Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tune-up trouble

So is it still a "tune up" if the car won't start afterward?

I spent my Saturday working on my '95 Suzuki Sidekick project. My dad and I successfully installed new manual window regulators, fixed a rattling rear tailgate, and worked on some trim pieces. The day was going good: Too good.

When it came time to do the "tune up" aspect (plugs, wires, cap, and rotor)—the easy stuff—things got ugly. Actually, nothing got ugly until after everything was done. Plugs: Check. Wires: Check. Rotor: Check. Cap: Check. Staring: FAIL.

So, I decided to try to eliminate the variables. I put everything back to the way it was and it still won't fire! I drove the damn vehicle to my dad's house (he's got a garage, I don't), started and stopped the thing three times without incident, but when I try to make everything nice and new, it won't start!

So now it's Sunday, I drove my dad's Jeep home to my house, and now have to go up there and try to figure things out. I thought I might have screwed up the firing order, but no dice, at least yet. I'm getting fuel; it cranks robustly; but won't catch. I think I need a spark tester. Grrr ...Let's hope I don't have to have the thing towed to the mechanic's. Good thing I have AAA ...


burnitwithfire said...

You know engines need three things to work: air, spark and fuel.

You've got fuel. You've most likely have air too.

Check for spark (which is probably the culprit). Pop one spark plug out and ground it on the engine block while someone cranks the engine. If there's no spark, you need to figure out why.

Unknown said...

Definitely the rotors!

Andy Lilienthal said...

Thanks for the advice, guys.

Unknown said...

I did the same thing when I changed my head gasket on my '96 Sidekick. I thought I had the correct firing order, but I was wrong about the direction of rotation! Fixed that, fired right up. Make sure the power to the coil is correct as well (+/-). But the quick check is as stated above. Another possibility is that the spark plug wires are broken at their connectors. If you pull on them too hard, this can happen. Good luck. Later.


Unknown said...

I dunno if the Sidekicks have it in their distributor, but there should be a screw in the center of the rotor, if it falls out or isn't there the rotor generally falls out on a couple of rotations. Happened to my friends Swift GT.