Year of 2.3l?
I assume it is a 2.3l Lima engine because it has a distributor.
Distributor can be install 180deg off
Since you rebuilt the engine you probably noticed the Cam gear and oil pump/distributor gear are both twice the size of the Crank gear.
This means that the crank will rotate two times for each one turn of the Cam/oil pump gears.
Same for all 4-stroke engines, crank must rotate two full turns(4 strokes of piston) for one complete cycle.
Firing order of 2.3l Lima is 1-3-4-2
This means the crank's TDC mark will be on 0deg when piston #1 AND #4 are at their top dead center.
You can just pull out distributor rotate rotor 180deg then reinstall, to test if thats the problem.
Or swap the cap wires around, so 1 to 4 and 2 to 3
Or you can remove spark plug from #1 and then rotate crank manually until you hear air being pushed out of the spark plug hole, that is the compression stroke of #1 and at the top of this stroke correct TDC will be set and distributor rotor should be point at #1 wire.
After engine is started you can fine tune spark timing, you have a TFI spark system, so there will be a SPOUT connector, this allows computer to control spark advance, you must remove the connector to set base timing.
On the 2.3l the SPOUT connector was usually on the passenger side of the engine in the wiring harness.
Google: SPOUT connector
to see what it looks like
Last edited by RonD; 03-17-2015 at 10:20 AM.