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I bought a 93 Jeep Grand Cherokee from my mother about 4 days ago and the timing was off so I tried to reset the distributer because my mother said that it was off and when I tried to put it back on I tightened the mounting bracket to hard and broke it so I had to buy a new one and now it won?t start! All it does is turn over it will not start! I reset the harmonic balancer to 0 and I set the distributer pointed to 1 and tried it and it still doesn?t work … I?m stumped I also have the whole crew of Oriely?s stumped my girlfriend and her mother told me to ask you so … CAN YOU FIX MY CAR ???

Call me please at 1918-964-0137

Or e-mail me

Thank you


I can’t fix it from here, but any shop should be able to. No disrespect intended, but I’d recommend having it towed to a shop. Mechanics probably just isn’t your forte…as suggested by your having gorilla-torqued that bolt that hard.

It has been so long, but you have to put the distributor in the right way recalling from friends who told stories of the same mistake, I mean it is all gears and you have to make sure the rotor is in the right place at the right time, Sorry I don’t know what a harmonic balancer is but it sure sounds like the distributor was reinstalled incorrectly. Incidentally one adjusts timing by loosening the nut and rotating the distributor and using a timing light with proper vacuum hoses disconnected as directed by “Directions” and locating the timing notches on the flywheel with the indicator. I hate to say it but I think you have reverse engineered yourself in a world of hurt and hope tester is patient enough to give you the solution.

A harmonic balancer is a device on the front end of the crankshaft that (along with the rotational inertia of the flywheel) dampens rotational vibration caused by the pulses placed on the crankshaft by the firing of the cylinders. It’s basically two parts with a rubber damper between them, one part being hard mounted to the crank and the other being the output pulley driven through the rubber.

What happens is that some of the pulse rotational force from the piston is temporarily stored in the rubber and released back into the output at the pulley 180 degrees out of phase with the initial pulse, smoothing out the bumps.

Did you check the position of #1 piston when you put the crankshaft pulley (harmonic balancer) at 0 degrees? If not, you may still be 180 degrees off. The #1 piston has to be at TDC (Top Dead Center) AFTER the intake valve closes.

There’s a second TDC on the exhaust stroke, but if the distributor fires then it won’t matter, since there’s nothing left to burn.

It’s not normally necessary to remove the distributor to adjust the timing. If it’s just off a little bit you loosen the mounting clamp, turn the distributor while you watch the timing marks on the pulley, which are illuminated by the timing light, and then tighten the distributor clamp when the timing is correct.

You do have a timing light, right? And the correct timing specification? It’s probably x-xx degrees BTDC, or something like that. BTDC means Before TDC. There may also be instructions for disconnecting or plugging the vacuum advance hose (if there is one) or not.

All of this information may be on a sticker on the underside of the hood.

Waterboy is confusing the harmonic balancer (or crankshaft pulley) with the flywheel. I’ve never set ignition timing based on marks on the flywheel, but I have done it many times using marks on the balancer/pulley.

Thanks for the clarification, I guess I know how to do it but not what to call it!

Your car would not start, some how Mom got the idea it was related to the timing,you broke the hold down,car still doesn’t start,since the sympton is the same before and after,possibly the no start is not timing related,are you getting any action when you crank?(backfiring,tailpipe,intake?)

Here are the instructions for removing and installing the distributor:
After you get #1 piston near top dead center, you can get it closer by turning the crankshaft to align the timing marks up with 0 degrees.

ok i have done all this and there is no backfire when i try to start it and it ran before i took it apart i was just trying to make it better i marked the balencer at 0 degrees and distributer at #1 and it just sits there and turns over! i work on cars alot but i have never had trouble like this! and i cannot use a timming light untill i get it running!

Check for spark. If everything in the spark department is ok, there will still be spark across a test spark plug, regardless of the timing. Once you find out if there is spark, you can work on timing.
If there is spark, loosen the distributor hold-down bolt, and as someone cranks the engine, turn the distributor, slowly clockwise and counter-clockwise. If the engine starts, tighten the distributor hold-down bolt.

ok but im not suppose to use the distributer to time it like that “i found this out after i broke it” there is only one bolt holding the distributer on and if i take it off it will come out so… oh and i did check for spark and it did spark! blue!

ok so i worked on my jeep some more today and i have a new noise its still not starting but wile i am trying to start it and it just keeps turning over i noticed about every three to four seconds it makes this noise and it sounds like its releasing pressure im not sure how to explain it but i can hear it and its about three to four seconds apart so its not constant and its just me for now so i can not tell where the noise is coming from.

I think the point McP was making was to realize that the piston is at top dead center twice during its cycles, once after compressing the fuel when the spark should happen for combustion, and again after expelling the exhaust gasses and just starting to draw in the fuel (the end of the exhaust stroke and the start of the intake stroke).

I think McP was suggesting that perhaps the distributor is installed 180 degrees out of phase. That would mean the spark plug is firing at the end of the exhaust stroke rather than the end of the compression stroke. The engine won’t run that way.

To know for sure, you can remove the valve cover and watch the rocker arms operate for cylinder #1 as you manually turn the crank. As the exhaust valve closes, the intake valve will open. After the intake valve closes, go 1/2 rotation of the crank until the piston reaches TDC. That is the opint at which the distributor should be sending the spark to the #1 plug.

I understand that what i was saying was if it where 180 degrees off of tdc then it woul backfire correct??? however i think i agree with you on the valve cover deal that is the only thing i havent done so far but what about the pressure release noise i hear???

I can just imagine what going to happen when the valve cover comes off,Just stick you finger in the hole and when you are on the compression stroke you will feel/hear the hissing air

ok but that doesent explain why i hear it “the hissing noise” when it is together and i am trying to start it?

When the engine is rotated, the pistons compress a shot of air. This air escaping through an intake, or exhaust valve, may be what you are hearing.
Here are the instructions for setting the distributor after the engine has been rotated (and the distributor wasn’t in place):
Now, the crankshaft may be on 0 degrees, but, on which cylinder? There are several ways to find out. What oldschool was just telling you was to stick your finger in #1 spark plug hole. As someone turns the crankshaft, with a tool, when #1 piston comes up to TDC (compression), the air pressure will push against your finger.
Another way to find TDC on #1 cylinder, is to stick a straw into the #1 spark plug hole and rotate the crankshaft until the straw rises, then, ceases to rise. Set the distributor and see if the engine will start. If it doesn’t, Lift the distributor, turn the crankshaft a full turn, and reset the distributor. Now, try to start the engine. If it still doesn’t start, you need a mechanic on the spot.
From here, that engine is really hard to see. If NSA, the CIA, ETC., would give us a full resolution telescoptic satellite view of your engine (during daylight)…? Be sure the Jeep is out in the open, and with the hood removed for us to get the best view.

The reason you broke the distributor trying to put it back in is that the blade on the bottom of the shaft must fit in the oil pump in order for the distributor to drop into place…

Remove the #1 plug and have someone else turn the motor over by hand until you feel compression on your finger which is covering the spark plug hole…At that point, line up the timing marks to TDC. NOW set the rotor so it is pointing at the #1 plug wire contact in the cap and carefully drop the distributor in place. If it wont go down all the way, remove it and with a long screwdriver, turn the oil pump so the slot lines up with the blade on the bottom of the distributor shaft and install the distributor again. The timing should now be close enough for the engine to at least start. Now set the timing properly with a strobe light…