trouble shooting a no start condition on 63 pontiac catalina .

Asked by 63pontiac Mar 25, 2017 at 06:01 PM about the 1963 Pontiac Catalina

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have 12 volts to the coil when the key is tuned on.  there is spark to the plugs and points when the engine turns over ...The carburetor is getting fuel.  Compression test result for cylinder no. 1 is 75 psi. I just put a set of unitized set of points in it. I 'm getting ready to change out the ignition coil.,

5 Answers


What is the rest of the engines cylinders compression. 75 lbs, in cylinder #1 that cylinder will not fire. If the rest of the engine is like this it is not going to start. You need at a minimum of 120 lbs.

You are correct . I checked the compression In Cyclinder number 4 and it is reading 60psi. I put number one on top dead center and felt the compression blow my finger out of the hole. The rotor is still pointing to number one in the cap. The car had 94k miles on the original engine. Do you think the timing chain is bad??


The old Pontiac timing chains did stretch, but if the engine timing itself is close, that would not be causing low cylinder compression.

I did squirt oil in al 8 cyclinders and the compression did raise to 75PSI. What else could it be?? Do you know of anything else I can try before I pull the timing chain over this weekend? Thanks again for your help.


That engine is not going to start. You need a minimum of 120 lbs for it to start. I would hate for you to put a timing chain in, may be a waist of money. Bring the timing mark on the crankshaft pulley to the pointer timing marks on the valve cover, take the distributor cap off and rotate the engine by hand back and forth watching the distributor rotor until it turns, Rotate the engine backward to see the number of degrees it takes for the rotor to start turning again.

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