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Author Topic: 318 stalls under acceleration.  (Read 10305 times)
1985Dodge
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« on: December 30, 2007, 08:46:02 PM »

Hi, and thanks up front for the help.  I have a 1985 Dodge Ram, 318, 2 bbl Holley, automatic, 4x4.  The truck has a new battery, fuel pump, remanufactured carb.  Trucks starts fine, I do think I have to pump the gas pedal a little more than I should.  It will sit there and idle all day, rev it up, just fine, put it in gear it will take off on idle and start moving, give it gas and it stalls out.  If I try pumping the throttle, it will not catch and take off.  It will fire right back up though.

Sitting in park I can rev it up, but if I hold it at a constant higher RPM  it will start stalling out, I can pump the throttle can catch it.  It just wants to die out, no missing, just dies out.

Here is what I have done:

New battery
New fuel pump
Cleaned all battery to engine/battery to body grounds
Fuel filter is good
Made sure fuel lie from pump to tank is clear
Made sure fuel tank is venting
Pulled off carb
Checked accelerator pump
Checked float level
Needle and seat good
New gasket under carb
No vaccum hoses loose/leaking
Choke is working fine, not closed
New cap & rotor
Distributor has a little play in shaft

I am pretty well at wits end on this deal, I have never had any vehicle do this.  (Don't try this at home) but I have climbed up on top the engine looked down in the carb with a drop light while it running, pumped the throttle, I can see the accelerator shot, rev it up and I can see fuel coming out of the boosters.  Now I cannot tell which happens first, whether it starts to die, or the fuel stops being drawn out of the boosters.

That is all I can tell you, hopefully someone has had a similar problem.

Thanks for everyone reading this.

Dale,
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Bill Cooke
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2007, 12:30:49 PM »

WOW! That is some list of things you have already checked. Makes this much easier. I would normally say Accelerator pump or low float level but you covered that. I can see why this is so frustrating.

The fuel system seems to check out. The only thing left to check is that something didn't get stuck in a venturi suction tube. Other than that I think you covered it. Is it a stock 2BBL holley with all the computer stuff on it? I can't remember what the stock carb was on that year but I think it was a Rochester.

What about timing? It's obviously a "load" issue. If you have too little or to much timing it will not run right under load. It might seem OK in park but in drive it will stall or sputter. When you rev it up does the timing move smoothly up and down? If it is sticking that could do it. How about the vacuum advance? Is it hooked to the right port? It should not have vacuum at idle. I did that once. Backfired every time I tried to take off.

A flat cam lobe might do that but it would not idle well either. Timing chain is not likely either unless it is new and not set right.

Is the trans OK? If it is seizing up it might cause too much load. Does it free wheel good in park? Any funny noises? Fluid smell OK?

Is the coil OK? Is the ballast resistor OK? Does it have one? I'm not sure on an '85.

I'm just kind of throwing out ideas as you pretty much covered all the basics already. Get back to me with more and I'll seew hat I can come up with. Check the timing first. That is where I think this one lies.

Good luck and keep me posted. Oh and Happy New Year!

Bill Cooke
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1985Dodge
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2007, 05:57:04 PM »

Thanks for the reply Bill, here goes:

The carb is a Holley with no computer stuff, just a straight forward carb.

I have blown out all the vents, etc. in the carb with air.

The timing is on the money, but I will check to make sure it is advancing, I am sure, but heck if I know anymore.

I will check the vaccum advance and follow the line, make sure it has vaccum.

Don't know about the age of the timing chain, it might not hurt to run it up on top dead center and see how everything lines up.

It has no problem freewheeling when it dies...LOL.  There is no binds or funny smells or noises.

No idea on the coil, putting another one would be no problem.

On the ballast resistor, I am not too up on that, I will have to read up on it, make sure it has one.

I know I have went through the fuel system, I just did not want to start replacing everything in the electrical system. 

That is the thing, it just dies like the switch was shut off, if it is gasoline related I have thought it would just bloop, sputter around, then die.

I will recheck the timing and advance and swap in a coil and see about the ballast resistor, just keep checking things off the list.

I had a car one time that would run fine for a long time, then just start running rough and die, sometimes it would restart, sometimes it would, it would just about make you pull your hair out.

In the end the electronic ignition pickup gear/wheel on the distributor shaft was loose.  You remember those type of problems.

Thanks again and I will keep you posted.
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1985Dodge
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2008, 07:29:22 PM »

Today I checked the timing, it was a little fast.

Set the timing, made sure everything was lined up like it should be.

Checked the vaccum line from the carb to the vaccum advance, all good, drawing vaccum, the vaccum advance is working.

There is no ballast resistor that I coud see.

The plug in to the distributor was not all the way together, I thought that is it!!!!, but it was not it.

The pickup wheel on the distributor is tight.

The only thing left is the coil and the ignition module.  After that I am not sure what to try next.

Here is a little tip, a stubby box and open end wrench that has a ratchet inset on the box end is great to loosen and tighen the distributor bolt.

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Bill Cooke
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2008, 09:45:18 AM »

On the vacumm advance, Do you have vacuum at idle or only when you rev it up? There should be little or no vacuum at idle. If  there is full vacuum at lide the metering block has warped and the carb may be bad. Has the motor overheated recently? Has the carb worked fine until recently and suddenly gone bad or is this a new (at least to you) carb?

I had an ignition control box that would go bad when it was jarred a certain way. Usually when you hit the gas from a stop. It would fire right back up 90% of the time but that 10%....... oh that sucked! Try hooking a small light to the positive side of the coil and chassis ground. See if it blinks when it happens. If so that's it.

If that is all fine there are just two things left to check. The powervavle or the accelrator pump cam. If the cam moved or wore down it may not trigger the pump shot fast enough off idle. Holleys are funny about that. Also a blown power valve will reek havoc with the idle/off idle and part throttle cruise circuits of the carb. If you can rule out ignition or electrical it has to be fuel. There are no other moving parts in the carb so other than being warped it has to be a float, powervalve or pump cam issue.

Hope this helps. Let me know what you find

Bill Cooke

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1985Dodge
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2008, 09:58:06 PM »

Thanks for th reply, here is the history of the truck, I bought it about 3 years ago and I use it on my farm.  So it idles around and does a lot of low speed stuff.  Last spring it started running poorly and the carb was loose, it is the carb that was on the truck when I bought it.

After I tightened it up it ran better but not great and it just seemed to get worse.  I finally quit using it and it set for about 3 months.  I am now between projects and it is my goal in life to get this thing running right............LOL.

It has good gas in it.

I will try the light deal this weekend and let you know on it.

I think the accelerator pump cam is good.  I had the carb on my work bench pumping away and it pumps fine.  I have thought about rebuilding the carb even though it looks new.

At least I think I am getting it narrowed down.  Even though it is a pain and has ate some time, I am only out about $30.00 so far.

Bill, thanks for the replies and the ideas, if I have to pull the carb again and just rebuild the carb it will be no big deal, once I get it running it will be the finest tuned machine I have.

Dale,


 
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hilton8r
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2008, 01:13:58 AM »

I was going to comment on the fuel. I'm not sure where you live, but it could help narrow down the problem if you know of anybody with another carb lying around. Swap it out and see if anything changes. Otherwise, the only help I can provide is to sympathize with your pain. I have struggled on a few occasions and the members on this board have really come through for me. Especially Bill. I think he collects carbs! Grin
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Bill Cooke
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2008, 10:20:35 AM »

Happy to help if I can.  Check the float bowl screws too. They tend to loosen a bit when it sits. That will cause the metering block to leak and cause this sort of problem. DO NOT over tighten! They will strip the carb very easily. A 5 /16" nut driver is the safest way but you can still strip them with just that. Just past snug is all you are looking for.


BTW, yes I do collect carbs and I just got another Edlebrock somebody just dropped off at my door. I have no idea who did it either. It's a 1406 600CFM w/elec choke. I'm sure someday I'll have something to put it on.....


Bill Cooke
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2008, 11:16:09 PM »

One thing not mentioned here, is the pick-up coil in the distributor. I'm not sure if your '85 has one but it's the little box in the distributer that you set the gap across from the relucter  (the 8 pointed star wheel on the top of the shaft). This thing gave me fits quite a few years back. It would stall anytime, anyplace. I would get out of my truck, move the plug on the ignition module... it would start. It would die again later. I moved wires coming out of the firewall connectors... it would start. It would die again the next day. I'd kick the tire... it would start. This went on for a month. I finally talked to this ol' mechanic, and he said it sounded like the pick-up coil. It cost me $16.00 for the part. I never had a problem again.
 It's nice to know I'm not the only one with weird problems. Good luck. Let us know when you figure it out.
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2008, 08:19:04 PM »

Bill, well, that was interesting to see.

Okay, I did not crawl back on the engine with a light to determine which side was which on the coil.  I am going to assume I was on the positive side as the light was steady and the brightness would go up and down a little regardless of what the engine did.

 I hooked my electric light probe on the coil, sat in the truck and grounded it so I got a light (nice long lead on it).

I am going to assume I was on the negative side, when the truck was idling the brightness went up and down like the when the plugs are firing.  Rev it up, it would get real bright, when it would go to die it would get bright and dim as it was trying to die.  After it died the light was real dim, as I started cranking it the light would get brighter then fire up.

So basically as it would die the light flickered around, though it never went out, which is what I assume it would do.  If this all sounds right, then back to the carb, if not tell me what you think.

Kurt,

Thanks for the note, the distributor has the single pickup in it, it looks like just the plate with pickup on it and it has a regular rotor on it.  I don't see anything else electrical in the distributor.

Now I have a question, do you have to set the gap between the pickp and the relucter?  I have never touched one, but you never know.

Nothing like having weird problems.  Of course I am now paying for the International farm truck I used I have.  Straight 6, 1 barrell carb, never touched the engine, always started, ran great!!!

Thanks, Dale

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Bill Cooke
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2008, 08:38:51 AM »

The positive side of the coil gets steady voltage from the ballast resistor. It will drop as engine temps increase, usually to just of 6V-9V but it should not vary with engine speed. If it does there may be an electrical issue. I assume you have a voltmeter? Start checking everywhere. At the coil(red wire), alternator, at the battery, at the firewall and ignition switch. If you find a drop look for a short or a burned wire. Dodges are notorious for bad wiring. Don't just check the positve wires either. Look for bad or missing ground straps too.

I must say I have never tried putting a light on the negative side of the coil before so I really don't know if those results are normal or not. I would assume since the light got brighter with more RPMs that when it would die the RPMs would drop so the light would go dim. The trick is did it go dim and THEN lose RPMs? If so it may be the pickup in the distributor, a wiring issue or the ignition control box.

The pickup to rotor distance is .008" and must be set with a non-magnetic (aka:brass) feeler gauge. This does not usually change much but might so it's worth checking out if you can. That is about the thickness of a dollar bill doubled up (folded in half).


Bill Cooke

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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2008, 09:00:48 PM »

Hi Bill, I have been over the ground straps between everything so that all is good.

On the light going dim it did it as it died out, not dim then start to die out.

Oh great, the possibility of bad wiring!!!!!!, like this has not been fun enough......LOL.  I do thank you for the tip, yeah I have a voltmeter so I will put that on my list, I don't even want to think about starting on that.

I will check the pickup to stator wheel gap, I did not even think of that until Kurt made a reference to it.  I will do the dollar bill trick, my dad would always set points with a paper match, the good ol' ways.

Tune in tomorrow night for the next installment of "Run Dodge Run".

Dale,
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KurtfromLaQuinta
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2008, 10:09:35 PM »

Hi Bill, I have been over the ground straps between everything so that all is good.

On the light going dim it did it as it died out, not dim then start to die out.

Oh great, the possibility of bad wiring!!!!!!, like this has not been fun enough......LOL.  I do thank you for the tip, yeah I have a voltmeter so I will put that on my list, I don't even want to think about starting on that.

I will check the pickup to stator wheel gap, I did not even think of that until Kurt made a reference to it.  I will do the dollar bill trick, my dad would always set points with a paper match, the good ol' ways.

Tune in tomorrow night for the next installment of "Run Dodge Run".

Dale,
Dale!   I was told by some engine wizard, in fact the same guy who told me of the pick up coil issue, to set that gap as close as possible. Just barely clearing the stator nubs. It is the best way for Mopar ignition systems. I would replace that pick up coil while I was in there. They're cheap enough (under 20 bucks) and it might just be your problem. That's just me anyways. Grin 
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2008, 05:49:57 PM »

Thank God, a Brother from a different mother, my 85 Dodge Slant 6 is doing the EXACT same thing.  I've replaced the plugs, wires, belts, hoses, filters, valves, rebuilt the carb, replaced the intake & exhaust manifold, muffler, exhaust pipe, and emptied the gas tank and put in HEET to take care of any water that may be hiding, I'm praying to the might Mopar lord that when I put good clean gas in her tonight she will make me a happy man!

If you find out what fixes your truck I will be doing my happy dance right after I do the same to mine!!!!!!
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2008, 12:36:44 PM »

I can't believe it, after all that work it was the *&^%$ distributor cap and rotor!  So, if your backfiring or stalling under load, try investing $10 and replace the distrib cap and rotor!
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« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2008, 12:49:25 AM »

Dale (1985 Dodge) replaced the cap and rotor, along with a huge laundry list of other things. (See first post)... That's awesome that it turned out to be something easy in your case...
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2008, 03:46:07 AM »

the light on the negative side is correct it gets brighter and dimmer with rpm's cause that is the signal to the coil from the distributer to fire, you can hook a tach up there if you dont have a tach drive on your motor or distributer. as for your issue when it dies do you lose all power at that moment or just spark or neither, i would start with seeing if you lose spark when it dies. just run it on 7 cyl with an extra plug on your open wire or hook up a timing light and get it to die.
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