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Can't Get The Timing Right


gtkid2002

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I've got four days to get this truck running or I lose it. Hopefully this counts as urgent.

1983 Ranger
2.3 Liter non turbo
4WD 4-speed manual trans
Ran before HG change. Currently cranks, spat fire out of intake once. Has fuel, compression, and spark.

I changed the headgasket and pulled the ECU. It ran when the headgasket was blown (did a short test run), so I know it runs.

I can't get the timing to get set right. Can someone list out how to get the timing set properly, from scratch? Going by say, the timing belt snapped and I'm putting on a new one on the side of the road or something.

I have a variety of tools at hand, and a timing gun.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated. I'd prefer not to part with the truck, but it's now or never.
 


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Haywire6000

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If I remember the Cam rotates twice to every one turn of the crank. You may need to remove the timing belt and rotate the the cam 360 and than reinstall your timing belt.
 

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If I remember the Cam rotates twice to every one turn of the crank. You may need to remove the timing belt and rotate the the cam 360 and than reinstall your timing belt.
No, the crank rotates twice for every revolution of the cam.

Rotating anything 360 degrees will just leave you in the same place you started.

I know on the 2.9's its possible to get the distributor installed 180 degrees out of phase with the cam, so that it sparks at the beginning of the exhaust stroke instead of the combustion stroke. Dunno if it's possible on a 2.3, but the solution is to re-mount the distributor or move each plug wire to the opposite terminal.
 

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gtkid2002

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The issue I seem to be having is that there is no 'set' mark for the oil pump/dizzy gear to be set to. I know the dizzy can be moved wherever, but there's no markings or anything.

Is there any way to see if the cam is properly in time? I know the crank is easy enough to set up (I check TDC with a screwdriver).

Kunar- Thanks, I shall give this a shot after dinner tonight.
 

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I rebuilt a Plymouth engine once and put the distibutor out 180. It's easy to to do because sometimes the marks are for aligning the timing belt but not for dropping in the distributor.

If I really had to install a timing belt without any timing marks, no line, no triangle, no camshaft key then I would remove the valve cover and read up on when exactly the valves open in their four cycle phase.
 

gtkid2002

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So I set the timing by the dizzy, so #1 would fire at 10 degrees BTDC. Aaand still nothing. She's getting fuel, the spark is still a bit weak, but it's there. It is a bit weaker after going through the distributor as compared to straight off the coils, but it is still there. I tested it with a timing light to make sure that it's right, and it appears to be right.

I've still got no luck to get it to fire though. Might there be a way to boost power to the coil to hotten the output a smidge?

Or suggestions on what to try next?
 

drsvox

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you're checking the timing with a remote starter (or someone helping)? if your #1 is firing on the exhaust stroke it will still look like the timing is right, right? (being that 10BTDC occurs twice in a complete cycle)

I'm sure you've probably already done this, but I didn't read where you had, so my guess is to hand crank to TDC, pull the distributor, pop the cover and turn the rotor 180 to see if that works.
 
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gtkid2002

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your checking the timing with a remote starter (or someone helping)? if your #1 is firing on the exhaust stroke it will still look like the timing is right, right? (being that 10BTDC occurs twice in a complete cycle)

I'm sure you've probably already done this, but I didn't read where you had, so my guess is to hand crank to TDC, pop the distributor and see where the rotor is...if it's on #3, pull the distributor and turn the rotor 180...
Forgot to mention, but I did try flipping the order. I didn't turn the rotor 180 since it doesn't have the notch, instead I pulled the plugs on the end of the dizzy and rotated them 180. Still no luck, and not even a sputter. Before I switched it, it seemed like it did crank easier. The timing marks still matched up too.

Is there something I can substitute for starting fluid?
 

drsvox

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sorry, not sure what you could use in place of starter fluid.

you mentioned pulling the ECU...?
 

gtkid2002

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Yeah. I pulled the ecu. I only cut a single wire that led off of the coil. The green wire off the (+) sid of the coil. I capped off the spare vaccum lines leading off the carb. But it is getting fuel. I add some manually when i'm set to try and crank it. Should I try and set it back up, and hook that wire back up?
 

drsvox

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not overly familiar with the 2.3, and so trying to understand why you pulled the ECU and cut wires off the coil.

I think your timing should be close to where you need it. Timing marks are lined up; distributor rotor set to fire on #1 at TDC on the crank...you've got spark and fuel and presumably air.

Me? I would definitely back up and restore everything to what is was before you did the HG and go from there.
 

gtkid2002

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Ecu is pullable on the early 2.3L engines. There are tech articles in the ignition section on here. I have a duraspark ignition. All the ecu does is control vacuum solenoids and clutter the engine bay. Except for that one wire, as far as I can tell it doesn't interact with the ignition system.
 

drsvox

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ah ok duraspark...got it...so maybe just start by reconnecting the wire on the coil...?
 

drsvox

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looking at the wiring diagram, the green (should be green/yellow) coming off + on the coil feeds into not only the ECU, but the Idle Speed Control and Ignition Module as well...could maybe be your fix.
 


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