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Old July 6th, 2017, 01:54 AM
Dano64 Dano64 is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: corvallis, oregon
Truck: 64 PU
Age: 48
Posts: 20
Rep Power: 27
Dano64 is on a distinguished road
Default Going to HEI distributor and screwing up (a lot?)

Hi guys.

Got my 64 maybe a month ago and it was running roughly. Not so so bad but high idle needed to not stall. Determined that the timing and/or ignition might be screwy so set out to improve it as this is really the only major issue between the truck being driveway decoration and usable.

Setting aside the idea that I may have been wrong about the entire source of problems - like whether the distributor/timing was an issue at all (sigh) I am committed to the new distributor now. Likely mistake #1. Not really worried if this wasn't the original problem as I'm sure this ultimately will make it a better runner.

OK; here are the main points.

Thought I had an old mechanical distributor with no vacuum advance because that's all I saw from the top and I didn't look closely (mistake #2 if we're keeping count). Turns out it was a Pertronix Ignitor II electronic unit, likely installed in 2011 when motor was rebuilt. No vacuum. Maybe fine. Maybe toast.

Read some posts here from TJ and did some online research; had a hard time finding top dead center and tried replacing the distributor by simply matching the rotor position. Goof #3?

I felt like that was a success then realized I had wired my distributor for CCW instead of CW. #4. (sigh; rewired) and it seemed like maybe the two distributors were not "clocked" the same way so I lost faith in the correctness of the rotor position also.

(stopping the mistake count, too embarrassing)

Realized that where I had the number one wire was a few positions different than where EVERY OTHER distributor seemed to be compared to photos online. Combining this with the loss of faith in the correctness of the rotor position and I moved the wires again, carefully checking the correct firing sequence (and doing it CW!). No Fire.

Unable to feel confident about a TDC check, and compulsively 'doing something' yesterday I trusted the marks on the harmonic and set the timing (manually, not running) to about 4 BTDC by lining up the rotor to #1 plug wire. No fire. Also tried various timing positions after that, spitting gas vapors out of carb and feeling like a genius while my son holds the hose and has safety glasses on nearby. (Not *that* near.)


So it ran better when I got it than it does now. Suggestions on what I imagine is like doing a distributor job on an engine that is not 'known good'? Sigh.
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