383 stroker timing issue holley efi

biker

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2014
5,261
Canada
Maybe I'm totally reading this wrong on how you did it, but I looks like you rotated your crank to the 12* mark on the balancer and plopped the distributor in.

If so, you are way off the mark on timing. The balance must be at 0 which is top dead center for number 1 cyl. THEN you install the distributor, and get the car fired up.

The 12 degrees of timing advance comes from turning the body of the distributor while shining a timing light on the balancer mark/timing pointer.
 

Barra8.5

Member
Dec 17, 2020
32
i had done that originally, set it at 0 at TDC and it still didnt wanna fire up. I can post a video of me doing that tomorrow tho
 

Barra8.5

Member
Dec 17, 2020
32
Maybe I'm totally reading this wrong on how you did it, but I looks like you rotated your crank to the 12* mark on the balancer and plopped the distributor in.

If so, you are way off the mark on timing. The balance must be at 0 which is top dead center for number 1 cyl. THEN you install the distributor, and get the car fired up.

The 12 degrees of timing advance comes from turning the body of the distributor while shining a timing light on the balancer mark/timing pointer.
Also noticed my vacuum modulater wasnt plugged or connected to the efi system. Would this have something to do with my start up as well?
 

biker

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2014
5,261
Canada
Also noticed my vacuum modulater wasnt plugged or connected to the efi system. Would this have something to do with my start up as well?
If the EFI uses a vacuum signal as part of its input to figure out what to do, then yes, it could cause an issue. But, for startup only, I would think it only needs to see 12 volts and fuel pressure to engage the startup fuel delivery map.
 

CorkyE

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Nov 4, 2004
11,850
Ringgold, GA
Going on your reply, I'm guessing the EFI is not controlling your timing. It's an option with the Sniper and there are several steps you have to take to use that feature. I have an Edelbrock EFI and it comes with it's own distributor. So if the Sniper is not controlling the ignition, it's not going to be a Sniper issue.

I think Biker in post #2 has you going in the right direction. In post #3 you said it sounds like it wants to start. That's usually an indication that the timing needs to be advanced. Try that and see what happens. You'll know if it's advanced too far, the engine will kick back when trying to start. Don't get stuck on initial timing now, get it running, set total timing to 36* without vacuum advance, and let the initial fall where it may.
 

procharged81

Veteran Member
Nov 16, 2011
139
NE PA
Also noticed my vacuum modulater wasnt plugged or connected to the efi system. Would this have something to do with my start up as well?
The vacuum modulator has me puzzled. I’ve never seen one of these throttle body systems using a vacuum advance dist

Also, I’m not sure how Holley works, but with my FiTech, I had to set it to control timing with the ECM, which also meant setting the timing differently. Are you using a phasing rotor? That shouldn’t keep it from firing unless the timing is WAY off, and in that case, the phasing rotor wouldn’t correct for that much timing anyhow.

Also, I know a guy that has what sounds similar to this issue. When he called Holley, they diagnosed it with bad ECM. Sent him a replacement….guess what? Yep, bad again from them. Now on the 3rd one and is fine.
 

ZRODDER

Member
Sep 12, 2004
79
Southwest USA
Good morning, and I hope your Holley system is up and running. I am looking at one, so would like to know what you find out.
Concerning setting initial timing. Back in the day, attempting to start a BBC without setting a desired initial timing was a sure way to knock a lobe right off your cam by winging the engine over trying to get the thing to lite while determining where the timing is in relation to #1 at 0 ATDC/BTDC. I was taught in the late 70's, and still apply the same method today, to set (as close as possible) your initial timing. Note: Decide now if you are going with a locked out or not locked out distributer.
Here are the steps I follow:
1. You can remove all plugs for ease of turning by hand, use a compression tester with all plugs in except #1, or the tried and true large rolled up piece of hand paper towel shoved in the #1 plug whole (Be sure to press it in hard against the plug seat for best results).
2. Rotate the engine manually, or with the starter, but do it in very quick clicks of the key. You can also set up a remote button for the starter.
3. Once you detect the piston coming up on the compression stroke by gauge indication or the piece of towel popping out, STOP.
4. Using a non-metal item. I use a flexible Bic type ink pen housing. You can use whatever you choose, but make sure it cannot scratch a cylinder wall or brake off in the whole.
By hand slowly rotate the engine until the piston is at the top. You will know you are there when the piston stops at the top just prior to beginning to go down. you may need to rock the piston to find the sweet spot at the top of the stroke. The piston will stop between the upward and downward motion while the crank rotates to begin the pistons downward motion. You should be able to tell by the balancer zero (0) line will be indicated on your timing tab 0 mark. Note: This is a good time to varify your indicator and or balancer are correct. The piston does not lie. (Well, unless the cam and crank gear are internally timed wrong during assembly :( If this occurs, invite a friend over for a lesson on proper cam to crank timing) If the indicator is out of sync, you can buy adjustable indicators to correct for variances. You can also use a degree wheel and piston stop if you want to be exact at TDC 0. For the purpose of setting initial timing, I do not use a degree wheel. Now back to step 4. Once TDC is verified, go to step 5.
5. Rotate the engine by hand slowly to your desired initial timing BTDC. If you go past, I like to go back past my desired timing and turn the direction of rotation back to my desired setting. This will remove any gear/chain backlash to be more accurate.
6. Put a number 1 on the caps chosen #1 location (I put mine where the rotor is pointing at #1 cylinder when installed). I also put an index mark on the side of the base of the distributer where the cap rest when on and located at the centerline of the chosen #1 position before I set my distributor.
7. Now, verifying your cap is wired correctly, place your rotor in the proper location for #1 wire terminal centerline. (The reluctor ring should be centered with the magnet pickup when the rotor is centered to fire #1)
8. Compare where the oil pump drive rod location is positioned at the bottom of the distributer, to the location of the drive rod end coming from the pump. More often than not, you will need to use a flat tip screwdriver (Use one long enough that it cannot drop into the engine) to position the drive rod to the distributor's location for your desired install.
9. Set the distributor. (If the rotor turns to far off due to the meshing of the gears, raise it up, and rotate the rotor back so when you drop it, it is close to your desired position when seated. Now varify the reluctor wheel is centered on the pickup magnet with the rotor located correctly. Once confirmed, tighten the distributor.
10. Secure the cap.
11. Reinstall the plug, or plugs.
12. Verify the plug wiring again.
13. Assure all rags and tools have been removed. (like the balance bolt wrench)
14. Inspect all wires, fluid line and fittings for security and proper routing.
15. Verify fuel supply
16. Verify the car is in park/neutral.
17. Set brake.
18. Relax, and go for start
19. Fine tune your timing. (Idel and Full Advanced)

Setting initial timing will allow you to have quicker initial starts.
 

ZRODDER

Member
Sep 12, 2004
79
Southwest USA
CorkyE and Procharged81, From reading your post, you seem to be up to date on the EFIs. I am looking to buy one, but would like to here your experiences with them. I too am looking at the Holley Sniper or Terminator systems.

Barra8.5, Please keep us informed on your findings.
 

need-for-speed

Veteran Member
Feb 7, 2003
1,298
Conroe, TX
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.
Great “how to”
 

CorkyE

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Nov 4, 2004
11,850
Ringgold, GA
CorkyE and Procharged81, From reading your post, you seem to be up to date on the EFIs. I am looking to buy one, but would like to here your experiences with them. I too am looking at the Holley Sniper or Terminator systems.

Barra8.5, Please keep us informed on your findings.
I don't know about availability of Holley's system, but the Edelbrock ProFlo 4 systems for SBC's show out of stock on Eddy's web site. Several guys posting on the ProFlo 4 forum about being on back order.
 




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