Timing could be 180 deg out meaning your trying to fire on the exhaust stroke instead of the ignition stroke? cheack that your cam timing is right if you have had the timing belt off ? reset to top dead center then make sure you are on the right stroke
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TDC stands for 'Top Dead Center', and refers to the first piston and the harmonic balancer: with the spark plug removed in the first firing cylinder, you turn the harmonic balancer till it tops out (the piston-you can use the eraser end of a pencil, sticking it down till you feel it hit) when accomplished you set your mark and that is your TDC now you adjust with a timing gun/light using that mark. This is always nessecary when engine has been changed, altered or rebuilt, because stock specs no longer apply. . .
Since I'm not sure how much info you have, here's what I have in my Chilton manual. The firing order is 1-5-3-6-2-4. Your timing marks should be on the damper and your timing is the 3rd line AFTER the "O" mark. Your point are set at .020 and the plugs at .035. If you are able to set dwell it should be 35-38.
To set the inital timing remove the valve cover first. As you turn the engine over by hand watch the operation of the valves. As the timing marks come up on the O the intake valve should be closing. At the O you are on Top Dead Center (TDC). If you go past TDC the exhaust valve should start to open. If this is what you see, then you can line up your distributor with the #1 spark plug and wire your cap from there. It this is NOT what you see then turn the engine over 1 complete turn back to TDC and you should see it happen this time. The crank turns twice to every 1 turn of the camshaft.Now insert your distributor and go from here. Snug the distributor and fire up the engine, use a timing light and set to the third mark ahead, that would be the direction the pulley is turning. Hope this helps.
Sounds like a timing problem. Back firing through the carb usually indicates that the timing is after TDC instead of before TDC. Not running would be an indication of the same. The normal timing is just a few degree before TDC (BTDC).
With engine Crankshaft on TDC and cam timing set correctly this is the position where No. 1 cylinder is firing at the start of the power stroke. At this point No. 4 cylinder is also at TDC but is just at the end of the exhaust stroke and starting the intake stroke so the exhaust valve will be almost finished closing and the inlet valve will just be starting to open. This is referred to as the inlet and exhaust valves rocking.
Coils are a common problem, sorry to say.
There are a few potential things to replace. But its expensive guess work.
I would bite the bullet and visit a Renault dealer.
It could be:
1. TDC sensor. TDC stands for Top Dead Centre. If the igition does not get a signal from this sensor it does not know when to ignite the fuel.
2. Sometimes the temp sensor that tells the ignition how warm the engine is can fail. If the ignition gets a false reading or no info it will assume a set value. This can make the car try to start as its got the "Choke on" and if the engine is semi warm it will not allways start first time.
3. There are loads of other sensors that can fail and cause it not to start.
As you say it will do this at any time, is it its mainly when the engine is hot or warm?
When the car is working does it drive ok, or does it have a lack of power?
Remove the cam cover, remove the spark plugs, turn the engine to number 1 TDC, put a pencil in spark plug hole number one and twist the crank back and forth and make doubly sure you are at TDC. Now loosen the four bolts at the front of each cam sprocket, check TDC again with the pencil and rocking the crank, now take the pencil and lay it across the flats at the back of each cam. Twist the cams very carefully so that the pencil sits flat on each cam square. Snug up the sprocket bolts and use the pencil to check TDC again! Now check the cams again. Repeat the procedure until you have the cams flat and the engine at TDC.