Question about 1988 Ford F 150

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I have tried every way that I've seen online and every way I know to set my distributer and I still can't get my truck to crank ! It's firing and getting gas but it just won't start.

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Distributr cap may be worn inside. Clean or replace. Ignition module cud be bad or coil. Old spark wires tu

Posted on Apr 14, 2015

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If your timing mark is on 0 and piston is not at TDC then the key on your balancer has sheared (very very rare) just a thought are you checking number one piston for TDC standing at the front of the truck number one is first on the left. Hope this helps.

Posted on Apr 14, 2015

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Hi Dalton:
If you turn the motor over until the timing mark on the damper is on "0" , number one piston will be at TDC. It will either be between intake and exhaust so the valves will be open, or it will be in the process of firing so both valves should be closed. One way to tell which it is, is to pull the number 1 sparkplug and try to put pressure in the cylinder. A really basic tool that works is a piece of tubber tubing with electrical tape wrapped around one end. Stuff the wrapped up end ito the spark plug hole, and blow on the other end. If the valves are open you can blow all day, and if they are closed, your cheekd will get all puffed up and you'll look like a chipmunk.
So here we are at TDC, on compression, and wondering about some spark. Trace the # plug back to the distributor, and put a mark on the cap right below that wire. Just for the fun of it, check the plug lead sequence to be sure that they match the firing order.
Remove the distributor cap and see where the pointy end of the rotor is aimed at. It must be really close to or just before the # 1 plug wire position. If it isn't, you can either rotate the distributor through a few degrees to make it close, or you can figure which way it needs to rotate, and then carefully lift the distribubutor just enough to let the gears clear, (the rotor will turn as you lift it) make your adjustment, and slide it back in. It may take a couple of tries to get it pointing right with the distributor centred so that you can rotate it to set the timing.
When you're at this point, snug down the clamp on the distributor just so that you can rotate it for timing., put all the plugs back in, re-connect the plug wires, and have a go. If it burps fire out of the carb it is sparking way too advanced and the intake valve is still open.
It's better to start a bit retarded and then advance until the light is right or the engine starts to sweet you.
Hope this helps. Lot's of dirt track race engines fell for it.

Posted on Apr 14, 2015

Testimonial: "5.8l when I put the timing make on my balancer on "0" the number one piston isn't at the top does that mean it has jumped time"

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  • Ted Maxwell Apr 14, 2015

    Hi Dalton: Maybe I'm confused. The balancer is tached to the crank. The crank is a to the rods and pistons, so when #1 is at TDC, the timing mark has to be at zero. Sounds like the key in the damper may be sheared.. m

  • Dalton hynum
    Dalton hynum Apr 14, 2015

    Well it's that or it's jumped time ? Right or wrong? Because I have set the destrbuter every way u can do it and I still can't get it to crank and it was running when I pulled the distributer out but not running good

  • Ted Maxwell Apr 14, 2015

    Hi Dalton: Flat out, the #1 piston has to be at TDC when the timing mark on the balancer is at zero. If it's not, either the rubber in the balancer is broken allowing the balancer to rotate out of alignment, or the key lining the balancer up with the crankshaft has sheared. Trust me, you've got to get it lined up properly and it will mean a new key, or a new balancer. "Jumping time" could refer to either a gear in the distributor, or a link in the valve timing chain. Let's hope it's not the timing chain. Since you've had the distributor out, if you follow the procedure I gave to start with you should get it "running like a song". Stay patient, work safe. Ted


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We really need to know more about what you are working with. There are a few thoughts that come to mind however. Not to insult but first check that wiring is in proper order. Next check for compression from each cylinder. This can easily be achieved by removing each spark plug in turn and holding a thumb over the hole. If there is air trying to push past your thumb you should have enough compression to at least get er to crank. Finally, set distributor where you think it ought to be, then with a helper turning the key slowly rotate the distributor clockwise, then counterclockwise. You won't be able to set the timing until you have it running.

Posted on Apr 14, 2015

Testimonial: "It has a 5.8l when I put the timing mark on my balancer on "0" the number one piston isn't at the top . Does that mean it has jumped time"

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