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Thread: Help Needed - Engine won't start

  1. #1

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    Help Needed - Engine won't start

    I have an '87 with a 2.6L / auto transmission. The engine has been running OK. It was blowing out a pretty good stream of coolant out the head gasket in the area facing the firewall. I pulled the head and replaced the head gasket and put everything back together last night. I have spark on all 4 wires, engine turns over just fine, but the engine won't start. I shot down the carb starting fluid to see if it would fire off - no chugging, no burps, nothing.

    When I pulled the head, the cam shaft sproket remained on the holder and the chain didn't move and I didn't move the cam shaft. When I pulled the distributor, I market the shaft and even took a picture of it. It went in just as it came out.

    After it not starting the first round of trials, I pulled spark plug #1, put a feeler into the cylinder, looked for a goodly amount of air coming out of the spark plug hole and found where the pitston was at TDC. I then pulled the distributor cap and found the rotor in the plug #1 position. I tried to restart - nogo.

    I then shot some starting fluid into cylinder #1 and dropped the plug back in and tried to start it - still no firing.....

    I'm out of solutions on this one. Could I be 180 off on the timing? I don't have a timing light (may have to get a cheap one...) so I can't say whether I am on time. I tried starting with the distributor in the middle (where it was before the head gasket fix), and then at each end of the slot travel. The engine is not firing.

    Any ideas? I'm at a standstill as to what to check next. Thanks in advance for any help you folks can give.

  2. #2

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    Did you fix the spark issue? Check for 12 volts at the positive side of the coil with the ignition in the ON position, if no power, could be the balist resistor on top of the coil. Mine went bad.

  3. #3

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    Are you getting fuel? Pull a plug after cranking to see of its wet.
    1990 MM 4x4 3.0
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  4. #4

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    Guys - thaks for the help. I finally broke down and bought a timing light - hadn't had the need for one over the last 20 years.... Well, the timing was off by one tooth. When I slipped the distributor shaft back in I was off. It runs now, but instead of having a leak to the outside in teh rear of the engine, I am blowing some radiator fluid out the exhaust. The middle two cylinders are wet inside (pulled the plugs and they were swamped). I pulled the valve cover and loosened the head bolts, then retorqued them a second time. A little less coming out through the exhaust, but still a leak into both #2 and #3 cylinders. When I pulled head, I did not send it off to the machinist to flattent the head so I assume that I have too much warp in the head to fully seat and seal the head gasket.... Anyone had any luck with stuff like Blue Devil or Bars at this point? The pickup is just for "farm use" and a 5 mile daily commute. It has nearly reached the end of life after 150K miles and 25+ years. It would be nice to get another year out of it before retiring it.

    I'm looking for solutions that are cheaper than doing a macining job on the head.

  5. #5

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    Only 125k? You're just getting it broken in! You didn't say what condition the rest of it is in but a little machine shop work is a small price to pay for another 100k.
    1990 MM 4x4 3.0
    1991 MM 4x4 3.0 Diamonte
    1994 MM 2wd (work in progress)

  6. #6

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    I agree with lush90 these little motors run for miles and miles!!! As long as you dont run the living piss out of it, at least not all the time.

  7. #7

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    loosened the head bolts, then retorqued them a second time.
    Wait...I want to hear about this. Is this the way the re-torque is supposed to be done after 500 miles, or is this a means of correcting leaks...and does it work?

    I am in agreement with the others, having taken the heads off two engines, that the block is very good grade iron that lasts...both engines still showed cross-hatching in the cylinders, and my 2.4 has 217,000 on the odometer. I'd buy a truck with 125,000 miles in a heartbeat...though I'm NOT familiar with the 2.6 at all.
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  8. #8

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    Every time i've re-tourqed head bolts i've just tourqed them without loosening them back up personally I don't see any reason to.

  9. #9



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    Guarantee you cracked(or had a cracked) head the first go around. Those 2.6 heads are NOTORIOUS for cracking with any little bit of overheating.
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  10. #10

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    I loosened them up and retorqued as the first time it was done by my son and I just wanted to make sure. Assuming the head is not cracked, what is the going rate for flattening the head? Is there a way to do it without doing the valves as well?

  11. #11

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    You shouldn't do anything to the valves unless you replace rings, too: the extra pressure on the top end will stress the old rings to break.

    One trick I heard from BradMPH (wait...I think it was Brady H) was to set a thick piece of glass on your workbench, and place 220 sandpaper on the glass. Tape it so it's flat and won't move. Move the head back and forth, periodically checking your progress. Of course, don't slide the head over tape, just tape two long sides. The glass (1/4") offers a fairly true surface to do this on. The forum experts might disagree, but I'd be willing to do this, myself. In fact, I shoulda, but didn't. I got away unscathed, so far.
    Last edited by royster; 01-21-2014 at 07:31 PM.
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

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