383 stroker timing issue holley efi

Barra8.5

Member
Dec 17, 2020
32
Hello guys. Still new to turning wrentches but here it goes. I have a a 383 stroker with lunati roller cam and 200c aluminum Dart Shp heads. Just recently installed a holley sniper efi and had to replace my distributor. Setting my intial timing i set it at 12* deeg btdc on the compression stroke, distributor is pointed at the first cylinder and i begin to turn the key it just cranks over and over. I turn the distributor and still nothing. Any advice for a real beginner?
Ps. I am getting air, pulled the spark plugs see and smell gas, and saw spark on the wires when i was crank. Also looked at the little efi module and set up the wizard as seen on youtube. Thanks guys
 

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biker

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2014
5,277
Canada
Welcome!!

How did you determine that you were actually at 12* btdc?

Its really easy to think you have the distributor dropped in at TDC for number one cylinder on the compression stroke, but actually have it on the exhaust stroke.

Best way to determine TDC on compression stroke is to unplug power to your distributor, pull the #1 spark plug out, stick your finger in the spark plug hole (actually just cover the hole), and have someone crank the engine over. Once you feel the compression pushing your finger off the hole, that's the compression stroke reaching TDC. Stop the cranking on the way up to the next compression stroke, and turn the engine by hand until your balancer/pointer TDC marks line up.

When you drop the distributor back in at that point, it may not fully seat because the oil pump drive may not be lined up with the bottom of the distributor. That's fine, it will drop in when you crank the engine. BUT, because the distributor gear has a helical cut to it, once it fully seats, the distributor could be at least one tooth out from where you thought it would be. Look at the rotor and see if it is still lined up with #1 terminal on the distributor cap. If not, gently lift the distributor and carefully "feel" as you turn the rotor back one tooth.

Reinstall spark plug and wire, plug distributor in, and give it a shot. If you have been cranking lots of fuel into it, maybe change the oil once you get it sorted out.

Sounds like you have all the elements needed, just gotta time them.

My apologies if I went over steps you already did. Hard to know for sure exactly how someone did something.
 

Barra8.5

Member
Dec 17, 2020
32
Welcome!!

How did you determine that you were actually at 12* btdc?

Its really easy to think you have the distributor dropped in at TDC for number one cylinder on the compression stroke, but actually have it on the exhaust stroke.

Best way to determine TDC on compression stroke is to unplug power to your distributor, pull the #1 spark plug out, stick your finger in the spark plug hole (actually just cover the hole), and have someone crank the engine over. Once you feel the compression pushing your finger off the hole, that's the compression stroke reaching TDC. Stop the cranking on the way up to the next compression stroke, and turn the engine by hand until your balancer/pointer TDC marks line up.

When you drop the distributor back in at that point, it may not fully seat because the oil pump drive may not be lined up with the bottom of the distributor. That's fine, it will drop in when you crank the engine. BUT, because the distributor gear has a helical cut to it, once it fully seats, the distributor could be at least one tooth out from where you thought it would be. Look at the rotor and see if it is still lined up with #1 terminal on the distributor cap. If not, gently lift the distributor and carefully "feel" as you turn the rotor back one tooth.

Reinstall spark plug and wire, plug distributor in, and give it a shot. If you have been cranking lots of fuel into it, maybe change the oil once you get it sorted out.

Sounds like you have all the elements needed, just gotta time them.

My apologies if I went over steps you already did. Hard to know for sure exactly how someone did something.
Thank you for the response! Yess did all those and just sounded like it wanted to start even when i was turning the distributor. Did the spark plug to find TDC and pulled the valve covers and checked that my intake valve was closed. Really thinking its something with the holley efi sniper.
 

Barra8.5

Member
Dec 17, 2020
32
Also thank you for the breakdown. Im new to all this so more info helps out 💪
Thank you for the response! Yess did all those and just sounded like it wanted to start even when i was turning the distributor. Did the spark plug to find TDC and pulled the valve covers and checked that my intake valve was closed. Really thinking its something with the holley efi sniper
 

biker

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2014
5,277
Canada
Well if you can stick a plug into a wire and see spark as the distributor turns, you shouldn't have a distributor problem.

I forgot you are installing FI as I got on my distributor rant, so now I think your issue could be fuel related.

Dump a bit of fuel into the intake through the throttle body and see if it fires.

The FI system might need a bit of time to prime enough fuel up to the TBI. Just because you see some fuel at the injectors doesn't mean it's enough fuel to fire.

And, as good as the self learning, pre-set maps are, it might be a bit lean for your engine.

If extra fuel doesn't work, pop your old distributor back in. I think Holley recommends getting the efi up and running with your known working distributor before swapping it out for their electronic one.

Also, still interested to know how you got your distributor set to 12* before tdc.
 

Barra8.5

Member
Dec 17, 2020
32
Well if you can stick a plug into a wire and see spark as the distributor turns, you shouldn't have a distributor problem.

I forgot you are installing FI as I got on my distributor rant, so now I think your issue could be fuel related.

Dump a bit of fuel into the intake through the throttle body and see if it fires.

The FI system might need a bit of time to prime enough fuel up to the TBI. Just because you see some fuel at the injectors doesn't mean it's enough fuel to fire.

And, as good as the self learning, pre-set maps are, it might be a bit lean for your engine.

If extra fuel doesn't work, pop your old distributor back in. I think Holley recommends getting the efi up and running with your known working distributor before swapping it out for their electronic one.

Also, still interested to know how you got your distributor set to 12* before tdc.
Okay i will try that. I did pull the spark plugs smelled fuel and saw it drip a little. What is usually the initial timing? I just went off from what i see on youtube, people were setting it at 12* btdc. Also saw people with holley efi set it at 15* btdc.
 

biker

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2014
5,277
Canada
Okay i will try that. I did pull the spark plugs smelled fuel and saw it drip a little. What is usually the initial timing? I just went off from what i see on youtube, people were setting it at 12* btdc. Also saw people with holley efi set it at 15* btdc.
Ok, if you saw fuel dripping from spark plugs, maybe it is flooded.
I believe Holley has a specific initial timing number for their distributor that it needs to be set at in order to work. If that number is 12*, then you are correct. I'm just wondering how you determined that you actually have it set at 12*btdc. You cant know what your initial timing is until you have it running and look at your balancer with a timing light. You can then turn the distributor, watch your timing marks and see that you are at 12* initial spark advance. Is your balancer fully marked or do you have a dial-back timing light?
Sorry, just trying to get a sense of how exactly you got to this point.
 

Barra8.5

Member
Dec 17, 2020
32
No worries im glad your willing to help. I posted some pictures on my initial post of the balancer and my mark on the 12
Ok, if you saw fuel dripping from spark plugs, maybe it is flooded.
I believe Holley has a specific initial timing number for their distributor that it needs to be set at in order to work. If that number is 12*, then you are correct. I'm just wondering how you determined that you actually have it set at 12*btdc. You cant know what your initial timing is until you have it running and look at your balancer with a timing light. You can then turn the distributor, watch your timing marks and see that you are at 12* initial spark advance. Is your balancer fully marked or do you have a dial-back timing light?
Sorry, just trying to get a sense of how exactly you got to this point.
 




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