help from blowing power valves.
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Offline kerryann

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2014, 06:14:50 PM »
not out of the woods yet.  think we do have a faulty pickup.  it runs good now but if you move the wiring to the distributor around it loses connection.  tried some dielectric grease in the junction but didn't help.  going to return the distributor and try another one.  i really didnt like the way the pickup was wired in, it's not a factory type junction with the rubber block that holds it in the distributor body, its a pile of silicone that has already cracked form moving around.  i could probably put the old pickup in from the old distributor but would be nice to have something new.  hopefully the next one i get has the same curve out of the box.

Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2014, 09:27:57 PM »
Who is the re manufacturer???..
Art
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Offline kerryann

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Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: Replacement distributor will not run right
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2014, 07:50:02 AM »
I got the Cardone for mine, works fine just have to change the curve one of these days, maybe next week when I put valve seals in..
Art
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