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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I really wanted to figure this out myself, but I'm stumped. Like title says, I bought new wires, the fancy metal-shank ones from IAP, and now I have a no-start condition. The first time around it ran badly, and I realized right away that the firing order might be off. It was; I forgot which way the rotor turns and went CCW instead of CW.

After putting the wires right, I now have a no start. Once in a while it backfires in the intake somewhere, but that's it. I have fuel, and dry out the cylinders after attempting to start. If I hold the coil lead to the mani, I get a spark, but sort of weak in my opinion; I think it should be like SNAP SNAP SNAP, but it's not even close. If I hold #4 plug to the manifold, I get a light spark, but not continuous, like it's not sparking at times.

Coil resistance FWIW is .8 primary and 3.7K ohms secondary. Right in there, going by threads I've researched.

I tool out the washer bottle to access the flywheel sensors, and while they both ohm'ed out OK at about 1K ohm, the harness side of the connectors looked terrible. The black wires on both the grey and black 3-wire connectors were bare from the connector to the harness bundle, and when I pulled off the rubber boot, it looks like the three wires disappear into a 'sheath' surrounded by wires, like a coax. I don't know if they are any good or not! I wanted to cut back the sheath and put on a new connector, but I'm not sure if it's supposed to look this way, and I just notice because the rubber boots that cover the female connectors have rotted away...





Well, my next move is to throw a new coil at it, as maybe the original died after the plug wire change. Most no start conditions that I've read pointed to a bad speed or position sensor, but mine seem 'ok'. Any other advice is gladly accepted. I haven't tested the ECU harness yet...

Thanks,
John
 

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The answer I've heard most is "180 degrees out." If it sort of ran with the wires routed CCW and won't run at all now, that indicates that at least one cylinder was firing when you had the wires in CCW order and isn't firing now. You can do an elaborate TDC check, or just swap the wires on the cap, pulling two wires that aren't next to each other and swapping them, and doing the same with the other two wires that aren't next to each other. If that doesn't work, I don't know what will.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I've done the TDC check already. "P" mark on the crank pulley and the rotor lined up with the hash mark on the dist. housing, went clockwise from there. I even put the wires back on backwards like last time. Something's changed...
 

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Well, I've done the TDC check already. "P" mark on the crank pulley and the rotor lined up with the hash mark on the dist. housing, went clockwise from there. I even put the wires back on backwards like last time. Something's changed...
I''m not positive, but it doesn't sound like you made sure you were at TDC on the compression stroke. If the distributor was 180 degrees out, you would still have the rotor pointing at the mark on the housing with the piston at TDC, but it would be the wrong TDC.

Backwards (mirror image of correct) isn't going to do it. To check if the distributor is still 180 degrees out, you need to rotate each plug wire two holes forward (or backward for that matter) from what looks right. It's a simple thing to do, and if it doesn't work, you've ruled out a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When a screwdriver placed in the spark plug hole of cyl#1 is at it's high point, and all the rest of the timing marks are lined up, the **** thing is at TDC. I haven't removed the head, nor the distributor. Firing order is correct; I've ruled that out.
 

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I have had issues with the wires themselves.

This is what I found when I pulled the leads from the coil.

IMG-20111217-00273.jpg

IMG-20111217-00271.jpg

The spark was weak because although broken it was arc'ing across.

I would make sure all are fully seated and that none are broken.

Good luck,

Vin
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Yes, I had a LOT of trouble getting those metal-shanked wires to seat properly. You may need to put some dielectric grease on the boot and/or the plug insulator to get them fully on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You know, I've wondered about those dang wires- there's no 'click' to indicate that they are all the way on the plug. The rubber inside grips the plug so tightly that you have to be careful when pulling them off, not to pull the wire out of the connector...

There's still the weak spark from the HT wire to deal with though. Since I don't have points in my S3, what could lead to wimpy spark in HT lead and also the other wires? I've grounded all to the manifold at some point...

Battery is fully charged after every session...12.6 or so...
 

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is the little carbon spring contact inside the dizzy cap making good contact on the rotor (spring not broken or something like that)?
 

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When a screwdriver placed in the spark plug hole of cyl#1 is at it's high point, and all the rest of the timing marks are lined up, the **** thing is at TDC. I haven't removed the head, nor the distributor. Firing order is correct; I've ruled that out.
Except that the piston goes to TDC twice in a four-cycle engine. And the Alfa camshafts have two timing marks each (180 degrees apart). So, you cannot assume the engine is at TDC on the compression stroke simply by looking at the camshaft marks & the pulley TDC mark.

When the #1 piston is at TDC and the cam lobes are pointing away from each other the engine is then in the proper position to 'time' the distributor.

Note where the distributor rotor is aimed - that is where the spark plug wire for #1 must be connected. The rest are attached in the proper firing order: 1-3-4-2.

P.S. the forum software won't let you use curse words. It automatically changes it to a row of astericks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The rotor perfectly bisects the mark on the distributor housing when the crank pulley lines up with 'p'. I have plug wire 1 where the rotor points and have put the wires in CW from there, 1-3-4-2.

I kept the old cap n rotor, so I'll put that on shortly to see if there is a difference. Then I'll swap a new $30 coil in, sourced locally from Napa.

Ha. It bleeps out d a m n. I'll watch my potty fingers from now on :)
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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You know, I've wondered about those dang wires- there's no 'click' to indicate that they are all the way on the plug.
Pretty sure they should click. You may not have them on fully.

I really don't like those OEM wires. Ended up replacing them with some Magnecores. No difference in performance probably but way easier to get on properly.
 

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The rotor perfectly bisects the mark on the distributor housing when the crank pulley lines up with 'p'. I have plug wire 1 where the rotor points and have put the wires in CW from there, 1-3-4-2.
And you are certain it is on TDC at the end of the compression stroke?
 

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When a screwdriver placed in the spark plug hole of cyl#1 is at it's high point, and all the rest of the timing marks are lined up, the **** thing is at TDC. I haven't removed the head, nor the distributor. Firing order is correct; I've ruled that out.
I understand that. Here's the thing-- On my Spider, with everything exactly as you describe it, the engine is at TDC on the exhaust stroke. because the distributor was installed backwards. It's a common thing. At TDC on the firing stroke on my car, the rotor is 180 degrees away from the mark on the distributor body and the second set of timing marks on the cams is lined up. I had no idea this was the case until someone here explained it to me.

If you swap the wires out as I described and it doesn't work, you can use all the **********s you want to fire back at me, but unless you've tried it, you don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hahaha. I just came back in...it still doesn't fire, but it runs on a couple of cylinders if I assume someone put the distributor back in 180-out, and doesn't stay running. That's more than when I install the #1plug wire 'to the front', where I assume #1 should be...

You know, I put in new cap, rotor and plugs two months ago, and didn't have any problems at all. What the heck?
 

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It is more likely the cams were installed 180 degrees off. It is easy to do - the cams have two timing marks so it all looks right...

Another way to make sure the cylinder is on the compression stroke is to remove the spark plug and turn the engine in the running (forwards) direction with your thumb over the spark plug opening. Compression will push your thumb out. Turn the crank a little more until the pointer aligns with the P mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Yes:001_unsure:
I pulled the new plugs and let the cyl'rs dry out over night, then since I can get it to run on just a couple of cyl'rs if the wires are in a certain way, I started marching them around the cap. Turns out Cheburashka was right. I had put them in '180' out from where I thought the timing should be with help from my son, and it coughed but did not start. That was because of the flooding by that point. After moving wires around, I stepped on the gas and she roared to life. I guess someone in it's past has had the head off, as you mentioned, and messed up the cams. I don't have any record of that in my receipts though! Or any engine work at all.

I'm embarrassed...I figured this out in 10mins earlier this summer after changing cap/rotor/plugs after I bought it. Took me a few days this time. I got it running yesterday by plugging wires in the cap, keeping order 1-3-4-2...

So weird. I was sure that I was at TDC in #1- I was! Timing mark on 'P', rotor facing hash mark on dist body. And it was 180 out.

I'm still worried about the position and speed sensor wires; they are bare on the wire harness ends. That's not a harness that looks like I can just cut a new lead and crimp on. An one of them is corroding. I guess I'll just wrap them for now.
 
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