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  #61  
Old May 19th, 2020, 05:36 PM
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Default Tried to Start my Truck Today...

The masochistic glutton-for-punishment part of my brain got the bright idea that maybe I could make this distributor work:



It came with this engine and I thought maybe I could make it work. Apparently, itís out of a 232. Unfortunately, I didnít see a way to clamp it, so I gave up on it. It doesnít take much these days.

That stupid part of my brain then had the idea that, since the military distributor didnít have vacuum advance, Iíd delete it from the one I have, like so:



I checked the rotor position again (crankshaft was at 5į BTDC, right where the manual says it should be), adjusted the distributor so the rotor was dead on #1.

Fifteen seconds of cranking, and the batteryó an Optima Blue Top from 2016ó died after being on a charger all night.

Move the Dodge, hook up the cables, crank it. It sounded like it almost wanted to run (it should just @#$&* RUN where the manual says to time it, right??), and then it backfired like usual.

I then went to OíReilly and Advance Auto for a compression tester so I could have just a flicker of hope of getting this thing out of my yard. Neither had one, so no satisfaction there. Or anywhere pertaining to this thing, really.

I apologize for the whining tone these posts inevitably take when I find yet another way to not fix this truck. It is intensely disappointing and demoralizing, and I hope you can understand.


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  #62  
Old May 20th, 2020, 08:52 AM
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This is the place to complain and seek answers. I've never seen a board of better advice and good guys willing to not be a jerks to help out. This is like a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mystery getting to the bottom of the problem.
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  #63  
Old May 20th, 2020, 07:46 PM
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Keep at it Nailhead. You will get it running.

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  #64  
Old May 21st, 2020, 06:21 AM
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Love it. Thanks guys.

I'm going to remove all plug wires, review the firing order from as many sources was possible (maybe it's incorrect on the valve cover?), set it to TDC compression once again (valve cover off), find #1 by rotor position, and then reinstall the plug wires according to firing order. Beyond that, I have nothing more that I can double check.

I have questioned the effect of clocking the distributor shaft in the Lovejoy, and determined it wouldn't affect timing as long as the rotor is set to fire on number one after setting crankshaft position.

I questioned the effects of oil pump drive gear orientation, and have to check that again, though I seem to remember it doesn't matter: it drives the same direction however it's installed.

I questioned whether I installed & clocked the oil pump shaft correctly, and I remember double-- even triple-- checking that.

I even questioned whether my starter spins the wrong way, making the engine run in reverse. This would explain why the plug wires were installed in the cap with the firing order (as seen on the valve cover) clockwise. I discarded this after I took into account that the truck has four forward speeds, one reverse and not vice-versa.

So, if it doesn't run after this last effort I'm afraid I've got no more cards to play.
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  #65  
Old May 22nd, 2020, 02:51 PM
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Attempt #...oh, who knows at this point.

First task was to verify yet again that I had the distributor timed to fire #1 at 5į BTDC compression:



Yup.



And yup (itís hard to photograph, but that cam lobe is essentially straight down). Rockers nice & loose.

Next, marked the #1 hole on the distributor cap with a black Sharpie (wish Iíd had a paint pen), dead on center. Then I match-marked #1 on the distributor body so I could position that rotor dead on #1.

I then removed all the wires from the cap (except the coil wire):



And then I started over using the firing order from the valve cover and several online sources (trust with verification at this point).


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  #66  
Old May 22nd, 2020, 03:25 PM
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After all the ignition wires were in and secured, I hooked up the Big Iron:



Feeling really nothing but the slightly nauseating foreboding of backfire awareness, I gave it half choke and turned the key, and it started so quickly it took me an instant to realize it was actually running.



Victory...

I probably need to fine tune the timing, but thatís basically got it.

Iíd normally be pretty much euphoric (and I do feel like a weight has been lifted), but Iím so tired from work & bad sleep that itís not coming right now. No annual Memorial Day camping trip (@#$&* Covid!) has got me down, too.

Lessons learned?

First and foremost, I neglected to be methodical, choosing instead to assume important things and then get bent out of shape when my assumptions proved faulty. This the most important takeaway from this, and realizing I disregarded this repeatedly is another reason Iím not dancing around pumping my fists in the air Kirk Gibson-style. Kind of a hollow victory.

Second, and a revelation of its own: that rebuilt water pump with its new bearings has really made a difference in engine smoothness. Now it feels like buttery-smooth like an inline six should. Itís no wonder that front cover leaked oil with all that vibration bolted to it.


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  #67  
Old May 22nd, 2020, 03:34 PM
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Great news, I think we all knew you could figure it out.
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  #68  
Old May 22nd, 2020, 03:46 PM
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Well, I'll cheer for you! I think it's great you got it started up!
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  #69  
Old May 23rd, 2020, 08:10 PM
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Its alive!!!!

Congratulations!!!
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  #70  
Old May 24th, 2020, 04:04 AM
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Makes me very happy to read this. Yes, it is a great feeling when successful.

I started my truck this weekend. Unfortunately, I have not driven it for about a year. But I start it frequently and it brings a smile to my face when it starts right up.

To share some of your misery, when I got my truck, it was supposed to have been running when parked. (You know how that goes). Long story short, it almost started, backfired, farted and just didn't run. The two center cylinder plugs were interchanged. Could it be that simple???

It was and prior to starting the second time, I appealed to this forum and they insured the direction of rotation of the ignitor. Smoked a lot from sitting but ultimately, ran nice.

Again, Congratulations!!!
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