Turning over is what the engine does when the starter is turning it. Firing is what it does when it starts to run on its own. Your engine isn't firing. Remove a spark plug and ground it to the frame. Check to see if a spark is adequately reaching the plug through the distributor. You can also connect the plug directly to the coil secondary, but that omits testing the distributor. If the spark is adequate (any spark will do, though a nice solid blue spark is what really gives good power and economy), then you need to make sure that the distributor and/or timing gears is/are installed correctly. If the spark isn't happening when it should, then your engine won't fire. It might spit, pop, and backfire on occasion, but it won't run in the forward direction. Before you adjust for precision timing, the spark should be occuring for each cylinder at or just before flywheel/harmonic balancer TDC, after the INTAKE valve has closed. If you align for a proper spark on the number 1 cylinder, then the rest should be aligned as well.
If the engine fires while the ignition switch is held to the start position, then your ballast resistor may be faulty. The ignition coil is actually only designed to run from 6 to 9 volts, which is what the resistor is for. When you start the car, the starter motor hogs a bit of juice, so if the coil was designed for 12-14 volts, it wouldn't produce its full potential while starting, which is particularily detrimental to proper starting during cold weather. This is why the 6 volt system was inadequate, because the coil was designed for a full 6 volts (actually, if you use the new Blaster coil, an appropriate resistor (about 1.5 to 2 ohms), and a relay, you can make a 6 volt system start in any weather. Because the Blaster coil only requires about 3 volts for a good spark). When you start your car, the ignition switch connects the coil directly to the electrical system. Once you release the switch, it is connected to the electrical system through a resistor. If the resistor is open, the coil will not continue to spark after the ignition switch is released from the start position.
On a side note, the generator should have no effect on the car's ability to start. All the generator does is replenish the battery's lost power, and take over with feeding everything else so that the battery doesn't have to. You can actually run the car quite well without the generator, and as long as you don't turn on accessories, you can drive to timbuctu, since the only electrical thing on the engine in those old cars is the ignition coil, which draws very little current when receiving a pulsating current from the breaker points (current draw actually goes down as engine rpm goes up).
Also check your carburetor to see if it is properly filling with fuel. At very least, even if the main jet system isn't working properly, 4 or 5 squirts of the accelerator pump should get the engine firing on its own for a few revolutions. If you keep pumping the accelerator, it might even keep the engine running in a half-baked manner. If the accelerator pump isn't pumping a nice stream of gas, then either it is faulty, or the carburetor fueling system is faulty (float, needle valve, and fuel pump). If the fueling system/regulation isn't working properly, your engine will not fire, since it will not be receiving any fuel.
Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 AT 1:22 PM