So, where to start....
Well as some may know I have an LS swapped Mustang that I had built over the last few years and am now in the process of selling. I love the car but it is time to move on to my next build.
The car had been listed for sale for a couple months before a buyer came into the picture. He is from Chicago which is about 5 hours from me. We agreed on a price and he booked a date to drive down and do the deal. The next week I decide to take the car out for one last spin the night before he was to arrive and during that drive I ovaled a connecting rod and ruined the crankshaft.
After talking with the buyer (who has been nothing but extremely cool and patient this entire process) we agreed that I would rebuild the engine using a new GM crank but with upgraded H-beam connecting rods to compliment the forged JE pistons already in the engine. Since it would be and upgrade we agreed on a slightly higher price and parts were ordered. After a couple weeks of waiting on parts the build process began. The first order of business was to sort out the crankshaft reluctor wheel situation. You see my engine requires a 24 tooth reluctor wheel which isn’t offered on any factory crankshafts anymore. They come standard with a 58 tooth.
These wheels act as the timing pickup for the PCM and are pressed on very specifically from the factory in order to ensure correct ignition timing...duh. They are pressed onto the back of the crankshaft like so:
Now, I was required to take my new and old cranks to my local GM dealer to swap the reluctor wheels as they have the correct tools for the job.
After a few days I had the crank back and it was time to assemble the engine. I had some delays with the new connecting rods requiring some honing on the pin-end for clearance that sucked up a few more days but soon I was good to go. Taking my time and checking every clearance I had it together and ready to install it back into the car. My goal was to have the car running by this past weekend so i could put some break in miles on it.
Once back in the car and bolted, plumbed, wired up it was time to fire it. I unplugged the injectors to crank it over and build some oil pressure before first fire per my usual process. I plugged the injectors back in and hit the key to hear the sound of popping and almost backfiring in a consistent fashion. I try a few more times with the same result. The car will not start. I go through a mental checklist and can’t think of anything that would cause this issue. Hearing the car it sounds like it is completely out of time which doesn’t make any sense. I check my crankshaft position sensor to make sure I plugged it in and the same for the camshaft position sensor. Both are plugged in.
It was late and I decided to sleep on it to hopefully think of something else that it could be. There were no changes made other than the connecting rods so I was dumbfounded.
The next day I realized that the only area for error was in the human installation of the reluctor wheel which gives me the worst sinking feeling. I spoke with the actual tech at the dealer who did the swap and he admitted that he did not feel confident in having the wheel perfectly aligned as he did not have an alignment tool. He said he took measurements and lined it up the best he could but said it would be easy to be off a 1/16" of an inch minimum.
Here is the issue, even IF I adjust the timing by a million degrees adv/ret via HP tuners and get the car to start I will never truly know where 0* TDC will be therefore I will NEVER know my true timing advance. Maybe I could get it perfect on the dyno but what will the next tuner think when they open the tune file and find oh say 65* BTDC base timing or even crazier 46* ATDC lol. WHO KNOWS WHAT IT WOULD BE!
I mean I guess it’s not all bad, I just spent a week building the engine and putting it in the car and you know pissed away money on new hardware, fluids, gaskets, tool rental, and the $98 it took to have the dealer swap the wheels! I haven’t told the buyer yet but I am worried he will lose faith in me and the car and back out of the deal. Pretty much at this point I want to light the car on fire and walk away like:
I am still talking with the dealer, tuners, LS guys, and others to gauge the best course of action but I am at my whits end here. I only hope that I can get some kind of compensation from GM for time/money lost but that is a long shot.