Update on Detonating '99 360 Ram Van (100,000 miles)

I really appreciate all the advice in this newsgroup - you pointed me to some great sites, now I have photographic guides on how to do everything from the plug wire re-route to replacing the timing chain
(not looking forward to that).
Where things stand now:
I checked all the plugs and they are all intact - no metal spatters, no missing electrodes or insulators. They were pretty wet and oily, but this was after a dose of injector cleaner, and a string of failed start attempts, so there would be a lot of fuel in the cylinders. There's a lot of carbon, and some are lighter than others. But I'm no plug interpretation expert. Photos here, for your opinions:
http://roberttest.remecom.info/dodgeramvan/spark_plugs.html
Engine still won't start. It will turn over vigorously, and fire every few turns, but it won't start running. I wonder if the latest episode of detonation actually caused the timing chain to jump, because this is exactly how a 318 motor I had in the 80's behaved after it had jumped a notch on the chain. My first thought was I'd put the plug wires back on wrong, but I checked that against a diagram I found online and it appears correct.
Thanks again for all the advice!
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First off those are Bosch plugs, right ? Get rid of them they are junk. Second, the spark plugs were not torqued properly. If you look at the spark plug gaskets they should be crushed flat but they are still rounded. Third, plugs #1, 3 and 7 look oil fouled and # 7 plug looks like the gap is bridged with a piece of carbon which would cause a misfrire in that cylinder. My advice would be to put a good set of plugs in there, such as NGK, Autolite and see how it runs. A decent set of plugs may very well cure your problems.
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Thanks for the brand advice, I will try something with a better reputation when I replace them. You are right, they were not torqued using a torque wrench, but none of them were loose when I removed them. However, the photo of #7 just has a meet-up with the shadow and the electrode - it was not bridged, I inspected them very carefully. They did pick up some debris upon removal from the heat guard, too.
I hope all it is are the plugs! That would make my day.
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Mike,
I think it bears mentioning that your generation of 318 doesn't use the distributor position to set timing -- there's a crankshaft position sensor in the bellhousing for that. Before I went whole hog into something else, I'd make damn sure I had the distributor indexed right since you gave it a few twists -- meaning that somewhere around TDC for #1, the rotor is pointing at the #1 terminal....but somebody else here can probably give you the factory method for setting up the indexing.
Best of luck -
Jon
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Aw crap, numbskull missed the original post.
Good luck,
Jon
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Thanks Jon, that is a good idea and something I plan to do today, but before I started moving it, I did mark where it was - but it wouldn't be a bad idea to check it visually with the cap off.
Thanks for the info, it does correlate with what others have told me.
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Put a set of plain old Autolight plugs in it, DO AS THEY TOLD you previously Remove the intake & REPLACE the intake pan gasket before you distroy the motor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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In article <2d00d42d056695dca0c84a082158eca1

I don't know why, but LA engines seem to really have a lot of problems with this. My old 77 360 leaked often enough to make me very good at yanking the intake and replacing them. Finding the right gaskets, and even more importantly, eventually finding the right glue to seal it all up, was the key to stopping the problem.
I bought an early 80's Ramcharger, and it had the problem too. I did the repairs and sold it for a few hundred more than I paid for it. A guy I know bought a used 1998 Durango and it's on it's third set of intake gaskets.
I for one won't miss the LA motors.
BDK
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