I have a 75' 350 engine which I've just installed a new cam, chain, lifters etc. In the assembly process I was referencing a couple of manuals. Ok, as I try to start this thing it either spits through the carb or blows out the exhaust. In trying to adjust the timing, I cannot seem to find where the thing will actually run. I thought I dropped the distributor in at top dead center, but could I be 180 off? The pointer and rotor were in the correct position. By the way this is an older HEI distributor and my compression is about 10.75-1, I guess I'm a little nervous.
The first thing to do is take the number 1 spark plug out and put your finger or thumb in the hole. Have someone else bump the starter until the compression blows your finger out. This will be top dead center on the compression stroke. Now look and see where the distributor is pointing, is it at number 1 plug wire? If it is turn the engine back to about 12 degrees BTDC and turn the distributor so the rotor points directly at the number 1 plug wire. If you take a marker and mark this position on the distributor housing when the cap is on it is easier than putting the cap on and off to find the number 1 position. Tighten the distributor down again and try to start it, you should be close enough to get the engine started but may have to do some final tweeking.