Question about 1983 Buick Riviera

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'63 Buick Riviera -401 c.i.----setting the timing-need an old gearhead for this one!

My '63 Riviera has been setting up for awhile-I just installed new points and all it does is backfire through the does one set/check timing when it won't start? 9 year old grandson had left the ignition on -listening to the radio-and burned the points started fine before this happened....that was last summer.....I might have some "old" gas in the tank-but it does fire...any help will be appreciated.....Doug in Texas

PS,,,I have everything but a timing light...I'm not a geek around these old cars- I'm 61 and can follow directions well---the year of product wouldn't let me go back to '63!

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  • dodiho Sep 27, 2008

    Distributor has the "trap door" dwell meter-just a VOM.....I know I didn't move the Dist.-it was locked down--and the plug wires weren't taken off...could the coil be too weak? and I put the new points back into the same place on the dist. cam lobe....could ALL of the plugs be fouled from trying to crank with raw gas in the cylinders?


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Check the pipe that is placed between the carb and exhaust manifold, if thhat is not properly in place, it can be the cause for the backfiring.
Check the distributor cap, if there is a crack or dirt that can give you troubles of this kind.
If the valves are set to tight when they get hot they can cause backfireing and lack of power.
If the ignition had been left on for a long time, you may need to replace the coil.

Posted on Sep 27, 2008

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  • Master
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Do you have a dwell meter?
does this have the little slide up door on side of cap that you use an allen wrench to set the dwell?
if you did not move distributor then timing would not have changed.
is it possible you have plug wires on in wrong order?

Posted on Sep 27, 2008

  • TripleTauto
    TripleTauto Sep 27, 2008

    ac/delco plugs do not like getting gas fouled. i have had this same problem from fouling the plugsand started backfiring.

    put a new set in and this will probably cure your problem. I would also recommend converting to electronic ignition.I know this wont cure your problem but it will make a lot less hassle in long run.Mallory makes a conversion kit that installs in your distributor it is a nice little kit and gives you a lot hotter spark!!!!! like this:


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