I have had the 1954 Dodge Suburban ambulance for a short while, 251 motor that had done little work. When it arrived after a 6 hour trip on a car transporter it would not start (cranking but not firing). We eventually found that the clamp on the distributor had warped and was enabling the distributor to twist when we cranked it, thus mucking up the timing.
With that sorted, it started eventually. We did have a massive backfire which blew apart the muffler, caused mainly because of the fuel build when we kept cranking it.
An electric fuel is fitted without a separate switch, so when ignition was on, and we were cranking it, it keeps fuel pressure up. I have since fitted a separate switch so I can turn the fuel pump off in need.
With a timing light I set number one at TDC and it idled and ran quite well (stationary) for a few weeks. Great.
Next job was to install new brake master cylinder, fluid, bleed these. Now I have brakes. Even better, I can drive the Dodge around the yard a bit. Our block slopes a bit so I was reluctant to drive it just relying on emergency brake to stop.
So, give it a small drive, engine goes okay, but lacks a bit or power. Probably just need to revisit timing with vacuum disconnected and do the timing properly. Easy. Starts easily a few times that week.
The next week I went to start it again this and engine is just barely running, small coughs and little backfires. Damn..looks like timing is out again.
After hours of trying to "fix" this, it is back to cranking, not firing.
No matter what I do I cannot get any firing at any cylinder and I have exhausted my knowldege/ability, so next step is to get it to a mechanic and pay them, unless someone here can help.
Here is a potted history of events:
At one point the carby (Stromberg) float ceased working and fuel poured out of it everywhere. Took it apart and the clip on the float had dislodged and float was not working. Took the opportunity to clean the carby again, replaced pin on float, re assembled carby and installed it. Have not connected the Choke cable. Checked fule flow from electric pump at the carby and it is good. Fuel is fresh and has half a tank.
Carby appears to be functioning. When I press the throttle linkage there is a good spray of fuel evident. Trying to eliminate fuel as the issue I have even poured a small amount of fuel down the carby and also tried Aerostart, but neither will get a piston firing.
So, must be a spark issue, surely?????
I have taken the distributor out, checked all wirings and they are sound. Points set with dissy on the bench, gap 15 thou.
With crank handle turned motor to get number 1 at TDC, and rotor cap is at 7.00 o'clock book.
I bought a plug test light that goes between the plug and the ingition lead to see if there is power to the plug. Yes, number 1 has voltage at TDC, and dissy rotor at 7.00 oclock. All other leads have voltage too. Cleaned and reset plugs.
Took the coil to auto electrician and he said it is good and strong. Changed condensor at one stage too but no difference.
Brand new big battery so plenty of power available for strong spark.
One weird thing is that even though my lead test light will flash to show voltage to the plugs I now cannot get the timing light to "flash". Even bought another one and same..no strobing". Tried using a battery back up pack to power the timing lights rather than the Dodge battery, but still neither light will strobe on any plug lead. Made sure the plug lead was not tangled with another lead in case that upset the signal. Both timing lights have these new clips that go over the plug leads, with an arrow that needs to pint towards the plug. Maybe I need to get a steel spring attachment that goes between the dissy number 1 outlet and the start of plug lead and put the clip over that? The plugs leads are nearly new. Dissy cap seems to be in good order.