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 Post subject: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:52 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Sandpoint, ID
On my '88 Sprint Metro, the factory instructions for setting timing are to plug the 2 vacuum lines to the distributor, set timing to 8 BTDC, then reconnect the vacuum lines and verify timing is 16 BTDC. I've done this in the past without issue.

However, last time I checked the timing, it was at 8 BTDC with the lines plugged and when I reconnected the vacuum lines, my timing went to ~25 BTDC. My manifold pressure with a warm engine at idle is still near 20" (no change).

Any ideas would be helpful.

Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:09 pm
Posts: 4998
Location: Palm Springs: Too hot from June to Oct.!
awyaks wrote:

Any ideas would be helpful.

Thanks

1 Have you changed anything since the last time you checked your timing?
2 Have you applied a vacuum tester to the 2 vacuum pots on the distributor and if so, what are the results?
3 Is the car running basically the same as it always does, or did something make you decide to check the timing?
(Usually, it's the last thing you did which screwed up.)
4 What is the last thing you did to the car?
Image
Your vacuum pots seem to be well soaked in a black oil/road dirt combination in the picture above, leading me to believe they haven't been touched in years, which is common for MK1 owners.
Once you pull that distributor (one bolt) you'll probably find something like this:
Image
and you can see, the oil goes down and back.
I'd say it was a combination O-ring/internal seal failure, and yours is getting oil all over the transmission as well, right?
You might want to send that distributor to Fainya in Texas for a once-over.
Here is a link to a picture of what he does to a distributor:
http://geometroforum.com/single/?p=614564&t=4487433

Any responses would be helpful, as we don't have enough information to give you helpful ideas and suggesting that you have a problem or giving you other ideas might lead you down the wrong road.

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 Post subject: Re: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:52 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Sandpoint, ID
Phil N Ed wrote:
1 Have you changed anything since the last time you checked your timing?
2 Have you applied a vacuum tester to the 2 vacuum pots on the distributor and if so, what are the results?
3 Is the car running basically the same as it always does, or did something make you decide to check the timing?
(Usually, it's the last thing you did which screwed up.)


1. I replaced the o-ring seal between the camshaft & distributor which is why I "rechecked" (correction, reset) the timing. Maybe a vacuum pot got damaged in the process? The oil leak seems to have stopped. The only other thing I've done recently is replaced the plugs & wires....but that was after this problem started.
2. No. How do I do this and what should I be looking for?
3. It's been getting more sluggish over time and mileage is down from last year (40mpg vs 44mpg last winter at this time). I've been attributing the mileage to needing a carb rebuild soon. My float level is riding high and I have to have 1/2 pedal down to start it, tailpipe is black, etc.... But I'm sure the timing isn't helping the mpg's either.

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 Post subject: Re: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:28 am 
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Location: Emerald city Washington
awyaks wrote:
Phil N Ed wrote:
1 Have you changed anything since the last time you checked your timing?
2 Have you applied a vacuum tester to the 2 vacuum pots on the distributor and if so, what are the results?
3 Is the car running basically the same as it always does, or did something make you decide to check the timing?
(Usually, it's the last thing you did which screwed up.)


1. I replaced the o-ring seal between the camshaft & distributor which is why I "rechecked" (correction, reset) the timing. Maybe a vacuum pot got damaged in the process? The oil leak seems to have stopped. The only other thing I've done recently is replaced the plugs & wires....but that was after this problem started.
2. No. How do I do this and what should I be looking for?
3. It's been getting more sluggish over time and mileage is down from last year (40mpg vs 44mpg last winter at this time). I've been attributing the mileage to needing a carb rebuild soon. My float level is riding high and I have to have 1/2 pedal down to start it, tailpipe is black, etc.... But I'm sure the timing isn't helping the mpg's either.


.
you said you replaced the plugs and wires....and now it hard to start and runs sluggish?
what did you set you "Plug " gap @?
what type of plug's did you used?
.
......jv&s
.
.

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 Post subject: Re: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:51 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:52 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Sandpoint, ID
jaguar,vettes&sprints wrote:
.
you said you replaced the plugs and wires....and now it hard to start and runs sluggish?
what did you set you "Plug " gap @?
what type of plug's did you used?
.


THe 1/2 pedal down to starts been going on since I bought the car 2 years ago. I replaced the o-ring seal about 4 months ago and noticed the timing issue after that. The wires & plugs were done about 3 weeks ago, only because I didn't know how old the previous ones were and the plugs had lots of carbon buildup.

FYI... The new plugs are NGK v-power, set to .035-.037 gap. Somewhere I read this smaller gap helps cold starts in the winter. It may have smoothed the cold idle out some, but not significantly.

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 Post subject: Re: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:09 pm
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Location: Palm Springs: Too hot from June to Oct.!
Brown beauty on duty? Nah, that's just me getting ready to take a look under the hood.

Your information is helpful, but you've got a ways to go before we can really help you.
So far, we're only stabbing at something in the dark.

You did clear up one thing.
It was a LOT more than a check of the timing which led to the different timing light results.

Working on cars is simple, and by varying ONE variable, you can easily see if it improves or hurts the whole picture.
You actually removed the distributor, but even so, we don't get a clear picture.
Let me explain.

I can tell you that I removed the distributor, and put a new O-ring on.
It is left up to you to decide
-if the vacuum lines were disconnected at any time
-etc. etc.
because you don't have to disconnect electrical lines, distributor cap, rotor or vacuum lines to change an O-ring, right?
Let's just follow the train of thought about the vacuum lines.
Suppose you DID pull not only ONE but BOTH vacuum lines.
(Again, we are taking a guess/stab in the dark as to what you did...)
We would investigate the possibility that the vacuum lines to the distributor were reversed.
This is an easy check and doesn't require any tools.
You'd simply reverse the lines and see what values you get with the timing light.
Then, you'd report back in this thread and let us know what happened so we could either check that off our list or go to the next 'step' in our check of your problem.

My point is this.
You've got some real helpful people willing to back you up, but you are going to have to make a little better effort to solve this 'problem'.
When I asked you about the 2 vacuum pots on the distributor, you sounded like you were wading into unfamiliar territory.
If so, fine.
That's what this forum is for.
You post a problem, and together we help you solve it.
Then, you post the results, and when someone has a similar problem, you take a little of the weight off our shoulders and help them.

Now, back to my question about the distributor vacuum pots.
You wrote, "How do I do this and what should I be looking for?"
The usual way we test a vacuum advance on a distributor is to remove the hose and hook up a vacuum tester. We apply the normal vacuum the diaphragm would see from the engine, and see if the needle holds steady.
This tells us the diaphragm is not cracked and holds vacuum.
In your case, you have TWO hoses going to the distributor.
There is nothing odd about this.
You'll simply do this twice, once for each line.
If you have never done this, you will need to obtain a vacuum gauge.
Then, report your findings.
You can either type in your results, or post a video of the actual test.
Your distributor sees ported vacuum, so it isn't necessary to crank down on the vacuum gauge.
Those diaphragms don't see a lot of vacuum until you open the throttle while heading down the road.


Your distributor vacuum diaphragms will eventually crack with age, and this may be your underlying problem.
It can manifest itself as a drop in fuel efficiency/gas mileage, or the diaphragm can allow atmospheric air to enter the system unmetered, and cause a 'lean burn' condition, contributing to a 'burnt valve' situation.
You'll get GREAT gas mileage, and she'll burn lean, mean, and hot.
While we're at it, you should post a picture of your distributor...how about a close up, something like this:
Image
No, I'm not trying to sell you that distributor; it is just one I've cleaned and put away. Usually, I check the vacuum and give it a 'value' so when I need it, I'll know if it can be used as is or not.
So post a few good shots under the hood. The more effort you put into this thread, the more you'll get out of it!

If, indeed you have a problem with the vacuum advance/retard pots, then you'll have to remove the distributor and get replacements. This can be done either by a reputable rebuild shop or a junkyard replacement, as the Sprint Metro distributor can accept other vacuum units from other junkyard vehicles.

While you have the distributor off, Fainya could rework it, replacing not only the inner bearing, but also the seal. It is not that expensive, and when you compare the mileage now and after he reworks it, you will recoup any money you might spend in short order. No, I do not get a 'cut' of his fee, and he barely makes enough to cover the cost of the parts he installs. I have recommended him because a.) he is a member here and b.) he has a reputation for doing quality work on distributors.

Those replying in your threads are somewhat familiar with the Chevrolet Sprint and drunk or sober, rain or shine, day or night they can usually figure out the problem. The Chevrolet Sprint is fairly simple, but it does have a few complex systems, and the vacuum routing is one of the more complex systems, especially on an A/C vehicle like yours. The cars do not care about our personalities, but if you are relying on a tired and leaking distributor, it is something you shouldn't ignore. Take the time to repair this problem correctly so that you will improve the reliability of your daily driver. Having crisp, clean spark is very important in a 3 cylinder, and your distributor, after all these years is probably telling you something.

Regarding your 35-37 gap, the Haynes shows the gap should be 39-43 way back in Chapter 1.

If one of your vacuum diaphragms has bitten the dust, you might want to invest in a new ignitor while Fainya has it apart. I've noticed that a new ignitor will smooth out the idle much better than changing the gap. As far as having a hard time starting the car, you may have a problem with the MCS, but that's better addressed in another thread at another time. There are several nice videos showing you how your MK1 SHOULD start on this site, and this site really is chock full of supportive information for your vehicle, unlike many other vehicle sites.

As you've heard many, many times...a car only needs spark and gas to run. Getting spark right is easy on a Chevrolet Sprint Metro. You'd be amazed at the people I've met through Teamswift who take the time to put quality parts into their Chevrolet Sprints. None of them regret it.

Good luck and take a closer look at that distributor!

_________________
DIY Broken Bolt Removal: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41042
DIY Clutch Adjustment: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48281
DIY Wheel Bearings: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29003
DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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 Post subject: Re: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:52 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Sandpoint, ID
Okay, I'm feeling pretty dumb right now. I thought for sure I had tried swapping the vacuum lines when this issue first appeared (after replacing the o-ring), but obviously my memory isn't serving well. Anyhow, I swapped the lines tonight and the timing went back to normal (8 BTDC with lines disconnected & plugged, ~16 with everything connected). So now I have the #* line on the pot closest the rotor, and the #22 on the outer pot... just like the schematic shows! At idle there's very little, if any, vacuum in the #* line, and a fair amount (sorry, didn't measure it) in the #22 line.

Since the car's 24 years old, my curiosity got the best of me and I pulled the distributor one more time to take a good look over and test the pots. Both pots held a 5" vacuum for a minute without any loss. Took some pictures too (see attached).

After everything was back together again, here's a link to a video at warm idle (a cold start video will have to wait for another day and another thread).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1sPwAx5 ... e=youtu.be

Thanks for your help Phil-N-Ed. I'm seriously considering rebuilding the carb - looks like you've put tons of info out there. Thanks again.


Attachments:
DSC03112.JPG
DSC03112.JPG [ 138.92 KIB | Viewed 443 times ]
DSC03115.JPG
DSC03115.JPG [ 138.87 KIB | Viewed 443 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: MK1 timing issue
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:09 pm
Posts: 4998
Location: Palm Springs: Too hot from June to Oct.!
Thank you very much for the video of the MK1 idling.
It doesn't 'shake' like a few people seem to think our little 3 cylinders do.

Sometimes we MK1 owners are a little hard to understand, but if you are patient (and you are) then you can see we are trying to talk engines, and our personalities may not come across as the most brilliant, but we know (in our own minds) what we are saying. Your engine compartment comes across as one which is built for the long haul, and I don't see any short cuts on your part.

If someone tells you to adjust your valves because they are making too much noise, take it with a grain of salt, because the videos I've taken around basically silent engines seems to amplify the tick tick tick of our valve train. As long as they're 6 and 8, you should be good to go. I like a close 6 and 8 because they over time have a tendency to open up a bit.

Congratulations on finding the solution to your problem, not applying too much vacuum, and ALMOST cleaning up that distributor body, eh? :razz:
(Had to give you a little bit of sh*t.)
Keep an eye on that distributor over the next few months and see if it has any internal leaks. If so, it wouldn't be the first one. Also, look for the ignitors to go on sale; eventually you'll need one.

Now that you've got it right, see what your gas mileage is doing. If she's back up around 44-48, then I'd run that carburetor into the ground, meanwhile rebuilding a spare to Sprint Metro specs.
Eventually the weather here will permit me to do the same; I've got a few friends who are due for carburetor upgrades, and hopefully the parts will still be available. Change your technique for starting if you are stressing that starter, and consider changing the gap on the plugs back to the stock setting for a larger spark and better fuel economy.

I'd guess you throw 5W-30 full synthetic at it, and she has no oil leaks, eh?

Long, trouble free, and happy motoring!
8)

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DIY Broken Bolt Removal: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41042
DIY Clutch Adjustment: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48281
DIY Wheel Bearings: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29003
DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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