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new timing belts/vacume unit - won't go

hi all

thanks for the forum, its nice to people care.

i have a 1987 5 door 33 1.7 twin webber 8v. $600 car is reliable for 900 ks a week for seven months, some rust i took care of, worn hubs, and a couple of wheel bearings is all i have done (i changed the oil and put oil in the gear box, it had none).

thought i should change the timing belts.

finally got the correct belts (98 tooth, parts book said 98 and 100).

just scratches to mark position of cam pulleys as they were, afterwards checked timing by marks, all fine. i have checked that the chisel mark on the back end of the cam is alligned with the notch on carrier back wall.

bodged vacuum unit from bosch on 1978 holded v8 (same one i bodged of an earlier holded six cyl [holden is GM if not known]).
distance from vac' unit to peg on breaker plate is accurate.

now a previously reliable car is blowing flame out of carb on left bank
and just not firing even though i am getting spark on tdc on no1 piston. if it was an old holden i would reset timing 180 deg', it really sounds like that.

two days of going over the same settings hoping it will fix itself.
put in a new bosch coil (of the old holden) as original was tracking.

do get an odd spark on no1 lead. all leads off, turning engine and watching for spark on 1 will some times spark from fourth lead, have cleaned dizzy cap, probably should get new one. but was running fine

sorry if post is long but thought more information will save posts.
hope some one has a suggestion, am going crazy.

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Re: new timing belts/vacume unit - won't go

Hi mememe - interesting problem. In the firing sequence plug no.1 follows plug no.4 (1-3-2-4), so you may be igniting fuel in no.1 on its induction stroke. There certainly seems to be a timing difference between the cams and the distributor. The vacuum canister bodge may be something to do with it, but if the distributor plate (the bit that moves with applied vacuum - the old "points plate" in fact) is in the same position as before, and is not jamming in any way, I can't see how it can be responsible.

So my only other suggestion would be to recheck the cam timing to confirm that both cams are accurately lined up with the timing marks at TDC (one might be a tooth out), and if that is OK, carefully check the marks on the flywheel - some engines only show TDC and two intermediate advance points and no idle timing mark, on the assumption that you will be using strobe timing to set everything up.

I won't say anything about dropped valves yet, you don't want to consider that until you've double checked everything else. Hopefully its just a timing issue.

My boxer engine doesn't have an idle timing mark, so when I set up what I thought was 8 BTDC at idle, it was in fact something like 20 BTDC, which could make all the difference!

Good luck. If all else fails, go back to the last known good configuration and start again. If you suspect valve damage, do a compression test on each cylinder - if one is markedly down on the other three, that might just be down to poor valve timing, or you might need to get your chequebook out...


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Re: new timing belts/vacume unit - won't go

Did you get this sorted yet? I had a similar problem with my car, and like Lauren mentioned, I had one cam two teeth off, once I fixed that she sputtered to life until I got her timed. Good luck!

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Thumbs Up Re: new timing belts/vacume unit - won't go

If you have a 1712 8 valve,the rocker covers are not were you time the 1.7 from.On the front of the engine you will see a pointer on the back cam cover.These will align with two notches on the front of each cam wheel.They are hard to spot so once cleaned up,mark each one with tippex,liquid paper etc,so you can see them.Set the flywheel to the 'T' mark directly in line with the pointer on the back of the cranckcase.Make sure the distributor is set to fire at No.1.
Your problem sounds to me that indeed you have got one bank 180 degrees out.
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(Post Link) post #5 of 5 Old 30-03-09 Thread Starter
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Re: new timing belts/vacume unit - won't go

hi all, havnt been able to get near the computer. thankyou for replying.

Breaker plate bodge is OK. distances correct, moves freely. wasn't working at all until now. in any case i only have to remove vacume line to return unit to previous condition.

Timing marks all correct (but they can't be), never owned a timing light. Just set TDC on fly wheel to intitial advance and turn dizzy to fire at that. On an old holden about 20 deg' before TDC, on this maby guess 8 deg', then turn dizzy by feel for best go.

As far as i know it is at last known good configuration. I just marked where everything was and put it back the same way.

As far as I can tell the belts are not out. This is confirmed by the mark on the rear of the cam being in line with the point on the inside rear of the cam carrier when the 'T' on the flywheel is in line with the point on engine.

I can't wait to hear that 'sputtering to life' sound.

It may be a 1712, this car seems to be a collection of a few models; I can't find it in in the manual (83 mb of alfa download and I cal't find my car). The interor door panels are from a manual window car, but have no holes for the winder and are electric, it is the long body and has the sports rims, the seats are the sports type. It has an electric sun roof and the wiring for the rear lights is sportswagon. As far as I can tell it is one of the last of the series I. When the rain eases of I will check for the marks you mention, but it seems hopeless at this point.


I have finally become desperate enough to call the friendly european car mechanic in Katoomba (I live in the Blue Mountains in NSW) to come over and have a look at it for me. I don't care if he calls me an idiot as long as he can fix it. It must be something simple (I hope)

Thanks all
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