4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank... (2024)

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White90GT

Petty Officer 2nd Class
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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #1

A few weeks back the engine got really hot because the seawater pump had gone out and I didn't realize it. Regardless when I went to shut it off, it was dieseling, meaning I turned off the key and the engine kept on running. I couldn't figure out what was going on, it ran for over a minute after the key was off. In a panic I went back there and disconnected the battery, no luck, disconnected all spark plug wires at the distributor, still no luck. It eventually died on its own.

All that said, now that I've replaced the impellar on the pump I hooked the plug wires back up in what I thought was the 165432 firing order going clockwise from #1 being on the right hand side of the cap. I tried a couple different ways, ie clockwise and counter clockwise, but the thing just won't crank now. At one point in jacking around with the wires it cranked and barely idled with a miss, but I can't remember what that was. Now, it turns over and then binds up a little as if a cylinder is firing out of order, then turns over, then binds up.

Can someone show me a diagram or some pictures of your distributor cap and labeled wires? I'm pretty automotively sabby, but I don't know why this thing isn't firing up.

The intake is labled 1-6-5-4-3-2 on it. Again I started on the right hand side of the cap with #1 and went clockwise with 6-5-4-3-2 around the cap.

Don S

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #2

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

You first need to find #1 TDC on the compression stroke, here is how you do that.

Remove all the spark plugs. This makes the engine easier to turn, and if using a remote start button keeps the engine from kicking back when you are trying to make very small movements.

The Merc OEM service manual suggests you put your finger over #1 spark plug hole and turn the engine until you feel compression building in the cylinder. In real life, that can become almost impossible to do and turn the engine at the same time. What I have found that works very well is to use the hose from your compression tester so. Then just put your thumb over the end of the hose to feel the compression. It?s a lot easier to reach.

Now, bump the starter over with a remote start button or turn the engine by hand until you feel compression building on the #1 cylinder. Once you feel compression building, you no longer have to feel for the compression. Now you need to watch the timing mark on the vibration damper and the timing tab. Continue turning the engine in the same direction until the timing marks line up on 0? TDC.
You now have #1 piston at TDC on the compression stroke.

At this point, if your distributor is in the engine, remove the cap and look at where the rotor is pointing. That is where #1 spark plug wire should be located.

The firing order is 1-6-5-4-3-2 and the rotor turns clockwise.

W

White90GT

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #3

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

I don't see a specific timing pointer that points to the balancer on the motor. Should it line up with a bolt or something? Where does it normally point when piston is at TDC? I'm used to fords, on a ford its on the passenger side a couple inches from the center of the motor.

Don S

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #4

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank... (3)

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White90GT

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #5

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

Don, thanks for posting that diagram. My engine doesn't have that timing pointer. It has the mark on the balancer, but not a pointer like that. Best I could do was see it pointed towards a bolt in that general area. When I felt the compression on the cylinder, I looked and the pointer was at the back of the distrubutor, so I started there. That wasn't right, still backfiring.

So I tried to rotate the wires over 1 spot counter clockwise on the distributor. Still no luck.

They wouldn't reach around to go any further around, so I moved the opposite direction and started rotating them clockwise on the distributor. I finally got it around to where #1 plug was on the port/bow side and wired it up there. She fired right up. Good news is there doesn't appear to be any problems from the overheat engine wise. I do see a trickle of water seeping out the rubber boot on the port side down pipe for the exhaust. I tried tightening her up, but still a slight trickle. Gonna look at that more later. For now at least I know she runs. Next thing is to decide whether I tackle pulling the motor up and tightening/inspecting the inside/outside mounts for the stern drive. The outdrive is a little loose on the transom and it looks like it needs to be tightened up a bit. Its taking in some water around the outdrive into the bilge.

According to the dealer and Chris Craft when we bought it, the hull/transom is all composite, not wood. So it shouldn't be a rotted transom. Fear is that some hard impacts with the outdrive with U.U.F.O (underwater, unidentified, foreign objects) may have taken its toll and cracked the transom. All I see externally is a lot of what appears to be stress cracks in the gel coat around the bottom of the stern drive and around the bilge drain hole. I've got a post with pictures about that in the hull repair forum.

Thanks for yall's help!

Don S

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #6

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

Take a picture of the front area of your engine (shown in my picture). Then we can see what you see.

According to the dealer and Chris Craft when we bought it, the hull/transom is all composite, not wood. So it shouldn't be a rotted transom.

What does that have to do with your firing order ??????????

W

White90GT

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #7

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

Don S said:

Take a picture of the front area of your engine (shown in my picture). Then we can see what you see.

What does that have to do with your firing order ??????????

Nothing LOL. I was commenting because the next thing I have to fix is the leak around the transom and outdrive. The outdrive appears to be a little loose on the transom. I can pick up on the drive a little and see it pull away from the transom a little bit and if someone looks inside while you pick up on it, you can see the plate on the inside that the outdrive is bolted to move a little as well. So I'm thinking either the bolts have stretched or loosened up over time so its not a good seal anymore.

Here's a shot of the front of engine on the port side of balancer. Looks like its time for a new alternator belt LOL.

4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank... (6)

Don S

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #8

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

I have no idea what happened to your timing mark, but it's sure missing. Is it the OEM engine or perhaps an automotive replacement.

PS: You might want to start a new thread with your other problem. With a firing order title, not many are going to be expecting to give reasons for a leak.

W

White90GT

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  • Jul 16, 2011
  • #9

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

Thanks Don. I already started a thread in hull repair forum. Was just sharing my next undertaking.

We bought the boat new in 1997. I have done all work on the boat and its all original. Only repairs I have done has been new seawater impellar, new trim pump motor, new water circulation pump, and new power steering pump.

C

Capn G

Cadet
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
28
  • Jul 18, 2011
  • #10

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

On the 4.3, the rotor is "pointing" at the #1 cylinder (front, right standing in the boat looking at the engine) when it's TDC. You'll need to have compression build-up at the same time.

W

White90GT

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  • Jul 19, 2011
  • #11

Re: 4.3L Firing order? Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank

Thanks G. Thats what I found as well whenever I finally got the wires on there and it ran.

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4.3L Firing order?  Pulled all wires without marking, now I can't get it to crank... (2024)
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