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SHE LIVES!...well sort of

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With my coolant leak problems fixed, I attempted to start my 302 this past Sunday. Here's the rundown of how it went:


Stabbed the distributor on the exhaust stroke instead of the compression stroke. A couple backfires through the carb, and a few small flames, convinced me of this. Found true TDC and installed the distributor at 10* BTDC with rotor pointing at #1.


Pumped the gas a couple of times and she started right up. 15-30 seconds into startup, the paint on my headers was up in smoke. Between this and worrying about not getting oil pressure, etc, I didn't get to put the timing light on it. I also had the radiator cap off and totally forgot to put it back on...3 or so minutes into startup I had coolant basically spraying out of the radiator fill neck. It's at this time I look at the water temp gauge (did I mention I was way behind the engine on my cross-checks) and it was at about 215-220.


So, between the radiator spilling coolant and the temps kind of getting up there, I went ahead and shut it off. I immediately noticed that the #7 cylinder did not fire at all. It was the only cylinder that still had paint on the header tubing. Went to pull the plug on that cylinder and the wire came off pretty easily. I'm pretty sure it just didn't seat on the spark plug (confirmed, I believe, on my second start attempt). Just to clarify, my headers didn't glow red or anything, the paint just blistered and smoked right off. It's probably because I used BBQ high heat paint, and not VHT or header paint. Stupid decision.


My oil pressure was stable around 55-60 psi at 2500 rpm and my fuel pressure varied between 3.5-5 psi (@ 2500 rpm). Brand new Holley 4160 carb. Is this pressure too low for this carb? Manual says 4 psi min and I'm concerned that I might be lean because of the pressure. Any merit to that thought?


I'll try to post my video to youtube here shortly. My Canon SD1400 used a nice 1GB of space for about 7min of video. Need to cut that down for youtube, I believe.


After doing some research as to why the water temps got a little hot (220 isn't really that hot actually), and why the header paint went up in smoke, I think my timing was most likely off. On my second start, however, I barely touched the distributor from the first start and it timed at around 32 BTDC at 2500 rpm. Is this too advanced for an early model 302 during cam and engine break-in?


Started it again yesterday and it ran pretty good for about five minutes, temp didn't really creep much higher than 190 (180 thermostat), oil pressure was stable around 60 psi and fuel pressure was again varied between 3.5 and 5 psi. At around the 5 minute mark it started to sound a little different and between my inexperienced ears and nerves from firing this up I went ahead and shut it down again. It dieseled for about a half second and then died. After researching again, I found out the correct way to install my rocker arms for the heads that I have. I have the positive stop studs which require the nut to be torqued down after putting the respective cylinder to TDC. I was installing mine as if they were adjustable rocker arms, doing the whole zero-lash 1/2 turn routine. Could this have been what I was hearing. I suspected knock, but after listening to some knock examples on youtube and comparing to my video, it definitely sounded more like valvetrain noise.


I'll try to cut the videos into segments and post to youtube for your viewing pleasure.




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I know very little about carb setups, but I've heard around 9 psi FP is average?!?


Here are some links to help out:

Carb jets

Fuel level

Trouble shooting



Doug, we still need to meet up so I can check your car out ;)


My car is almost painted, so I can drive my Z to see yours !



I might throw a different fuel pump on this week to see if that helps. I'm also hoping that the noises I was hearing are gone now that I've installed the rocker arms the correct way.


I'm gonna start it up again this weekend if you want to pop by for a little bit. I'm thinking Saturday around nap time for my kids. 1230-1300ish. I'll PM you my address if you can make it. What kind of beer you like? It'll be cold :)

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