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dentguy 03-04-2012 09:11 PM

Hei distributor help before it kills me dead
Okay folks. I have another HEI Distributor question. I have read everything on here i could find and i have gone over the process multiple times with no change. I installed a new HEI dizzy as directed and have triple checked, quad-checked..everything over and over and i still cant get it to start. I removed the icm, secured all wiring from that, removed the old dizzy, coil and condensor. Installed new HEI, ran the green tach wire to the tach side and yellow power wire to the battery side of the new HEI as described, made sure engine was TDC and rotor was aligned as the old was and it turns over but will not start. I even tried a wire directly from the battery side of new distributor to the battery to see if maybe there wasnt sufficient voltage to the new dizzy. My questions is , was i supposed to remove the old Condensor along with the old dizzy and coil? Noone has mentioned anything about that. I completely charged the battery thinking that it was low but still no start up. Any suggestions before i endure an extreme amount of cardiac arrest? Its a 4.2 litre, 5 speed

riceroni87 03-04-2012 09:55 PM

Did u advance the ignition timing?

dentguy 03-04-2012 10:03 PM

I cant advance the timing or change it or check it until i can get it started. I have thought of everything and im left with wondering if i was supposed to leave the condenser hooked up since i cant find any info on it and its even mentionedin the directions or in any threads on here

DrZ 03-04-2012 11:13 PM

No. All the old hardware needs to be removed. Is it a new dizzy? Perhaps you have a faulty ignition module on the dizzy? Also, did you install the dizzy cap correctly?. It might be out of phase if the tach and power connector "block" is not directly over the vacuum advance. If it's over the 3 wires coming out of the base, then it's out of phase.

jr78racer 03-04-2012 11:57 PM

i agree. probably bad ignition module. it happens occasionally

dentguy 03-05-2012 01:11 AM

It is a brand new HEI. The cap will only go on one way since theres a slot for the cap to go into. The portion of the cap where the wires plug into is barely to the left but above the vacuum advance but like i said the cap only fits on the dizzy one way. How would i go about checking the ignition module?

dentguy 03-05-2012 01:38 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Here are some pics

darkproximity 03-05-2012 02:09 AM

You said when you set the dizzy the rotor was aligned where the old one was, however did your old cap have the number 1 post in the same location as the new cap?

jr78racer 03-05-2012 08:28 AM


Originally Posted by dentguy (Post 2104269)
It is a brand new HEI. The cap will only go on one way since theres a slot for the cap to go into. The portion of the cap where the wires plug into is barely to the left but above the vacuum advance but like i said the cap only fits on the dizzy one way. How would i go about checking the ignition module?

take it out and down to your local parts store. most of the chain stores have testers.

dentguy 03-05-2012 09:38 AM

Befor pulling the old dizzy the rotor was approx at the 6 o'clock position so i made sure the new was in the same location when setting TDC. I think i will take the ignition module up to the parts store and see if maybe thats the problem. Should the rotor be positioned in a different location than the 6 o'clock and what postion should the new dizzy cap and vacumm advance be sitting at?

rebelBullDawg325 03-05-2012 10:58 AM


Originally Posted by darkproximity
You said when you set the dizzy the rotor was aligned where the old one was, however did your old cap have the number 1 post in the same location as the new cap?

+1, the new dizzy may have the #1 post in a different location than the original. Meaning even though its pointed to the same spot on the clock. Its not at the same plug

darkproximity 03-05-2012 11:01 AM

Well his #1 judging from that pic looks like its in the 6 o'clock position and from what I can tell the firing order is correct

dentguy 03-05-2012 12:10 PM

The cap is not marked anywhere with a #1. Firing order is correct. I going to take the ignition module and have tested. Its almost like it has not spark. Motor turns over good and i ran a primary wire from the cap directly to the battery and still not starting.

2xs 03-05-2012 03:39 PM

You mentioned the power wire, the tach wire.

but no ground wire....

2xs 03-05-2012 04:13 PM
I know the module grounds to the dist housing, but the coil gets grounded too, center pin in the coil connector (closest to the cap harness goes to the module).

dentguy 03-05-2012 04:54 PM

No i didnt say anything about the ground because in the kit i got it doesnt say to run a ground wire from the distributor to the engine unless i use the gasket they provided and only if it was being installed on an engine where the distributor mounts through an intake manifold. I figured that since the distributor is mounted to the engine block then it is grounded and wouldnt need an additional ground. Do i need to run a ground from the distributor to the block and if so would i just tie it in with the wire harness that plugs from the dizz to the cap? There are only 2 connectors on the cap which is for the tach lead and the battery lead

2xs 03-05-2012 05:07 PM

no, the distributor should ground throguh the housing, however there is a ground between the module and coil, the center pin, and if ground strap "magically" didnt get installed, it will act as you describe, the coil itself has to be grounded...

If you used a gasket, it wouldnt hurt to run a ground strap to the clamp bolt.

dentguy 03-05-2012 05:55 PM

I checked and it is ground as it should be and i didnt use the gasket as recommended. This has really gotten me wore out. My jeep ran okay before and now i cant get it start. Is there anything i could have done wrong when removing the original set up and the wiring? As desribed earlier i even ran a jumper wire directly from the battery to the new disrtibutor and still no luck. Is there anything else i can double check or do?

brent in az 03-05-2012 08:18 PM

In a dizzy swap your #1 piston has to be TDC. You know this and said it in your first post. These 2 statements are incompatible: "The cap is not marked anywhere with a #1. Firing order is correct."

My Haynes sez go down the dizzy hole with a screwdriver, set oil pump gear slot a hair past 3 o clock, install dizzy--no cap so you can see the rotor--and sink it as rotor points to 5 o clock, massage it into 6 o clock. That's for an 87-94.

I did this successfully (non-HEI) in an AMC 360 I owned and don't remember having to set the oil pump gear in the dizzy hole at all. But my Haynes goes on a couple pages about the importance of this...

dentguy 03-05-2012 09:40 PM

I did successfully seat the new dizzy in the 6 o'clock position. The new dizzy cap isnt marked anywhere so i positioned it so the vacumm advance was pointed in the same position a the old was. I removed the ignition module from the new dizzy and having it tested tomorrow. I have triple checked everything and re-did everything as i should so im left with thinking that i have may have a bad module. If that isnt the problem then im completely out of ideas. I have checked voltage to the power wire andthey are fine. I may have to send it back and get a whole new replacement dizzy...unless i decide to rip everything out and get the 4.2 rebuilt and stroked which is a good idea :)

shayno 03-05-2012 10:06 PM

Im not sure but it looks like the cap is positioned wrong. It seems it needs to be turned counter clockwise a little bit. I set my tdc by lining up the marks on the balancer. If i could figure out how to upload a pic to a reply i would post a pic.

shayno 03-05-2012 10:18 PM

I posted a pic in a thread in builders corner. You can check it out dentguy. I hope that helps some.

dentguy 03-06-2012 10:50 AM

I will check it out Shayno. I had the ignition module checked and its fine so im going to remove the dizzy and start from scratch and see where that takes me. I will check the coil also just to make sure to i guess. Im also going to try Brents suggestion but when i seated the dizzy the first time the rotor was at 6 o'clock where suggested. I will have to double check the old wiring i removed when taking out the original ecm.

brent in az 03-06-2012 11:09 AM

Good luck to you. I never went into the dizzy hole with a screwdriver to 'set the oil pump gear slot' screw to 3 o clock before, nor ever heard of it. Like I said, my Haynes manual calls this a critical step to installing a for thought I guess.

Garyk 03-06-2012 11:14 AM

All the old stuff has to be removed, the coil etc is in the new HEI. You could be 180 off on the TDC. Is your TDC at the top of the compression stroke with #1 piston? If you think its right try turning the distributor 180 for the hell of it. Also if you had all the old stuff connected, you might have damaged the module or coil. The modules are very touchy....we replace them all the time in racing.
With the key on are you getting 12V at the battery wire?

dentguy 03-06-2012 01:35 PM

I removed everything and started from scratch. When i set the engine at TDC i looked and the slot was already at the 3 o'clock position. Re-installed the dizzy and the rotor is setting between 5 and 6 o;clock as it should. Took the ignition module out of the dizzy and had it texted and its fine. I reset the plug gap to .050 instead of the .045 as i had. Checked the voltage to the power wire and its at 12.18 which i am now charging my battery just to be sure. Im not sure how to test the coil inthe new dizzy and the local parts store said they cant to do. Noone including the instructions has said anything about the condenser that was bolted to the side of the original coil which i removed also so should i have left that little thing?After the battery has a full charge and if it still doesnt start then im going to try and turn the rotor 180 degrees so its pointing around 11 o'clock position and see if that does anything

dentguy 03-06-2012 05:12 PM

I give up. I checked again. I have voltage as i should. I even turned the dizzy 180 degrees. I changed the coil. Had the ignition module checked and still nothing. Im thinking of just wiring the old stuff back up and putting old dizzy and coil back in.

brent in az 03-06-2012 05:20 PM

Man I've had weeks like this, sorry to hear it.

The only wild card here is the untested dizzy coil.
The only other thing I can think of is, is everything grounded that can be grounded including ground strap?
The other thing is maybe you could screw conventional wisdom and experiment clockwise at 7, 8, 9 oclock etc?
And in all these posts I can't remember if regular coil was good.

Always Stuck 03-06-2012 06:04 PM

Did you check to see if you are actually getting spark. Use a screw driver to check for spark at the end of the plug wire to the block.. If you have spark than your out of time and will have an avenue to follow. But find out if you have spark first.

Let me know.

shayno 03-06-2012 10:34 PM

Just out of curiosity, does your dampener have timing mark on it? Thats how i set my tdc from the book instructions. I didnt do the whole screwdriver thing in oil slot.

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