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350 engine troubles

774 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  StuDickinson
I have an '82 Chevy 1/2ton 4x4 with a 350, 2 barrel. When I first bought it 8 months ago it was running great, but in the last few weeks its been struggling a bit, and then went downhill sharply in last couple of days. At first it started missing/coughing at higher speeds (90kph+), then got to the point where it was sputtering and stalling when I went above 90, 80, 70... Now I can't even get it to take any throttle. I also noticed that it would cough and sputter if I was cruising on very little throttle - ie, I could accelerate with a fair bit of gas, and no problems, but it didn't like me floating on low throttle. It idles fine, but misses at higher rpms, even when its not in gear. At first I thought it must be fuel pump, because it also tended to be worse when going uphill. I replaced the fuel pump, and the distributor cap, rotor and wires, and put fresh plugs in. It sounds a lot better, but still I can hardly even get it moving before I have to put the clutch in because its dying on me. I changed the fuel filter when I first bought it, and it still looks pretty clean. Now I'm at a bit of a loss. The plugs were quite fouled when I pulled them, but they don't smell or have odd discolouration, just oil. It has fouled plugs pretty quickly since I bought it. Some of the vacuum hoses are not connected, but I don't think that is the culprit, because they haven't been connected the whole time, and my problems have only been in the last 6-8 weeks. I'm at a loss where to look next, any suggestions? I thought I would check to see if there was a second fuel filter in the lines somewhere, but that was the only thought I had.
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First off, I would connect or plug any loose vacuum hoses. While you're at it, check the lines for cracks or loose connections.

When you had the distributor cap and rotor off did you check to make sure your centrifugal weights were working properly, i.e. not rusty or sticking. They should move easily and return smoothly. While there, if you can, apply a vacuum to the advance cannister to make sure it's still working.

Also check the carb air filter and ensure the choke is opening when warm. The plug fouling may be due to a rich condition because of restricted air intake. You might also consider using some spray carb cleaner, both inside and out.
Where on the carb is the carb air filter located?(I'm assuming its not the same as the regular air filter) The vacuum hoses are all plugged. I figured the same with the plugs, but due to limited time and finances(student) I didn't bother with them up until now. I'd never seen the inside of a distributor before, but when I had the cap off I had a look, and everything seemed to be alright. What do the centrifugal weights look like(how can I identify them?). To check the choke is opening, I would take the air filter off and then run the engine to make sure that air is getting in?

Thanks very much.
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