1978 Ranchero wont start

Discussion in 'General Automotive Questions' started by kal, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
    Have 78 Ranchero with 302 & C4 got it couple months ago just now tried to start it & it wont start. The guy I got it from said he had it running about 2 months ago. Were the distributor is at the piece that goes in front of it says fix. Wanting to know with this car what would keep it from starting with all these emissions on here?
     
  2. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

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    Starting from the ground ... it needs sparks (at the right time) and it needs gasoline (in the right amount).

    You can pull the distributor and replace it in the known correct position; pull it, crank the motor until it is at top-center. You might need to pull the number-1 plug to verify that you are at the top of compression stroke. Then reinstall the distributor so fits with the "1" showing at about 1pm on a clock face while you face toward the rear of the car. Once it's installed, lay a plug with its wire on your head (ground) and crank it over a couple times to verify that you can see a spark. If you have seen it run you can skip this step. If you don't see a spark then you have deeper problems.

    You need to have gas in the carb bowl that will visibly squirt fuel from the spray jets when you work the throttle -- you will need to remove the air cleaner to verify this is working. Should not need more than two squirts to avoid flooding the motor. Starting a dead motor, I'd begin by using a teaspoon to drop fuel into both sides of the carb; if it's ready to run that will operate it for a few seconds, enough to wake-up the fuel pump.

    Don't know your history with the motor? Wouldn't hurt to run a compression check on it. Is the gasoline 'good'? It could go bad, but probably not in only two months. Unlikely that emission stuff will keep it from running.
     
  3. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
    it is not getting spark & the gray piece in front of the distributor has tape on it & says fix. Was told this is a spark advance & it needs changed out.
     
  4. rfinnegan

    rfinnegan In Third Gear

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    The piece you mentioned that needs to be fixed sounds like the vacuum advance. But it shouldn’t prevent it from starting.

    Is the coil producing spark?
     
  5. burninbush

    burninbush In Maximum Overdrive

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    8,254
    Location:
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    You can get the advance mechanism from NAPA most likely. Summit will have one.

    Not knowing what state it was left in --- it still should spark at the plug. Not doing that means that some Duraspark element is busted, either the coil gizmo inside the distributor, or the control box itself. All available on the web. Outside chance it could be the coil itself.

    Or you can buy a complete Asian-parts distributor + coil on the web if you want to change it.

    You can find the schematics on the web if you want to hot-wire it, pretty simple, that way you could avoid stuff like neutral-safety switch garbage.
     
  6. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
    its this gray piece here in front of the distributor that has tape on it says fix [​IMG]
     
  7. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Is that a pic of your engine? That distributor could be a points distributor, or a Duraspark I (the ignition module would have a green grommet where the wires come out). If it's points, it may need a point and condenser set, but really, you absolutely need electronic ignition, either the proper Duraspark II distributor, as on Babe's engine:

    http://www.ranchero.us/forum/index....gs-from-working-inside-the-dash.21952/page-25 Post 498, first pic. A Duraspark II dizzy (which your car had from the factory) will look like that, or a Pertronix Igniter II electronic moule, which replaces the point/condenser set.

    So, pop the cap off, let's see what is inside.

    Edit: I should've looked a little closer--that pic is a stock photo of a 302 in an older car, as yours is a '78. But, an actual pic of the distributor, with the cap off, could allow one of us to possibly help you.
     
  8. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
    not a pic of my engine but mine looks like it.
     
  9. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Can you actually shoot a pic of your distributor, close-up, with the cap off, then send it to me for resizing and posting? My email is silvertwinkiehobo@gmail.com.
     
  10. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
  11. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
  12. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
  13. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
  14. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    7,711
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    OK, you do have Duraspark II. So, diagnosis 101: Spark/fuel/compression, in that order. Verify there is spark. No spark, there is a diagnostic tree I can look up and send you pics of, for you to follow. Verify there is fuel. No fuel, same thing, and compression. So, to start, pull the coil wire from the center of the cap, plug an old spark plug, with the center electrode removed, into the coil wire, then ground the outside of the plug in a place you can see it as you crank the engine. You should have uninterrupted sparking, nice fat, bluish sparks jumping the gap on that plug, with no hesitation. If there is no sparking during cranking, pull the cap off in a way that you can see the rotor while cranking, to verify the distributor rotor is actually turning. Start with those, and let me know what you find.
     
  15. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
    Would any electronic distributor from Advance Auto & NAPA work? Might just see about replacing it this weekend if a distributor from them will work. I wound them for under $100.
     
  16. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Well, hold on. You can't just guess and throw parts at your problem. For the ignition to work, the distributor, coil, ignition module, ignition electrical switch and wiring all have to work. Just because there's a note on the distributor, does not necessarily mean the distributor is bad. I've had countless customers tell me what was bad on their car, and tell us to replace that part, only to find out that wasn't the problem. Not to mention, if the distributor's pickup unit is bad, you do not have to remove the distributor to replace it, unlike the later TFI distributors. And that could save you some money while keeping your engine timing set. I haven't found that diagnosis tree yet, it's in one of my books, but as soon as I find it, you'll have it.
     
  17. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Check your PM inbox.
     
  18. kal

    kal In Second Gear

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Charleston WV
    I got the car on July 6th 2018 the guy I got it off of said he had the car 2 months & started it but it was real hard to start. Being low on oil & oil cap missing on motor would be a lot of the problem. The belts are real old on the car real brittle on the sides.
     
  19. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Maximum Overdrive PLATINUM MEMBER

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    When you pull the dipstick is there milk or sludge ? At the very least you should change the oil and filter before you run it.
     
  20. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Just because it sat for so long, it should be changed.
     

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