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Old 06-11-2008, 05:41   #1 (permalink)
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Problem starting my new 390

Quick recap of the work I've done: Bored recon 390 with aluminum intake, 650 Edelbrock stuck into my 64 Galaxie. All new everything, built from scratch.

My problem: I'm all ready to start her up but it seems like the battery/starter doesn't have the juice/power to turn it over properly. It turns over fine, but it struggles to, and doesn't go near fast enough to actually fire off. I thought maybe the batt was a little under juiced so I put jumpers from my other car to make sure the juice was where its supposed to be. Same problem. The car turns over, but struggles, and then after about 5 revolutions it just dies again, or starts smoking from the cables or solenoid.

I know its a tight engine cause its new, but should that keep it from turning over? Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:07   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Were all points lubed during assembly? I hope you didn't try to start it with dry assembly
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:28   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Yup, lots of Moly everywhere. I had a great assembly book to assist me. Lubed and greased everywhere I should have-primed oil pump, filter full of oil, pushrods, pistons, cam, lifters primed....everything.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:17   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Does the car have a manual transmission where you can pull start it?

You may have to get some heavy duty (big) cables for the batt to solenoid to starter.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:57   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Nope, automatic, Cruise-o-matic to be precise

The stock cables wouldn't work? I had the 352 in it before. They're pretty heavy duty looking cable right now, but I think I've seen bigger
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Old 06-11-2008, 13:27   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Pull the spark plugs out and see how free it turns. Are you sure timing is good. To far advanced and it will tend to turn over slower.
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Old 06-11-2008, 14:04   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Tried the pulling plugs thing already, and she turns nice and easy with them out, of course that's not much good when I'm, trying to start it. Is that an indicator of something else wrong?

The timing is if-y. I was supposed to note the position of the dist when i removed it, but I never had this engine put together before! I lined up the rotor and cap with TDC like the book says, to get me close. I tried turning the dist a little left to right while cranking but didn't seem to matter. It just doesb't seem to crank fast enough to get anything going.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 06-11-2008, 15:07   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Turning the engine by hand, make sure you have #1 coming up on compression stroke. When it just reaches the top and starts to go down again, stop. The rotor should be pointing at #1 plug wire. If so, timing is close enough. Did you have all the machine work done for you at a machine shop?
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Old 06-11-2008, 15:47   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

Sounds like you just have a dead battery. Get a new bat and it should fire. check the coil for spark as well.
If there is a slight backfire you may have the dist. 180 deg. out.
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:36   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Problem starting my new 390

I set things up exactly like thefonz said. I held the wire from the coil against the head to see if I had spark there, and I did. At TDC the rotor is pointing toward #1. The battery is a brand new 600 cranking amp battery, and I even jump it when it starts to wear down. All machine work was done at a machine shop-turn crank, new rod pins, new cam bearing, hot tanked block, recon heads, new springs, valves, pistons new, oil pump new, factory police interceptor alum intake.

I'm really baffled. It seems to me that if I could get this thing to turn over like it should it would at least fire enough for me to adjust and get it running. In my experience, starters and generators are either bad or good....no in between. Am I wrong? Can they be weak and still function? I could swap them, both out, but they're a pain and I can't see how that would change anything. Wish I had a hot rod shop around somewhere to take this thing to!
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