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Old 01-29-2012, 05:49 AM
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Engine Dies in Drive

I've recently been having some idle issues in drive or reverse (turbo 400). About 4-5 months ago I changed my cam from a hydraulic roller to a solid lifter mechanical roller cam and prior to that I changed from a high rise manifold with a single 850 holley to a tunnel ram with two 500cfm Edelbrocks. And 2 months ago I noticed that my idle was beginning to become slower so I adjusted the idle screw on the 2nd carb near the firewall clockwise then the idle seemed fine. Then 2 weeks later the idle seemed to drop again so I adjusted it again. This has been continous until now. I asked a friend and he told me that both carbs needs adjustment but it has to done evenly with each other. Then I asked the mechanic who installed my cam and tunnel ram and he said to check my spark plugs because he noticed that I'm mixing race gas with my pump gas and after changing the cam that could have caused the problem. I changed the plugs a year ago so I'm having doubts on his advice but it could be anything based on what I read on this forum in the category of engine dying. Any suggestions or diagnosis anyone?

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasyhard
I've recently been having some idle issues in drive or reverse (turbo 400). About 4-5 months ago I changed my cam from a hydraulic roller to a solid lifter mechanical roller cam and prior to that I changed from a high rise manifold with a single 850 holley to a tunnel ram with two 500cfm Edelbrocks. And 2 months ago I noticed that my idle was beginning to become slower so I adjusted the idle screw on the 2nd carb near the firewall clockwise then the idle seemed fine. Then 2 weeks later the idle seemed to drop again so I adjusted it again. This has been continous until now. I asked a friend and he told me that both carbs needs adjustment but it has to done evenly with each other. Then I asked the mechanic who installed my cam and tunnel ram and he said to check my spark plugs because he noticed that I'm mixing race gas with my pump gas and after changing the cam that could have caused the problem. I changed the plugs a year ago so I'm having doubts on his advice but it could be anything based on what I read on this forum in the category of engine dying. Any suggestions or diagnosis anyone?
I forgot to mention that when my car does idle in drive for a brief moment at the stop light the motor sounds like it has a slight miss and sometimes when I accelerate the throttle the carbs hesitate to respond.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:12 AM
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my KARMA ran over my DOGMA
 

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The usual suspects,,,

Check fuel pressure and fuel filters. Check plug gap and/or change the plugs, hard to tell for sure by looking at a set if they are in fact any good and for 30 bucks it is piece of mind. How do the plugs look? heavy carbon or anything? Check running voltage to distributor/ignition coil should be 13-14V. Dist cap/rotor condition? Check timing, maybe dist has turned loose. Check vacuum levels or for vacuum leak. Checked valve lash lately?
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:47 AM
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Good answer. I found plugs on ebay ngk's and others the competiton there is great I get a set delivered for under $15.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:42 PM
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Thanks guys, I'll be checking the plugs first then followup with all the rest that you mentioned if the plugs are not the problem. I'm currently running the ngk plugs too.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dasyhard
Thanks guys, I'll be checking the plugs first then followup with all the rest that you mentioned if the plugs are not the problem. I'm currently running the ngk plugs too.
I checked the plugs and they were okay but the distributor had free play, I could easily move it back and forth. This must be the issue, I need to have it re-timed but what I don't understand is how did it get so loose?
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:07 AM
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Its a Hawaii thing cousin!,,,hang loose,,,sorry could not resist

Lock washer on a flat washer may prevent that, most aftermarket dist hold downs have a slight arc to them with a slot for the bolt, this can sometimes make getting the hold down and the bolt in the correct position a little tricky and the end result is a loose result.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:35 PM
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Yeah bra, I could not believe how loose it was...its no wonder my idle was irratic. Thanks for the info.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:48 PM
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Is the drive gear damaged? Is the block a roller or do you use a button? I would be suspect of the cam instal if you found excessive free play. Pull the distributor and check the gear.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:09 AM
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LOOSE DISTRIBUTOR, lots of free play.

The existing hold down plate to my Mallory distributor was flat with a 9/16 bolt and 3 flat washers. The thread in the manifold was crossed a little towards the top. I changed the hold down plate to an aftermarket arc plate and replaced the bolt with a stud and a nut. They came together as a set. Once I adjusted the timing to the specs on the cam sheet and tightened the nut/lockwasher to the distributor, it did not budge. I took the car for a drive on the freeway and after 2-3 miles I began to hear knocking sounds from the motor and it slowly shut off. I retarded the timing about a 1/4 inch and I was able to start it again and drive home without any stalls (no issues at traffic lights). I'll pull the distributor tomorrow and check the gear. I asked the speed shop that replaced my cam if my distributor gear was strong enough to mesh with the roller cam gears so they checked their manual and said it was applicable. A friend informed me that anytime you convert from a hydraulic to a roller cam, its automatic to change the gear to bronze (for insurance purposes and peace of mind) especially if my distributor is the old type. I'll pull the distributor tomorrow and hopefully the gears are not damaged. Once I see shavings, its time to drop some engine oil for sample and stick a magnet in it. I hope its not a worst case scenario. I'll keep everyone posted.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasyhard
The existing hold down plate to my Mallory distributor was flat with a 9/16 bolt and 3 flat washers. The thread in the manifold was crossed a little towards the top. I changed the hold down plate to an aftermarket arc plate and replaced the bolt with a stud and a nut. They came together as a set. Once I adjusted the timing to the specs on the cam sheet and tightened the nut/lockwasher to the distributor, it did not budge. I took the car for a drive on the freeway and after 2-3 miles I began to hear knocking sounds from the motor and it slowly shut off. I retarded the timing about a 1/4 inch and I was able to start it again and drive home without any stalls (no issues at traffic lights). I'll pull the distributor tomorrow and check the gear. I asked the speed shop that replaced my cam if my distributor gear was strong enough to mesh with the roller cam gears so they checked their manual and said it was applicable. A friend informed me that anytime you convert from a hydraulic to a roller cam, its automatic to change the gear to bronze (for insurance purposes and peace of mind) especially if my distributor is the old type. I'll pull the distributor tomorrow and hopefully the gears are not damaged. Once I see shavings, its time to drop some engine oil for sample and stick a magnet in it. I hope its not a worst case scenario. I'll keep everyone posted.
I forgot to mention that as I was driving home the motor was still knocking and the usual beat of the cam did not sound normal, like a miss in one of the cylinders. And prior to changing the hold downs I changed the spark plugs too (NGKs).
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:04 AM
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Do you mean knocking like pinging detonation or an engine knock. Hope it's not an engine knock that doesn't sound good. But if it is missing and you only changed plugs check for a loose plu wire or something simple first. Good luck
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:11 PM
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@BigBlockRagTop,

Sir, you are a scholar and a gentlemen. You were right, it was a pinging detonation that I was hearing. I checked the wires and 3 of them were loose and not fully engaged to the plugs.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:09 AM
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Well it wasn't the loose spark plug wires that was causing the problem. I took the car for a drive and I noticed the idle rpms increasing at stop lights. As I continued driving, I noticed that my engine temp gauge began rising to over 220 degrees so I pulled over to the side to cool it off. After if cooled off, I drove it home but the temperature did not rise, it stayed at 180 till I reached home. The valves sound loose or I could be imagining things.

I'll check all of the suggested fixes on this thread, didn't get a chance to check the distributor gears yet and I hope that isn't the cause. Just went and ordered a Summit timing light. I hope the timing is the issue because a friend that tuned up my car, did not use it. He used a Vacuum Pressure test gauge. I need better professional help and I may have found it. I'm also going to seek chevrolet manuals such as Haynes to be knowledgeable and do the wrenchin myself. At least this way, if I F/U, I know it was my fault. I'll keep everyone posted on status.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:55 AM
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Overheating can be a sign of not enough timing, and the fuel is still burning in the exhaust. The days of tuning by ear are long gone.
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