Barracuda Challenger Forum

Author Topic: First engine fire - scared to death!  (Read 2696 times)

Offline Wadmin1021

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 135
First engine fire - scared to death!
« on: August 22, 2016 - 01:29:56 pm »
I have read some of the previous posts on this topic and have learned a few things, however I still need some help and clarification for our big day coming up!

We have a 440 4-barrel 0.030 over engine with a slightly beefed up cam, aluminum heads, mechanical fuel pump, Holley 750cfm 4160 carb all set in the car and hooked to TF auto trans. We are coming up on our first firing day. We have spent thousands of dollars, hours of time and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. We have NEVER done a full rebuild like this before. We know little about timing, tuning, or necessary steps needed to have a successful first start. What and how can we do this without messing anything up internally?

I have read on timing but it is so confusing. We built the entire motor ourselves so we can learn but don't know where to begin. We know to prime the motor with drill bit where distrib goes. We already primed the oil pump before installing. We know not to let the engine idle, but how do we set timing? What are the best settings to assure firing on first (or second) try so that we don't have to crank and crank on a new cam? Basically we need all facets of information for every part of the first firing! Thanks for the help in advance! I truly don't know what I would do without you guys!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
https://youtu.be/OEKt5K71CDM

A couple that plays together, stays together!

'71 Plymouth 'Cuda named Claudia w/ 440 4-barrel and TF AT




Offline burdar

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5904
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2016 - 02:01:40 pm »
Put a piece of tape on the distributor body.(not on the cap) With a pen/marker, put a mark on the tape directly below the #1 plug wire post.  Then remove the cap from the distributor.  The mark is so that once the cap is removed, you still know where the #1 plug wire is in relation to the distributor body.

Next, turn the engine over so your timing mark on the balancer is at 15 degrees before top dead center.  Finally, loosen the distributor clamp and turn the distributor so that your rotor is directly on top of the mark you made.  The engine should now be set to 15 degree BTDC.  If your timing marks on the cover don't go to 15 degrees, 10 degrees should be fine to do your break-in.  You can reset timing after the break in.

Offline roadman5312

  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5742
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2016 - 02:09:45 pm »
  I like to have a vacuum gauge hooked to manifold vacuum on first fire. Once running at fast idle turn distributor until highest vacuum is achived, then back off a tiny bit. this will put you in the ballpark for timing.  Good luck.


Offline HP_Cuda

  • Hit the skinny little pedal on the right!
  • Sr. Resident
  • ******
  • Posts: 5268
  • Mopar or No Car!
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2016 - 02:41:30 pm »

I did what Burdar did but with blue tape.

What you really want to do is get the timing close enough to have the motor run for 20mins straight. This way everything gets worked in like it should - seeing as all components were lubed correctly. Obviously you don't want to run way retarded or advanced but if you are in the ballpark then don't worry about it. Timing can be perfected later, break in is about break in. I believe mine was at 10 degrees and that was fine for break in - sure it could have been advanced a bit more but it hurt nothing.

Get the car started and bring her up to 2200 rpm and hold it there for 20mins and don't turn it off unless something is on fire or something is not right.

Some items to look for before starting the motor: ensure the correct plug wiring order, check to see all intake bolts and carb bolts are securely tightened (no vacuum leaks), leave the air cleaner off to have easy access, ensure all vacuum lines are on and all extra carb vacuum lines are capped off, disconnect power steering pulley and remove belt, make sure nothing is in the way of the fan, battery is charged up, all electrical connections are securely fastened.
1970 Cuda Clone 440 4 speed - sublime green
1970 Cuda 383 4 speed - yellow - SOLD

Offline RzeroB

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1496
  • In The Lou and looking for a new (old) ride
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2016 - 04:20:05 pm »
Some items to look for before starting the motor: ensure the correct plug wiring order and leave the air cleaner off to have easy access

Funny but true story. Back when I was a young enthusiast I transplanted a 440 into a '72 Challenger that originally had a tired 318 in it. It was my first big-block after years of only messing around with 318's and 340's. Do you see where this is going yet? Yep! I wired the distributor cap the same as I would a small-block - clockwise, which of course is opposite to the counter-clockwise rotation of a big-block distributor. Easy mistake to make and I made it. Fortunately it was an easy thing to fix too. Once we figured it out and got the cap wired in the correct direction, the engine fired right up.
Cheers!
Tom
St Louis, MO

Former owner of 16 classic Mopars. "It is better to have owned (Mopars) and lost then to have never owned at all" (apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Offline Chryco Psycho

  • Administrator
  • C-C.com Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 36612
  • 70 Challenger R/T SE 70 tube Chassis Cuda now sold
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2016 - 05:37:23 pm »

Challenger - You`ll wish You Hadn`t

Offline anlauto

  • Permanent Resident
  • *******
  • Posts: 12346
  • I'm Alan G...I'm a Mopar Addict
    • Alan Gallant Automotive Restoration
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2016 - 07:01:05 pm »
I was thinking your engine caught fire :22yikes: :villagers:
I've taught you everything you know.....but I haven't taught you everything I know !
www.alangallantautomotiverestoration.com

Offline Wadmin1021

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 135
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016 - 10:15:06 pm »
Ooops prob should've worded that differently! Sorry!!!! Thanks everyone for the help! Keep the tips and tricks coming!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
https://youtu.be/OEKt5K71CDM

A couple that plays together, stays together!

'71 Plymouth 'Cuda named Claudia w/ 440 4-barrel and TF AT

Offline Wadmin1021

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 135
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2016 - 10:19:21 pm »
Chryco - I just read your link that you shared and it was very helpful! Only one thing confused me:

3] I set the engine to 20* Before TDC on #1 cylinder firing stroke  & line up the reluctor & pickup tabs so you will have close to 18* timing as soon as you crank it . If you unplug the connector to the dist with the key on you can confirm spark , you will get 1 spark everytime you unplug it .

I don't know what this means! Please translate! Timing For Dummies!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
https://youtu.be/OEKt5K71CDM

A couple that plays together, stays together!

'71 Plymouth 'Cuda named Claudia w/ 440 4-barrel and TF AT

Offline Chryco Psycho

  • Administrator
  • C-C.com Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 36612
  • 70 Challenger R/T SE 70 tube Chassis Cuda now sold
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2016 - 10:37:28 pm »
Line up the TDC line on the damper 20* CCW from TDC which should be approx 1.25" CCW from zero , then make sure the rotor is pointed exactly @ #1 terminal on the dist cap .
 
To check for spark if you unplug the dist plug with the key on the coil will produce a spark .
I hope this helps

Challenger - You`ll wish You Hadn`t

Offline 73440

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1566
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016 - 01:27:12 am »
Will that give you a good shock pulling the center distributor plug wire from the coil out of the cap? Or am I thinking wrong?
I have cleared fouling plugs on my Harley by sliding the rubber cap up the porcelain till it started firing better and not been shocked.
67 440
73 Barracuda w/ 68 440
65 Plymouth Fury III , I sold ,was my Nana's car till 92 yo.
51 Ford F1 239 Flathead, flipped , new cab , stolen
59 BelAir 283 4 door original patina
01 Chevy van 378,304 miles
06 Crown Vic Police Interceptor
75 HD Ironhead converted to RH shift
73 HD Ironhead
82 HD Ironhead
74 Norton 850
80 HD Shovelhead
80 Husqvarna WR 390

Offline Wadmin1021

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 135
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2016 - 07:08:46 pm »
Thanks Chryco! So 20*BTDC is a good setting for first engine firing?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
https://youtu.be/OEKt5K71CDM

A couple that plays together, stays together!

'71 Plymouth 'Cuda named Claudia w/ 440 4-barrel and TF AT

Offline Wadmin1021

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 135
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2016 - 09:03:48 pm »
And I have another timing question... To find TDC, insert piston stop in #1. Rotate engine CW until it stops. Make a mark. Then rotate engine CCW until it stops again. Make a mark. The middle of this is TDC right? HOW DO YOU ROTATE THE ENGINE CCW WITHOUT LOOSENING THE CRANK PULLEY BOLT??? Seems like a dumb question but I'm stumped at this point.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
https://youtu.be/OEKt5K71CDM

A couple that plays together, stays together!

'71 Plymouth 'Cuda named Claudia w/ 440 4-barrel and TF AT

Offline 734406pk

  • Andy
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1660
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2016 - 09:35:19 pm »
And I have another timing question... To find TDC, insert piston stop in #1. Rotate engine CW until it stops. Make a mark. Then rotate engine CCW until it stops again. Make a mark. The middle of this is TDC right? HOW DO YOU ROTATE THE ENGINE CCW WITHOUT LOOSENING THE CRANK PULLEY BOLT??? Seems like a dumb question but I'm stumped at this point.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


This is a common area where many people make a mistake. Review the basic four stroke cycle process and you will see that TDC happens twice in a "cycle"... Once at intake/exhaust stroke and once at compression/power stroke. It is the camshaft that determines which is which (2 crank rotations to one cam rotation). You want to set the base timing at 20 deg BTDC on the compression stroke. There are a few methods of finding the compression stroke. One method is to remove #1 spark plug and place your thumb over the plug hole. Crank the engine slowly until you feel compression pressure against your thumb. Then rotate the crank manually in the direction of rotation until the 20 deg BTDC mark on the balancer lines up. This is where to set your base ignition timing for start up. Hope this helps!

Here is a link to an animation of the basic process:

http://www.animatedengines.com/otto.html
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016 - 10:12:46 pm by 734406pk »
1973 Challenger 440 6 pack auto 3.91 rear
2012 Dodge Ram 3500 dually 6.7 Cummins Fleece EFI Live
1973 Challenger 318 2bbl auto 2.73 rear 22.5 mpg RIP
1970 Challenger TA 340 4bbl auto-Sold and sad
1999 Dodge Ram 3500 dually 5.9 Cummins Fleece tuned VGT-sold
1995 Kawasaki ZX1100E & still alive

Offline anlauto

  • Permanent Resident
  • *******
  • Posts: 12346
  • I'm Alan G...I'm a Mopar Addict
    • Alan Gallant Automotive Restoration
Re: First engine fire - scared to death!
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2016 - 10:08:07 pm »
...after your fuel line question....I'm scared to death too :roflsmiley: Just kidding :bigsmile:
I've taught you everything you know.....but I haven't taught you everything I know !
www.alangallantautomotiverestoration.com