**First off, I DID A SEARCH....couldnt find what I wanted. I remember posts about my problems but nothing showed up.**
Don't sweat it, we've covered this about 4,000 times, so once more won't matter...
**After putting in the new distributor, base, cap, wires, MSD 6A module, and coil it fired right up.**
I love to hear that!
** I know jack [censored] about timing. Here's what I did. I stuck my finger in plug #1 hole and manually turned engine over until i got some compression.**
Did you get compression stroke or exhaust stroke pressure? Both will press on your finger when you use the starter, and it's probably the single biggest mistake everyone makes next to sticking metal (screwdriver, ect.) into the spark plug hole to feel for TDC (Top Dead Center) on the compression stroke... (Verify Top Dead Center)
**Once the piston reached the top of the stroke i indexed the distributor so the rotor was aimed just past terminal #1.**
This was a mistake. NEVER move past TDC.
You should have found TDC on #1 cylinder, then checked the mark on the harmonic balancer to make sure it was aligning with the 0 (zero) mark on your timing cover. (Verify the Balancer)
If it aligns, the balancer is good, If it DOESN'T align, the balancer is bad.
Change the balancer before moving on. This is important, not just to timing, but the actual balance of the crank shaft rotating mass.
Keep in mind you can find 0 (zero) at the top of the exhaust stroke also... This will put you 180 degrees out, and is VERY common. I worked on a guys Jeep this weekend that had been running his engine 180 out for three years!
The next step is to back the engine up until you have about 8 degrees BEFORE TOP DEAD CENTER (not 'a little past TDC'...)
Manually turn the engine backwards by the crankshaft center bolt until the balancer mark is aligned with the 8 degrees before mark on the timing cover.
This is the place to start your distributor install and timing modifications.
Put the cap on the distributor, mark the base of the distributor under the #1 wire terminal with a fat black magic marker. Remove the cap, but leave the rotor installed so you can see the rotor nose plainly.
Turn the rotor nose COUNTER CLOCK WISE about 1/8 of a turn (to a position not quite reaching the plug terminal before).
Lower the distributor into position.
You will notice when the distributor gear starts to engage, the rotor nose will turn toward the #1 plug tower mark.
The distributor will not seat properly unless the oil pump shaft is aligned, the distributor will stop about 1/2" short of seating properly.
Use a ratchet and socket and turn the engine over CLOCKWISE 2 FULL TURNS while applying light down pressure on the distributor.
YOU MUST TURN THE ENGINE OVER 2 FULL TURNS, and return back to the 8 degrees before TDC mark.
You will feel the distributor housing drop into place when the oil pump shaft aligns, and this is normal.
At the end of two full turns, the distributor should be fully seated, and if you held the housing in place correctly, (Don't try and hold the rotor or distributor shaft) the vacuum advance should be aligned where you wanted it, and the rotor should be pointed at, or slightly BEFORE the #1 terminal on a clockwise rotation.
**I started the engine with the distributer clamp screw snug, but not super tight. It fired up but sounded a little sick. I rotated the distributor until it idled really well. Tightened everything down. Test drove it thinking it was well worth the money.**
well worth the money, you just need to get the install correct.
Did you tighten down the distributor when you got done with your 'Timing'?
**I made a few slight adjustments and it ran totally awesome.**
It would help to know what 'Slight Adjustments' you did?
You do know that hot rodding around with an engine that is finally running correctly may stir up sediment in the fuel tank, make old timing sets jump a tooth, allow a worn push rod to pop out, allowing a plug wire to come into contact with the distributor pick-up wires, ect., ect. ...
All of these problems (and more) have been blamed on the upgrade when the ignition upgrade had nothing to do with them...
**After driving for about 10 minutes i stopped at a stop light, and it ran like [censored] from then on. It bogs and sputters with zero power.**
Bogs, sputters, ect, that sounds like a fuel problem.
Didn't start running poorly until you stopped for a light... High vacuum... Prime time for a fuel problem to occur...
Bogging off the line is usually an accelerator pump problem, sputtering and running rough is usually either a vacuum leak or running way to rich or lean...
Check your plugs for black soot... And hang a vacuum gauge on your engine. Look for about 15 PSIG steady.
** I fiddled with the distributor for a while, but it didn't solve anything.**
Why do you assume it was the distributor that was failing?
Did you change the ignition coil? MSD can be pretty hard on those '76 issued Prestolite coils.
Any coil from a late model Ford
(try '79 Ford F-150 for the round coil, and a '89 Escort for the E-core coil)
**It drives me crazy since I experienced the awesome results before being knocked back to square one.**
Square one is where the basics will help the most...
1. Test the MSD module and distributor trigger by placing a test plug in the ignition coil.
Strip about 3" of wire, and wrap it around the threads of an old spark plug.
Ground the other end of the wire.
Stick the coil wire on the spark plug.
You can crank the engine for low speed verification of the module, distributor pick-up, and coil.
Wiring up a seat belt buzzer and laying it on the distributor pick up will verify operating RPM range of the entire primary side of the ignition system...
Make sure you are NOT the ground for the secondary voltage! That MSD ignition will kick your A$$!
**Any thoughts or advice? Or just send me to a previous thread if you can work the search engine better than me.**
1. Do the MSD heavy power wires go directly to the battery, or are you trying to ground the unit through the body or engine grounds?
2. Are your plug wires anywhere close to the distributor to MSD module wires? If so, SEPARATE THEM!
3. If it ran fine in the beginning, You probably have the correct firing order, but check it again....
4. Check and make sure the rotor didn't strip out. When people don't get the rotor pushed all the way down (very common) the internal alinement lug in the rotor will sheer away, and allow the rotor to misaligned.
5. Does your distributor have an alignment tab screwed to the outside of it?
There is supposed to be a tab on the distributor to hold the distributor cap adaptor from moving.
Not all replacement distributors have this tab in place.
6. Have you checked the fuel filter?
Taken a fuel line off the carb, and checked for flow to the carb?
Checked the plugs for soot?
Checked for vacuum leaks?
7. Here is an article on Rotor Phasing.
With the 'Test Cap' and a timing light you can actually see the rotor position in action.
I suggest you get one of the $2 aluminum terminal caps and make a hole! (This has a 'Fun Factor' also!)
<a target="_blank" href=http://tellico.off-road.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=offroadjeepshort&N umber=793718&page=0&view=collapsed&sb= 5&o=0&fpart=>http://tellico.off-road.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=offroadjeepshort&N umber=793718&page=0&view=collapsed&sb= 5&o=0&fpart=</a>
You can use the same 'Test Cap' to check on the location of your rotor in relationship to the plug wire it's supposed to be firing...