231>350 rebuild - Crank but not starting (Turning over)

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by Orlando M, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.

    Hey everyone. I'm doing a swap from my 231 v6 into a 350 Buick that I purchased into my 1978 Regal limited. This is not from car specified car. It rebuilt from a manufacturer from from Buick 350 specifications so there is no particular year other than being within 72-80. I ended up swapping everything to where its in, wired, filled with oil and coolant and ready to crank. My distributor is set in but for some reason I am getting no spark. I tried to see if the rotor arm was moving and it hasn't moved at all. My spark plugs don't have a spark neither. The car cranks but it does not turn over and its very slow when it attempts to crank. I'm not sure what could be the issue with it all being new parts. It has new starter,battery, distributor, spark plugs and wires but simply no spark. It acted as if it wanted to turn over one time but it kept going and never did. Smoke comes from the starter after attempting 2-3 times so I just have been waiting but i noticed it must be something with the spark or fuel because I can't think of what would it be otherwise. I can add that the car sat 2 years prior to the swap. The car cranked up after the cold start and minor tweaks on the 2nd try. The exhaust is removed because its getting duals. But i can't get it running to time so this is where i figured you experts would come into play. Anything would help me. My goal is to get it started to where I can time it and break it in. If you can help me with your wisdom it would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. 1987Regal

    1987Regal Well-Known Member

    You mean it acted as if it wanted to start and never did but kept cranking? Also, don't crank a starter too long or you can burn it up.Be sure to give it a break. you using HEI or points style dist.? take cap off dist and see if the rotor is spinning for sure. then go from there, if it's not you could have the oil pump set too tight and it could have sheared some teeth off distributor gear. Also, as funning/stupid as it sounds make sure the distributor is in the timing cover housing all the way. Some times trying to match teeth to the gear and dist to end of pump shaft is tricky.
    If it is spinning check power going to distributor or coil depending which setup you have.
    If it is struggling to spin the engine over you have other issues. Josh
     
  3. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.

    Yea it’s not spinning and it’s an HEI. It wasn’t set in at one point because I seen a rubber gasket. It set in while I was moving it by hand but it has not spun yet (not even once) since I placed it in and tried to short crank it to drop in. So I don’t see the rubber gasket but it hasn’t did anything to show it’s officially working.
     
  4. 1987Regal

    1987Regal Well-Known Member

    You really can't short crank it, the cam gear and dist gear have to be dead on along the with oil pump shaft and end of dist. If you short crank it you're throwing off your top dead center. Are you positive distributor is all the way in. If it is, pull your distributor out and shine a light to check your cam gear teeth and distributor teeth and check the gear roll pin. When that distributor is in right it will have that snap/pop in feel to it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  5. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    You are not getting any spark from plug wires? You may need to add more timing. You say it wasn’t set? Should be 10-12 before top. Check from ground at block to firewall. You need one. Check for power at the distributor. 12 volts. I believe it’s a pink wire. Maybe red.
    Charge battery.
     
    Orlando M likes this.
  6. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.

    Yea I just was able to pull the distributor out no problem after trying to bump it to drop in. Do ima gonna swap a couple of things and have a update. I will time it also.
     
  7. Luxus

    Luxus Gold Level Contributor

    If your distributor rotor is not spinning that is the first issue to figure out. That would explain no spark.

    When you pulled out the distributor did you put it back in and check it again? Does the rotor spin now?
     
  8. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    Maybe the manufacturer of engine didn’t put on the fuel pump encentric and distributor gear.
     
  9. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.


    I checked it again and no spin still. I took it out aligned the timing mark and then set it in. Once I did that and it was TDC i went and replugged all the wires. Got power to the battery cable
    For the distributor with a circuit tester but still no movement. Tried a spark plug tester and no spark still. I’ll post a link for the actual HEI I have.
     
  10. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.

  11. Mart

    Mart Gold level member

    Rotor HAS to spin to even think about getting spark.
     
  12. Luxus

    Luxus Gold Level Contributor

    If it's still not spinning when you crank the motor that's a real problem. BTW, if the distributor is not spinning then in your engine the oil pump is not pumping. So never mind the spark for now. That rotor must turn when the engine turns. Can you tell if the gears are engaging/meshing when you put the distributor in? Can you see the mating gear when you look down the hole the distributor goes into?

    Instead of cranking you should put a breaker bar on the crankshaft pulley and turn it by hand for now. Doesn't need to move much to confirm movement.
     
  13. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.



    everything is turning but the distributor isn’t. But I still can’t determine if it’s actually aligned other than by hand. So everything acts as if it wants to start but then it show cranks looking for spark.
     
  14. Luxus

    Luxus Gold Level Contributor

    As I've said, the distributor rotor not turning is the big problem. That's why there is no spark.

    As a sanity check, pull the distributor out of the engine and see if you can turn the rotor by hand. It should spin freely.
    Look down the hole the distributor goes into and look for the gear that drives the distributor. Turn the engine by hand and that gear should turn. If it does not, then that's the problem. If the gear does turn then the distributor is not all the way in or it's the wrong distributor for the engine.
     
  15. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.

    The distributor is still instant coming out. It has a rubber gasket on it so it sits just outside the hole burnet doesn’t go in unless pushed in. I tried rotating the arm and see if that helped but it easily spins around as if it hasn’t made it to the oil pump shaft. I went slightly past the 0 mark but I’ve done it on 4~0• about 4 times now after attempting to crank.
     

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  16. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    There is a gear on the end of the camshaft that turns the distributor and oil pump. Is the gear there? If it is there, does it turn with the crank? If the distributor gear and the drive gear mesh, and the drive gear turns with the crank, then the distributor must turn unless the distributor shaft is broken.

    350CamGearandFPCam.JPG
     
  17. Mart

    Mart Gold level member

    Possibly distributor drive gear key missing or wrong one, distributor gear roll pin sheared, or snapped timing chain.
    Did this motor ever run before?
     
  18. BuickV8Mike

    BuickV8Mike SD Buick Fan

    Are 100% sure the distributor in IN all the way as far as it can go? Can you turn the rotor by hand?
     
  19. Orlando M

    Orlando M I’ve got something to prove and something to lose.

     
  20. BuickV8Mike

    BuickV8Mike SD Buick Fan

    You need to tighten the hold down bolt tighter than it is, pretty tight! Cranking over the motor should/will "suck it down". The rubber needs to go "in". That's your problem. ;)
     

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