Engine won’t fire

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Engine won’t fire

Postby Snowmark » 10 Aug 2018, 09:52

Went to start the van yesterday and it won’t fire up. It’s turning as normal just won’t fire. As I’m on a campsite in Cornwall I had a box of spares with me so changed the rotor arm, dizzy cap, leads and ignition amplifier- no change.
Called the RAC - he came out and we tried pouring petrol straight into the carb, carb cleaner etc - no joy.
We are now getting relayed home tomorrow but wanted any advice on what to check next.
I’ve ordered a new coil so I can eliminate that - after this I’m stuck.

The fuel pump is working, we have a spark but the RAC man said the coil could be breaking down under load.
He doesn’t think it is the coil, just wanted to eliminate it.
He thinks the symptoms are linked to Timing - would the shaft at the bottom of the distributor cause this sort of problem?
Any suggestions gratefully received as we’re meant to be away again a week on Monday.
Thanks in advance
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby 937carrera » 10 Aug 2018, 11:14

Can you put your van details in your signature, I'm going to assume it's a flat 4

The only thing you haven't mentioned is the hall sender, might be worth getting one and swapping over, they do fail.

I assume ignition timing is set correctly and it hasn't become loose. Try and turn the body of the dizzy to check. You Can also carry out a visual check, make sure the rotor arm is pointing at the notch on the edge of the distributer when the engine is at TDC for number 1 cylinder, compression stroke.

Are you sure you got the plug leads on correctly when swapping them ?
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby Snowmark » 10 Aug 2018, 11:26

Apologies - 1.9DG Petrol.
Thanks for the advice. I reset the timing about a month ago and it’s been running really nicely - 500 miles in 2 weeks.
The RAC guy was convinced the leads were round the wrong way so we removed and refitted - nothing.
Will check everything again once I get back - I’ve got two spare days that should have been holidays!
I thought the Hall sensor could be the problem. I’ll try the new coil when it arrives then try that next.
Is it worth removing the dizzy and checking the shaft etc?
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby 937carrera » 10 Aug 2018, 11:46

Leave the dizzy in place, turn the engine over by hand and make sure that the dizzy turns one complete turn for two of the crank.

Double check it is clamped securely and the rotor arm as suggested above, more important now we know you've adjusted it recently.

Firing order is 1-4-3-2, follow the plug leads around the dizzy to the plugs, engine is laid out as follows

......Flywheel.......
3 ----------------- 1
4 ---------------- 2
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby itchyfeet » 10 Aug 2018, 13:56

I have everything as spares Mark including a dizzy coil ignition amp
pop round and borrow them keep swaping bits until you find whats wrong.
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby itchyfeet » 10 Aug 2018, 14:03

pretty unlikely that the shaft to dizzy is broken
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby Sir Brixalot » 10 Aug 2018, 14:09

It's not a carb float problem is it?
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby itchyfeet » 10 Aug 2018, 14:11

I have a spare carb too :lol:
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby Chalawandan » 10 Aug 2018, 15:02

looks like you have checked pump, and bypassed with fuel to carb, but my 2l Type 4 lump wouldnt fire for unknown reason, all checked fine - was fuel line collapsed. Looked OK, but the pump would suck the line flat inside.
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby diabolov » 10 Aug 2018, 15:34

When you poured the petrol straight into the carb, did you pull the plugs after to see if they were wet?
Fuel might not be making it that far.
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby Snowmark » 10 Aug 2018, 16:48

Interestingly, the plugs weren’t wet after pouring petrol down the carb. RAC guy couldn’t understand it but thought that there may be sufficient spark to ignite the small bit of petrol, causing the popping through the exhaust, but the coil wasn’t powerful enough under load.

What would dry plugs imply? Where’s the fuel going?
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby Snowmark » 10 Aug 2018, 16:52

itchyfeet wrote:I have a spare carb too :lol:


Many thanks, Paul - I’ll undoubtedly PM you once we’ve braved the relay home.
Perfect timing as well - the latest 5 batches of beer are just ready for drinking!
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby Snowmark » 10 Aug 2018, 16:57

Chalawandan wrote:looks like you have checked pump, and bypassed with fuel to carb, but my 2l Type 4 lump wouldnt fire for unknown reason, all checked fine - was fuel line collapsed. Looked OK, but the pump would suck the line flat inside.


Checked that the pump was throwing out fuel by disconnecting the line to the carb from the pump - healthy flow of fuel when cranked so pretty sure that’s not the problem. Thanks though - there’s not much I can do whilst stuck here but it’s driving me insane thinking about it.
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby 300CE » 10 Aug 2018, 17:04

+1 for Hall Sender - RAC man should have checked for a spark. I pretty much had the same symptoms, took the van out and all was fine, then it just wouldn’t start. Like you, changed everything with the spares I had less the distributor (no spare) to no avail.

AA came out poured petrol into the carb, still nothing. Checked the plugs with a spark plug tester and I turned the engine over and here it was diagnosed that the sparks were intermittent. She eventually started and I managed to get home - I changed the dizzy and she’s been fine since.
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Re: Engine won’t fire

Postby Snowmark » 10 Aug 2018, 17:17

Yep, been reading a bit about the Hall Sensor to pass the time today. Typically, Brickwerks are OOS of the repair kit at the moment. May have to look for a complete replacement Dizzy if I’m to save the camping trip in 10 days
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