455 Firing Order?

Discussion in 'Street/strip 400/430/455' started by BigBlockSkylark, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. BigBlockSkylark

    BigBlockSkylark Active Member

    I ran into a problem. I'm a huge newbie and forgot to mark up the rotor on the distributor when I took it out... :Dou: Yeah I know rookie mistake. Anyways I tried to find out the firing order to the pistons for a 1971 Riviera 455 and someone said this was it. (HEI Distributor) We took advice from a friend and used the steps below. We found the firing order for the (1971 Buick Riviera 455) online. But we are not sure if this is correct. All we would get was backfiring from the Carb while the motor cranks over but does not start up... Do any of you think you could help me out?

    This is what they said the piston order was... (1971 Buick Riviera 455)

    Passenger (front to back) -2-4-6-8-

    Driver (front to back) -1-3-5-7-

    And they said the order on the distributor cap goes clockwise (-1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2-) *This is an HEI Distributor.

    -We took out the -1 spark plug
    -Cranked the motor until -1 was at TDC compression stroke
    -Rotated the distributor so the rotor faced -1 cylinder
    -Then rewired the distributor accordingly to (the firing order above)
  2. killrbuick66455

    killrbuick66455 Well-Known Member

    That's correct to me
  3. hdpegscraper

    hdpegscraper Well-Known Member

    Did it run before with this distributor, or did you "upgrade it"?

    Sounds like you got the firing order right. But your timing may be off far enough it wont start.

    Did you try rotating the dist. clockwise / counter clockwise a bit and try starting.

    The dist. is seated down all the way, correct?

    Once you get it running, READ Larrys Thread:

  4. hugger

    hugger Well-Known Member

    No 1 can be wherever you want on the cap, I always point it straight ahead as thats where the factory had it and all the plug wires you buy are going to fit better when in that location, and being a newbie id recommend pulling the driver valve cover and CONFIRM you are on compression stroke by both cyl 1 rockers being at zero lash and piston up of course, the mark on balancer will be at zero then roll the balancer till the mark is at 12 on the timing tab THEN drop the distributor in rotate the oil pump shaft till you can position the rotor just a little before the front terminal on the cap. When leaning over the driver fender looking at the cap the wires will run clock wise in the 18436572 order
  5. BigBlockSkylark

    BigBlockSkylark Active Member

    No I didn't "upgrade" the distributor. It was running fine before, and maybe that's it. Maybe I just have to rotate the distributor shaft and try and start it. And yeah its sealed all the way.
  6. LARRY70GS

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

    If you want to talk rookie mistakes, the biggest one is not getting the engine on TDC COMPRESSION stroke. Simply lining up the balancer mark with the timing tab DOES NOT mean you are on the compression stroke. Since the crank rotates twice to fire all 8 cylinders, you could either be on #1 compression, or #1 exhaust. You have a 50% chance of being wrong or right. Take the #1 plug out and bump the engine over with the starter until you feel compression. Then continue rotating the engine clockwise until the marks align. Then install the distributor.
  7. BigBlockSkylark

    BigBlockSkylark Active Member

    We know for a fact that we were on TDC conpression. We took out the -1 spark plug and looked inside for the piston and blew inside with a hose to make sure there was no pressure going through. So yes we do know its on TDC.
  8. LARRY70GS

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

    The piston is at TDC twice, once on the compression stroke and once on the exhaust stroke. The best way to make sure is to SLOWLY bump the starter over with your thumb covering the plug hole. As the balancer mark comes around on the compression stroke, the compression will push your thumb off the hole. Look for the mark coming around, and continue to rotate the engine clockwise until the marks lines up. Then you know you are there for sure. I can't tell you how many times I have seen mistakes made here.
    Askari likes this.

    BUICKRAT Torque Rules!

    Remove left valve cover. Rotate engine clockwise by hand until #1 intake valve closes. Slowly rotate engine crankshaft approximately another1/2 turn till mark on balancer lines up with 0 mark on timing tab. That is #1 compression stroke.
  10. BigBlockSkylark

    BigBlockSkylark Active Member

    We got it running again everyone, we turned 180 in and also cranked over motor again where the TDC was right this time. Also it seemed a little bit too advanced so we retarded it and the vacuum hose was in the way with the block. So what we did was take the wires on the cap and moved them one backwards. It seemed to work fine because I'm running better than ever now! Thanks all for your help and advice, I love this forum alot of bright people on here!:beers2:
  11. LARRY70GS

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

    Good, you have it running, but you are not finished. It doesn't take much more effort to really look at your timing and see where it is at higher RPM. All you need is a good timing light and a tachometer. Just timing it by ear may not get you the best performance. At best, you leave some power on the table, at worst, you damage the engine from detonation. The engine DOES not run at the initial setting except at idle. Once the RPM goes above idle, the mechanical advance, and vacuum advance adds timing. You need to see what the total advance is topping out at, and when. Different distributors have differing amounts of mechanical timing built in, and lets face it, it is very unusual for a 30 or 40 year old car to have all it's original parts, and that goes double for the distributor. The stock timing specs are useless unless everything is original.

    Read the thread below.


    I know it is long. No one says you have to read it in one sitting. There is a lot of useful information and clarifications in those many pages. It isn't rocket science, but many have trouble with it. That is why I started the thread.
  12. hugger

    hugger Well-Known Member

    And if the vac advance is hitting the engine ,while it will work its not as it should, canister should point towards front of car ideally at the rad cap so timing adjustments can be made and so it doesn't look goofy. Need to start over imo

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