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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have replaced a leaky head gasket with the help of some friends, but we can't get the car to start.
It's turning over but won't catch. Fuel in flowing and plugs are sparking.

Best guess is that the timing is out 180 deg.
Does anyone have other suggestion as to what might be the problem, or is this definately the timing.

If it is the timing, how is the best (or only?) way to remedy?

Cheers
Sean
 

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Pull #2, 3 and 4 spark plugs out
Rotate crank clockwise manually, when you get resistance that's the compression stroke of #1
rotate a little more so TDC mark on cover and line on crank pulley are matched
Pull distributor cap, rotor should be pointed at #1 location on cap.
If not pull distributor and rotate, 180deg, to #1

If you don't get resistance when rotating crank then cam and crank are out of time.
You will need to pull timing belts top cover and reset the Cam and crank gear timing.
This will also change distributor so you may need to repeat above test.
 

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  • Why do you suspect the timing if you only replaced the valve cover gasket and it was running before the gasket work?
  • Are the spark wires in a manner that you could have crossed/mixed them?
  • What is the mileage on the belt and some other related history?
  • If you have a distributor with a rotor, IMO from the old days, if you bring #1 cyl to top dead center feeling compression, the rotor should be pointing to #1 in the distributor.
  • Is the rotor turning and does the Eng sound as if compression is build vs “Free Spinning”.
  • No distributor rotating could mean the belt is off. Not starting could be moisture in the distributor or the timing has jumped a few teeth.
Good Luck! I hope the matter is solved by now.
 

· Oh, What a Feeling
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  • Why do you suspect the timing if you only replaced the valve cover gasket and it was running before the gasket work?
Re-read the OP.

Have replaced a leaky head gasket with the help of some friends, but we can't get the car to start.
Best guess is that the timing is out 180 deg.
I've been there and done the ol' 180 trick :D

Start timing belt job again... and as RonR says.
 

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My mistake! From working too many post which include my leaking valve cover’s Removed Ignition’s Dist Plug.
I still feel there are connections w/o studying the matter close.


Such as:
  • Was the timing belt pulled while replacing the head gasket?
  • If not, why do you feel it is 180 out of time, unless the dist was pulled w/o knowing a Ref to reinstall?
  • A Ref of having #1 Cyl at TDC on a compression stroke (pushing air) and knowing the rotor’s position with #1 in the dist..
  • If this the case, why can you not correct it w/o pulling the belt vs align #1 Cyl’s comp stroke at TDC and the Dist at #1?
  • Related to the post above, I feel is timing the Dist and #1 w/o pulling the belt.
 

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On 4 Cyl 70s VW if we dropped the Dist in 180 out (easy to do) we could just switch the plug wires 180 to start. Dropping the dist was a slight challenge that we mastered. While assembling the simple engine on a rebuild, otherwise we had no reason to pull the Dist.

Ask a trusted Tech if this will work for you while getting the Dist in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ron,
rotated crank to TDC and the distributor rotor is indeed 180 from plug 1.
The distributor arm (when it slots into the Inlet Cam) has off set forks so I can't rotate that without rotating the cam.

Am I right in assuming I need to pull the cam belt and rotate inlet cam back to TDC as well?
Or is it a little more complicated than that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, crank at TDC, cam belt off, cam is 180 from TDC (haven't pulled rocker cover yet).
Can I rotate the cam 180 as is, or will I damage something (e.g. cam lobes forcing valve down into a closed piston)?

I know this seems simple, just getting confusing info from my friends (so going to believe you guys!)
 

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Did you have the head repaired or, just take it off and replace the head gasket? If so, you should have had the head repaired as it is most likely warped and just putting on a new gasket is not the fix. Do you have the cams installed correctly?
 

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The crank has 2 TDC's for each 1 turn of the cam, so you were probably OK the first time.

You needed to get the TDC for compression stroke , to actually check it, which was the reason for pulling 2, 3 and 4 spark plugs, find compression stroke for #1.

Anyway, with Cam mark and TDC mark lined up you should have compression of at least 160psi, this should be tested.
If there is no or low compression then there is a valve train issue, on the 4cyl there are a few timing marks that can get confusing on the intake and exhaust cams.

The three things need to start engine are spark, fuel and compression(mechanical).
Without compression spark and fuel are meaningless.
After cranking engine I would pull 1 spark plug and check it for fuel on the tip.
No fuel means injectors are not opening or there is 0psi fuel pressure.

If there is fuel on the tip of the spark plug then put a timing light on #1 wire and crank engine while checking for TDC firing.

Don't make things to complicated, don't worry about sensors or electronic controls, just focus on the end result for now, spark, fuel, and mechanical(compression)
 

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Can you post some Pictures of your major steps, showing and short explanation/ for the step toward timing? Something is being missed. Is an experienced person (from similar jobs) in your team? He Should Know The Sequencing!


Such as:
  • Rotate Eng until #! Cyl come up to TDC pushing air out to ensure valves are closed on a compression stroke vs exhaust.
  • Adjust your cam to factory marks to install belt in correct time.
  • There are usually marks on the timing belt that are aligned with marks on crank/cam that verify the timing correct at crank/cam.
  • I feel I am getting lost in your process of how your cam/dist/crank are mated to be in time.
  • Due to not knowing your system and wonder if others are confused with your model also.
  • BUT! The Crank/Cam/Dist all must be timed/synchronized in the correct positions for the Eng to fire.
Tip: Before I learned the sequence on Volvos, some certified mechanics would change the belt (after hrs) in an hr for 100.00 vs the Dealers 200.00 late 80s. After learning the alignment of the marks, I could change the belts in an hr. I would think your challenge is harder with more restrictions with the transverse engine (vs straight mounted. I have only pulled the covers to inspect our 1999 and 2001 4 cyl Camry. I doubt I want that challenge of changing due to just pulling the Belts covers.

Hang in there! Once you get the sequencing, the job is easier.

I need to retire from these boards (4) and get some of my needed work done but enjoy sharing.
 

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Good Info! I leaned a lot but feel I will leave it to a Pro With Experience.

My comparison from doing 1980 and 1987 Volvo belts.

  • The Belt Tensioner released the belt vs the pulley having to come off to rem the cover.
  • I aligned marks on the Dealer’s belt with marks on cam and crank pulleys to verify and keep timing.
  • Some Pros w/n bother to use the marks if nothing rotated during the quick job (which confused others).
  • If the car was in time and nothing rotated, using refs and TDC was a prefer vs a must.
  • What is a dealers cost to install a Timing Belt only at 90,000 and Valve Cover at 90,000 vs a small Shop’s cost (approximates)?
I still enjoy wrenching but I have learned that I will have to let some more involved jobs go to the Pros.
 
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