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253 rebuild not starting.

Discussion in 'VB - VK Holden Commodore (1978 - 1985)' started by chance23, May 15, 2019.

  1. chance23

    chance23 New Member

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    Ok, so I got an old red 253 to rego up my vb commodore.

    Stripped it down and rebuilt. There was a slight amount of putting on some lifters and can, nothing too bad at all. I polished them up and put them back (I say this as I think it maybe the issue, but let’s continue). Throw it back in, degree cam, line up TDC on compression stroke, line msd dizzy to number one cylinder and everything else is hooked up (I rebuilt the quadrajet and fuel is coming out how it’s supposed to).

    Turn over and turns over well but doesn’t even attempt to fire.

    Pull plugs and check spark, plugs and wire and coil all working with good spark. Check leads are going to the correct plug about four times (made this mistake before). I’ve also checked the dissy isn’t 180 out.

    Check compression. It’s a bit low with only number one really low. I think it’s a cold, fresh engine, that’ll come up. I throw a teaspoon of oil in each cylinder and it does come up a bit but won’t start.

    I’ve been moving dissy slightly with each option.

    Throw some ‘Start ya Bastard’ in and it sputters a few times but won’t start. Repeat this a couple of times and same result (advance dissy a bit with each try and then back, same result). It almost started with a bit more starter spray than I was using before.

    I’ve had the rocker covers off and watched and all rockers moving, although some aren’t moving that much.

    I’m thinking the original cam was worn down too much and is now not opening the valves enough. So before I resort to a new cam and lifters, any ideas?
     
  2. Deuce

    Deuce Super Stock

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    Some lifters may have bleed down a little (hence they look to open valves less) but this shouldn't effect starting.
    If it almost goes with SYB spray you must have cam good and timing close.

    I'll say pull dissy cap, check your at number 1 on firing stroke (dissy should have a knotch in housing for reference). Put cap back on and recheck firing order
    1, 2, 7, 8, 4, 5, 6, 3
     
  3. Bigfella237

    Bigfella237 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm... Where to even start (no pun intended)...

    If you see pitting on the cam lobes it usually means you've worn through the case hardening and into the soft casting below, once this happens the cam is toast, it will wear really quickly after that. In a Holden V8 they sometimes wear the lobes completely off the back of the cam.

    For the price of a cam and lifters it's not usually worth assembling a new motor with a worn camshaft. But even with a worn-out cam you should still be able to get it running.

    Lifter leak-down is likely affecting total valve lift, but they should still give you some valve opening unless you're using some very heavy valve springs (which you may want to remove during cam run-in anyway). Unless the second-hand lifters are full of gunk and stuck in the compressed position?

    Do you have oil pressure up on the starter? Holden V8's are notorious for having troubles building oil pressure on an initial start.

    Did you actually "degree" the cam or is that just an expression? You need to dial-in a cam on the exhaust stroke using a dial indicator to measure pushrod lift, you also need to know the cam specs, which can be difficult to find unless using a new camshaft.

    Or if you just did the old 'count the timing chains links between the dots', are you sure you lined them up on the right side (don't laugh, I've seen them aligned on the wrong side before more than once)...

    [​IMG]

    Andrew
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  4. chance23

    chance23 New Member

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    Lifted bleed down. Makes sense, I forgot about that.
    I dissembled and cleaned all lifters, so none are filled with junk anymore.
    I did actually degree the cam with a wheel and an indicator and lined up links on the oil pump side.
    Oil pumped was primed through the oil sender hole. Done this before on a couple of other motors and it worked.
    I know I should’ve gotten a new cam, but didn’t want to spend the extra on this motor as I’m just messing around with it.
    Not going to laugh, I appreciate any advice on this one, I’ve stuffed up a lot of things before. Best way to learn.
     
  5. Deuce

    Deuce Super Stock

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    Your picture shows 8 links dot to dot. Isn't it 9 in the manual?
     
  6. Deuce

    Deuce Super Stock

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    When you degreed the cam, did you accidentally mix up intake and exhaust on #1? If you timed exh instead of intake that will throw it all out.
     
  7. chance23

    chance23 New Member

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    Nope. I did double check that. Going to wait until lunch, give it a good dose of SYB and see if she comes to life, otherwise I think it’s a new cam and lifters.
     
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  8. EYY

    EYY Well-Known Member

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    Cam won't be the cause of no-start. Did you advance the dizzy a little, or did you leave it set to spark at tdc?

    Are plugs getting wet? Have you checked for spark?

    As above, make sure cam timing is 9 links dot to dot. If you just lined the 2 dots up, cam timing is way off.

    Take not here: OIL PUMP WILL NOT PRIME THROUGH SENDER HOLE. Don't attempt to start it until you pull the pump apart and coat the gears with vaseline. Don't pack the pump full - just a coating will do. It's just so that the gears will seal against eachother and the housing and create suction.
     
  9. gtrboyy

    gtrboyy Well-Known Member

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    Did you soak lifters in oil overnight?

    Either timing issue of some sort or lifters no oil/bled out.

    Doubt he'll get oil pressure untill it fires up or repacks pump again.

    Will still start & run with busted ass cam & lifters,lots of old junkers still do with missing lobes.

    Check it's got compression,oil pressure & spark then you'll know where to focus.
     
  10. chance23

    chance23 New Member

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    It fired for a couple of seconds this morning and died. Did it a couple of times. Needed a bit of starting spray to coax it.
    There’s oil pressure (well at least from those few seconds). There’s spark. Compression is there, but low. I’d expect that on a cold motor though. Pretty much 65psi across the board except number one which is about 10psi.
    Sparks where wet yesterday. I changed them over. Also timing was advanced a bit.
    Lifters were soaked for a day.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  11. Lex

    Lex Well-Known Member

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    If that is the compression of motor, that is crap.
     
  12. chrisp

    chrisp Active Member

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    ... or the cam timing is way out.
     
  13. figjam

    figjam Donating Member

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    Does it have the valves seats modified for unleaded petrol ? If not, and has been run on unleaded, you could have valve recession, which will result in low compression.
     
  14. chance23

    chance23 New Member

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    Yep, I know the comp is crap. Just wasn’t sure if it was just because it’s a cold, fresh motor.
    Cam timing isn’t out. I’ve properly degreed it.
    Could be a carb issue as it’ll fire in the SYB but won’t carry on. I’ve adjusted the Quad down lean and also rich. No love.
    Unsure about unleaded. It had been sitting in a shed for years before I picked it up cheap. Could be a possibility.
     
  15. Smitty

    Smitty Well-Known Member

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    I call BS on that comment... for 40 years I have been doing that, prime the pump via the sender ( via 1/2 litre in the oil plunger)
    instant oil pressure every time :)
     
  16. figjam

    figjam Donating Member

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    If it has been sitting for years, how is the fuel pump diaphragm ? Does it pump fuel when the inlet line ( to carby) is disconnected ?

    A long forgotten thought from way back, have you used the correct head gaskets ?.
    Something about using 308 gaskets lowering the compression ………….. dunno, too far back, old farts memory, imagination ?
     
  17. EYY

    EYY Well-Known Member

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    It's a gamble you shouldn't be willing to take. If you force it in hard enough it'll work - just not a good work practise. No BS there.

    Prime it properly and it minimises the risk of wiping a lobe or doing more serious bottom end damage when you start it.

    Another thing, don't crank it over trying to get oil pressure - most holden v8's won't have enough pressure to turn the light off with cranking alone. And cranking it over wipes all the lube off the cam too.
     
  18. vc commodore

    vc commodore Well-Known Member

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    Was the compression test done wet or dry with those figures? If that's the wet figures, you have cam or head issues....If that's dry. do a wet test and report back.

    Oh and finally, if that motor is rebuilt, I'd be rebuilding it again....You can push more compression from your butt.....Compression figures should be 130+PSI....
     
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  19. Deuce

    Deuce Super Stock

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    It may have worked for you. I tried it once and it was hopeless - never again will I try it this way.
    So quick to whip pump off, sneak a little vaso in while spinning by hand to get that suction noise, then reassemble.
     
  20. Bigfella237

    Bigfella237 Well-Known Member

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    I agree, those compression figures indicate a serious problem (I reckon you could install a piston with no rings whatsoever and still get 10 pound).

    Everything I've read above points to valve timing being way out. With those compression figures I'd be pulling that engine apart again, something is very wrong internally.

    Andrew

    P.S. Just a silly thought... I don't suppose you have a VN-style camshaft somehow (with the different valve layout)?
     

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