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Truck won't start after a few upgrades.

Discussion in 'Chevy C/K Truck Forum' started by CWBx, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. CWBx

    CWBx New Member

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    Ok 1st a little history of what the truck has: 1990 GMC C1500 5.7L, MSD HEI Distributor, Hypertech Performance Chip.
    Now what I just finished adding is: Shorty Headers, Water Pump, Thermostat, Radiator, all new cooling\heater hoses, O2 sensor, spark plugs and wires, Edelbrock Valve Covers and Air Cleaner.

    Truck was running 100% before I installed all the new stuff and now it tries to start but it won't.
    You crank on it for a bit and it just blub-blub-blub, dies.

    I didn't mess with the distributor besides unplugging the wires, I've confirmed I'm getting fuel and spark.
    The tricky part is that the previous owner marked the dist. with a sharpie for the cylinder #'s but it doesn't match the firing order so it can't be right.

    I went ahead and wired the dist. to this layout:

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    My brother is coming by with a timing light so we can check that to confirm and we'll also determine for sure which post on the dist. is #1.

    Any ideas regarding this problem please let me know. I was so careful not to mess with anything electrical related but regardless it won't start.
    #1
  2. geo1

    geo1 New Member

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    did you put plug wires back on the same way ?
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  3. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator

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    I would bet that your plug wires are not correct. If it ran the way he had it then even though he may have not had the numbers correct, it still ran. Your "correction" of the wires may be the issue.
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  4. CWBx

    CWBx New Member

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    I tried the plug wires both ways. The way he has it labeled cannot be correct. If the dist. turns clockwise and it's supposed to click by each cylinder based on the firing order 1,8,4,3,6,5,7,2 then there is no way his labels are right. There is only 1 # labeled in the proper location and that's plug 1. But even that is all based on the orientation of the dist. that I've seen from pictures. If #1 isn't really #1 then they would all be off from the get go. This evening we're going to pull the cap off so we can confirm #1 is for sure #1 and then wire accordingly.

    **If I can't get it running I will draw up an example of how he has it labeled which is different than the firing order.


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    1 thing I wanted to mention, when I have it wired the way it's labeled the truck won't even attempt to start. Wired the way the diagram above, the truck will at least blub-blub a little bit and the headers are warming up so I know it's firing. My assumption is that the post that he has labeled as #1 isn't actually that.
    #4
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator

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    Even if his numbering was incorrect, it still ran. The diagram that you are using could be correct, but your distributor could be turned so that #1 in located where #8 or #2 is. It all depends on if the previous owner decided to advance or retard the timing for some reason. I would not move the actually distributor until you get it running again. If you do you could be compounding your issue, now you could have the timing way off and the wires incorrect. One rule of thumb that I use when I replace wires and a distributor cap is to place the new cap on the distributor, leaving the old cap laying next to it with the old wires still attached to the cap and plugs. Then I pull each wire off of the old cap, match the length, connect it to the corresponding post on the new distributor cap and to the same plug that the old wire runs to. With this method I have never had an issue with not having the wires in the correct place. If it ran before I replaced the wires I expect it to run after. I never try to figure out what someone else did, if it is running and running well, then they did what they did for a reason and it goes back together like it came apart.
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  6. TimTom64b

    TimTom64b New Member

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    A quick way to find when #1 is tdc is to... pull the spark plug and thread a piece of paper towel into the whole. Then turn the engine over by hand with a wrench until the paper pops out from the compression stroke to tdc. Then watch the timing marks on the harmonic dampner and block until they align. This has always worked for my older 350 engines... and will give you an idea where number one is on via the rotor position. Now if it is in the incorrect position on the cap you can either change your wiring to match or pull the distributor and fix it. If you pull it you will want check/set the timing with a light.
    #6
  7. CWBx

    CWBx New Member

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    I totally understand what everyone is saying.
    I didn't realize the #ing was completely odd-ball compared to the firing order otherwise I would have paid extremely close attention to the route of each wire.

    This is not the 1st SBC v8 I've owned\worked on but it is the 1st that has ever given me problems.
    What gets me is why it won't run at least crappy unless every dang plug wire is incorrect. It's not backfiring it just won't run.

    I've also read about custom firing orders so maybe that's what he did.
    I'm for sure not going to pull the dist. out yet. I'm just going to find #1 by removing the cover in order to see the rotor following the technique TimTom listed.

    I left the P.O. a voice-mail so hopefully he'll respond and let me know why the dist. is labeled different from the firing sequence of the engine.

    Again, as soon as I get home I'll reply with the #'s he has written on the dist.

    Thanks again guys!
    #7
  8. geo1

    geo1 New Member

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    to #s on cap,is it cap for pretty routing of wires,i.e.exit same side as needed?cap will show routes other than straight up from post to post.little further in,could have 180 degrees out,no big deal,post back
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  9. CWBx

    CWBx New Member

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    Ok so the way he has it labeled is: 1,2,7,3,4,5,6,8 / 1 being located on the drivers side front of the dist. *That's counting clockwise from #1.

    Anyone have an idea as to why it would be labeled that way?
    #9
  10. geo1

    geo1 New Member

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    got me,turn motor over by hand,put on mark at balancer,see where rotor is,on 1 like youre proper diagram you posted,or at 6,6 being 180 out

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    remember it takes 2 balencer cycles to one r.p.m.,hence the 4 stroke engine,pull a plug,crank motor , you will feel for compression stroke,on half cycle you will feel a smaller amount of air(exhaust stroke)check where rotor is,reinstall wires to rotor,dist. doesnt care where it starts from
    #10
  11. TimTom64b

    TimTom64b New Member

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    Are you sure that you have the wires on correctly? the stock caps on that year can be confusing when installing the wires. Also, the cylinders numbers are labeled on the intake on that model. Here is another diagram maybe this will help.

    firingorder.jpg
    #11
  12. geo1

    geo1 New Member

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    looking into further,i have conflicting parts books,is this a internal coil distributer cap or external?
    #12
  13. TimTom64b

    TimTom64b New Member

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    Not sure about the 99... The 97 has an external coil... it is mounted on a bracket connected to the intake on the passenger side of the engine. You should be able to find it easily. Maybe the guy who had it before you did a distributor swap or something? What does original cap look like? Does it have the side posts/connections for the wires as depicted in my diagram? Or does it have the top post connectors? You may be able to find out what came from the factory using the vin. The diagram I posted was from the R vin. If you search 1999 chevy 5.7 firing order you will find the resource I utilized.

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    Oh I see you have the MSD HEI distributor... the information I was giving you was for the OEM. Sorry... didnt mean to confuse you. Have you tried looking at their website? That may provide the information you need.

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    I did a quick look on the MSD website... they have two types...one with the coil integrated in the cap and some with it external. If you need help finding the correct one post some pics of your old cap and an above pic of the distributor without the cap on it and I will see if I can find anything.
    #13
  14. CWBx

    CWBx New Member

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    I spoke with the P.O. who said that it's not an MSD dist. just an MSD Cap\Rotor. The dist. is stock, but after removing the cap for inspection all the points are corroded so I bought a new cap\rotor kit today.

    Tonight I'm going to pull the plugs out and find #1 while the cap is off.
    I'll reply back once I've had a chance to document the correct wiring & replace the cap\rotor to see if that fixes it.
    #14
  15. CWBx

    CWBx New Member

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    So after a lot of elbow grease, profanity, and sweat the beast is cranking out the ponies once again. I love the way this thing sounds with the new headers on it.

    The problem turned out to be 2 things:
    A. #1 Cylinder was not in the location as per the label so I found that to start with.
    B. The distributor cap and rotor were both corroded so replaced those, checked the timing with a light and it cranked right up.

    So my install included the following: Water Pump \ Thermostat \ Water Neck \ Heater Hose \ All Coolant Hoses \ Radiator \ Headers \ Edelbrock Valve Covers & Air Cleaner \ 02 Sensor \ Spark Plug Wires and Plugs \ Wire Divider \ Distributor Cap and Rotor.

    Here are some pictures for those who enjoy that type of thing. Sort of a before\during\after shots.

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    #15

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