V6 Tuning (timing, vacuum)

stew86MCSS396

Apprentice
Aug 1, 2022
95
33
(808)
1663875664927.png
Since it seems we are chasing a no spark issue now...make sure you didn't dislodge the white connector on the cap when you pulled the EST. I've gone through a few ICMs on a Buick 455 as that seems to be such a horrible place for electronics. Anyhoo make sure you slather on a good amount of the thermal paste between the ICM and the distributor mounting surface. Since you had the dizzy cap off, one other thing to look for is the little carbon pellet in the bottom of the distributor cap making sure it didn't fall out.
 
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jiho

G-Body Guru
Jul 26, 2013
993
93
With EST disconnected, the car won't start. I replaced the ignition module and coil and it still won't start. I thought it might be because it's too far out of base timing, or that it's not getting spark. If I turn the engine over with EST disconnected, the timing light won't flash, so It's not getting spark (right?). Where to go from here? Getting frustrated...

We seem to have a little confusion here. The connector you have circled in the 1st photo in post #7 is NOT what you would disconnect to do timing. That 3-wire connector you have circled there runs from inside the distributor to the coil. It must be connected or there is no coil, basically. So no start.

There is another connector from inside the distributor, that does not run to the coil. That's the EST connector, and that's the one you disconnect for timing.
 

spidereyes455

G-Body Guru
Mar 6, 2013
717
93
Northeastern PA
1663875664927.png
This is not the plug to disconnect when setting timing. Those are the wires from the ignition module and pickup to the coil. The car will NOT start with this disconnected.
You need to disconnect the ECM wires to the distributor to set the timing.
The plug you want looks like this. 20220930_024538.jpg
 
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blk7gxn

Royal Smart Person
Feb 7, 2019
1,388
113
View attachment 207957
This is not the plug to disconnect when setting timing. Those are the wires from the ignition module and pickup to the coil. The car will NOT start with this disconnected.
You need to disconnect the ECM wires to the distributor to set the timing.
The plug you want looks like this. View attachment 207958
Thanks for chiming !! Good grief I told him the wrong plug to disconnect 😵‍💫 my bad, its been almost 20+ years since I've timed one of these, I guess this forum is doing its job, because its relearning my brain too lol
 

brrian

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 7, 2022
110
28
Pittsburgh, PA
When I changed the coil I should've noticed that the wires ran to this plug, & realized that it wouldn't run without these. It didn't occur to me.

I went at it again today, between bands of rain leftover from the hurricane.

I pulled the correct EST plug & it ran. Off to a good start.

Then, attempted to time. To begin, base timing was up over 20 degrees advanced, almost off the top of the timing tab. I brought it down to about factory 15 degree spec and it ran like crap. Advancing or retarding anywhere around 15 degrees didn't seem to matter much. I got frustrated again, and it started raining again, so I set it back to around 20 degrees, reconnected EST, & went in the house & contemplated selling it.

At one point while adjusting, while it ran bad, there was a lot of white smoke, and it smelled rich. It's 'smelled rich' the entire time I've been working on it, but this was worse.

I just replaced the plugs, so I pulled the #5 plug & it's black (see below), which indicates rich, right? & when I pulled the wire, the metal end stayed on the plug 😠. It was rusty - I noticed that when I pulled the wires weeks ago, but I had cleaned it up & reused it. It must have been worse than I thought. So I repaired the wire, then reinstalled the plug.

This made me wonder if I was having issues with that cylinder in particular because of the wire, so I pulled the #1 plug - see below. It's also fouled but not as bad. Is it just coincidence that it's not as bad, or is it indicating something? Dunno.

All plugs & wires are reinstalled; timing w/ EST connected is at about 15 degrees, and at the moment it seems to be running okay - idling decent & in the minute or two that I let it run, with no noticeable hesitation/bog on acceleration. Maybe that wire was causing intermittent / no spark & that has something to do with this? But I feel like I've been here before and I could go out tomorrow & it would run bad again.

I'm a little worried about the white smoke.. I've noticed it before but never like that. It's usually after the first start of the day & I attributed it to condensation in the exhaust. If it's running rich there should be black smoke, right? Why white, & why so bad during timing?

My plan is still to have a mechanic look at this (if I can find one). I appreciate any responses & advice but I feel like there are too many things to consider & I lack knowledge, tools, and now weather's an issue.

All of this for an engine I don't even want! I just want to be able to drive this thing.

*edit*: I just checked vacuum - seems good, video here. & I don't want to get off on another subject, but there's a rattling sound at 0:16, 0:22, & 0:39, coming from the back of the motor & I assume that's going to be something in the valvetrain.

5.jpg
 
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jiho

G-Body Guru
Jul 26, 2013
993
93
its been almost 20+ years since I've timed one of these

Good for you, if it's like smoking then it's as if you never did! :mrgreen:

Me, it's only been a couple years, and I still get the shakes sometimes.
 
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jiho

G-Body Guru
Jul 26, 2013
993
93
All of this for an engine I don't even want!

I know the feeling. At least you're not in California, so there's light at the end of the tunnel.
 
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brrian

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 7, 2022
110
28
Pittsburgh, PA
Finally brought this to an end: I ended up getting a recommendation for an old-car mechanic about 15 minutes from me. I just got it back - he's got it running great & it just took some slight timing, carb & idle adjustments. Relief. Without me asking, he looked over the rest of the motor & drivetrain & let me know what he thought of it all, which was all good. Nothing of concern, everything in good condition and working as it should. I had him change the transmission fluid, gasket & filter as well.

Thanks to everybody who helped me along the way. On to the suspension...
 
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