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210 won't start


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Ok so I am 700 miles from home in my 79 210 wagon with a14, car ran fine on the way here parked it for 4 days. it snowed last night so I went out this morning to see how it handles the snow (very good) car ran great. Went out about 2 hours later started right up then sounded like choke kicked off and died and wouldn't start again. when cranking it cranks then stops like hydrolocked, pulled spark plugs nothing notable in any cylinders. Put plugs back in tried cranking fired up backfired then nothing. Disconnected anti dieseling solenoid got a click hooked it back up still nothing. Flooded? Any ideas would appreciated.

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Distributor cap was full of condensation, rotor showed burnt on one side. Dried cap sanded rotor still nothing. How could timing get changed and how can I check it without it running?

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The A block distributor is connected to the cam, is this correct guys? If so, then turn the crank to TDC, pull the distributor cap and look where the rotor is pointed, if it is pointed at #1 or #4 then the timing chain is likely all right, any where else is bad news. Do what Pumpkn210 suggested first, do you have fuel and spark, then check where the rotor is pointed at TDC.

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sure as shit that was the problem, car quest made a run to the wharehouse just for my cap got it in fired right up. no puddle jumping or slush, I figure it was warm and humid the day i put it on and it trapped the moisture then condensed when i got up here to the frozen north. but that doesn't explain the crack. any how it's fixed now and i can leave my inlaws house as scheduled. which is a very good thing because this is not an enviroment that is conducive to the heavy drinking that is planned for tommorow. so once again thanks to all of you, and happy new year! my new years resolution is to stop lurking so much and be more a part of the ratsun community (not just when i need something).



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Glad to hear it's fixed.


For the others reading, if this happens to you and they aren't cracked or track-burned, you won't need a new cap. Just take the old cap into the house, wash with soap & water and let dry. That'll make it like new.


You had the matchbox distributor? It has a much larger cap which is vented, so practically no condensation problems. Maybe the one on there was a non-vented cap (the first matchboxes had non-vented caps).


Oh, and A-series never jumps a tooth on the timing chain. It is bulletproof in that area.

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Track burn or a carbon track is where the electrical current found a new path in the cap. In a distributor cap, if say #1 became an open circuit or intermittently open circuit (due to a broken plug wire, dirty contacts, broken plug, loose wire, etc) the coil discharge would still try to find a path to ground. Usually it just arcs over the open circuit (just like in the spark plug) but sometimes it finds a way to the next plug in line- #3 in this case, or more accurately the #3 terminal in the cap. Track burns are after the carbon tracks "burn in" to the cap (they look like little lightning bolts in the cap) and become a permanent path.


By unplugging #3, it no longer provided the best path for #1 spark, so it quit firing 90 degrees early on that plug. But condensation will do the same thing.


However, I'd check #1 to make sure it's actually firing, particularly make sure the plug gap isn't too wide. It may be just fine, since you said the cap was cracked that might have caused the problem.

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Then maybe mine is not cracked, because it doesn't go all the way through,looks like a lightning bolt, and radiates from the center electrode. What causes this. After reading again I get that it may be caused by an intermittent open circuit.

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I was mistaken about the vents. I have some genuine U6001 caps, used on the last A15s, and they don't have vents. But they revised this cap three more times after that, not sure about those. Those newer revisions were last used on the 1986 Nissan 720 and 1987 Subaru with Hitachi distributor. Yes, same cap was used on L18, L20B, Z20E, and A-series.


Newer hitachi replacement caps from about 1985 are vented, and have a little post in-between two of the terminals. Its purpose is to let moisture out.

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What causes this.


The causes are several, including:

* Dirt/grime inside or outside the cap, allowing repeated misfiring

* Open circuit due to corrosion of spark wire ends, bad wire, low compression, misfire, vacuum leak on one cylinder, etc.


Both of these cause the spark to jump to the least resistance, and if it jumps the same path repeatedly it will damage the cap permanently (leaving a visible spark track).


The better caps (like genuine Nissan) have ridges inside the cap to better insulate the surface and reduce tracking. Cheaper caps are smooth inside. But dirt or grease inside (or outside) can ruin even the best cap.

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