View original topic: Another no start/slow crank problem- Expert Help?
19VW Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:33 pm

I'm far from an expert on these cars- so any help would be greatly appreciated- I'm trying to take a trip this wknd...

85 1.9L
Here is where I am at:
Bought bus with blown heads
Had an extra set of heads pressure and vacuum tested by a machine shop came back okay
Installed tested heads, new head gasket and rings
I put everything back together and now it won't start.

Issues that I can see:
When I crank the engine it turns very slowly and seems to catch like something is getting hung up in the engine somewhere and won't let it turn- then it pushes past and turns for what sounds like 2 cycles and then catches again.

Issues I am considering:
-Timing is off- I had to remove the dist. but feel pretty confident I re-installed it at TDC
-Valves are not properly adjusted- again I paid pretty close attention to how to do it and feel pretty confident that I adjusted the valves and set them at 0 lashes (with the plan to re-adjust once the engine was running)
-Compression: going out to test this now

Here is what I have checked:
Spark at coil and plug-YES
Fuel Pump and injectors spraying- YES
Hall Sensor- working
Lifters-I pulled the valve covers off and can't push the rods in at all so I believe the lifters have pressurized
I spent a long time trying to get the rods to sit in the right spot and believe they are sitting where they should be-
Sensors- O2, Oil Temp and Coolant Level- all lights on the dash board come on- and stay on
Spark plugs wire to correct cylinder and firing order is correct

What am I missing/what did I screw up? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Ahwahnee Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:56 pm

I'm not an expert but sometimes you need a part-time idiot's viewpoint --

It's pretty easy to get the distributor set up 180 out of sync -- i.e. with #1 at TDC but at the top of the exhaust stroke. Since you're getting no firing at all, that is one thing I would check.

19VW Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:02 pm

I have been worried about this from the start- since it seems to happen to a lot of people on here.

I turned the engine until I felt air coming out of the spark plug hole on Cylinder 1. The rotor was pointing at #1 and the V on the pulley was lined up w/ the mark on the dizzy- all of this led me to believe I was at TDC- could I have done all of this and still have been on the exhaust stroke?

From reading other posts I am going to go check my start ground connections as well to see if that is the cause of the slow crank-

MidwestDrifter Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:04 pm

I second Ahwahnee's suggestion, and add another. Its not to hard to get your plug wires off by one. (been there, done that :oops: )

You can use the mark on the flywheel to find TDC. If you pull the valve cover you can look to make sure both valves are closed (compression stroke). Alternatively you can remove all the plugs but #1. You should be able to determine the compression stroke due to the resistance to rotation.

Ahwahnee Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:20 pm

And, I suppose, if it is off by 180 then rearranging the distributor wires to 3-2-1-4 would temporarily compensate for it.

Wouldn't want to leave it in that confusing arrangement but might serve as a quick check to see if it runs like that.

19VW Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:35 pm

Thanks guys-
So when I put the dizzy back in I thought I had it set to TDC with the rotor pointing at 1, which would have actually been 2 on the diagram- I moved them to be in alignment with the diagram and then engine turned over very easily- but did not catch.

Then I moved them back to how I had them and the engine again didn't want to turn over easily at all- BUT for a very brief moment sounded like it wanted to catch- going to try to out of whack by 180 alignment to see if that changes things-

Any idea why the engine cranking would be related to the order of the wires on the dizzy?

Thanks again!

MidwestDrifter Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:19 pm

If the timing is way off, it is possible to ignite the fuel/air charge while the piston is still too far from TDC. This creates a big pressure increase in the chamber which fights the starter. It would need to be really advanced during compression. Or firing during the exhaust stroke. If it were the latter you would probably hear backfiring through the tail pipe.

NZer Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:26 pm

Hey just a thought.
I had a Toyota MR2 that developed a slow hard to start syndrome, turned out that the bearings in the starter were totally screwed!

19VW Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:39 pm

I re-adjusted the valves so that the dizzy was pointed at each cylinder in the appropriate order- I am getting back firing, so I think the next step is try to start it and adjust the timing as it is cranking...?

Ahwahnee Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:54 pm

Backfiring makes me think the firing order may still be off. Here's a pic of mine:

And how I remember what's what:

19VW Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:08 pm

Thanks- I'm not sure what is going on- it starts up now though...

I had mine in the firing order that you have- and the pic is a big help just to double check-but then I moved all the plugs up one, so that 1is where you have 2, and it started right up- but won't idle on it's own-but seems to idle around 1800- if I keep my foot on the gas-

I suspect I need to advance my timing a good bit to get it to run right- but I haven't done my research on idle issues yet-

Getting it running was step 1! Thanks for the help with that part :D

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