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Hard to say. If the ignition key were left on by mistake for a time and drained the battery it would result in burnt breaker points. Check for spark. Remove a spark plug cable and use one of the old plugs inserted in the cable end. Ground the plug body to the engine block and have someone try a startup, observe spark plug gap for spark. No spark, problem found. Go to breaker points. May be a weak spark(yellow color) and need to replace points and condenser anyways.
A four-cylinder engine has four spark plugs. An important part of the power-generating process, each spark plug is responsible for igniting the fuel and air mixture inside of its cylinder. At the beginning of a stroke, a piston moves downward in its cylinder, drawing in a precise mixture of gas and air. After reaching the bottom, the piston moves back up, heavily compressing the mixture. Once it reaches the top, the spark plug ignites the mixture, and the explosion forces the piston down into the cylinder. This mechanical movement is harnessed and used to power the vehicle. Some large engines may have two spark plugs per cylinder to ensure that complete combustion is achieved and maximum power is generated.
can you tell us if it is a 2 stroke or 4 stroke engine. If it is 2 stroke then is it oil injected or is the oil mixed in the fuel. Can you tell us what viscosity of oil you are using Mostly the ignition timing is fixed by the position of the flywheel. Comment with more information.
You have to put the number 1 cylinder at Top Dead Center of the compression stroke, and then you install the distributor with the rotor pointing to the #1 spark plug wire tower that is on the distributor cap.
Pull the spark plug from number 1 cylinder. You need a helper to turn the engine over by hand (using a socket on the crank pulley), or he can bump the starter over in very short bursts. Put your finger over the spark plug hole. When the piston is rising on the compression stroke, you will feel air pressure on your finger. Now look at the crank pulley and turn the engine on over until the zero degrees mark lines up on the timing pointer. Or you can stick a long straw or similar into the spark plug hole (don't let it drop into the cylinder!) to feel when the piston is at top of travel...see, you feel for pressure build up with finger (piston is rising on compression stroke), when you feel it, turn engine on over by hand until the piston is at top of travel-that is TDC of compression stroke. Now install distributor so that rotor ends up pointing directly to number 1 spark plug wire tower. Then follow firing order -as the rotor turns, it will follow the firing order around the dist. cap.
There are two top dead centers of each piston, tdc of compression stroke and tdc of exhaust stroke- to time the engine, you need tdc of compression-that is when the spark plug fires in the cylinder, so that is when you want the distributor in with the rotor pointing to #1.
install a pressure gauge on the number one cylinder and when you see the needle move, you're on the compression stroke, you can also use your finger to plug the spark plug hole and turn the engine, then again when you feel or hear air coming out, you're on the compression stroke, then just insert a long screwdriver in the hole and turn the engine until you see the screwdriver reach the highest point before it starts falling down again, and there you go, you have top dead center.
Sounds like you have your timing off. If it is backfiring, that means that 2 of your wires are crossed, causing the plugs to fire on the exhaust stroke versus the compression stroke. Recheck your timing.