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19pontiac66

1966(poor man gto) Tempest HEI distributor issues

Question

Good afternoon. We have a 1966 Tempest. Still has the 326 with the ST 300 transmission. recently we redid the valves, springs, retainers just to keep all new things on the inside. we also installed an HEI distributor to get rid of the points. The issue we are having Is that to get the car to run it needs to be fully advanced. And it still doesn't run right. I am asking for any help. Does the HEI have to have a different spot for the number one plug wire? Is there anything special that needs to be done while installing it? We are somewhat of a novice so any help is greatly appreciated. And if anyone has any pictures to go with it that would be great also. Thank you in advance. Larry


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:welcomeFP:



First question I have is this: do you have an HEI distributor for a Pontiac engine? Pontiac distributors rotate counter clockwise due to the location of the distributor hole in the block being on the opposite side of the block vs. a small block Chevy. So making sure it is an HEI unit for a Pontiac is the first thing. Now knowing that the distributor rotates counter clock wise, do you have the plug wires in the correct firing order?



Like any other engine, you should bring the number one cylinder to TDC. Insure the distributor is firing on the number one spark plug wire, and then insure the firing order is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 going counter clock wise.



My next question is how much initial and vacuum advance timing do you have?


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OHHHH I'm next.... MY question is: Do you still have the points distributor? Does it run right if you re-install the points dist???

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Good morning. The distributor does rotate counter clock wise. We can get the car to run when it is fully advanced. It runs like you know what but runs. And prior to doing the work on the valves. I know these questions may sound stupid to most but could the distributor be bad, Even though it runs fully advanced? Does number one wire have to be in a certain spot on the HEI? (By the way we like the OHHH I'm next ..hehe) We have the firing order set up. And cylinder number at TDC. Thanks again for any and all advice.


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Yes, the HEI could well be bad and could stand to be repaired, greased, tweaked, new timing weights and/or springs may also be needed. If you know someone with a Sun distributor machine, I would have them inspect it to see when all the mechanical timing comes in. It could take several tries before it gets dialed in correctly (oh course you could just buy another HEI distributor but where is the fun in that?). Also, is the vacuum advance you have working at all?



A couple of other oddball thoughts here:



1. Is the torque converter stock or a higher stall speed? A higher stall speed converter can have some affect on timing.


2. Can I assume the carb has been totally rebuilt so we can eliminate fuel as another potential problem source?


3. Any vacuum leaks?


4. Is the cam stock or is it a more performance/RV style cam been installed? Obviously this can have a huge effect on timing.


5. Any chance that you have flat spots on the cam (assuming it is still the original)?


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Good afternoon Veteran, Sorry for the delay. This thing called work is getting very busy and mother nature decided to visit us again and I am sure you knoe the deal with kids also. Ahh good times.. hehe.. OK now back to good stuff...



1- The torque converter is a remanufactured, stock


2- The carb is a fairly new Edelbrock performer 750


3- I don't believe there are any vacumm leaks but have not been able to check properl;y because the engine is not running


4- The cam is a new cam however it is just a stock replacement cam


5- The vacumm advance was working prior to any work being done.


The weird thing is that the car was running prior to taking the heads off and replace the valves etc.


Does number one on the distributor have to be in a certain place?


Unfortunatley I do not know anyone who has a Sun distributor machine.



If the carb is leaking or faulty what kind of symptoms would that cause?

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In a perfect world, cylinder #1 and #8 are closest to the firewall in a properly installed HEI distributor. So at TDC for #1, the rotor should be facing towards the firewall. If it is facing the motor, then the distributor is clearly 180 degrees out and that would be easily fixed (and probably the source of your troubles - or at least a large percentage).



c9602d8.jpg




If you have the cam card specs, that will give you a clue to your timing needs. A stock Pontiac engine likes between 6-9 BDTC for initial timing (no vacuum advance). It likes typically 36 degrees of total timing (give or taken a couple of degrees based on cam/heads/etc.) all in around 1800-2700 RPM.



You can test your vacuum advance by disconnecting the vacuum line from the carb and sucking on it and seeing if you can see the diaphragm move or the advance in the distributor move (means you have to remove the rotor and cap to see it). Also inspect the rotor and cap for corrosion, pitting or wear.



A leaky carb can soak the spark plugs and inhibit them from firing, as well as flood the motor. Also, a carb that is not providing fuel will obviously cause a no-start condition. Check your in-line fuel filter and make sure it is not clogged as well.



So give me some background on your engine project. What made you decide to tear into the motor in the first place? What work did you actually do? You said the engine was running before the tear down. How well was it running at that time?



The HEI is clearly not stock to the motor since HEI came along in the 70s. They are wider that the original '66 distributor because they incorporate the coil directly into the cap. Did you switch to HEI simply to get away from the points? My '72 is a non-HEI distributor but I run a Petronix Igniter II kit that is a breakless kit that replaces the points, but keeps the stock look. Petronix now sells the Igniter III kit. They also sell their own brand of stock looking distributors. So if you determine you need to replace your current HEI distributor, you have some choices to make.


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OOOOH my turn again...... :lol2: Frosty has hit all the major points/questions and you have supplied some answers. Fire it up and get as close to the intake/heads as possible with a can of starting fluid. Hit the intake connection points to heads with a lil squirt of starting fluid. NOT TOO MUCH to let it drift up and into the carb. (give it time to clear out between squirts) If your engine RPM increases at any point, you have a bad seal at the gasket. As your problem seems to be after putting it back together, this is an easy check to eliminate a possible problem. That was my point with the old Dist. and being able to upgrade (as Frosty did) fairly cheap compared to a NEW replacement. While we are here, I'd like to point out there is 2 timing marks on your harmonic balancer. One runs well and the second will run like crap depending on your valvetrain set up. (try them both) The starting fluid trick will also work to check vacume lines. You can make any point on the dist. #1. Alot of guys that make their own custom wires to fit, will do this trick to clean up the tangle and make it more show worthy. Point to consider is the location of the vacume canister on the dist. It must have enough movement to adjust in both directions before it hits on the intake and stops movement.


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Good afternoon guys, Thanks for the advice. Now to answer a few questions



1- Yes the motor ran prior to doing any work. It ran ok. No misfire or burning oil or anything like that but you can see that the motor was, I guess for lack of a better term tired.


2- The work we did was replaced the camshaft, lifters, pushrods, timing chain and gears, water pump and the HEI This was done prior to removing the heads. Then later on we replaced the valves, springs, rockers, intake, carb and installed a set of headers and new exhaust system. And that is the point we are at now. Everything has been installed but obviously since the motor is not running, Yet, not 100% sure if there is leaks or other problems besides the motor not running.


3- I know I am probably going to here it from a few guys on here. hehe. but there are two main reasons why we did this. The first is, Does anyone remember back in the day when people actually took their cars out for a "Sunday drive"? We want to make this car a very reliable driver so we can take the little guys out to the ice cream parlor, or the beach or just go out for a cruise in style. The second reason why is because the person I bought the vehicle from is a good friend of mine. I actually bought from his grandmother. And even though its a poor man GTO(It's not even a Le Mans a Tempest for Christmas sake! hehe) it has a lot of sentimental value to their family. And unfortunately within the span of two months his oldest daughter died, his father had a stroke at the wake and two later passed away and my friend finds out he has leukemia. So what we want to do is to get the car running real well and then drop it one weekend and let them go out on the town just like they did when they were younger. I know sounds silly but if it can make them happy or ease a little of the craziness, it will be all worth it.



OK enough of my sob story, I am going to take the advice and remove all the wires and cap and start over. I am going to set the number one as the picture supplied by veteran and let you know. After getting home from work tomorrow morning i'll give it a shot. Luckily Monday and Tuesday night I have off.


Experienced, I will give your advice a try also. I did notice when we had to advance the dist it did hit the intake. I will attempt to rectify and let you know.



Thanks guys.


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There is a story behind every car my friend. I don't consider it a sob story, it is life. You are being a caring friend. I do understand sentimental value of a car that to others may not be worth so much. I applaud you on your desire to get the car running to take kids for ice cream. I use my Lemans for such mundane things too.



I would encourage you to take some pictures of what you find as you try to follow our advice and let us know how it goes. The fact that you replaced the cam and timing chain and gears also makes me wonder if perhaps timing chain gears were installed out of alignment. I will talk about that more once you try everything else we've suggested.


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Good afternoon guys....IT's ALIVE!!!! Hehe...Well we started from scratch. We removed all the wires, set number one at TDC. Then we positioned number one on the HEI where number would have been(or as close as possible) on the original distributor. And she fired right up. Set the timing and it runs a little rough. I believe we need to check the rockers for proper tightness. They are making noise. I believe you take one valve cover off at a time and adjust as necessary? we also need to put the car back on a lift to check for leaks and make sure everything is good. I would like to attach a few pictures of the process but not having any luck. How can I do that? Thanks again for all the advice. I am sure I will need more but hopefully I can pass on my learning experience to someone else.


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Frosty, Much appreciated on your last post. As crazy as this world is going to the ice cream parlor in a hooptie, hehe, puts things in perspective on what matters most.


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Glad to hear you had some great success my friend. Yes, take one valve cover off at a time and lash the valves one side at a time as necessary.



Going for ice cream is one thing my Pontiac club loves to do. Here are some pictures of one of our favorites places. It is a working dairy farm too.




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Petting the veal


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Cute girl in the firebird shirt helps too


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True, true. true. She gives great hugs too!


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Glad to hear ya got er runnin.


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That's a very good looking car veteran. There are not to many places left around here thanks to our wonderful Governor. Is that your car in the pictures? Thanks Just A6.


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No, the silver GTO belongs to a club member. This is my ride. stratman affectionately calls it Lucy because of its Lucerne Blue color.



In front of GM Futureliner #11


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1930s Era Standard Oil Gas Station - Odell Illinois - along Route 66 in Illinois


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That is a real good looking car veteran. That Future liner is cool also!!. Really like that old school gas station. Wish we had stuff like that around here... So I went to start the car yesterday to adjust the rockers and the starter broke... Finally located one installed it and now it is very slow to crank. Could the starter be bad? Or the wiring be faulty? I would like to attach a picture of the starter to show what happened...I need a moment on that..

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I would bench test the new starter and the old starter. I doubt that your wiring is bad if your old starter kicked things over without a problem.



What happened when the starter broke, did the engine or car shake unexpectedly?



These starters are very heavy and its takes a lot of torque to spin a Pontiac motor. Did you get a heavy duty starter replacement? Also, these things have two shims and bolts that go into the block near the flywheel and then a bracket that bolts to the block and the tail of the starter to keep it from sagging. Was the tail end bolted up and supported? If not, this is causing additional drag on the starter.





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ok here is a silly thought could the starter be overheating due to the headers on the motor? I know some of my questions seem really silly to some but I am learning, hehe and thank you for not abusing me to bad....


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This is just a generic starter from a parts store(the new one). I doubt it is a heavy duty starter. I should probably order one from OPGI or Summit? Any recommendations on a particular brand or company to buy one from?


The car didn't shake it just sounded like a metal on metal sound when I tried to crank it. And looked underneath and found that the starter was broken.


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I know the Chevys are prone to the heat soak of the starter motor with headers. This could be the issue as well for the Pontiac. I know a couple people who have adapted the heat shield off of a 73-87 GM truck for their GTOs


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Good morning notallthere, I tired to start the Pontiac this morning and it crank and started no problem. That might be the problem. I appreciate the advice. Ill check out and see if any junk yards have it. Ill look around and see if we have any laying also.


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ok here is a silly thought could the starter be overheating due to the headers on the motor? I know some of my questions seem really silly to some but I am learning, hehe and thank you for not abusing me to bad....

Yes, Pontiac engines can have heat soak issues. You can fab up or purchase a heat shield for it. Some guys will purchase a hi-torque mini-starter rather than use a stock replacement because of the wrap around nature of Pontiac headers to the starter. Check around to see if anyone in your area has a hi-torque for a Pontiac, otherwise Jegs or Summit will have what you need. I sold my hi-torque starter to Indymanjoe. He loves it.

This is just a generic starter from a parts store(the new one). I doubt it is a heavy duty starter. I should probably order one from OPGI or Summit? Any recommendations on a particular brand or company to buy one from?

The car didn't shake it just sounded like a metal on metal sound when I tried to crank it. And looked underneath and found that the starter was broken.

I would just check with your local parts counter and ask them if they have a heavy duty starter rather than the generic one. A lot of places still carry them or that is the only one for Pontiacs that they do carry. Use OPGI or Summit as a last resort for a stock heavy duty replacement, the weight will be murder on shipping costs.

I know the Chevys are prone to the heat soak of the starter motor with headers. This could be the issue as well for the Pontiac. I know a couple people who have adapted the heat shield off of a 73-87 GM truck for their GTOs

I have had heat soak issues with Lucy in the past. A heat shield definitely a good idea and rather inexpensive insurance, especially with the wrap around nature of headers on Pontiacs around the starter.

Good morning notallthere, I tired to start the Pontiac this morning and it crank and started no problem. That might be the problem. I appreciate the advice. Ill check out and see if any junk yards have it. Ill look around and see if we have any laying also.

That is typical of a Pontiac when it cools down, it starts with no issue. When it gets hot and then it starts hard or won't start at all until it is cool enough.

Good luck.

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