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Old 11-01-2008, 07:17 PM   #1
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Firing order and distributor question

Just brought my 86 Camaro home from the dealership last night. Had a used engine installed by different mech than dealer. Sent car in for a rough or no start problem once engine was installed. The dealer rebuilt the OEM carb (Quadrajet) and installed new plug wires since old ones were arcing.

Today I decided to change the valve cover gaskets since I found a small leak. Guess the engine installer was rushing.

I noticed that the wires had a different firing order (see the pic) than what is listed or what I thought would be the firing order for a 305 carb...probably a LG4...bottomline it's a V8

Click the image to open in full size.

It was my understanding that the firing order should be 1, 2, 7, 5, 6, 3, 4, 8 front to back or counter clockwise ...and the cylinders are 1,3,5,7 drivers side and 2,4,6,8 front to back

here are my questions...be kind...LOL

1. What is the correct firing order

2. Can the pictured firing order work... I drove the car home with this order but there was a miss but not bad

3. Should the distributor be turned on this angle?

4. Should the tach and battery wire that come from the dist be on the drvs side or more twards the rear

5. How do I know where the 1 wire goes in the cap and where all subsequent numbers go...I need a starting point...

I am more of a detailer than a mechanic but I do have some basics and something just does not seem right with the pictured setup...

I have the valve covers back on but need to know how to wire this properly....

pics please if anyone has them....

thanks in advance
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Last edited by 86NiteRider; 11-01-2008 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:45 PM   #2
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

i know the firing order for most v-8 chevys are 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2, but i cannot remember if the #1 cylinder plug wire is suppose to be there or right in front....i will look on my car and see...
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:56 PM   #3
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

if you are looking at the dist from the front of the car. it needs to be 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 in the clockwise direction. it doesnt matter were #1 starts. #1 needs to be set at TDC then pull the dist cap off and see were the contact is. thats were # 1 needs to be. and then once you get that you will need to get the timing set right.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Are you sure you've got the cylinders identified correctly? You've got your #8 wire going to the drivers side.
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:11 PM   #5
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apeiron View Post
Are you sure you've got the cylinders identified correctly? You've got your #8 wire going to the drivers side.
8 and 1 are swapped.

My problem is finding where to start on the dist when I go to re wire. Can i leave the dist. where it is and just re wite in the proper order? What is the procedure for finding the TDC I read about? Step by step please....thanks
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:16 PM   #6
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Even if 1 and 8 are swapped, you've still got problems with the firing order. How are you numbering each cylinder on the block?
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:21 PM   #7
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apeiron View Post
Even if 1 and 8 are swapped, you've still got problems with the firing order. How are you numbering each cylinder on the block?
corrected picture

Click the image to open in full size.

Drivers 1, 3, 5, 7 & 2, 4, 6, 8 on the pass side....

remember now I di not set the wires like this but want to move them to what is correct but WHERE DO I START ON THE DIST...thanks
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

first you need to remove the #1 cyl spark plug.
then put a ratchet on the center harmonic balencer bolt (5/8 i believe), put your finger over the spark plug hole and then turn the engine over by hand untill you feel compression in the cyl (not suction)
keep turning it by hand until you dont feel it anymore.
then you should be really close to your 0* mark on your balencer.
if so then line the marks up.
you are now at TDC.
remove your dist. cap and look were the contact is.
that is were #1 should start at.
then your timing may need to be set
hope this helps you out.
dont forget to put the spark plug back it
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:29 PM   #9
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Turn the engine over until the timing marks line up. Then pull the cap off and see which terminal the rotor is point to. That's either #1 or #6.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:34 PM   #10
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

The #1 cylinder, no matter what engine size, brand etc is always the one that's farthest ahead. On Chev engines, that happens to be the cylinder at the left front (driver's side)

Your engines cylinders will be labeled 1,3,5,7 on the left side and 2,4,6,8 on the right side (passenger side)

Depending on how the distributor was dropped in, #1 can be anywhere on the cap. The most common position is where you currently have #5. The Chev distributor rotates clockwise through the firing order and as mentioned above, the normal firing order is 18436572. There are swap cams available which give an optional firing order of 17436582. Neither of these firing orders are what's shown in the picture. The distributor can be installed 180* out and the easiest fix is to rotate the plug wires 180* and that's still not what you have.

As mentioned above, remove the #1 plug and determine when the #1 piston is at TDC. Get it close to the TDC mark on the balancer but right now it's just for reference. Once #1 is at TDC on the compression stroke, pull the distributor cap off to see where the rotor is pointed. Because of how the plug wires fit best on the cap, #1 should be where your #5 wire currently is but it doesn't have to be if you can route the wires properly.

To move the rotor into the proper position if it isn't already there, you need to pull the distributor, rotate the shaft and using a screwdriver, rotate the oil pump drive to line back up when the distributor is dropped back in.

The side of the cap should be pointing to the driver's side. It can be a little bit off but the vacuum advance may restrict adjustment if not perfectly lined up. You could be a tooth off and it will still work fine if there's enough room for adjustment.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:45 PM   #11
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Thanks....first thing in the morning I will try to set it. I will post back my results....
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:15 PM   #12
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Replaced the plugs and cap. Rewired the car to the firing order suggested and set the TDC. Car fired right up. Runs pretty good now. Just some loose ends to clean up.

Now I need a vacumn line diagram
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:05 AM   #13
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

thats good. good job.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:07 AM   #14
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

That's scary that it came out of the dealership like that. I'd go back and complain.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:30 AM   #15
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Re: Firing order and distributor question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen 87 IROC View Post
That's scary that it came out of the dealership like that. I'd go back and complain.
I talked about it with my regular mechanic. The problem is I can't prove it was wired wrong because we fixed the problem in my garage. We are still puzzeled how it was drivable.

However today I am going to do another final check over of their work when I get home from work. If the carb rebuild is faulty in any way ($400) then I will be going back and taking the car as well. Also am going to do a cat and emmisions delete today. We don't have emmisions testing anymore so I am dumping the extra scap metal and since it is time for a new cat I will just invest that money in a new pipe from the manifold to the straight pipe. Hopefully my "rumble" through the Flowmaster will improve.

Other than that I will just let the bad wiring go. It is a shame that when you go to the dealer you expect top flight work, especially for $90 per hour. My confidence in the dealer mechanic ASE certified or whatever, GM trained or whatever, just went out the window.

Last edited by 86NiteRider; 11-03-2008 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:30 AM
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