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Opeler
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After weeks in the shop, I was finally able to drive my "70 GT home after having an engine installed. It ran like trying to run thru Jello. I had a refreshed engine from USAOpel installed, a reman 32/36 Weber, ported intake, new 2-1/4" exhaust, poly A-arm bushings, new shocks, brakes, Pertronics and Flame Thrower coil, and a long list of maintenance and service items done.
I drove it home last night. It was being held back by some force. I used to own a '70 Manta and it was much quicker and responsive (with the solex) than this GT.
After work, today, I went out to check for leaks and tighten the manifold bolts, and it looked like the dist. was in backwards. I was under the inpression that the can was supposed to face the firewall. It was pointing forward.
I am writing to ask if there would be some reason that, on a stock 1.9, the dist. would be installed this way? I believe I have read post that describe the position of the dist. when properly installed.
Can anyone confirm?
Thanks, Wes
 

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OPEL-LESS!!!
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the dizzy would arouse suspicion.............2 1/4 inch exhuast is HUGE for a opel engine....i'd seriousely take it down to 2 inch or even 1 7/8 as i've had best performance with. pipe is too big and you are probably loosing alot of back pressure which kills torque.
 

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It's a good thing and a bad thing.

A. Somebody read the manual on installing it to time it. That's good they read
it
B. Somebody followed a known area that will screw you up if you read the
manual
 

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sounds like it was pry timed 180 out and they had to turn the dizzy that far to get it to run.
 

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"Out of Time"

krewzer said:
.
After work, today, I went out to check for leaks and tighten the manifold bolts, and it looked like the dist. was in backwards. I was under the inpression that the can was supposed to face the firewall. It was pointing forward.
I am writing to ask if there would be some reason that, on a stock 1.9, the dist. would be installed this way? I believe I have read post that describe the position of the dist. when properly installed.
Can anyone confirm?
Thanks, Wes
Wes, Who ever put the distributor in fell in to the oldest "Opel Trap" in the world! During the translation from the German to English someone fouled up and did not realise that in Europe the REAR cylinder is often called "# One"

So now we have the cam timing done on the rear cylinder - called # 4 in the English version of the FSM and then the motor has to be rotated till the front cylinder (we call # 1 ) is at TDC on the compresion stroke to time the ignition.
That is one complete turn of the crankshaft.

The alternative is to not turn the engine over but set up the ignition timing to the rear cylinder with the distributor in the correct position and run the plug wire from the post that the distributor is timed on to the rear cylinder. Then put the rest of the wires into the cap in the firing sequence ........ You NEED an OPEL mechanic!

The Factory Service Manuals (FSM) in English now have a "hybrid" cam and ignition timing set of instructions that catches out most everyone - often "time" and "time" again!

You are right - the distributor has been put in 180 degrees out just to "correct" the initial stuff - up.

I would bet even now the ignition timing is not correct and that is what is causing your problems. If the same people "timed" the camshaft that could also be suspect.

You need a knowledgable OPEL mechanic to check the timing of both the cam and the distributor. It takes a LOT of explaining - though there are lots of bits of info scattered through the posts here ........ a real job to find it all but necessary!

Hope that is not too confussing - but even experienced Opelers usually get the distibutor in 180 degrees out for the first few times they do the job!
 

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Opeler
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of the replies. I thought there was something funky going on. So, with that being said, does anyone know of a reliable Opel mechanic in the Houston area?
Thanks, Wes
 

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GTJIM said:
Wes,
The alternative is to not turn the engine over but set up the ignition timing to the rear cylinder with the distributor in the correct position and run the plug wire from the post that the distributor is timed on to the rear cylinder. Then put the rest of the wires into the cap in the firing sequence ........ You NEED an OPEL mechanic!
So if I understand what your saying is that the front #1 cylinder is not the #1 cylinder but #4 cylinder and all of my plug wires are wrong. That I need to run the #1 plug wire to the back cylinder which is really the #1 cylinder? YES????? :cool:
 

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if you've been setting timing with number 1 cylinder, then keep doing it that way. like most of us who've re-wired our opels, we do it so its "right" with number 1 cylinder being the front one.

i'll vouch for otto bartsch, he's in plano texas, take the car to him as i'm sure he'd be real happy to help.
 

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ConreroGT said:
I had a similair experience with my distributor timeing a long time ago when I was first getting into Opels. I was basically fed up w/ the mechanics and did one of the best troubleshooting things you can do. START OVER. I pulled the distributor shaft out, set the engine to fire at TDC for piston 1 and reinstalled the distributor so the rotor was at the rough 4 'oclock position (I was following the Opel Manual) so that I was pretty damn confident it was NOW set up the right way regardless of how it was set before. It finally fired right up. Timeing was also normal at this point too. I didn't have to go to the extremes to get it right. Just a little advance (counter clockwise) and it could be timed. I figured my distributor was 180 out.
The information on this postng got me looking with the search feature about distributor placement. Then I found this post from another thread. Now I have a two canister distributor with the points on the fender side of the dizzy. Looking at photos of the dizzy in the FSM, the points are on the engine side. This leads me to believe that my distributor is 180 degrees out of time.
Symtoms- disconnecting and plugging the vacuum lines from the dizzy causes the engine to die- so timing per the static ball was impossible. So the dizzy is set to start and idle but the engine runs out of steam at about 75-80 mph.
Is this a symptom of the timing off by 180 degrees? :cool:
 

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ok if it will help put your mind at ease I'll try to remember how many times I've done it as the book says. 69 GT1.9 twice, Blue manta motor once, first 2.0 4 times, wagon motors twice, Turbo GT at least 3, current 2.0 twice. Times I remembered and didn't follow the book....1. These are just the ones I remember, I'm on a 14:1 ratio of swap the plug wires before even trying to fire it up. Remember I started pre internet and my best info was to make a call to Smitty from Alaska. I freely admit to following the book on start up and it biting me in the butt.
 

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old, old dist

Tom, you're running one of the very old distributors, one with a seperate vacuum diaphram for each of the vac and retard vice both acting on the same diaphram as in the newer ones. Most likely you issue is the lines for vac and retard are reversed. Easy enough to fix, though, you need to pop the cap and verify which diaphram will suck the points counterclock-wise (advance) and which rotates them clockwise (retard.) (The little arms from the diaphrams pull on the breaker plate, as in out of the dist, just in case.) In your case the actual orientation of the distributor isn't really all that important, since you won't get it to turn all that far any way you put it in, but it is very important that the line from the manifold goes to the retard canister and the one from the carb goes to the advance, whichever side of the dist they end up on.

In any case, the frst step in getting back to base line on an Opel dist is finding the ball on the flywheel. Once you find it and line it up with the pointer, do everyone that will ever work on your car at any time ever in the future a favor and scribe, paint, engrave, file, or otherwise add a mark to your front pully directly in line with the long timing-looking mark on the front of the timing cover by the dist itself. Now you have a mark you can actually see without hanging upside down burning your ear or forhead on the motor or tangling your hair in the fan. Now, the way the motor on the Opel is set-up, both #1 (the front one) and #4 (the rear one) cylinders will be at the top of their stroke. One is getting ready to start it's intake stroke, and the other is ready to start it's power (combustion) stroke. You need to figure out which is which. If turn the motor over clockwise with the #1 spark plug out, keeping an eye on the timing mark, during the 180 degrees or so before the power stroke (that's half an engine turn) the cylinder will be on it's compression stroke, so there will be a pressure building in the chamber and a finger held over the spark plug hole will be pushed out if you are moving the crank with any speed at all.
So, now that you know which one you have on the top of it's power stroke, (timing mark aligned) cylinder #1 or #4, either leave it as is or rotate another full turn to get everything set-up for #1. Now the motor is set, and from there you can adjust the dist as required to get the pointer where you want it, the vacuum canister where you want it, and then whatever nipple ends up lined up with the pointer is the one for #1 plug wire. From there, follow the firing order (1-3-4-2) around clockwise. Specificly, the wires do not, ever, except sort-of on VW air-cooled motors, go 1-2-3-4, which I witnessed just the other day from a good friend who really just didn't know. Firing order is just that, the order the spark plugs fire, and the order of the wires in the cap going around the dist cap. Once you're close the motor should fire, and you can tweak from there.
 

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I moved this thread to the "Ignition System" Forum, because it seems to belong there, at least for now.

I think we should solve krewzer's problem first, THEN we can get to Tom's.

Wes, I gather that you bought the engine from Jim Marchitto, but had it installed locally? Can you show us a photo of your distributor as it is installed?

Which distributor is on this engine? The stock '70 dizzy has TWO vacuum pots; the "advance" pot faces towards the engine and somewhat to the rear, while the "retard" pot faces the opposite direction. But the later distributor ('71 to '74) has only one pot that incorporates both advance and retard functions (the advance vacuum connection is on the outboard side of the pot, while the retard connection is on the inboard side) and faces inboard and to the rear. The latest ('75) dizzy still has one pot, faces the same direction, but is is retard only. You can see why knowing which dizzy you have makes a difference. But in any event, which side the pot faces is a bit academic, as what is REALLY important (as Stephen has described) is "when does the spark happen in relation to the piston position"

Are you sure that your problem is ignition timing? There are a LOT of possible reasons for the behaviour that you describe.

First off, have you (or your mechanic) tried to actually check the timing? In other words, used a timing light to see if the flywheel ball is anywhere near the vicinity of the timing mark when #1 (the FRONT!) cylinder is firing.

Frankly, the whole issue of timing an Opel CIH is pretty misunderstood, but it isn't QUITE as complicated as some have described. The only complicated part is the CAM timing, in that the timing gear marks are aligned when #4 piston (the REAR!) is at TDC in the firing position THEN the engine is rotated 360° [180 degrees :no:], which brings #1 cylinder to TDC in the firing position, to install the distributor. Really not so hard...

Anyway, if the vacuum pot is facing forward, then yes, it is probably installed 180 degrees off, and for aesthetic value should be corrected. But the way the distributor is installed may NOT affect how the engine runs, if the RELATIVE position of the plug wires, points and distributor cap wires are correct. Make sure the timing is correct, then fix the dizzy, THEN find out why the power output is down.

JM2CW
 

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Another possibility for the engine feeling like it is being held back is that the carb is jetted wrong. I had the same symtoms with my 73 Manta and 32/36 carb and discovered that the jetting was way off-running far too rich. Switching to smaller main and idle jets has brought my engine back to life, tho the idle jets could still be brought down a notch or so.
 

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The little "worksheet" that comes from OGTS to describe cam and ignition timing is the best. Once I read it three times and re-read it twice to fully remove any confusion it has been in my head ever since, as Keith says it really is simple once you "get it". The problem is, it is unlike any other setup so forget all you know about timing an engine before you do it! The instructions contained in this thread will do it, it also is described in numerous other previous threads...
 

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"back pressure" vs. exhaust gas velocity

greensmurf20 said:
the dizzy would arrise suspicion.............2 1/4 inch exhuast is HUGE for a opel engine....i'd seriousely take it down to 2 inch or even 1 7/8 as i've had best performance with. pipe is too big and you are probably loosing alot of back pressure which kills torque.
Agreed!! 2" is maximum and, since most pipe benders in muffler shops don't make "mandrel" bends and very few carry 1.875" pipe, this is the best solution. Mandrel bends maintain the ID of the pipe through the bend while most pipe benders in muffler shop reduce this ID slightly (crimping). It acts more like a 1.875" pipe throughout with these ID reductions.

BTW, it's not really so much the "back pressure" of the smaller ID pipe that affects torque, but rather the maintaining of higher exhaust gas velocity that affects it.
 

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krewzer said:
After weeks in the shop, I was finally able to drive my "70 GT home after having an engine installed. It ran like trying to run thru Jello. Thanks, Wes
Don't discount the obvious... make sure the brakes aren't dragging. Lift each wheel off the ground and make sure it turns easily. This happened to me right before I left for the OMC meet this year. Both front calipers had sticking pistons. I'm not sure why, because the pads weren't all the way down, and I had driven the car to Carlisle earlier in the year and it was fine. It did sit for a while during the Getrag installation, though.

It felt the way you describe though, as if a force was holding it back, because that is exactly what was happening!

Bill
 
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