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Old 08-21-2015, 11:41 PM   #15
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Your firing order is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 cylinders 1-3-5-7 are on the drivers side with 1 being at the front of the motor. Cylinders 2-4-6-8 are on the passenger side with 2 being in the front. The firing order is clockwise on the distributor. If all your plug wires are correct you probably cracked the porcelain on one or more of the plugs when you installed them. It is also possible you could have gotten grease and or dirt on the tips of one or more of the plugs when sliding them into the holes.
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:05 AM   #16
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did you run plug wires in their original locations or neatly run them together.
plug wires need to be separated and not run side by side because this can cause a crossfire situation.
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:37 PM   #17
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Wires are run through the oe spots. Could there be a vacuum line or something else I inadvertently disconnected.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:29 AM   #18
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Maybe.. if you have vacuum advance. The silver pod under the distributor with a vacuum hose on it (or not if you pulled it).
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:58 PM   #19
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I just joined this forum a min ago to help

If it's not wires in the wrong spot, I would bet it's the plugs, you decided to upgrade to platinum plugs, which is common, they don't cost much more and promise better fuel economy , however I first hand have experienced awful engine performance twice a Chevy and Chrysler motor after splurging for platinum plugs, i couldn't believe it but my jeep hated platinum plugs and the second I put in new copper stock spec plugs it ran like a champ .

Also the ceramic body on plugs can easily be cracked if dropped or in shipping and it's hard to see the cracks

If possible you can turn off all the lights and at night run the motor and see if you see any arcing, like blue sparks
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:45 PM   #20
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Thanks. This thing is still kicking my butt. Has anybody else had an issue using platinum plugs instead of copper?
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:29 AM   #21
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GM tech for almost 30 years here...

Yes firing order is 18436572, clockwise at the distributor. Does the engine run smoothly while accelerating to only 20mph or does it seem to be misfiring? What is the max RPM it reaches?

Going back to the late 80s to early 90s is a little foggy, I believe the big block offering then was the throttle body Tonawanda engine, the port injected Vortek didn't come around until about 95 or so. Your engine should have the coil mounted on a bracket outside of the distributor.

Triple check the firing order, that's the most likely culprit. But go one step further and make sure you didn't index the firing order one hole forward or back at the distributor. To check, follow the next set of instructions...Bear with me on this, I can't assume everyone understands 4 stroke engine operation.


Let's take for granted the distributor was likely installed in an orthodox manner...

Remove the coil wire completely, and then the disconnect the cap from the base and set it aside so you can access the rotor. Have an assistant bump the engine over with the starter until the mark on the balancer lines up with the 0 on the pointer, then observe where the rotor is pointed. You are looking for TDC of the compression stroke, you are there if the rotor is pointed towards the general direction of the #1 cylinder, front on the driver's side. If the rotor is pointed the opposite direction towards the #8 cylinder the engine is TDC of the exhaust stroke and needs to be rotated one more time. Once you get TDC of the compression stroke, mark where the rotor is on the base of the distributor with a sharpie pen, then verify you have the #1 plug wire in the correct hole in the cap so that they line up when assembled. The rest will fall into order once you have #1 indexed right. Make sense?

Since all we know is that you replaced the plugs and wires and now it has no power, this is what I'd do first. Could the problem be your platinum plugs...Eh...could be but not likely IMO. Drivability concerns are sometimes difficult to diagnose without being there firsthand.
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:36 AM   #22
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Check the timming. If you pulled all the wires at the same time to replace them(as aposed to one at a time) you could have them off by one hole in the cap. Just a guess.
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Old 08-30-2015, 10:34 AM   #23
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Great suggestions. I've been searching for the easiest location for the timing marks on the front of the motor but can't seem to locate them. Any ideas on an "easy" way to find it?
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Old 08-30-2015, 10:35 AM   #24
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Oh and the distributor has the coil attached to the top. It's a hei distributor combo
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Old 08-30-2015, 11:11 AM   #25
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The timing mark on the balancer should be a line, you may have to find it with a flashlight, the pointer on the timing cover may need to be observed with a flashlight too. On some of the older engines, there were several marks, 0 being only one of them. Cleaning it with a wire brush may help to see it.


If you have the HEI distributor, just unplug it before you bump the engine over.
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:00 PM   #26
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Excellent. Thanks. Do you know what the timing should be?
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Old 08-30-2015, 02:23 PM   #27
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This is reaching far, far back into the little crannies in my brain. But, I think the HEI ignition required special wires. I used to do shade tree mechanical work on weekends. I had an ignition scope and saw several DIY tune ups that folks did themselves and called me because something didn't work. In several cases, it turned out to be they had the wrong wires.
If you haven't tried it yet, put the old wires back in and see what happens.
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:34 PM   #28
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I would throw the old plugs back in the motor if it ran fine before the change.I have known many people who have bought plugs and had one or 2 bad out of the box
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