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Old 11-23-2011, 07:09 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Default backfire out the tail pipe question

Hi all, I'm trying to start a 1967 390 motor that has a lot of unknowns. The guy I bought it from said it had NO spark at the plugs a couple of years ago when he last tried to start it. Well he was wrong, it does have spark at the plugs. However he had the wires on the wrong plugs. I compared them to my 1959 352 motor and wired them to the distributor the same way. From what I found online that is supposed to be correct. If anyone can confirm that I would greatly appreciate it.
When I tried to start it (using some starting fluid) it wouldn't fire at all. After a few attempts, and a few more shots of starter fluid it backfired out the exhaust. The neighbors loved it! Can anyone tell me what this might mean? Could it be a timing issue? Like I said, it didn't fire at all while cranking the starter. I think the fuel pump is working because I pulled the hose off the carb and it was wet.
I didn't want to run gas through the old lines and rusty gas tank so I used a gas can as a fuel source. I ran a line from the fuel pump into a gas can as my fuel source.
Any ideas or procedures that you guys have would be greatly appreciated.
thx, Dave J
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:04 PM
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jopizz jopizz is offline
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The firing order is the same; 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8. I would start with the basics. Bring the #1 piston to TDC and check the rotor position. It sounds like a timing issue to me. Verify that the points are set correctly also. You can rotate the distributor one way and then the other a little and see if it starts.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:34 PM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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Your distributor cap should have a "1" on the top (and no other numbers). This is #1 spark plug tower.

Just to verify, crank the engine to TDC then pull the distributor cap off. The rotor should be pointing at either #6 or #1. If it is on #6, you can rotate the crank one more turn, and the rotor will be pointed at #1. If it points to any other tower, your wires are off.

If your rotor is pointed between two towers, your distributor may be off by one tooth.

So, to directly answer your question... it sounds like your wires are firing on the exhaust stroke instead of the power stroke. If you follow the above directions and it still won't fire, you can pull the rocker cover off the driver's side and check your lifters (in case your timing chain is off).

Let us know what you found. - Dave
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:11 PM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Thx gents, I'll check it out tomorrow in between turkey, football, beer, and naps.
Have a great holiday!

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Old 11-24-2011, 08:10 AM
gaffney1951 gaffney1951 is offline
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Default No start ...

Sounds like the dist. could be 180 deg out. When bringing it up to tdc on #1, make sure you are on the compression stroke. often when they have been "worked on" this is a common error. Mike
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:39 AM
davidmij davidmij is offline
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Hm, maybe I did do it 180 out - I got turned around the first time I tried so I just went by my 352. Here's what I found online;
When I read that the engines were all the same I just went by my T-birds 352 cuz I knew it was correct.
I'll check it out today one more time - I was in a bit of a hurry yesterday.
thx, Dave J
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