Won't start - questions. Help needed.

Fishfan

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Vehicle: 1966 Dodge Polara with 318 Poly Engine.

Problem: Car wont start. Turns over but no electricity getting to the spark plugs using a spark plug testing light.

Additional Background: Car was running on Thursday after intake manifold/Carburetor install. Because I had coolant in the oil and realized I didn't properly seal water passages on manifold, I took off the manifold and reinstalled it on Saturday with fresh gaskets and plenty of sealer around water passages. I then changed oil and filter and went to fire it up on Sunday. That's when I encountered the problem.

My setup (Been running for several years and I did not change any of this during the intake manifold install): MSD 8504 Digital E-Curve distributor (installed by a mechanic and I did not remove it when I swapped the intake manifold) with an MSD Blaster Coil.

Alternator main post lead is wired to firewall connector. Alternator Field terminal connected to FLD terminal on voltage regulator. Red wire from the MSD Distributor harness is wired to positive post on Blaster Coil. The orange wire from MSD Distributor harness is wired to negative post on Blaster Coil. The black wire from the MSD harness is connected to ground on the firewall.

Here's my multimeter readings with key in ignition and turned.

Battery (just charged it): 12.68

Main post on alternator: 12.29

Field terminal on alternator: 9.7

FLD Terminal on Voltage regulator: 9.9

IGN terminal at Voltage regulator: 11.5

Positive post on Coil: 11.45

Last note of background: I'm worse than useless when it comes to electricity.

Any ideas on what's going on? The numbers that jump out at me are the low voltages at Field terminal on the alternator and where it connects on the voltage regulator. Bad alternator? Bad Voltage regulator? What else could it be?
 
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mrfury68

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Thoroughly retrace your steps when you reassembled everything. Chances are something didn't get hooked back up or connected incorrectly. We have all been there a time or two over the years. Good luck.
 

Loadrunner

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318 Poly/LA318 has Clockwise distributor location.

The cylinders going back towards the firewall on the D side are 1-3-5-7

The cylinders going back towards the firewall on the P side are 2-4-6-8

Remember these numbers, well enough to recite them anytime.

1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

Repeat

1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

Repeat until you can never forget.

Knock knock.

Who's there?

1-8 4-3 6-5 7-2

That is your firing order, works on all Mopar V8's, and Chevys. Fords had to be different which is why they sound weird.

What I love 1st and foremost about old point ignition Mopars is they take you back to the basics of the 4 cycle engine, where all you need is compression, fuel and a well timed ignition to fire.

If you suspect something's out of whack - often times something you just did -
go back to the absolute beginning by Confirming TDC on #1 cylinder/distributor timing.

TDC on #1 on the compression/power stroke, which happens every other time the harmonic damper mark goes by the timing mark on the timing cover.

The way you do this easily without pulling a valve cover to see the intakes and exhaust valves moving is by removing the #1 cylinder spark plug, which is always the 1st plug on the D side of the engine on a MoPower, and with or without proctology exam glove stick a finger over the plug hole well enough to seal it and crank the engine - with the key off - by using a remote starter switch on the starter relay, everybody should have one of these, and if you don't, use a screwdriver or pliers you don't care about to short across the relay terminals to spin the engine.

Conversely, if you have a willing partner, someone can crank the engine for you, with coil wire pulled from distributor cap or coil as you like, whichever pulls out easiest.

You're not cranking the starter as much as "bumping" it, just barely engaging the starter, bump, bump, bump.

When the piston comes up on compression stroke, you will hear it hissing past your finger, you will feel it.

Stop bumping before the timing marks meet and turn the engine to the timing mark by hand with the fan blades if you can, with fan clutch use appropriate socket on the crank bolt.

Match up the timing marks, and you're "at TDC on #1".

Look at where you're #1 wire goes on the distributor cap, usually two posts to the right of the front cap clip on LA 318 - the exact location relates to your ignition timing - take a sharpie, make a slash exactly where the wire it, and pull the cap, and look at where the rotor is.

Wherever the rotor is, that is where the #1 spark plug wire needs to be, and then you work clockwise from there, 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. Put the cap back on and Vrrooom ;]

Big blocks are counterclockwise distributor rotation, wires go the other way around.

If you're a small block guy, have this tattooed somewhere handy like your forearm.


Screen Shot 2022-10-05 at 12.08.48 PM.png
 
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57fury440

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318 Poly has Clockwise distributor location.

The cylinders going back towards the firewall on the D side are 1-3-5-7

The cylinders going back towards the firewall on the P side are 2-4-6-8

Remember these numbers, well enough to recite them anytime.

1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

Repeat

1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

Repeat until you can never forget.

Knock knock.

Who's there?

1-8 4-3 6-5 7-2

That is your firing order, works on all Mopar V8's, and Chevys. Fords had to be different which is why they sound weird.

What I love 1st and foremost about old Mopars is they take you back to the beginning of the four cycle engine, four stroke; 1) Intake, 2) Compression, 3) Power, 4) Exhaust.

Rinse and repeat at a gazillion RPM all over the world, it has never changed.

If you suspect something's out of whack - sometime possibly a result of automotive poltergeist activity, some things just can't be explained - this is what you do;

Go back to the absolute beginning.

Confirming TDC on #1 cylinder/distributor timing.

TDC on #1 on the compression/power stroke, which happens every other time the damper mark goes by the timing mark on the timing cover.

The way you do this easily without pulling a valve cover to see the intakes and exhaust valves moving is by removing the #1 cylinder spark plug, which is always the 1st plug on the D side of the engine on a MoPower, and with or without proctology exam glove stick a finger over the plug hole well enough to seal it and crank the engine with the key off of course by using a remote starter switch on the starter relay, everybody should have one of these, and if you don't, use a screwdriver or pliers you don't care about to short across the relay terminals to spin the engine.

Conversely, if you have a willing partner, someone can crank the engine for you, with coil wire pulled from distributor cap or coil as you like.

You're not cranking the starter as much as "bumping" it, just barely engaging the starter, bump, bump, bump.

When the piston comes up on compression stroke, you will hear it hissing past your finger, you will feel it.

Stop bumping before the timing marks meet and turn the engine to the timing mark by hand with the fan blades if you can, with fan clutch use appropriate socket on the crank bolt.

Match up the timing marks, and you're "at TDC on #1".

Look at where you're #1 wire goes on the distributor cap, usually two posts to the right of the front cap clip on LA 318, take a sharpie, make a slash exactly where the wire it, and pull the cap, and look at where the rotor is.

Wherever the rotor is, that is where the #1 spark plug wire needs to be, and then you work clockwise from there, 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. Put the cap back on and Vrrooom ;]

Big blocks are counterclockwise distributor rotation, wires go the other way around.

If you're a small block guy, have this tattooed somewhere handy like your forearm.


View attachment 561660
He said he is not getting spark to the plugs. If he has the firing order off it should still have spark, just to the wrong cylinders.
 

1970FuryConv

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Vehicle: 1966 Dodge Polara with 318 Poly Engine.

Problem: Car wont start. Turns over but no electricity getting to the spark plugs using a spark plug testing light.

Additional Background: Car was running on Thursday after intake manifold/Carburetor install. Because I had coolant in the oil and realized I didn't properly seal water passages on manifold, I took off the manifold and reinstalled it on Saturday with fresh gaskets and plenty of sealer around water passages. I then changed oil and filter and went to fire it up on Sunday. That's when I encountered the problem.

My setup (Been running for several years and I did not change any of this during the intake manifold install): MSD 8504 Digital E-Curve distributor (installed by a mechanic and I did not remove it when I swapped the intake manifold) with an MSD Blaster Coil.

Alternator main post lead is wired to firewall connector. Alternator Field terminal connected to FLD terminal on voltage regulator. Red wire from the MSD Distributor harness is wired to positive post on Blaster Coil. The orange wire from MSD Distributor harness is wired to negative post on Blaster Coil. The black wire from the MSD harness is connected to ground on the firewall.

Here's my multimeter readings with key in ignition and turned.

Battery (just charged it): 12.68

Main post on alternator: 12.29

Field terminal on alternator: 9.7

FLD Terminal on Voltage regulator: 9.9

IGN terminal at Voltage regulator: 11.5

Positive post on Coil: 11.45

Last note of background: I'm worse than useless when it comes to electricity.

Any ideas on what's going on? The numbers that jump out at me are the low voltages at Field terminal on the alternator and where it connects on the voltage regulator. Bad alternator? Bad Voltage regulator? What else could it be?
Positive post on Coil: 11.45V. So the coil has power.

Distributor should be turning ground off/on/off/on...at the negative side of the coil. Ground from the distributor may go through the MSD ignition control box (ECU) if you have one. Example MSD Ignition 6425: Digital 6AL Ignition Control Box - JEGS High Performance

In short, I think a wire in the circuit from the distributor to the coil got damaged or disconnected.
 

Fishfan

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Positive post on Coil: 11.45V. So the coil has power.

Distributor should be turning ground off/on/off/on...at the negative side of the coil. Ground from the distributor may go through the MSD ignition control box (ECU) if you have one. Example MSD Ignition 6425: Digital 6AL Ignition Control Box - JEGS High Performance

In short, I think a wire in the circuit from the distributor to the coil got damaged or disconnected.
I have a ready to run MSD unit (8504). No external box used or needed. Yeah, I'm going to be replacing all that wiring.
 

Fishfan

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I have a thought. Would a malfunctioning/improperly connected kickdown linkage affect neutral safety switch? I can't remember if car would turn over with neutral safety switch engaged. Does it stop the starter from turning the engine over or just disable the ignition circuit on the car?
 

1970FuryConv

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I have a thought. Would a malfunctioning/improperly connected kickdown linkage affect neutral safety switch? I can't remember if car would turn over with neutral safety switch engaged. Does it stop the starter from turning the engine over or just disable the ignition circuit on the car?
I believe you have a single wire neutral safety switch. The kickdown should not affect its operation.
My cars are at least 3 years newer than yours, but usually with my cars the neutral safety switch acts as a ground at the starter relay. Without ground from the neutral safety switch, the starter relay doesn't operate and the starter does not turn the engine over. It's been a while since I've dealt with that problem and none of my cars are 1967.
 

65Fury440

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I would pop the cap off, check the rotor, and make sure the cap didn't get knocked crooked.
Then pull the coil wire, turn it over, see if you get voltage on the coil side of the cap.
 

Fishfan

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I would pop the cap off, check the rotor, and make sure the cap didn't get knocked crooked.
Then pull the coil wire, turn it over, see if you get voltage on the coil side of the cap.
I popped the cap off the distributor the other day. A little corrosion on the rotor. Cleaned it up along with the contacts on the cap. I'll re-check the coil wires.
 

65Fury440

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I popped the cap off the distributor the other day. A little corrosion on the rotor. Cleaned it up along with the contacts on the cap. I'll re-check the coil wires.
My down and dirty quick check would be get the big coil wire close to metal, and have someone turn the engine over, see if it sparks.
Probably not the right way but probably won't hurt anything if done quick.

If still no spark, trace the small negative coil wire circuit back, it's probably not getting signal from the distributor.
 

Fishfan

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My down and dirty quick check would be get the big coil wire close to metal, and have someone turn the engine over, see if it sparks.
Probably not the right way but probably won't hurt anything if done quick.

If still no spark, trace the small negative coil wire circuit back, it's probably not getting signal from the distributor.
I suspect more and more that the distributor is fried. When I first got this MSD e-curve distributor it went kaput after a few weeks, I suspect it got moisture inside where the electronics are. I live in Miami and we get wicked thunderstorms and have humidity. It was under warranty back then so MSD replaced the unit.

The days I was doing the manifold install were the days we were getting thundershowers every 30 mins or so because of Hurricane Ian making its way on the west coast of Florida. I made sure to stop working and close hood every time it started to rain but I wonder if all the moisture did the same thing to it again.

Thinking about going back to points.
 

Loadrunner

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Thinking about going back to points.

Amen.

I never left points, not when I went back to Mopars again, because of earlier experiences with umpteen fried electronic ignitions, mine or otherwise.

It is - to wit - very annoying.

I either kit a stock distributor with Mallory/Accell points/condenser or find a Mallory dual point, which can easily be run as single point but the advantages are bearings over worn out bushings, tailoring your own advance curve, no vacuum advance.

Parts store points aren't good enough, including NAPA, those days are long gone.

Try to fing the Mallory perf set K118, I noticed they have dried up.

Accell pieces are probably of equal quality.
 
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1970FuryConv

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I suspect more and more that the distributor is fried. When I first got this MSD e-curve distributor it went kaput after a few weeks, I suspect it got moisture inside where the electronics are. I live in Miami and we get wicked thunderstorms and have humidity. It was under warranty back then so MSD replaced the unit.

The days I was doing the manifold install were the days we were getting thundershowers every 30 mins or so because of Hurricane Ian making its way on the west coast of Florida. I made sure to stop working and close hood every time it started to rain but I wonder if all the moisture did the same thing to it again.

Thinking about going back to points.
I have never had a problem with electronic ignition.
Burn points, bad condenser, yes
I like the factory electronic ignition.
Since you have a 318 Poly you could also run DUI HEI distributor. You could increase spark gap and get a really hot spark. Awesome system for waking up old small blocks.
Dodge Small Block DUI Distributor – Performance Distributors
 

Fishfan

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I have never had a problem with electronic ignition.
Burn points, bad condenser, yes
I like the factory electronic ignition.
Since you have a 318 Poly you could also run DUI HEI distributor. You could increase spark gap and get a really hot spark. Awesome system for waking up old small blocks.
Dodge Small Block DUI Distributor – Performance Distributors
So, I called MSD and they said I could send my unit in and they'll rebuild it. They said cost is typically between $40 and $150 depending on what's wrong. That's a hell of a lot better than $611 for a new one, so I'll be pulling it this weekend and sending it on Monday. Just have to be patient. I guess I'll work on other aspects of the car that I need get to.
 

1970FuryConv

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So, I called MSD and they said I could send my unit in and they'll rebuild it. They said cost is typically between $40 and $150 depending on what's wrong. That's a hell of a lot better than $611 for a new one, so I'll be pulling it this weekend and sending it on Monday. Just have to be patient. I guess I'll work on other aspects of the car that I need get to.
So this distributor had to be replaced once and now has to be rebuilt.
Does not reflect well on MSD.
 
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