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Crank no start after a new head cylinder, 91 pickup 4wd

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Old 05-14-2018, 08:34 PM   #1  
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Unhappy Crank no start after a new head cylinder, 91 pickup 4wd

If anyone can help, even with what to look for, I would appreciate it.

So, 1991 pickup 4wd, 22re

Replaced the head, all new gaskets, plugs, plug cables, distributor cap and belts, torqued to the Chilton manual. Fuel injectors got new O-rings. Care was taken with TDC, valves adjusted cold to 0.008 at intake and 0.012 at exhaust, electricity is definitely making it to the plugs, all hoses and sensors are connected the proper places, it has gas, battery charged to 12.49, all grounds are grounded. Left the timing chain alone as much as possible. A lot of carbon was cleaned out in the process. The air intake box was a chunky mess but now sparkles. Kept the EGR system (didn't want to deal with that much change yet). Distributor cap may be a few hairs tot he right or left of 1.

Now, it cranks without starting, or even sounding like it wants to. Double checked all the sensors and hoses. Nothing. What gives? This is my first top end rebuild, and there are so many possibilities, I need help narrowing down to the most likely culprits and how to suss them out.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:52 AM   #2  
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First, 12.49v is probably a very low battery (temperature dependent, and your multimeter could be off a few hundredths). If it cranks "okay," then the battery voltage is not your problem.

Second, verify that each plug is firing. You can try the tried-and-true method of holding a plug against a good ground and looking for the spark, but the easier and more reliable is to put the inductive pickup of your timing light on each plug wire. If it flashes, it's firing.

Third, make sure you're not 180 off on the distributor. There are TWO TDCs per revolution of the distributor. You need to verify (by looking at the cam sprocket) that the TDC you're using is at the top of the compression stroke.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:48 AM   #3  
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I have always found it easiest to try a quick shot of starting fluid to narrow down the possibilities, if it starts you know you are getting spark and the timing is at least close and you are not getting fuel.
if it doesn't start you need to check spark/timing/compression or flooding.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:48 PM   #4  
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First, 12.49v is probably a very low battery (temperature dependent, and your multimeter could be off a few hundredths). If it cranks "okay," then the battery voltage is not your problem.

Second, verify that each plug is firing. You can try the tried-and-true method of holding a plug against a good ground and looking for the spark, but the easier and more reliable is to put the inductive pickup of your timing light on each plug wire. If it flashes, it's firing.

Third, make sure you're not 180 off on the distributor. There are TWO TDCs per revolution of the distributor. You need to verify (by looking at the cam sprocket) that the TDC you're using is at the top of the compression stroke.
Copy. Charging the battery now, all spark plugs are firing.

Double checked TDC positioning; with the rotor pointing at 1 and the crankshaft marker lined up with 0, pistons 1 and 4 are all the way up, 2 and 3 are all the way down, #1 intake and exhaust rockers are loose while #4 intake and exhaust rockers are tight. Question- when I stripped the entire thing down to replace the head, I did a lot of spinning the crankshaft to clean carbon deposits off the piston heads and clean the chambers. When I put it back together I made sure pistons 1 & 4 were up with 2 & 3 down and the crankshaft marker lined up with 0. Did I miss something there? As long as the proper pistons are up and the marking is aligned, does it matter?
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:49 PM   #5  
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I have always found it easiest to try a quick shot of starting fluid to narrow down the possibilities, if it starts you know you are getting spark and the timing is at least close and you are not getting fuel.
if it doesn't start you need to check spark/timing/compression or flooding.
I'm about to go check it with starting fluid and check the compression now.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:50 PM   #6  
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Does anyone have thoughts on TPS? It was functioning before (although there was a surging idle), would a bad TPS lead to a crank-no-start?
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:17 PM   #7  
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Copy. Charging the battery now, all spark plugs are firing.

Double checked TDC positioning; with the rotor pointing at 1 and the crankshaft marker lined up with 0, pistons 1 and 4 are all the way up, 2 and 3 are all the way down, #1 intake and exhaust rockers are loose while #4 intake and exhaust rockers are tight. Question- when I stripped the entire thing down to replace the head, I did a lot of spinning the crankshaft to clean carbon deposits off the piston heads and clean the chambers. When I put it back together I made sure pistons 1 & 4 were up with 2 & 3 down and the crankshaft marker lined up with 0. Did I miss something there? As long as the proper pistons are up and the marking is aligned, does it matter?
it sounds like you covered all the bases by the book for initial timing. You also say you're getting spark on all 4, so my bet is you aren't getting any fuel. Either the pump isn't running, not giving enough pressure or your injectors aren't firing. give it one quick shot of starting fluid and let us know if it runs for a second or two.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:24 PM   #8  
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[QUOTE=akwheeler;52398547]it sounds like you covered all the bases by the book for initial timing. You also say you're getting spark on all 4, so my bet is you aren't getting any fuel. Either the pump isn't running, not giving enough pressure or your injectors aren't firing. give it one quick shot of starting fluid and let us know if it runs for a second or two.[/Q

About to check it now.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:52 PM   #9  
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... When I put it back together I made sure pistons 1 & 4 were up with 2 & 3 down and the crankshaft marker lined up with 0. Did I miss something there? As long as the proper pistons are up and the marking is aligned, does it matter?
When piston one is up, the crank is at TDC. But which one? How does the piston "know" whether it's at the top of the compression stroke, or the exhaust stroke? Answer: it doesn't care. What determines that is the CAM position, which turns around exactly 1/2 as fast as the crank. So if you perfectly assemble the head to the block, then turn to the TDC where #1 is on the exhaust, not compression stroke, and then insert the distributor, the distributor will be off by 180. And the plugs will be firing on empty cylinders.

Your confirmation that the #1 rockers are both loose when the rotor points (approx.) to #1 suggests that you are NOT 180 out.

So, the next most likely scenario is the one mentioned by AKWheeler; no fuel. The easy way to check that is cranking with a very gentle spritz of starter fluid. So do that next (always try to do your diagnostics from easy to hard.)
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:04 PM   #10  
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I have always found it easiest to try a quick shot of starting fluid to narrow down the possibilities, if it starts you know you are getting spark and the timing is at least close and you are not getting fuel.
if it doesn't start you need to check spark/timing/compression or flooding.
So, does not start with starter fluid. But the plugs are damp after attempts. Not soaked, but still wet.

About to check compression.
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:11 PM   #11  
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When piston one is up, the crank is at TDC. But which one? How does the piston "know" whether it's at the top of the compression stroke, or the exhaust stroke? Answer: it doesn't care. What determines that is the CAM position, which turns around exactly 1/2 as fast as the crank. So if you perfectly assemble the head to the block, then turn to the TDC where #1 is on the exhaust, not compression stroke, and then insert the distributor, the distributor will be off by 180. And the plugs will be firing on empty cylinders.

Your confirmation that the #1 rockers are both loose when the rotor points (approx.) to #1 suggests that you are NOT 180 out.

So, the next most likely scenario is the one mentioned by AKWheeler; no fuel. The easy way to check that is cranking with a very gentle spritz of starter fluid. So do that next (always try to do your diagnostics from easy to hard.)
Thanks for affirming the piston placement quandary- I thought as much, but was worried there was something I had missed. So all that is good. Tried to start with starter fluid, and no-go, yet the plugs are damp when I check afterwards. I'm going to dry them out and check again with the starter fluid, and in the meantime check compression.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:07 PM   #12  
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So, for post compression test update;

Dry and wet results for each chamber-
1. 2. 3. 4.
Dry. 95. 95. 95. 110

Wet. 150. 140 140. 190

So, higher compression value at the last cylinder. While there was a slight increase at cylinder 1 while wet, 10 points doesn't seem like a big deal. Does that mean the gasket isn't functional? What to check next?

To recap-
-cranks, doesn't start
-has gas
-battery is charged to 12.7
-doesn't start with starter fluid
-spark plugs get electricity
-cylinders 1&4 are up with with crankshaft marker at 0, rotor at 1, #1 rockers loose and #4 rockers tight.
-valves were adjusted to 0.008" injection and 0.012" exhaust and checked after crank-no start
-while putting it together, fuel injectors were tested to function fine and-rings were replaced
-fuel was found inside the intake manifold while inspecting after the first crank-no-start
-spark plugs are damp after an ignition attempt
-compression is off
-I'm using new spark plugs (ngk-r bpr5ey), rotor, distributor cap, plug wires
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:56 PM   #13  
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So, it turned on~~!!!

Now, I've got white smoke coming from the seams between the exhaust manifold bottom and the pipe. I had replaced the weird o-rings there because they came with the kit. No gasket otherwise.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:14 PM   #14  
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White smoke (you probably know) means water. But water is also a combustion product; you usually don't see it because the exhaust system is warm enough to keep it in vapor form. But on first start-up with cold pipes, it's not uncommon to see "steam" for a few seconds.

If you see "white smoke" for more than a minute, you're leaking coolant into the stream somewhere.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:58 PM   #15  
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White smoke (you probably know) means water. But water is also a combustion product; you usually don't see it because the exhaust system is warm enough to keep it in vapor form. But on first start-up with cold pipes, it's not uncommon to see "steam" for a few seconds.

If you see "white smoke" for more than a minute, you're leaking coolant into the stream somewhere.
The smoke stopped, I think it had to do with the new o-rings between the lower exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe. They are aspires of metal with some sort of green material in them. Anyway, gone now.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:10 PM   #16  
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Do you know why the engine did not start before but starts and runs now?

I am curious if you found something wrong or if it just happened to fire up.

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Old 05-15-2018, 06:53 PM   #17  
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Do you know why the engine did not start before but starts and runs now?

I am curious if you found something wrong or if it just happened to fire up.

I'm really not sure. I noticed that once it started running, the idle was REALLY low, even with the rotor set to TDC. So I jumped out and advanced the rotor, increasing the idle, and it maintained pretty well. Taking a timing light to it, the mark on the camshaft belt was extremely retarded, even after advancing the distributor to the top of its range. So I futzed with it a bit, taking off the entire distributor and resetting it, until I got it in a good spot that I could actually play with the timing. But also, when I was doing a compression test, I dumped a tablespoon of oil in the cylinders for the wet test, which I think sealed them up enough get good compression for ignition. So, I'm not sure. Still worried that I blew the head gasket with my ignorance, that maybe the cylinders are too worn (only 160k though) or that come morning with all the oil drained out of the cylinders all night, they'll fail again. But we'll see. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:56 PM   #18  
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That teaspoon of oil disappeared with the first cycle. But the wet/dry compression ratio of over 1.5 certainly suggests bad rings/cylinder walls. You may be running with just really low compression. Which is not a good sign for the long term.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:59 AM   #19  
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I think your engine is toast. Your static compression is too low. How many miles on this??? Or has it had really bad maintenance? Perhaps its time for some STP treatment. These engines are tough so even with bad numbers it can still work for quite awhile.
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