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Old 06-16-2010, 05:43 PM
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serious engine issues

Ok here's whats going on. I've been working on a 1968 Ford Torino for the past few years. It has a 289 engine and a C4 auto tranny. Recently, the engine hasn't been running very well and there was an oil leak where the distributor went into the engine. I replaced the seal in there, and while I was at it I replaced the cap and all of the cables. Now, after all of the work was over, it idles very low, but when you give it a little gas, it sounds great. I tried to adjust the timing, but nothing happened. if anyone has any ideas on how I can fix this, i can give you more info if you need it. Thanks

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Old 06-16-2010, 05:48 PM
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When you turn the distributor to advance the timing, the engine should speed up....Are you saying, it is not doing this?

If this car has been sitting around for a long time and just idling when it runs, chances are the plugs are fouled and/or the carb needs a good cleaning out......points may also be dirty.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:57 PM
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turn the timing ahead or adjust the idle screw some...thats not a serious problem, minor details.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:06 PM
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no when i turn the distributor, it will not advance at all, the plugs are fairly new, and the car is my day to day, one day it worked and then all of the sudden it wouldn't run
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:28 PM
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pull the distributor and check to make sure the pins arent broken maybe...

are you using a timing light or going by ear?
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:44 PM
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The oil leak near the distributor is likely a leaky intake manifold end seal, Fords are notorious for leaks in this area. Basically the fix is to pull the intake and using new manifold gaskets install the manifold and use RTV (silicone sealant) instead of the end seals, some guys use the end seals and coat them in RTV...both methods work well.

Considering the age of your vehicle it is very likely your distributor is worn out, the gear where it interfaces with the camshaft and the shaft bushings don't last forever. You can spend a lot of time trying to get your existing setup to work and if the distrib is worn you will have nothing but grief.

When you shine your timing light on the timing marks you can tell if the distrib is worn if the marks jump around while reving the motor, if the cam chain has never been replaced it is a good bet its shot too which causes the same issue...the factory Ford plastic timing gear falls apart and then nothing works right no matter how much adjusting you do.

If it has never been done I would suggest replacing the timing gear set and the distributor at the same time, lots of guys throw in a modern profile mild cam at the same time...a popular one is an Edelbrock manifold kit with a new carb.

Not sure how much money you have to spend at this point but a distrib and cam gear set is a good investment, spending extra to replace the cam and carb at the same time is nice but not absolutely required...besides if the motor has a lot of miles adding a new cam without doing the valves and rings can cause oil burning with the increased compression.

You didn't list any add-ons to the motor so I am assuming the engine is stock, if it is stock the carb is likely worn out at the throttle shaft bushings hence why most guys freshen the entire motor with the Edelbrock kits which include the timing gear set, cam and 4bbl manifold...all you need is a carb to go with the kit.

Of course there are ton of other details that can cause problems like you describe like the vacuum modulator on the trans sending oil up into the motor when it fails or the little hose that connects to the modulator cracking and leaking causing a vacuum leak. Doing a general tuneup with plugs and cap/rotor is great but ignoring all the old worn rubber vacuum parts and associated engine components can be a waste of time...especially if this motor is original.

How about listing the items that have been repaired already and posting a picture of your engine compartment would be a great help to us in getting you going on the right track...most of us have been there at some point.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:22 AM
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Another common cause for an oil leak is the oil pressure sender.

You might have removed- then didn't replace- the vacuum hose that runs to the distributor's vacuum advance can. Your dist. may have two lines running to it, I'm a bit hazy on exactly when Ford used the dual chamber vacuum cans, but check for that hose, as well as ALL the hoses for breaks, leaks or missing vacuum hoses.
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