Car will not start, Please Help!

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by Jimmy12, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. Jimmy12

    Jimmy12 Well-Known Member

    Hello there my name is Jimmy. I am very new to V8 Buick, and I have noticed a few threads that relate to my issue but not exactly the same. I am hoping someone out there has knowledge and could shed some light on this. I will try to be as detailed as possible, thank you to all in advance for the time and help. A year ago my the engine shut off on my 1969 Buick Skylark 350 2BBL. I could not pinpoint the issue until finally I noticed the engine cranked but the rotor did not rotate. I am Active Duty Military so I unfortunately did not have too much time to troubleshoot it. About a week ago I tried getting the old distributor out but was stuck in there. I had to take a few tools to it and after lubricant soaked in there the dizzy came off but I forgot to mark it. I did research and got the engine to TDC, on the compression stroke and lined up the harmonic balancer and marked it. I adjusted the points to manufacturer's specs (0.016") Slipped in the dizzy carefully while maintaining oil pump shaft in line with it and had the rotor pointing to #1 cylinder. I made sure the terminal for spark plug 1 also lined up. I finally got the engine to start. Obviously it ran pretty rough since it sat for a year. I put a timing light and got it to run beautifully on a Friday. Saturday morning I took it out for a cruise and it ran like a champ. Sunday I let it rest and Monday I drove it to work about 5 miles. On my way home I had a quick misfire but still ran good. Tuesday I turned it on and drove it to work but after about a mile she misfired again and 3 minutes later she shut off completely in the middle of the road. I tried started it a few times with no success. I am not sure if it was because I was in uniform but a nice guy helped me get it to a parking lot and spent a few hours with me troubleshooting it. We troubleshooted until we researched that if it ran fine before and shut off suddenly with no start after it could be a bad ignition coil. I replaced it and the condenser but still no go. I swapped out the cap, rotor, spark plug and wires to eliminate that. Tested for spark, fuel, etc, and everything checked out. I got frustrated so I removed the dizzy to inspect it. Sure enough there was a black mark and a small dent on the housing. The wire that goes from the dizzy to the ignition coil had a decent sized "split" in it that made the copper wire visible. I immediately thought well I think that's the reason why it would not start, it was grounding out on the dizzy housing. I thought maybe that explained the unexpected shut off. I called the Auto Part store and told them the part was bad I had just bought it about two weeks ago so they said to take it back and they would swap it unfortunately it was special order so it will not be delivered until a few days from now. In an effort to get the car to at least run enough to drive a mile down the road to my home I wrappes the wire in electrical tape and installed the dizzy one more time I found TDC on the compression stroke and lined up the cap and rotor. She turned on but ran rough again for about 10-15 seconds and shut off. I had the guy crank it while I rotated the dizzy to find its "sweet spot" to turn on again and after about 20 attempts it would not turn on. It jumped and sounded like she wanted to turn on but no go. I thought the wire being the way it was could cause the engine not to start so I decided to wait until the new one arrives and start the process all over again. Any thoughts or suggestions I would definitely appreciate! Thank you very much again.
     
  2. pbr400

    pbr400 68GS400

    First, thank you for your service! Second, it sounds like you’re an eager and quick learner. I will guess that you’re on the right track. It definitely sounds like an electrical problem, If the replacement distributor restores function, keep it but consider buying one from a member that’s ‘known good’ and has been curved for optimum performance. Also check the wires leading to the distributor for cracks or breaks-it is 50 years old. Good luck!
    Patrick
     
    MRP likes this.
  3. Jimmy12

    Jimmy12 Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much Patrick!
     
  4. gsx455-4ever

    gsx455-4ever Gold Level Contributor

    Are you sure the timing chain has not jumped ????
     
    GranSportSedan and tubecatgs like this.
  5. Jimmy12

    Jimmy12 Well-Known Member

    I am not sure honestly, I would not know how to check. Is that common?
     
  6. tubecatgs

    tubecatgs Finally a 4 speed......

    I was thinking the same thing. If its an original 50 year motor it could be stretched or even jumped a tooth or 2. I don't know a way to check without taking the entire front cover of... anyone have an ideas for Jimmy?
     
  7. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    Flashlight down the distributor hole and a long screwdriver or something that could poke the timing chain and see how much it wobbled back and forth. If it moves a lot, it might be in your best interest to dig into it a little, especially if you're home on leave for some time.
     
  8. Jimmy12

    Jimmy12 Well-Known Member

    Thank you guys for the suggestions, I will give it a try tomorrow.
     
    johnriv67 likes this.
  9. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    And by the way, "a lot" is more than 1/2" side to side. Any more than that, and the engine will barely run.
     
  10. hwprouty

    hwprouty Platinum Level Contributor

    Welcome to the site and thanks for your service!
    You stated 'the rotor was not turning' and the distributor was fully seated ( you had to use tools and lubricant to get it out ) you've got a timing chain's plastic gears coming apart.
    It's not that hard to get it changed, but the Buick motors have some common problems that can be a beyatch.....
    See what you find looking down the rabbit hole and we'll help you from there!
    My .02!
     
  11. Jimmy12

    Jimmy12 Well-Known Member

    Sounds good, thank you again for the replies. I definitely appreciate the help.
     
  12. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    Jimmy12,

    Get the proper size socket for the bolt holding on the harmonic balancer. With a 1/2" breaker bar OR 1/2"drive ratchet put it on the bolt & turn until you feel resistance. Then turn it back opposite & see how far it goes. ANYTHING more than 1/2"-3/4" you have a stretched timing chain or it has jumped a tooth or two. Lots of times you CAN get it to run by advancing the timing a considerable amount.
    Like you said it tried to start but wouldn't.
     
    72gs4spd and 300sbb_overkill like this.
  13. 72gs4spd

    72gs4spd Well-Known Member

    You can also use the timing mark to see how many degrees the crank turns before the dizzy. Turn clockwise to 0 deg the counter to measure slack in chain. Had 12 deg in mine and was flopping in the breeze when I removed it.
     
    sailbrd likes this.
  14. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    I would agree that it’s the timing chain. You said the rotor was not spinning at first. So you pulled distributor. Never mentioned what was the cause of rotor not spinning.
    And, again thank you for your service
     
  15. pbr400

    pbr400 68GS400

    I guess I should have read through twice. I missed or forgot the ‘rotor not turning’ part. I agree, check that too!
    Patrick
     
  16. gsx455-4ever

    gsx455-4ever Gold Level Contributor

    And if there was a lot of trying to start and extended cranking there is a chance a valve hit a piston . There will be a miss in one cylinder after you get a timing chain in it .
     
  17. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    Many of the engines back in the day didn't have valve to piston clearance problems. They were a non interference fit engines. A stock 350 low compression 2bbl. engine doesn't have that problem IF everything is stock.
     
  18. gsx455-4ever

    gsx455-4ever Gold Level Contributor

    I'll disagree with you on that Tom . I had a customer with a jumped chain and most of the nylon teeth sheered off. He tried to start that engine over and over again for a long time . After the chain was replaced there was 1 cylinder that had a miss . Turns out the valve hit the piston and slightly bent it .

    Funny thing was it was a 350 Buick 2 BBL .
     
  19. Jimmy12

    Jimmy12 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your support and input. I forgot to mention the reason why the rotor was not spinning. When i got the dizzy out I noticed that the dizzy gear was still in the hole I had to get a magnet to get it out. I assume the gear fell off the dizzy. Also I bought the car about 9 years ago from an older woman that was the original owner. She said pretty much everything is stock. The car I want to say has about 139,000 miles on it. Thanks again for all the suggestions I will be working on this tonight
     
  20. Jimmy12

    Jimmy12 Well-Known Member

    In the event that my chain is loose and maybe jumped a tooth or two, any ideas on how to compensate that for the distributor install?
     

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