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tips on starting l20b on cold day to set timing?


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Did my alternator tensioner upgrade, had to pull the timing cover, oil pump was leaking, found another one laying around, all back together, but its 36 degrees and of course, without the timing adjusted, ether won't even start it. Any tips? I'll load a few oics for you whores cool.gif while I wait to see if there's any tricks I could be doing.

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Yep. as close as can be without starting and putting a light on it. I really think it's the cold and not being dead on yet. I was thinking about choking it more, like with a sweater as well as the choke butterflys closed, what else is there?

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I was having trouble starting my truck, since its been cold, though my battery was junk, checked it out, still had 568 cca and 12.7 volts, 39 year old starter had worn out and was mimicking battery issues. Just sayin. Food for thought.


Maybe all that silicone is keeping it from turning :P

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I was having trouble starting my truck, since its been cold, though my battery was junk, checked it out, still had 568 cca and 12.7 volts, 39 year old starter had worn out and was mimicking battery issues. Just sayin. Food for thought.


Maybe all that silicone is keeping it from turning :P


hahahaha! yeah, I loves my silicone.......

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the gm 110 amp alternator bracket adapter I guess allows a little flex, although I can't get it to flex by hand, and started by snapping it's lower bolts, even the grade 8 ones, but I welded the fuck out of it, and no way it will break again, so it broke the tensioner bolt, flush with the block. Welding a nut to the end at that angle I couldn't accomplish, so I drilled it out, and it snapped flush with the block as well :(. Called out to ratsun for a cutting torch to melt it out as I can't drill through a bit, and after about 2 hours of tip clogging, I only got 1/2 " material out. The timing cover is fine, just using the plate with a bigger bolt welded to it to hold the tensioner bracket in place. That l20b is fresh out of the machine shop, so fixing it is the smart move imo.

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The camshaft timing is done by sight.


The ignition timing is also done by sight initially. It will start in a large 20-degree range, and by site you can get it within 2 degrees or so. So get busy and time it correctly! If it still won't start then it's not the timing that is the problem.

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Yep. Turn the crankshaft pulley until it lines up with the correct timing mark (12 degree for some year, different for others). Then rotate the distributor until the points spark. Call it good.


If the points gap is worn too much it will have trouble starting. So once it gets started, measure the dwell and if it requires adjustment, then retime it afterwards.

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a Turn buckle alternator adjustment would have been alot better and alot more EZ to install.


I think this will crack over time. As the lower mount can come loose and the Turn buckle ones have alot of movenet that doesnt foorce it on the front cover or in your case the weld joint.


as for not starting.

Just put the oil pump in correctly so the dizzy up top points at the sparkplug(#1) at TDC on crank. then go 1 3 4 2 Counter clockwise fire order.


the dizzy should be around 10 or so. But really I just have it loose enought to turn by hand till it starts or sounds like its going to start..


make sure you have spark at the center coil wire. as maybe you forgot to install the rotor.



PS not that much RTV is needed on the front cover. I use just a cunt hair amount and tad more around the water passage thru the front block

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FWIW, for teh sake of getting it started just give it a little more advance and see if it fires over.


L4's are pretty retarded when it comes to timing (no pun intended).

Mine would run decently at anything but fully retarded with the dizzy plate I used.


Is it cranking over and just not firing? Or is it cranking super slow?

If you can't get it to fire with ether, there's something amiss there that you're missing (no pun intended).


You can time it by ear, too. You'll get it close enough that it'll run, anyhow. After it's running then obviously time it with a light.


If I could start a close chambered 3cc pistoned L20b with a shaved head and SU's without choke cables, with just some throttle finesse - you should have no problem getting that puppy started the way yours sits right now.


PS, That is a metric shit-ton, butt-assload of RTV you've got going there. That's like.. fucking art!

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Yeah, it cranks over, just won't start. I was DDing it, and, all I did was drop the timing cover and oil pan, and of course the timing, and make a better bracket. didn't unplug the new ei dizzy, remove spark plugs, any of that, just the fan when I yanked the radiator, and after watching a great video(thanks banzai), i'm certain I got the timing right.gonna grab coffee and try to finish it up before work. Thanks for the tip on cold setting the timing ggzilla.


Boaty: Yeah I built my l20b up too, and I really just think I need to get it a little closer to start it in this cold 30 degree weather.


the loads of rtv are because I noticed, no matter how carefully I install the front cover, it always ends up black. not leaking, but just enough for road dust to stick to it. You think that's alot, you should see my head gasket..... oll JK, JK :)


Thanks again for all the help.

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Out of curiosity, if you yanked the timing chain, did you line that cam sprocket with the #1 pin?

And does changing timing at the distributor make any difference at all in how it attempts to start up?


I had my car up in John Day, and it was 7 degrees out. Started up after about 5 seconds of cranking.


My guess is permanently set on your cam timing being off.

That's assuming you're getting spark, etc etc etc.


I mean, what else COULD it be if it's the only thing you technically messed with?

And please tell me, you didn't forget to put the rotor back in if you had the cap off? (It's happened to all of us, even if we deny it.)

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well, it spit and sputtered, nearly started....... nice little fire in the carb for a second. It farted a couple times. I always do after a long sleep too :). plugs were fouled a bit, cleaned them, I think it's flooded again now, starter's a bit hot, but I'll give it another shot after work. Timing is correct to the adjustment pivot. turning it over with the timing gun, it's set at 12 btdc. big lumpy cam just pumps the fuel and without correct ignition, it's tough to start before the plugs get too wet. I think this is one of those times where It's not crazy to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.

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Yeah, the rotor and all that is in. I didn't drop the chain, 2500 miles on it, so no worries there. Other then the bad fit with the overkill alternator, They've been great miles since I got it on the road. The choke is electric, slammed shut in this cold. Choke is perfect for warm weather, fine tuned it this summer, but as I recall, it didn't spit and sputter and try until after I'd had the key on for a bit, and unfortunately given up on cranking it without pumping the gas a bit. (sometimes holding it to the floor) I tried it when I got home, and it didn't even try to start.

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What Hainz said.


It's possible you fouled the plugs with all the starting aggression. While they are out, if they are old - replace 'em. Cheap and easy.

Use NGK if you go that route, btw. Make sure they are gapped correctly, too. .032" for points ignition, .044" for electronic ignition. Points should be .017-.021" IIRC. Been awhile since I dicked with points.

Believe either 7333 and 7131, could be wrong there though. BPR6ES, usually like $2.50 ish or so each. It's a $10 jobber if you're good. Don't forget your anti-seize :P


I'd take this opportunity to give her a tune up as well. Worst case scenario, it should run better. Worst case, well we just won't be talking about the worst case. :P


EDIT: PS, don't use as much anti-seize as you did RTV :P

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