We've acquired a 1977 Winnebago Brave with a Dodge 440. It had sat untouched for 17 years however, after replacing plugs, wires, gasoline, air cleaner, radiator, etc., it started & we were able to drive it around. We noticed that it had very strong smelling exhaust, & idle was kind of rough but still it would start easily & was drivable. Then suddenly it simply will not start. We are getting spark & gas, rebuilt the carb, replaced distributor, and some other parts (I'll get a list later from my husband) but are at a loss as to why it will not start. We finally found the timing mark, and it is out of time but how do we remedy this when it will not run? Any ideas and direction will be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!

Tags: Winnebago

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Well....time for some more fun with the 440. If you have the timing mark and can see that it's off I'm wondering how you know if it's out of time on the non-runner. Not trying to be funny. If it's far enough off than the "spark" and best compression of fuel ain't happenin' and you get a bad running or non running condition. You could correct this by loosening the lockdown on the distributor and slowly turning the distributor one direction or another until you get a start. Once you have that, you can adjust timing. My hope is that this is the issue because if it's off mark internal vs. the distributor being out of whack then that's a whole other job.

I know on my old 440 had the disto up front which made adjusting a pain. My 360 was better with it in the back and i could dial her in pretty good just by listening. Hope others will chime in.

Thank you for the reply! I guess when I say that timing is off, I mean that when timing marks are dead center the "thing" under the distributor cap doesn't point to the #1 spark plug. Also, when you say to slowly rotate the distributor, what if we were to get a start when the distributor is in the wrong position to lock it down?

That's good news. At least that's a easier fix. After you get it started you can slowly twist the it until you hear a smoother running engine. That will get you close, not perfect but close.

Have one of you turn it over while the other, probably hubby moves the distributor until it starts. Timing I think is 8 degrees btdc. There may be vacuum leaks causing issues also. Google timing 1977 440 you'll find lots of ideas. 

Happy Motoring


Thank you, we will try that - moving the distributor - & report back!

Unfortunately that didn't work either ….

I suggest getting #1 cylinder is at the top of the compression cycle. Then check to see if the rotor is aimed at the proper contact on the distributor. It may be that when you replaced the distributor it got off by one tooth. The other thing to check is if there is a resistor on the distributor. I don't recall when Mopar stopped doing that but if it is bad the engine will not start. 

Replaced the distributor, no change

Hi Bud n Julie. Please don't move the distributor. Just run a jumper wire to the + side of the coil from the battery +. Then try to start it.

Check the ballast resister white with two wires it wont start if this is bad

Already replaced, no change

Where did you find the timing marks? In the front or rear of the engine?




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