Hi fellow Opponauts,

Been forever since I've been able to post so I don't know if this will even show up...seems like the last couple of times I've tried to do something it never got out of gray. I guess that's the price I pay for being a teacher instead of working in an office and being able to read Jalopnik/Oppo all day—not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anywho, I have a bitch of a problem going on with my 2000 GMC Sierra, 4.3L V6. I posted long ago that I thought the transmission was possibly dying, but the shudder and slipping turned out to be a misfire problem instead. So I took it to a guy down the road with great reviews on Yelp and paid $500 for a new cap and rotor and to reset the timing. It worked great, for about 6 months. Then it started again—just a slight blip now and again, a little shudder usually only at highway speed.

Being a pretty low-level home mechanic short on experience but long on desire to learn, I researched for hours and decided I'd try to fix it myself this time. I bought a brand new AC Delco distributor, disconnected everything to access the old one, and pulled the #1 spark plug. As far as I understood it, if I could get the #1 cylinder to TDC then I can simply use the marks on the distributor to set the timing and make sure it's installed correctly.

So this weekend I go out and buy a damn $30 vacuum/compression gauge, but the shitty little rubber tip doesn't fit into the spark plug hole. Then I go to OReilly and rent their compression tester kit with the screw-in adapter and hook it up to my gauge. I get under the truck and hand turn the crank....nothing. The needle doesn't move. Either way. I try and try and try....nothing. I re-installed the old distributor and try again. I can see the rotor moving, at least a little, so ostensibly it's working, but still the needle isn't moving. I messed with this damn setup for hours and wasted my whole Saturday and got nowhere but $30 poorer and am so frustrated because this should be a very easy fix, assuming I can get it to TDC. But I can't.

What am I doing wrong? Any advice/tips/help? About ready to call in the shadetree guy but thought I'd see if my fellow Opponauts might be able to help first.

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As always, thanks for reading and here is a 1951 Ford Deluxe for your time: