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318 Crank No Start

79B100

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Joined
Dec 3, 2023
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Location
Savannah, GA
The 318 I rebuilt for my ‘79 B100 project will not start. I’ll list specs, then diagnostics I’ve done.

I'm going to err on the side of too much info. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

ENGINE SPECS
Original block and crank: machined
Sealed Power 5024MA Main Bearings
ARP Main Studs
Mancini Freeze Plugs
Mancini Pipe Plugs
Fel Pro Crankshaft Seal
KB 167.060 Hyper Flat Top Pistons 3.970"
Scat 2-ICR6123-2124 Forged I-Beam Connecting Rods
Sealed Power 82130CP Series Rod Bearings
UEM 3910AM8.060 Rings
ARP 144-6001 Rod Bolts
Clevite M77 SH875S SB Cam Bearings
Hughes SMC1326 318 Whiplash Cam
Progear Timing Chain and Gear Set
Engine Quest Aluminum Timing Cover
Fel Pro Timing Cover Gasket and Seal
Edelbrock 60779 Performer RPM Cylinder Heads
Fel Pro Head Gaskets
Edelbrock Head Bolts
Hughes 15023 SB Rocker Arm Kit w/ Shafts and Hold Downs
Hughes 5001 Lifters
Manton Series 3 5/16" Diameter Ball-Cup Pushrods .083 Wall Thickness 7.040 Effective Length
Edelbrock EDE2176 Performer Intake Manifold Non EGR
Fel Pro Intake Gasket
Proform Valve Covers
Fel Pro Valve Cover Gaskets
Billet Specialties 21120 Breathers
Aluminum Oil Capture Tank
Melling IS72 Oil Pump Intermediate Shaft
Melling M72 Oil Pump and Gasket
Melling 72S5 Oil Pickup Tube
Mobil M11204A Oil Filter
ATP 103062 Oil Pan
Mahle Oil Pan Gasket
Mopar Oil Pan Bolts
Mopar Oil Filler Tube
Stant Oil Filler Cap
Chrome Dipstick
Royal Purple Flat Tappet Break In Oil
Billet Specialties Aluminum Water Neck
Fel Pro Thermostat Housing Seal
FVP Thermostat
SKP SK594021 Harmonic Balancer
Summit Racing Balancer Bolt
CVF Racing SCRL3CR-HF 3V High Flow Crankshaft Pulley
CVF Racing SCRL2WP 2 Groove Water Pump Pulley
Lares LSC-157 Power Steering Pump Pulley
Summit Fuel Pump Block-off Plate

FUEL DELIVERY
Dorman 22 Gallon Fuel Tank
Spectra Fuel Sending Unit
Fuel Injection Hose
Carter CRT-P74017 Inline Electric Fuel Pump - Stock PSI
Edelbrock Universal EFI Fuel Sump
Earl's Performance Analog Fuel Pressure Gauge
Edelbrock EDL-8725 Carb Spacings
Holley Sniper SNE-550-511K EFI Kit
Holley Sniper Air Cleaner Bottom

ELECTRICAL
Optima Red Top Battery
Painless Wiring Harness 10415
Painless Engine Grounding Straps
Powermaster 9300 Mini Starter
Summit Racing SUM-850034 HEI Distributor
Autolite ATO 3926 Copper Core Spark Plugs
Moroso Spark Plug Wires

I have deleted the stock column ignition switch and installed a keyed ignition switch and push-button start in the overhead console.
This switch activates power to the HEI distributor, the Sniper pink wire/ecu, and the Edelbrock fuel sump.
The push button is wired directly to the starter, which cranks well.
The crank and cam spin smoothly; no weird noises or obvious problems.
The pulleys spin the belts.
RPM is between 100-150 during crank.
The Sniper is wired per the directions provided in the manual.
The battery is always fully charged when I attempt to start the engine.
Voltage to the Sniper ecu and to its injectors (battery-direct) is good; no dropout.
I have programmed the Sniper startup wizard to spec.
I have spoken to the Sniper tech line and have confirmed that install/connections, setup, and sensor readings are good.
The sump is delivering fuel to the throttle body at an ideal 58 psi, per the inline mechanical gauge.
The Sniper handheld is showing a slight voltage dip to 10.5v during crank.
This means that the HEI distributor is not receiving max voltage during crank.
I am thinking of installing a 4-point relay for the distributor, although an automotive electrical engineer I know says that the engine should start with 10.5v.
The ignition coil in the distributor cap is receiving that voltage (confirmed with multimeter).
The ignition coil is providing spark (confirmed with spark light tester).
The brand new spark plugs are properly threaded/seated in their holes.
They smell like fuel after crank, but aren't too wet.
The Sniper injectors are working, both at fuel prime and cranking injection.
The bowl is filling with fuel (non-ethanol).
The throttle body tends to spit out fuel during crank. Holley says this is because my timing isn't dialed in, but I have read of similar behavior from defective units.
I have adjusted timing from scratch multiple times.
Engine is at TDC on the compression stroke.
I have tried slightly turning the distributor while I crank.
I have tried giving 10% and also max throttle during crank.
I have tried squirting fuel into the throttle body during crank.
The Sniper handheld is showing an air-fuel (A/F) ratio of about 24; it says ideal is 11.
I have the O2 sensor installed in my new exhaust. I suspect there is an air leak at the manifold. The EFI is set to Open Loop during crank.
I am now paranoid about having an open ground, even though all wiring is new.
The engine block is grounded directly to battery negative with 4 AWG.
The distributor is grounded to the block (bare metal).
I have deleted the starter solenoid and neutral safety switch (NSS).
If it matters, the transmission is a brand new Gear Star 727.
During oil pump priming (I used a drill), psi reached 65. Oil squirted up to cam level.
I checked the oil filter; it's full of oil.
Top end oil delivery to the valve train is sluggish.
Oil is oozing from some rockers; others are dry.
I think the oil delivery holes may have been plugged with assembly lube during prime.
I followed every step of the early '90s "How to Rebuild the 318" manual that is still in print.
The author didn't say anything about packing the oil pump with Vaseline.
Oil pressure is reading 10 psi during crank. I think that's normal, relative to the 100-150 RPM.
I may remove the rocker arms and thread a wire down thru the cam holes and reprime to ensure top end oil delivery.
I have read about stubborn new engines that require an actual start to get the oil flowing, but this isn't ideal.
It seems like the engine should start, despite oil pressure.
I have added 5 qts of Royal Purple Flat Tappet break in oil.
The dipstick does not read any oil in the pan. I cannot figure out why this is. Some kind of dipstick tube vacuum?
I drained all 5 qts of oil out of the pan to make sure it was actually in there. It was, and it was clean and free of fuel.
I put the oil back into the engine.
Other than the sluggish oil delivery, the valve train appears to be working well. It taps away during crank.
The valve train makes no weird noises. I installed everything to spec.
The pushrods appear to be the proper length. I see no strange seatings or abnormal forward-backward movements.
The valve springs are being compressed and released.
I am paranoid that the valves are somehow not being opened and closed properly, but don't know why this would be.
I've tested each cylinder by threading in a compression meter (obviously, when the engine is off and cold).
The even cylinders all register 110 psi.
The odd cylinders all register 100 psi.
These numbers are low, but shouldn't they increase at throttle?
I have read different opinions of 318 cylinder compression, recommending stock levels from 100 psi to 135 psi.
Even at 100 psi, it seems like the engine should start.
I have installed new Autometer gauges.
The Speedo/Tach is acting weird: during crank, when I apply throttle, the needles try to go backwards.
I think this is a wiring mistake, but since it is receiving its tach signal from the distributor via the Sniper wiring harness, I wonder again if there's something wrong with the Sniper unit, maybe a bad ecu.
I am tempted to replace the Sniper with either a Summit EFI or an Edelbrock carb, but don't want to jump to the conclusion that the Sniper is to blame for the no-start. That thing was expensive, and I plumbed and wired it, and it appears to be working, other than spitting some fuel in the air.

Any thoughts are appreciated. I've been working on this project for two years and have put a lot of blood and money into it. Being so close to finally driving and not being able to get the van to start has been driving me crazy the past week. I may have it towed to a repair shop, but have done the entire vehicle build outside in my driveway, so the idea of failing at the finish line sucks.

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I would like to know did you ever run the motor after you rebuilt it? Did you break the motor in?
 
No, the motor has never been run. I don’t have access to a test stand, so I rebuilt most of it in my tiny garage, then had to put it back into the van and finish assembling it there. It was really difficult to get it out of and back into the van.
 
Wow. That's quite the build!

Everything sounds correct. If you see fuel, and smell fuel, it should ignite.
That leads me back to timing. Positive it's not 180* out.
Try turning it some more( distributor)
Maybe put a plug on #1 just to see it's sparking
 
I got so aggravated, I bought a TDC indicator and used that to confirm my position. I’ve been using the finger method to make sure it’s compression, not exhaust. But, just for the hell of it, I rotated the distributor rotor 180 to see what would happen. Still no start.
 
I have not tested my plug wires. I know the coil is sending spark, but have assumed the wires are delivering it. Why would the wires be bad? I’m planning to cut my own after I finalize timing, but have just assumed the Morosos are working. I will make sure tomorrow, when it stops storming outside.
 
The 318 I rebuilt for my ‘79 B100 project will not start. I’ll list specs, then diagnostics I’ve done.

I'm going to err on the side of too much info. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

ENGINE SPECS
Original block and crank: machined
Sealed Power 5024MA Main Bearings
ARP Main Studs
Mancini Freeze Plugs
Mancini Pipe Plugs
Fel Pro Crankshaft Seal
KB 167.060 Hyper Flat Top Pistons 3.970"
Scat 2-ICR6123-2124 Forged I-Beam Connecting Rods
Sealed Power 82130CP Series Rod Bearings
UEM 3910AM8.060 Rings
ARP 144-6001 Rod Bolts
Clevite M77 SH875S SB Cam Bearings
Hughes SMC1326 318 Whiplash Cam
Progear Timing Chain and Gear Set
Engine Quest Aluminum Timing Cover
Fel Pro Timing Cover Gasket and Seal
Edelbrock 60779 Performer RPM Cylinder Heads
Fel Pro Head Gaskets
Edelbrock Head Bolts
Hughes 15023 SB Rocker Arm Kit w/ Shafts and Hold Downs
Hughes 5001 Lifters
Manton Series 3 5/16" Diameter Ball-Cup Pushrods .083 Wall Thickness 7.040 Effective Length
Edelbrock EDE2176 Performer Intake Manifold Non EGR
Fel Pro Intake Gasket
Proform Valve Covers
Fel Pro Valve Cover Gaskets
Billet Specialties 21120 Breathers
Aluminum Oil Capture Tank
Melling IS72 Oil Pump Intermediate Shaft
Melling M72 Oil Pump and Gasket
Melling 72S5 Oil Pickup Tube
Mobil M11204A Oil Filter
ATP 103062 Oil Pan
Mahle Oil Pan Gasket
Mopar Oil Pan Bolts
Mopar Oil Filler Tube
Stant Oil Filler Cap
Chrome Dipstick
Royal Purple Flat Tappet Break In Oil
Billet Specialties Aluminum Water Neck
Fel Pro Thermostat Housing Seal
FVP Thermostat
SKP SK594021 Harmonic Balancer
Summit Racing Balancer Bolt
CVF Racing SCRL3CR-HF 3V High Flow Crankshaft Pulley
CVF Racing SCRL2WP 2 Groove Water Pump Pulley
Lares LSC-157 Power Steering Pump Pulley
Summit Fuel Pump Block-off Plate

FUEL DELIVERY
Dorman 22 Gallon Fuel Tank
Spectra Fuel Sending Unit
Fuel Injection Hose
Carter CRT-P74017 Inline Electric Fuel Pump - Stock PSI
Edelbrock Universal EFI Fuel Sump
Earl's Performance Analog Fuel Pressure Gauge
Edelbrock EDL-8725 Carb Spacings
Holley Sniper SNE-550-511K EFI Kit
Holley Sniper Air Cleaner Bottom

ELECTRICAL
Optima Red Top Battery
Painless Wiring Harness 10415
Painless Engine Grounding Straps
Powermaster 9300 Mini Starter
Summit Racing SUM-850034 HEI Distributor
Autolite ATO 3926 Copper Core Spark Plugs
Moroso Spark Plug Wires

I have deleted the stock column ignition switch and installed a keyed ignition switch and push-button start in the overhead console.
This switch activates power to the HEI distributor, the Sniper pink wire/ecu, and the Edelbrock fuel sump.
The push button is wired directly to the starter, which cranks well.
The crank and cam spin smoothly; no weird noises or obvious problems.
The pulleys spin the belts.
RPM is between 100-150 during crank.
The Sniper is wired per the directions provided in the manual.
The battery is always fully charged when I attempt to start the engine.
Voltage to the Sniper ecu and to its injectors (battery-direct) is good; no dropout.
I have programmed the Sniper startup wizard to spec.
I have spoken to the Sniper tech line and have confirmed that install/connections, setup, and sensor readings are good.
The sump is delivering fuel to the throttle body at an ideal 58 psi, per the inline mechanical gauge.
The Sniper handheld is showing a slight voltage dip to 10.5v during crank.
This means that the HEI distributor is not receiving max voltage during crank.
I am thinking of installing a 4-point relay for the distributor, although an automotive electrical engineer I know says that the engine should start with 10.5v.
The ignition coil in the distributor cap is receiving that voltage (confirmed with multimeter).
The ignition coil is providing spark (confirmed with spark light tester).
The brand new spark plugs are properly threaded/seated in their holes.
They smell like fuel after crank, but aren't too wet.
The Sniper injectors are working, both at fuel prime and cranking injection.
The bowl is filling with fuel (non-ethanol).
The throttle body tends to spit out fuel during crank. Holley says this is because my timing isn't dialed in, but I have read of similar behavior from defective units.
I have adjusted timing from scratch multiple times.
Engine is at TDC on the compression stroke.
I have tried slightly turning the distributor while I crank.
I have tried giving 10% and also max throttle during crank.
I have tried squirting fuel into the throttle body during crank.
The Sniper handheld is showing an air-fuel (A/F) ratio of about 24; it says ideal is 11.
I have the O2 sensor installed in my new exhaust. I suspect there is an air leak at the manifold. The EFI is set to Open Loop during crank.
I am now paranoid about having an open ground, even though all wiring is new.
The engine block is grounded directly to battery negative with 4 AWG.
The distributor is grounded to the block (bare metal).
I have deleted the starter solenoid and neutral safety switch (NSS).
If it matters, the transmission is a brand new Gear Star 727.
During oil pump priming (I used a drill), psi reached 65. Oil squirted up to cam level.
I checked the oil filter; it's full of oil.
Top end oil delivery to the valve train is sluggish.
Oil is oozing from some rockers; others are dry.
I think the oil delivery holes may have been plugged with assembly lube during prime.
I followed every step of the early '90s "How to Rebuild the 318" manual that is still in print.
The author didn't say anything about packing the oil pump with Vaseline.
Oil pressure is reading 10 psi during crank. I think that's normal, relative to the 100-150 RPM.
I may remove the rocker arms and thread a wire down thru the cam holes and reprime to ensure top end oil delivery.
I have read about stubborn new engines that require an actual start to get the oil flowing, but this isn't ideal.
It seems like the engine should start, despite oil pressure.
I have added 5 qts of Royal Purple Flat Tappet break in oil.
The dipstick does not read any oil in the pan. I cannot figure out why this is. Some kind of dipstick tube vacuum?
I drained all 5 qts of oil out of the pan to make sure it was actually in there. It was, and it was clean and free of fuel.
I put the oil back into the engine.
Other than the sluggish oil delivery, the valve train appears to be working well. It taps away during crank.
The valve train makes no weird noises. I installed everything to spec.
The pushrods appear to be the proper length. I see no strange seatings or abnormal forward-backward movements.
The valve springs are being compressed and released.
I am paranoid that the valves are somehow not being opened and closed properly, but don't know why this would be.
I've tested each cylinder by threading in a compression meter (obviously, when the engine is off and cold).
The even cylinders all register 110 psi.
The odd cylinders all register 100 psi.
These numbers are low, but shouldn't they increase at throttle?
I have read different opinions of 318 cylinder compression, recommending stock levels from 100 psi to 135 psi.
Even at 100 psi, it seems like the engine should start.
I have installed new Autometer gauges.
The Speedo/Tach is acting weird: during crank, when I apply throttle, the needles try to go backwards.
I think this is a wiring mistake, but since it is receiving its tach signal from the distributor via the Sniper wiring harness, I wonder again if there's something wrong with the Sniper unit, maybe a bad ecu.
I am tempted to replace the Sniper with either a Summit EFI or an Edelbrock carb, but don't want to jump to the conclusion that the Sniper is to blame for the no-start. That thing was expensive, and I plumbed and wired it, and it appears to be working, other than spitting some fuel in the air.

Any thoughts are appreciated. I've been working on this project for two years and have put a lot of blood and money into it. Being so close to finally driving and not being able to get the van to start has been driving me crazy the past week. I may have it towed to a repair shop, but have done the entire vehicle build outside in my driveway, so the idea of failing at the finish line sucks.

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That's a lot of info to digest. I won't go there. Does it have spark? Does it have fuel at the carb? Does it spit and sputter or backfire? If so you know it has s I ark and fuel just not at the right time.
 
Well I've seen several bad autolite plus right out of the box.
But even with that some cylinders should fire.

Does the sniper have a mode where you set fixed timing to like 25 degrees BTDC?

You can pull All the plugs and put a timing light on it while you crank it.
 
Under cranking do you have an RPM signal on the Sniper hand held? If there is no RPM signal on the handheld its not going to start. If your Tach shows RPMs that one thing but the Sniper handheld needs to see an RPM signal.
 
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and you have spark at plugs?
 
Under cranking do you have an RPM signal on the Sniper hand held? If there is no RPM signal on the handheld its not going to start. If your Tach shows RPMs that one thing but the Sniper handheld needs to see an RPM signal.
Not rigid in my thinking, but sometimes these EFI kits are problematic, I don't want to get roasted over that, but to me it seems hit, and miss some get great success, and others it seems like a headache.
 
I used one of these inline testers at each wire to verify that current is flowing from the distributor/ignition coil. Is it actually reaching/sparking the spark plugs? I assume so, but haven’t tested each one. I did a spark test with the #1 plug only, and it sparked. For what it’s worth, I also got shocked when I was cranking and twisting the distributor. A wire popped off the cap, and I took the voltage. I will be twisting at the base from now on.

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It sure looks like you did an excellent job.
I read everything pretty thoroughly.

I really doubt that the plug wires are the problem.

I would try some ether. But get the timing right.
As I mentioned I've timed my Plymouth with plugs out and spinning it with the starter.
It fired immediately.
 
If you poured some gas down throttle body to try and start it. I would think that would eliminate the sniper as it's not flooded. I pour a little gas it the carbed cars in the spring so they start with the first crank. Could you try holding you finger it a plug hole to see if you get spark close to compression. Did you install the timing chain correctly?
 
If you poured some gas down throttle body to try and start it. I would think that would eliminate the sniper as it's not flooded. I pour a little gas it the carbed cars in the spring so they start with the first crank. Could you try holding you finger it a plug hole to see if you get spark close to compression. Did you install the timing chain correctly?
That's the next step, a good way is a pump bottle with gas .
Compression is, enough , given it's never fired and new.
There was no mention of rocker adjustment. And how that was performed. But again, compression is fair
 
I’ll keep working on the timing. It seems impossible not to have nailed it by now, but I hope that’s all it is. Here’s how I did the timing chain (see pics).

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