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Discussion Starter #1
New to me car. New distributor put in. Car was running terrible before (distributor obviously not only problem!) Here's the problem: for the life of me I can't get the timing even close. It is either about 25 deg BTDC or 25 deg ATDC. I have pulled the distributor MANY times and rotated it one spline either way, and it doesn't seem to solve the problem. My dwell is right at 40. I read that each spline is 30 degrees, so theoretically I am missing one in the middle, but I swear I had that thing off 5 or 6 times today, marking the position of the rotor each time. What am I doing wrong?
 

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Did you replace the distributor yourself, or someone else? Did you mark where the ignition rotor pointed to, before pulling the distributor? That's how you maintain reference. If not, it's going to be a little tricky getting it back in right. First, you want to turn the engine to TDC on cyl 1, which you can determine by rotating the crank til the timing mark is at TDC and both #1 valves are closed. You can tell if the valves are closed (so you're at the top of the compression stroke and not exhaust) two ways: either pull the valve cover and examine the rocker arm positions, or pull a spark plug and bump the crankshaft around until you feel a puff of air at the spark plug hole as you near TDC.

Then, line up the distributor cap in its correct position on the distributor body, and lift the cap so you can see when the rotor points to the #1 wire. Get the rotor lined up with it and scribe a mark on the edge of the distributor body. Put the distributor in the engine and observe that the rotor will turn slightly as it's inserted. Note how much offset you need to get the rotor lined up when seated. Pull the distributor again and rotate the shaft just enough to get the rotor in the right place, lined up with your scribe mark when seated. Bolt the distributor down, put the cap on, and start the engine. It should be close enough to start, then you can set the timing with a timing light.
 

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There is a second adjustment on a /6 distributor that normally is never touched. It is only accessed with the distributor removed from the bottom side. Normally it is never touched as it is factory set but perhaps the prior owner did move it. I would look at timing chain slack before I went too far on timing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your responses,
Bob: Yes, did it myself. Yes, marked position of rotor and lined it back up when I installed new one BUT I did NOT check the timing before I started the job to begin with. I just bought this car, and I knew for sure that the vacuum advance was broken. The diff in $ btwn that and a whole new dist was negligible so I opted for the latter. It was running rough before. Hesitating at certain RPM, rough idle, etc. More than one issue, though. eg: replaced exhaust flange gasket, and that heater valve thingy at the base of the carb top of the exhaust that is supposed to open when the car heats up was stuck almost shut. (it's non-functional, so now just open) SOOO, work in progress! I am not strong enough to turn the engine to TDC by hand. Guess I gotta wait until I have a helper, or go buy one of those hand starter thingys.
68RT: are you speaking of the 2nd mounting bolt on the bracket on the underside of the dist? That had to come off, of course, and I put it back where it was, originally, but I adjusted it to and fro the multiple times I had it off.
Each time I took the darn thing off I re-marked it, in case anyone's wondering. I am super careful.
Timing chain slack?? Would that really throw it off that much??
Wish I woulda checked the timing b4 I started this.
If each spline is 30 deg, theoretically I am either one spline ahead or behind each time, BUT how can I miss that one spline every time??
 

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So you did adjust the slotted plate on the underside of the distributor. Did the new distributor come without the plate, and you had to transfer it over? That seems unlikely. Otherwise, you would not touch it. It's there to give more range to the timing adjustment. If you put it back close to where it was before (assuming it was right before), you should be close.

Is the rotor lining up with the mark once you've inserted the distributor? Since each tooth is 30 degrees of rotation, you should at least be able to do that. Then it's a matter of the distributor body being rotated to the right position. If the rotor is in the same place, that's the big part of the job. Does the car at least start? Are you plugging the vacuum advance hose and checking the timing at idle? Is it idling at the correct speed (about 550 RPM in drive)?

When you are talking about the heater valve thingy at the base of the carb top of the exhaust, do you mean the choke thermostat or the heat riser valve? Either one not working correctly will cause poor idle and rough operation and bad gas mileage and power.

The crank can be turned with either a long ratchet wrench and socket on the crank pulley bolt, or by bumping the starter either with the key or with a remote starter switch, or by touching a screwdriver briefly across the starter terminals.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay. Had my Master Mechanic friend come help me today. As it turns out, the dumbass (can I say that?) that I bought the car from appears to have put in some sort of after market cam that messing everything up. To answer one of your questions, it has the tell-tale after market cam lope at idle, had to turn it up to about 650 RPM, since it runs rough.
I have already had to fix a cpl small things that he "fixed". For example when he allegedly "rebuilt" the carb he didn't tighten down the bowl and it was leaking, the brakes were tightened so unevenly that one wheel was almost frozen and one spun freely, bearings were so loose it shimmied!! Thought I needed new ones; nope, a full turn too loose.
The car runs OKAY around town about 30 deg advanced, and on the fwy about 30 deg retarded. (But no power on fwy that way.) Won't start at TDC. According to my friend, if he was gonna do what it appears he did, he should changed the manifold, carb, etc. (This part is over my head.) Maybe he sold the car 1/2 way into the job? I bought the car thinking that it needed a major tune-up, wires, dist, etc (which it did).
Heat riser valve is what I was talking about. Doesn't operate, now it's open.
The car is cool to look at. haha. The way it is now, I either finish and race it or drive it to the grocery store!
Some of what I said above I am parroting what he said. I DO know that it doesn't start at TDC, drives acceptable 35 MPH or less at 30 advanced but hesitated except when floored on the frwy.
Personally, I think maybe tear it apart and put a stock cam back in? Sent the guy an email asking him EXACTLY what he did.
Thanks SO much for all of your input.
 

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He may not have gotten the valve timing correct, if he changed out the cam. I guess I'd check that first. And it's very possible that he didn't get the valve lash correct. I've found that if you back it out, you get a rough idle, but more power. Should be .010" intake and .020" exhaust.

If the heat riser valve is stuck open (in the 'cold' position, so that it's supplying heat to the carb), it can cause poor operation when the engine is warm, as the carb gets too hot, and it acts almost like vapor lock. I'd fix that, too.

Sounds like you got more of a project car than you bargained for, but don't lose hope. What you've described can all be fixed.
 

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Besidesthe possibility of being a tooth or two off on the cam timing, have you verified that the timing mark is accurate?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks so much for the encouraging words!
Just took the car down to my friend's house, and he is gonna check all of the above things through the wknd. He had already planned on it, and had made your list already!! What a nice guy! Steaks for dinner Sunday : ) One thing that makes sense to neither one of us is the statement you made about the heat riser valve. When properly working, It is closed in cold, and as the spring heats up it opens up and the weight drops, opening the valve door --same way a choke operates. Closed when cold, open when hot. If that door were closed when hot the whole time it would overheat the exhaust manifold, possibly cracking it, no? I assume that's why the flange gasket was blown out, the door was rusted shut. My Dodge Technical Service Manual printed in 64 comes in the mail tom., I will read about it in there, I guess. Sorry to frustrate you with my stupid questions, but at least I ask questions instead of doing dumb things. Newest stupid mess to redo: silicone all over valve cover gasket, metal not straightened b4 installing, and still not having the gasket seated properly!! redid.

In case you haven't figured out by now, I am a Chevy girl so these Chrysler idiosyncrasies are new to me. Thanks for your patience : ))))

oh, the timing mark is correct (now) to TDC on the valves/piston #1, but if it is a tooth off on timing gear...that is one of the things he is gonna check first.


keep you all posted.
 

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Many heat risers (not all) have a heat sensitive spring thatweakens or opens (bi-metal spring) with temperature. Others use a big offset and rely on exhaust speed to open the valve. If it is stuck in the closed position, then a large amount of heat is directed to the carb (boiling fuel in carb) and the free flow of the exhaust is restricted. If stuck in the open position, you have carburator icing issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I heard from the guy i bought the car from. He put a "competition RV 2 cam" in. That is why it won't idle for s**t. Nice of him to tell me! I know he didn't do it right anyway, just by looking at the examples of his other work that I have seen so far. I special ordered a stock cam and lifters kit this afternoon ($150). It will be here Tues evening. Hopefully by Wed night or Thurs the car will be running normally!
Oh, radiator sprung a leak while he was out test driving it, turns out the guy tried to solder it. I won't tempt fate by asking, "what next".


No carb icing issues here in San Diego, coldest overnight temp ever is about 40. So, let's cut to the chase. The thing doesn't operate. So should I make sure it is stuck open or stuck shut? I thought open, but then Bob was saying shut. Now you're saying open!
 

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You want it open if it is going to be staying in one position. If it is closed, it will load up and smoke black all over the place. When properly adjusted, hit the gas pedal once or twice, turn the key and it should cold high idle. As it starts warming up on its own, it will naturally start opening, takes about ten minutes down here in San Diego. The RV 2 cam should not be that radical. As noted above, valves are probably too tight so it runs rough at idle. Timing marks off, one tooth from the sounds of it, which does need to be checked by your friend. Another possibility is a simple spinning of the harmonic balancer, I believe it has the rubber gasket center that can slip. Run the piston to number one top dead center, the mark on the balancer should be right on the 0 timing mark or dead on the mark. Moving the distributor one tooth at a time doesn't work either based on what you found, it would be too much. Since you have a new cam and lifters coming, best time to verify the timing mark since the valve cover and timing cover have to come off, I would say do a compression test before and after to see how it compares. Keep your lifters in order front to back, you may be able to sell the cam to recoup some of your money, or with some upgrades, use it in the future.
 

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Semantics - I call it open if it's in the cold position supplying heat to the manifold, and closed if it shuts off the heat to the manifold. Let's call it cold and hot positions to avoid confusion. Is it stuck in the cold position? That's usually what happens due to lots of short trips.

On that vintage, the heat riser valve gets carboned up and stuck easily. By about 1973, Chrysler went to a teflon-coated shaft, and they almost never stuck after that, or were easy to free up. This is easy to spot because the counterweight is a round disk Your vintage will have a flat plate with a tang for the spring, as the counterweight. They're not easy to free up. I had to remove the manifolds on my first car and pry the valve's flap with a tire iron. On most of these, you can use a solvent spray that Chrysler makes, called by different names - Manifold Heat Riser Solvent, Penetrating Solvent, etc. It's a graphite-kerosene mixture. You can also try PB Blaster penetrating oil, or Liquid Wrench. You can also tap back and forth gently on each end of the shaft with a hammer between spraying.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
yes, it was stuck in the cold position now it's immobile in the warm position. thanks for the clarification!! (spring assembly is broken so open will have to do)
i am actually looking forward to redoing this guys clusterf--k. when we had the valve cover off we adjusted a cpl of the clackety lifters, but it is so obvious that there are more problems and best to just start over. I guess, in my years of buying old cars, I have been fortunate to have bought from old timers who knew what they were doing. I could just start where they left off. This time I bought without thinking through. Lived and learned.
Good idea to keep everything in order to resell. I have no idea to whom or where I would sell it, though.
 

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Does Mesa College still have the car swap meet every month at the end of the month? I have been meaning to go up there some time, see what it is all about, but just never have over the past 20 years living here, don't even know where to look to see if it still happens. Craigslist seems to be fairly good place, too, have bought a few things other than cars on there with good results so far.
 

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Here is another possibility. Since the slant six distributor has a wide range of adjustment with the distributor as well as the secondary slotted underneath adjuster, it is possible that the timing chain is off one tooth. I have seen this on a 318 engine where no matter what adjustment was done it would barely run. The 318 doesn't have as much variety of adjustment as the slant. The RV cam should be pretty smooth I have had them before. They are actually good for the 225 since the stroke is so long. The RV cams are torque monsters and give better low end (supposedly) I have only used them in big blocks (trucks) and the small 1 bbl slant carb might not be up to the task. Also check for cracks in the intake manifold especially where the bolts go into the head. I have seen them crack quite a bit on the underside, but most times it is the exhaust manifold. They can run really rough when cold, and as the heat builds up the crack starts to close and seal. The valves are probably out of adjustment. When it is set up right it should sound like a sewing machine (best example I have ever heard of). Carb probably has a vacume leak as well. If the car has power brakes also look for vacume leaks there. Both the vacume hose going to the booster, and the booster itself. Most likely it will have multiple little nagging problems. Once you get it straightened out you will come to find out why the slant six has such a good reputation. Best MPG I ever got out of one was a bone stock 66 Dart GT with manual brakes and manual steering, and I couldn't get anymore than 25 mpg.
 

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When adjusting the valve lash, be sure to do it with the engine hot and running. You cannot do it properly with the engine off. I learned the hard way. It's not easy to adjust the rockers when they are moving, but it can be done. Box wrench is safer than a socket wrench, so that the socket doesn't fall off and down into the lifters.
 

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At 650RPM it is hard to use a box end wrench. I would use an open end keep it as perpendicular to the engine as I can. Valves must be done with the engine hot and running and I would use shop rags to cover the rocker arms that I was not working with to keep oil from splattering and also to keep them hotter.
 

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Set at 550 RPM. Not too hard. On mine, the screws were too tight to use an open-end wrench, too hard to turn. Box wrench gave the leverage needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
we adjusted the lash yesterday with box ended--some of the lifters were VERY clackety! we were trying to take baby steps, in an effort to make a whole out of a sum of small problems but alas...
I wrote a response earlier today, but i guess i forgot to hit "post"
Dana: Great idea abt the Mesa College thing, but I haven't heard anything of it in years so I don't think it is still there. Is Sweetwater Mopar junkyard still there? Got a list for him.
covertopps: Doubt either of the manifolds are cracked, it runs best cold. Before anyone gets an AH HA moment, choke pulls off fine. Our problem is timing, misfiring, hesitations at about 2200 rmp?? (no tach on fwry) runs okay when cold, and when floored going up a hill (Dana, like the 805 south of the 8, or Texas St) it sounds its best. Still rich though.
throttle bushing linkage sloppy, but not enough to cause this. on the hunt for a new 1bbl Holley though. will mess w jets when the timing is right. i was taught to get the engine right b4 touching the carb
That "sewing machine" is an awesome analogy, and a sweet sound. Far from it here.
I would NEVER adjust lifters w a socket.
550 is a dream right now, it would load up and stall that low.
for now I am gonna help prep, tearing off the front, scraping gasket surfaces, and checking gear alignment. oh, and take radiator to Ace for rodding out and brazing.
Play nice, boys!
 
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