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Old 02-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #1
dragontrlr
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mysterious wire and won't fire

i set about the task of replacing the head gaskets, intake gaskets and exhaust gaskets on a 1989 dodge 318. in a van with my limited mechanical skills this took about 2 million years and 2 pounds of flesh. i have finally had the time to get everything back together. now the engine ran great prior to the dismantle. substantial foaming in radiator and water in oil but no smoke and smooth running. when i was removing all of the wiring from the top of the engine particularly the throttle body wiring there had been some mods. during all of the work one of the mod wires broke. on the back of the throttle body what i believe is the fuel injector electrical connector. a 4 wire connector. the top wire being green second a light brown/tan third off white bottom green. now here is the mystery, in the brown/tan second wire someone has splice in a wire (green) and run it by itself across the engine to the drivers side up under the dash panel. now i didnt install this wire nor did it touch it, but during the work at hand somehow that wire broke off from something under the dash. i pulled the wire cover under the steering wheel and did not see anything obvious where it broke away from. so now i go to start the engine and it wont start. it backfires excessively. when i turn the key on i hear what i believe to be the fuel pump pressuring up breifly and then silence. when i crank it it backfires and does not give any indication of wanting to start(unless it sits with the key on for a few minutes and i crank again) when i do shut the key off the TPS stutters 2-3 times. now here is the other problem. i think the plug wires are on wrong. they match the firing order/wire positions in an online diagram but i failed to mark the wires and when i reinstalled the cap i had to move the wires around to get them to fit again. (i matched to the firing order) but i believe this wiring position to be off. how can i figure out where to put the wires? and should it matter?
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:11 PM   #2
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

The tan wire off the injector runs to the PCM and is the negative pulse signal wire. The only reasons I know of to tap into that wire is for an alarm, a remote starter, or a tachometer. If you have any of those, then that's what the wire is for. If you don't have any of those, then the wire could've been there from a previous installation of one that someone has since removed but left the wire in place...unattached.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

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Originally Posted by dragontrlr View Post
how can i figure out where to put the wires? and should it matter?
Yes, it matters very much. Looking down from the back of the engine, the #1 plug wire should be at about the 1:00 to 2:00 position. The cylinders are front to back on the driver's side 1,3,5,7 and front to back on the passenger's side 2,4,6,8. The firing order is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 going clockwise around the distributor.
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

okay as far as green wire. no there is no alarm,tach etc. and i see no signs of ever having been any of the sort. so i will ignore this for a minute and get back to it later, as far as the plug wires, yes thank you for confirming cyl location and firing order. i did use that. however, i found this instruction to late mind you but ..........See Figures 1 and 2

To avoid confusion, remove and tag the spark plug wires one at a time, for replacement.

If a distributor is not keyed for installation with only one orientation, it could have been removed previously and rewired. The resultant wiring would hold the correct firing order, but could change the relative placement of the plug towers in relation to the engine. For this reason, it is imperative that you label all wires before disconnecting any of them. Also, before removal, compare the current wiring with the accompanying illustrations. If the current wiring does not match, make notes to reflect how your engine is wired.
.....................

so if this has happened or what ever may be the case. how would i find #1? during an internet search i came across a forum post from 2 years ago in another site that said something about TDC mark and a timing tab? lining these up would set the rotor at a certain point and that would be wire position #1 on the distributor. however, i cannot decipher what TDC and a timing tab are. if i simply keep the wires in the same order and move them around the cap one position at a time will they eventually line up as they should? if i do this i only have to move them a max of 7 times and crank it 7 times right????? thanks for your prompt responses
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:20 PM   #5
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

TDC=Top Dead Center, or in other words, when the #1 cylinder is at it's topmost position during the compression stroke. You can find the timing marks down on the front pulley and front cover of the engine. What the instructions meant was if you rotate the engine until the line on the front pulley lined up with the TDC mark on the front timing cover, the rotor in the distributor should be pointing at the #1 plug wire/tower of the distributor cap. Mind you, at TDC the rotor can actually point at the #1 or the #6 wires since the distributor rotes once for every two engine rotations. This of course leaves you with a 50/50 chance of getting it right. There is a way to be sure, but it's much quicker and easier to just try the two wire combinations.
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

okay i think i got the wires right. crank engine and it turns over, catches for a second(doesn't actually run but the crank over speeds up) and starves out. tried cranking a few times and with same result. however, a little back fire action and a nice flame up out of the throttle body (not an explosion but like lighting a gas grill and there is a propane build up and you get the big flame for a second. also engine made a strange rumble sound after the flame went out. i hear the fuel pump run for a second when i turn the key on and there is fuel at the two hoses when i disconnect them that drips out. should they be under pressure? back to the mysterious wire?
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:12 PM   #7
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

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a little back fire action and a nice flame up out of the throttle body
If that's happening then the wires are not correct. A backfire is the result of a plug firing while a valve is still open. This means the plug is being fired at an incorrect time.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:09 PM   #8
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

okay, i cant disagree with that, it seemed that the wires in this position it sounded better turning over and attempted to run. so i read your definition about the TDC and all. where on the front of the engine would i find this tab, and where on the pulley. i see looking down at the front of the engine some type of tube on the top left of the main crank pulley but i cant see in it. there also appears to be a tube exactly the same on the under side. is there any other mechanical way to line things up to find #1? also would my theory of moving the wires around the cap and cranking it work?
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:46 PM   #9
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

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okay, i cant disagree with that
You could, but you'd be wrong.
Yes you can keep shifting the wires around the distributor like you suggested. The danger in that, as you've already experienced, is backfire and flames.

As for the timing marks, you'd be looking for something like in this picture.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:12 PM   #10
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

mans gotta build fire you know. thanks for the pic, i will head out to the garage in the AM and try and get this set right. now just to double check this picture looks like a surpentine style set up. i figure its the same for my mulitiple v belts?
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:02 AM   #11
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

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this picture looks like a serpentine style set up. i figure its the same for my multiple v belts?
Yeah sorry, I should've specified that this is a generic picture just to give you an idea of what you're looking for.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

well i have looked and looked. i do not see anything anywhere on that engine that has TDC stamped. on the bottom of the engine i see a scale that has marks including 10 and 20. this is lined up with a 2" long tube i referred to earlier. the pulley in question shown in the picture has stamped wedges in it (4 of them 1/4 each) these wedges only stamped in the front half of the pulley not a complete alignment mark as pictured.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:07 PM   #13
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

okay after pulling the smog pump and the hydro steering pump and bracket i was able to find something to work with. plug wires are now i believe lined up. (i had them lined up right despite the back fire) and yes i did check to make sure that was #1 and not #6. when i reversed them no firing at all. so i have to guess fuel starving. you indicated that the tan wire was a negative pulse wire to the ECM. what if they had to bypass for some reason i.e. tan wire got cut somewhere so they spliced in. where is the ECM or what does it look like?
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:15 PM   #14
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

The PCM should be mounted in the engine compartment to the firewall near the dipstick and the wiper motor.

Here's one on eBay, just so you can see what it looks like.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...d=350235009794
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:24 PM   #15
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Re: mysterious wire and won't fire

okay i see that in the engine compartment. so green wire is not bypassing anything to get to that. engine turns over, after a few cranks if you will, engine fires. immediately dies as if cut off the minute it fires. inorder to get it to fire again you have to turn it over a few times. is there any way to test the wires at the tbi body? found some instructions at autozone but i have no idea what wires are what color. http://www.autozone.com/autozone/rep...00c1528007761f
just seems odd that after reassemble it has fuel delivery problem and i have a stray wire broken right at fuel delivery wires. i did find another broken rigged wire. it is a tan with brown stripe, it appears to come from the throttle position sensor and has been cut? inside the wiring harness right there it looks like two of the same color wires have been twisted together. this is not something new although i cannot decide if all three wires were connected and one broke loose from the other two or if this splice is a bypass. i cant believe this is any of the cause i have to believe this is a fuel delivery issue. pressure builds up engine fires pressure instantly lost. when engine fires/dies it cuts straight out it doesnt cough out
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