4.5 distributer 180 out?
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, 4.5 distributer 180 out? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I am having problems with my 90 Deville 4.5 eng. I have replaced just about everything and it still runs ...
  1. #1
    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    4.5 distributer 180 out?

    I am having problems with my 90 Deville 4.5 eng. I have replaced just about everything and it still runs rough with a lack of power. My question is regarding the possibility that I have the distributer 180 degrees out. As an old school mechanic I know that non computer controlled engines will let you know by backfiring etc. Has anyone had experience with this on these engines? Any help greatly appreciated!!

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    drewsdeville's Avatar
    drewsdeville is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    To confirm, just put the No. 1 cylinder on TDC-compression and check where the location of the rotor is in relation to the No. 1 terminal on the dizzy cap.

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    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    Well it was at TDC and pointing to #1 as it should have. On older non computer engines it was possible to install a distributer 180 degrees out, pointing at #1 and at TDC but still need to be taken out and rotate the distributer shaft one complete revolution to get it to run. Is it possible to have this problem with a computer controlled engine? I realize that much more is controlled with the cam sensor and computer but am at my wits end trying to get this to run right. Good fuel pressure, pick up coil, module, cap wires and AC plugs, new injectors, good compression, no codes, new timing set, map sensor even tried a reman ECM and cleaned the throttle body. Still it misses and has a lack of power??? The cam sensor (hall effect switch) is the only thing I havent replaced, though I would think it would not run at all if that was bad.

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    drewsdeville's Avatar
    drewsdeville is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    You can still install it 180 out, but there's no way to do it wrong if you were sure that you were on TDC COMPRESSION. You must be on the COMPRESSION STROKE (valves closed). If you are (accidentally) on TDC during the exhaust stroke, then yes, you installed the distributor 180 degrees off, since the distributor rotates once for every 2 crankshaft revolutions.

    I don't know if or how the 4.5 would run if it was 180 off. I'm not sure if the 4.X's fuel injection system used batch-fire or sequential with reference to the cam signal.

  6. #5
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    Sevillian273 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    The 90 4.5 is sequential injection but will run w/o the cam sensor. It will buck, jerk, and hesitate on acceleration and should set E041(no cam sensor reference signal). You've gone this far, might as well replace it....

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    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    At what point did you mess with the distributor that you suspect it to be out 180*? Usually the computer would throw all kinds of codes to let you know that something is really wrong with all of it.

    For starters, rotate the distributor without pulling it out. If it dies, falls flat, or doesn't even start, than the issue is not the distributor. If it runs better, then look into the distributor. Honestly, it isn't that hard to fix or address a distributor out 180...

  8. #7
    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    It was running rough, stumble and lack of power after installing cap, wires and rotor. After checking the placement of the wires at least a dozen times I decided to replace the pickup coil (must remove the distributer to do this) and module on the chance that was my problem all along... no improvement or perhaps even worse. Then replaced all of the injectors (Venom 19lb) and the ECM. No change. Frustrated, I took it to a shop, they checked compression (good) and reset the timing and I have to admit it does run better but not like it did just 2 months ago. When I replaced the pick up coil it was on TDC but there is no way that I know where the distributer shaft location was going back in in reference to where it was coming out with punching that roll pin out and removing the shaft etc. Well except that the rotor was pointing to #1. Just a thought on that 180 degrees or one turn off. guess the thing to do is try it and see what happens.

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    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel58 View Post
    When I replaced the pick up coil it was on TDC but there is no way that I know where the distributer shaft location was going back in in reference to where it was coming out with punching that roll pin out and removing the shaft etc.
    Ahhh, now that makes sense

    Try rotating the whole assembly 180. If that doesn't work, you could always rotate the shaft 180 (remove pin and reassemble) and replace. With a light you'd know exactly where the engine is in relation to timing. You may just be 1 tooth out...

    Just curious, any codes in this endeavor?

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    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    Nothing out of the ordinary on codes, E52 from disconnecting the battery and E49 AIR system which has been setting for years. I had thought of the distributer being 180 degrees out but not of the possibility of the gear being off 1/2 turn on the distributer shaft. I suppose I should have marked things better before it was taken apart!!! 2 months of work and $2000 in parts the car should run like new.

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    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel58 View Post
    2 months of work and $2000 in parts the car should run like new.
    Yeah I got one of those too... except mine's been going on for 2 years now...

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    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    There is no way it will run if it is 180 out. If it is running now then it is close to correct, just verify the timing and you can rule that out.

  13. #12
    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    Well, ruling the out the distributor being 180 degrees out would leave the hall effect switch (cam sensor) which I am under the impression should set a code or not run at all. Or the aftermarket injectors (Venom 19lb) which according to what I have read on this site should have been an improvement. The car has settled down a bit since all of the above mentioned work was done, the stumble is gone but it seemes to be searching at idle now. I plan to try the idle learn procedure, but don't have much hope that will help because we already did that once. I have been letting the better half drive it around town to let the ECM adjust to all of the new parts while working on my 77 Deville, constant heater blower relay failure problems, not getting anywhere with that either! Spent so much money on that 90, just can not afford to throw more money at it at this point. A case of beer will help for a while I guess, but these lousy dang Cadillacs will still be there the next day.

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    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    It sounds like you have covered the bases pretty well. I'm pretty sure the hall effect switch will either set a code or the car won't run. You already have a new tune up and MAP sensor and no codes. As an old school mechanic myself I always like to know how much vacuum an engine is pulling. If it's low then it either has a leak or the engine is just tired. You said the compression was good so it must not be tired. Do the plugs look good? I try to run my HEI cars at .045" gap because i don't believe the HEI can fire .060" consistently but that's just me. Sometime I may have to research a different spark plug to accomplish that. There has been some discussion here about the difficulty in finding good injectors. I don't know what Venoms are or if they are new or rebuilt so I don't know if they can be ruled out yet.

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    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    Vacuum was good, no carbon buildup when I pulled the throttlebody. replaced the EGR just to eliminate that. I didn't really think it was the injectors but replaced them to rule them out, called the Venom tech line today just to make sure I had the correct injectors for my car. It turns out that the shop I took it to simply advanced the base timing to 30 degrees, it did run better for a while but started surging and stalling at idle, so I reset that to 10 degrees and its a bit more stable but now have the tip in stumble back and a lack of top end power. Tomorrow we are pulling the distributor, wires and plugs. We are reduced to checking for defective NEW parts at this point. Ohm out the wires, take a look at the new AC plugs. I have them set to .060, may try what you mentioned and reduce the gap a bit. Not really looking forward to changing those plugs a couple more times. This aint no hot rod Lincoln but it has driven me to drinking, and that didn't help either.

  16. #15
    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 4.5 distributer 180 out?

    "tip in stumble and loss of top end" sounds like a lean condition to me. Are you sure that fuel pressure is ok? Maybe it gets lower when it warms up, like a failing fuel pump.

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