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Jax50
10-28-2011, 10:07 AM
Hello to All, I have recently purchased my first boat (1985 Stars and Stripes) with a 351w. When I bought the boat it was not running. I bought the boat from a friend and knew that he was having problems with the boat firing. I replaced the coil and I now have fire to the distrubutor, however the boat will not start. It backfires and sounds like the timing is off. I am some what mechanically inclined but have never really built or trouble shooted any motors. It also binds the starter at some points which I know happens when the timings is off. The starter is also not a marine starter and I believe it is from a 85 Ford F150. He said he put new plug wires on it to try and get it to fire and I believe he has placed them on wrong. I brought the motor up to TDC and the rotor faces the #5 cylinder. Is this normal on Fords? I believe Chevy it points to the #1 cylinder. I found the firing order online for the 351w and placed the plug wires on and still it won't start. It turns over fine but will not start. It continues to back fire. Anyone have any suggestions? I am already looking at replacing the starter with a marine grade starter. Thanks Clayton

thatsmrmastercraft
10-28-2011, 10:17 AM
Welcome to Team Talk and congrats on getting a getting a great boat. Post some pictures please.

When you started replacing the plug wires, did you bring the #1 cylinder to the top of the compression stroke? I'm guessing perhaps you were at the top of the exhaust stroke.

Jax50
10-28-2011, 10:29 AM
Yes, it as at the top of the compression stroke I believe. Is there a way to confirm this? Sry I am not to familiar with motors.

thatsmrmastercraft
10-28-2011, 10:34 AM
Yes, it as at the top of the compression stroke I believe. Is there a way to confirm this? Sry I am not to familiar with motors.

Remove the #1 spark plug and stick you finger over the spark plug hole. You will feel the air being forced out as the piston comes up. If you have the ability to get a socket on the crankshaft pulley (assuming the raw water pump isn't there) you can turn the engine over by hand and put a 3/8" wooden dowel in the hole as soon as you feel the piston coming up on the compression stroke. This will allow you to be right on at TDC.

Jax50
10-28-2011, 10:44 AM
Ok, then yes we were at TDC. Sry, I should have posted what we did before I asked how to confirm. The firing order I found started as 1 3 7. The first plug started to the right side of the clip on the cap and went counter clockwise around from there. The points are in ok shape. I tried to buy new ones from Discount Auto but they were unable to find any that matched what I had.

thatsmrmastercraft
10-28-2011, 10:55 AM
When you said you have fire to the distributor, does this mean that while cranking with the coil wire removed (you can also clip the inductive lead from a timing light over the coil wire) from the dist. cap there is spark? If this is the case, the points are working well enough to get the job done for now. You can get points for a 1974 f150 with a 351. I would replace these sooner rather than later as they may be the culprit. You also need to look at the dist cap and rotor at this point as they may need to be replaced.. Are you getting any spark to the plug wires? Remove a plug wire from a sparkplug and insert a screwdriver into the connector. Hold this near the head and crank the engine to look for spark. You might also loosen the dist and adjust slightly so it doesn't slow the cranking with too much timing.

Jax50
10-28-2011, 11:05 AM
Ok thanks I will get new points ASAP. It has a Prestolite Distributor, do you know where I might find a electric conversion? I looked on SKIDM but none of them said anything about Prestolite. The previous owner put on a new cap and rotor. And yes I have removed the coil wire from the cap and get a good spark there and also with a plug wire removed. I did notice that when we removed the #1 plug wire to test for spark the motor fired off.

TRBenj
10-28-2011, 12:51 PM
I brought the motor up to TDC and the rotor faces the #5 cylinder.

Ok, then yes we were at TDC.
:confused:

If thats the case, then the firing order is probably 180 out. Meaning that the engine was at at TDC on the wrong stroke (exhaust, not compression) when it was set.

By definition, "TDC" is the position of the piston on cylinder #1. To set the timing properly, you need to get cylinder #1 to top dead center on the compression stroke. Whichever post on the distributor the rotor is pointing to at that time should get the #1 spark plug wire installed on it. Follow the cap around counterclockwise[/] from there with the proper firing order. Assuming you have a conventional rotation (LH) Ford 351w, the FO is 13726548.

If the boat will not start, follow the following steps:
1) Check that you have fuel
2) Check that you have spark
3) Verify your timing

If all 3 check out, then go back to #1 and #2 to verify the [i]quality of each. Bad gas or weak spark will also keep the motor from starting. Though, based on your description, it sounds like a timing issue. Do not start disconnecting or replacing anything until youve been through this list and have identified the issue (lack of spark, weak spark, lack of fuel, bad gas, etc). Otherwise you will be chasing your tail and creating more variables that could be causing your problem.

thatsmrmastercraft
10-28-2011, 12:55 PM
If you call the guys at SKIDIM they will be able to get you the correct EI conversion. You can also go the Pertronix route. They have very good quality and their price is right. I believe this is the correct unit but call them to confirm. They have very good tech support as well.
PerTronix 909-599-5955

http://www.shopatron.com/products/productdetail/part_number=1485A/591.0.1.1

With the correct part number, Ebay is a good source for finding these at a good price.

chawk610
10-28-2011, 12:57 PM
Could it be that the starter is the wrong rotation?????

thatsmrmastercraft
10-28-2011, 12:58 PM
Ok thanks I will get new points ASAP. It has a Prestolite Distributor, do you know where I might find a electric conversion? I looked on SKIDM but none of them said anything about Prestolite. The previous owner put on a new cap and rotor. And yes I have removed the coil wire from the cap and get a good spark there and also with a plug wire removed. I did notice that when we removed the #1 plug wire to test for spark the motor fired off.

This tells me that your firing order isn't right, or you didn't have the #1 cylinder exactly at TDC with the rotor pointing exactly at the #1 plug wire. If you are out of whack by one, you may be able to rotate the dist. enough to overcome. I would encourage you to recheck the distributor alignment.

wtrskr
10-28-2011, 01:20 PM
You also may be able to use an inductive timing light without starting the engine to see how far off the light is from top dead center. Cut off the fuel delivery (not sure best method for a mechanical fuel pump). Put the inductive connector on the #1 plug wire and turn the ignition. Assuming you already know that you have the timing order right, you can adjust the distributor to get it close by this method. Then you can allow the fuel delivery, start the engine, and fine tune the timing with the engine running.

thatsmrmastercraft
10-28-2011, 01:37 PM
You also may be able to use an inductive timing light without starting the engine to see how far off the light is from top dead center. Cut off the fuel delivery (not sure best method for a mechanical fuel pump). Put the inductive connector on the #1 plug wire and turn the ignition. Assuming you already know that you have the timing order right, you can adjust the distributor to get it close by this method. Then you can allow the fuel delivery, start the engine, and fine tune the timing with the engine running.

Good thought. Don't need to cut off the fuel pump operation on these old girls.

EricB
10-28-2011, 01:44 PM
Disable the ignition by grounding the coil wire. Removew coil wire from distributor and ground it. Crank engine. Does it crank "normally"? If it does, then the problem is ignition related.

Jax50
10-28-2011, 02:02 PM
Are you talking about the main coil wire on top of the cap or the lead for the points?

Jax50
10-28-2011, 02:14 PM
1 - 3 - 7 - 2 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 8 is the correct firing order right? I guess when I get home I will try and move them all one to the left or one to the right.

wtrskr
10-28-2011, 02:28 PM
Good thought. Don't need to cut off the fuel pump operation on these old girls.

I used this method when setting the timing on mine but I don't remember exactly how I did it. I beleive that I removed the spark plugs so that the engine would turn over easier, but then I would have had all the plug wires sparking all over the place and I don't remember that happening. I beleive I may have disconnected all the wires from the distributor except the #1 wire to stop that from happening. I do know that I cut off the fuel delivery (fuel pump fuse) so I wouldn't flood the cylinders with gas.

EricB
10-28-2011, 04:51 PM
Pop the ignition coil high voltage wire off of the top of the distributor cap. Curl the lead towards the engine block (somewhere convienient) and ground it. This disables the ignition system.
Turn the key and crank the engine. Does it crank over smoothly now?, or does it still sound like it is cranking erratic?
If it now cranks smooth (compared to when the ignition was enabled) then your problem is related to ignition and timing.

Cloaked
10-28-2011, 06:24 PM
Get a new marine starter. High-torque from skidim.com. An auto starter is nothing but a hazard in a marine application. There's a reason and federal laws that result in the marinization of an engine.

Skidim also has a conversion kit for your ignition. Get rid of the points. Install it and then reset the timing. Make sure the electric choke is properly adjusted as well as your air screws in the carb. Plugs would be my least concern right now but replace them and the wires anyway. A nice new hot coil never hurts....

Jax50
10-29-2011, 06:26 AM
UPDATE: Marine starter has been ordered as well as an electric ignition conversion.

I am still unable to find new points. I tried 1974 Ford. I did not have the points with me at the time so we could not compare others, so while I'm waiting for my new parts to come in I will pull the points and try to locate new ones so I can continue to try to get her running. I pulled the coil wire and grounded it. Yes turns over fine. I believe most of my problem is with timing or the distributor.

Thanks for all the help so far guys.

Jax50
10-29-2011, 06:32 AM
Forgot to ask,

Does anyone know where the rotor should be facing when at TDC? Mine is pointing at cylinder #5 and my first plug for the firing order starts one spot right of the clip for the dist cap.

Cloaked
10-29-2011, 07:02 AM
UPDATE: Marine starter has been ordered as well as an electric ignition conversion.

I am still unable to find new points. I tried 1974 Ford. I did not have the points with me at the time so we could not compare others, so while I'm waiting for my new parts to come in I will pull the points and try to locate new ones so I can continue to try to get her running. I pulled the coil wire and grounded it. Yes turns over fine. I believe most of my problem is with timing or the distributor.

Thanks for all the help so far guys.Give that conversion kit a chance to get to your doorstep and you will not need the points.... :cool:

The ignition conversion kit comes with crappy instructions. There's a thread here somewhere that has a better set of instructions and step-by-step guidance with pictures.

http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=3533


.

Jax50
10-29-2011, 07:53 AM
Thanks so much. I am also replacing the main positive and negative cables due to some cuts in them. Do yall suggest staying with the same sizes or bumping up to bigger?

mikeg205
10-29-2011, 09:03 AM
Thanks so much. I am also replacing the main positive and negative cables due to some cuts in them. Do yall suggest staying with the same sizes or bumping up to bigger?

At least keep the same size. If you start adding systems for ballast and big sound I recommend a second battery with heavy gauge wires - but that can also effect your alternator load requirements.

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
10-29-2011, 10:52 AM
Forgot to ask,

Does anyone know where the rotor should be facing when at TDC? Mine is pointing at cylinder #5 and my first plug for the firing order starts one spot right of the clip for the dist cap.

rotor should be pointing at #1, sounds like to me the wires are on wrong posts, rewire the plug wires starting on #1 and go counterclock wise you have the correct firing order, also on ford engines the starboard side in cyl 1, 2, 3, and 4 the port side is 5, 6, 7, and 8. ford is numbered differently than chevy.

Jerseydave
10-29-2011, 11:13 AM
Another thing to check is your timing chain for excess play.

remove dist cap and watch the rotor while you use a ratchet or breaker bar to rotate the crankshaft back and forth. If the timing chain is worn the crankshaft will move alot before the rotor starts to turn.

How many hours are on the engine? (this may be a good time to do a compression test just to see how healthy your engine is)

BTW, I agree it sounds like you have ignition timing/firing order problems.

Jax50
11-04-2011, 09:29 AM
Update: Finally got the boat running.

Put new Arco starter on the boat along with electric conversion for ignition. The boat started up while cranking but as soon as you let off the key it would die. Realized that the constant 12v wire (Pink) from my wire harness was bad. So the coil was only getting power from the purple wire coming from the solenoid while I was cranking. After replacing the bad wire she fired right up. My problem now is the starter the PO had on the boat wore out a section of the teeth on the flywheel so when I put the beefy Arco starter on there she finished off that section of teeth so I have a section of about 5-8 teeth missing on my flywheel. I'm hoping to get the tranny off this weekend and see how it all looks. I have only been able to see the misisng teeth through the starter hole.

Thanks for all the help guys and I will give yall an update on the new flywheel. I may only replace the teeth ring. Anyone ever removed and replaced just the outer teeth ring?

03geetee
11-05-2011, 07:12 AM
A bit of advice, while in there check your damper plate between the tranny and the plate you will be replacing, if the boat has high hours or the plate springs are bad or there are stress cracks just replace it now.

These can go at any time, but its a nice cheap thing to replace while in there. I have found that they can last forever if you are just smooth as butter when putting the trans in gear. I advance the throttle ever so gently until the tranny just bumps in to gear then Im off. If you slam her into gear or change from F to R to fast while docking, trailering ect it will kill a damper plate.

Mine is original with almost 3K hours on it.

JTR