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Old 01-27-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
sgwilson904
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Default Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I'm new, inexperienced and at my wits end trying to resolve an issue that's about ready to make me walk away from my Model A, a '29 pickup. Even the best and brightest in our club (Gawd bless 'em for their patience with me) are shaking their heads.

The problem: The engine starts right up, runs cool like top all around town and will cruise at 45 mph cruise for miles until suddenly, with no warning, it starts to pop, sputter, lose all power and eventually just won't go. After it sits and cools for 10 minutes or so, it'll start right up, go on down the road and it should but then the problem is back, usually a little sooner than before.

What we've tried: First, we thought it was a carburetor problem, perhaps crap in the tank, fuel line or in the carb itself. We drained the tank, saw it had been coated and no sign of anything but a few flakes at the bottom and in the clear glass filter at the firewall. With those cleared out (gas bulb is now crystal clear) we also replaced the filter screens at the tank, shut-off valve, and at the filter. Again, it started right up and ran...for a short trip and started the same problem again.

At this point, we decided the problem must be electrical. We re-set the timing (even though it always started with one turn-over) and replaced the condenser. That SEEMED to fix it...but not for long.

At this point, we're thinking the time it took to replace the condenser allowed a cool-down that led to a temporary fix. So next, we replaced the coil AND the condenser. Same result.

When we noticed the wire between the coil and distributor seemed just a little lose, we replaced that, too, and assured secure connections at both ends. This time, she ran 110 miles on a club tour (mostly at 45 cruise speed) with 0 problem until....10 miles from home, the problem was back!

Other observations: There seems to be no real trigger for when this is about to happen.

When it starts misbehaving this way, twisting the choke rod to add fuel to the carb seems to have little effect. Pulling the choke rod out about two-thirds of the way (flooding it with gas) will cause it to sputter a little less and limp a little farther.

Following one of these "attacks," when you then shut off the engine, you can count to about 4 or 5 and there is frequently a single huge, loud backfire (always great for making a dramatic arrival!).

Engine temp is steady (and relatively low at about 170) but once the problem starts, things can (but not always) heat up. (The vehicle has a new radiator that works fine.)

At first, it seemed to happen after five minutes of sustained cruise followed by sitting at a traffic light for 2 minutes and then trying to start moving again...but that has not been a consistent pattern and seems to have gone away lately.

Early on, we thought the dreaded "vapor lock" was a problem because we've been dealing with this since it was 90+ degrees in the Florida summer. Now, it's 70 and we have the same problem and, as I say, the engine isn't overheated when the problem kicks in now.

Somewhere there's somebody who has had this same problem or knows how to fix it. I can't imagine what to try next...and I surely can't keep holding up tours and taking this thing on the road when I have no confidence I can make it there and back, short distance or long.

Maybe we should make it a contest and I could send a nice little prize to the first one who can solve this mystery? <grin> And if that doesn't work, maybe we'll have a drawing and the winner can take this headache off my hands! (Did I mention I'm now on my last nerve with this?)

This newbie sincerely appreciates ANY help/suggestions/thoughts and ideas.

Last edited by sgwilson904; 01-27-2013 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Add Info, Correct Spelling
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

did you check the wire between the the top and bottom plate on the distributor.....it often causes intermitent problems.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Sounds like no gas cap vent or gas cap vent is plugged with something. Try running with no gas cap on your standard test run.

We had a '31 on the Natchez Trace Tour last Oct/Nov that had been fighting this exact same symptoms for many months. It was the reproduction gas cap. The vent was not open.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Well I would start by making it happen all over again and at the moment that the symptoms arise, do a little diagnostic work. First off, "just won't go" means different things to different folks but to me it means the engine stops running. At that point I would immediately (without touching/fiddling with anything else) remove the coil wire and hold it about ľ" away from a good ground source while someone cranks the engine over. The evidence of the jumping spark will tell a lot. During this same time I would feel the carburetor bowl and the fuel line for a temperature reading. If either is excessively hot, I would find the reason why.

Personally I suspect it to be electrical like a worn/loose wire inside the distributor. Ironically, when something like this comes into my shop, I first start checking for areas where "McGuyvering" has taken place followed closely thereafter by looking for reproduction parts. I have seen repro terminal box screws come loose and short out against the firewall, and I have seen poor quality wiring harnesses have loose terminal ends do exactly as you stated. I have never seen a situation that could not be solved when enough time & prudent thought were given towards the problem.

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Old 01-27-2013, 09:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I would send the pickup to me or remove the block on the firewall and insulate the back side. The repo-connetor blocks some times short through the rivets on the back and cause the problem you describe. The best solution is still to let me have the truck.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:34 AM   #6
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Check your valve settings
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I agree with Jim, the first and easy thing to do is remove the gas cap and try it. I've had this happen and found that crap [ technical term] in the cap would move around and plug the vent. A good through cleaning stopped the problem. Also make sure the fuel line doesn't protrude too far into the carburetor.
If thats not it, then look into the electrical issues.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I would agree with Jim, Try another gas cap. I suspect your vent is partially blocked. The gas goes out slightly faster than the air comes in and creates a low pressure/vacuum in side the gas tank. The choke is simply cutting the air flow and creating a richer mixture for a short while and allows you to go another hundred yards or so.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:47 AM   #9
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Lightbulb Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I'll also suggest your gas cap. Right after it happens get out of your car, and untwist the gas cap. SOMETIMES when this happens you can hear the pressure release when you open the cap slowly.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Bad ignition switch, especially a rero switch that doesn't have a good positive click to the ON position.
Poor wire insulation on an original popout switch, so it's grounding out inside the steel cable.
Short wire between the upper and lower dist. plates grounding out or broken.
I assume the terminal box connections are clean and tight, and all wire terminals are soldered to the wire.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:57 AM   #11
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Thanks to all of you!

We considered the gas cap problem and removed the cap entirely...PLENTY of ventilation NOW but that does not resolve the problem.

Sorry, jhowes, not quite ready to ship it to you yet. We're on the road to a solution for this problem...somebody's got the answer!
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:58 AM   #12
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

sgwilson904, Check amp meter connections for looseness or melted plastic at terminals . If there is a open in the amp meter you can jump across the wing nuts on the terminal box as this will bypass the amp meter . Where is your battery ground connected? You might want add a ground wire from the frame to the transmission or engine block . Bubby Sharp in KY
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:18 AM   #13
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Thanks for your detailed description -- sounds like you have had some good advice thus far; however, what you describe sounds familiar with almost "any" vintage gasoline engine today.


One thing for sure, as opposed to voodoo, your Model A has something "unique" that others do not have -- just need patience to diagnosis it.

1. Diagnostic Test: Please try this "exactly" as spelled out below:


a. When engine sputters & "kills", (dead as a door nail), be prepared, already having a spark plug wrench and an assistant to stay in the car.


b. First, turn switch to "OFF" & "immediately" choke engine that won't start & allow engine to rotate about 15 revolutions with choke pulled. Hurry, because in 10 minutes according to your description, everything will be normal.


c. Next, immediately raise hood, immediately remove all four (4) plugs quickly to see if they are "wet" with fuel; & immediately ground & lay all four plugs on their sides, then turn switch to "ON" & have someone hit starter to see if all four plugs are firing.


d. If plugs were observed "not" to be wet, definite "fuel" problem; & if no fire at plugs, definite electrical problem. At least one can observe whether one has an electrical or fuel problem.


2. Electrical Possibilities: Coils & condensers used to almost last forever when made by Ford in America -- I have several old ones that look terrible with rust & corrosion; but, they still work -- today's foreign assembled or foreign made coils for vintage engines do not last as long. When either the coil or condenser heats up in use, some cease to function; but, after cooling off they begin to work again. As odd as this may appear, in "rare" cases, already experienced a "new" coil right off of the shelf that failed. Rather than commit suicide, if it were mine, (& would not have equipment to test same when hot), I would spend the less than $20.00 to try to eliminate this "rare" possibility & get another "new" coil & condenser. If that does not work, at least you are still living & can try the other fuel suggestion below.


3. Fuel Possibilities: Tank sealer? Your tank sealer may have worked in the past, but now we have ethanol in the fuel which can dissolve many older tank sealing materials. The big visible flakes you saw are noteworthy; but look at the orifice in a carburetor jet to determine how small a particle can cause an obstruction. One can buy 100% gasoline without ethanol at some stations, but on tour, one may not have this opportunity. Again, before suicide, take the screen out of the tank which can get clogged with dislodged tank sealer & try a NAPA 3039 fuel filter in the sediment bowl.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

If you or the previous owner had a fuel filter that fits inside the fuel bowl, check to make sure the small piece of rubber fuel line hose that comes with the filter isn't still stuck up in the inlet preventing or slowing fuel flow to the carburetor.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:24 AM   #15
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H.L. Chauvin's suggests another "Dianositic tool", a can of starter fliud! When it is ready to stall, squirt starter fluid into the carb. if it still dies, the problem is electric, if not, it's gas. Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

i would do the little wire between plates in the dist .
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:13 AM   #17
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I would first tighten manifold nuts, then check the manifold gaskets and at the same time look for cracks in the intake manifold. I had a problem like this years ago and found that when the intake manifold heated up after several miles the engine would bearly run. come to find out it was sucking air when hot.
ran fine when it was cool. Changed gaskets and problem went away.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:22 AM   #18
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

i just had one doing that, and the cause was the nurex/modern upper distributor plate that someone put in. they have a poor connection design that takes the place of the wire. we replaced it back with an original style plate.
We used a conventional spark tester to determine it was electrical and not fuel. When the problem occurred the spark got weak and erratic.
whats the prize?

Last edited by Mitch//pa; 01-27-2013 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:38 AM   #19
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I experienced a similiar problem on my 30 coupe. It was the wire between the upper and lower distributor plate. The wire connector to the upper plate was installed incorrectly. The wire connector was so close to the metal surface on the upper plate that it would ground only after the the engine would heat the distributor. Also make sure this wire is the correct one, over the years they were replaced with the wrong type of wire. The incorrect type of wire will break over time with the movement of the upper plate while retarding the timing to start the car. Brattons sells the correct multi strand wire.
Another option would be to borrow a friends distributor for diagnostic purposes. If it solves your problem you have narrowed down the problem. The same goes for the carburator. It is always a good idea if you do much touring to have extra units (rebuilt and tested on your vehicle) on board.
Hope this helps you solve your problem.

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Old 01-27-2013, 11:42 AM   #20
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch//pa View Post
i just had one doing that, and the cause was the nurex/modern upper distributor plate that someone put in. they have a poor connection design that takes the place of the wire. we replaced it back with an original style plate.
whats the prize?
A modern Nu Rex upper distributor plate!
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:45 AM   #21
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Funny story but similar symptom. When we were kids my brother put a crab apple in to the gas tank of dad's Model A. Dad would drive a week or maybe 5 minutes and the engine would suddenly die. Took dad a long time to figure out the problem as the apple would roll around and some times it would be exactly over the outlet shutting off the gas flow. Take a flashlight and check out the inside of your tank.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:57 AM   #22
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Holy Cow!!!
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:05 PM   #23
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Could be a bad coil
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:17 PM   #24
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Thanks for the suggestions, Guys! Keep 'em coming...there's an answer in here somewhere, I know it! And I'm pretty sure it's not a crabapple in my fuel tank...still wondering if that brother survived Father's discovery? lol

Interesting suggestions about a bad coil which I got new from Snyder's. Apart from replacing it, is there any way to TEST a coil? Also, what about condensers? How would you test one of those?
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:19 PM   #25
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I will say intermittent short, probably the distributor plate as mentioned several times; I'll be surprised if it's a fuel problem. I have always believed, and it has proven true in my experience, that most "carburetor problems" are electrical.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:31 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgwilson904 View Post
what about condensers? How would you test one of those?

Simple.

A higher end voltmeter will usually have a capacitor test function. Or, you can purchase a capacitor tester.

The condenser in your car is basically a .25 uF capacitor. It should test at or near this value, and should show no leakage if good. Leakage is tested with an ohm meter (or a voltmeter with ohms setting).

When initially connecting the capacitor for leak test, the resistance (ohms) should be pretty low, but will charge quickly and show infinity (many megohms) and look like an "open circuit" within a second. if not, then it is leaky.

You can use a heat gun to heat the capacitor while under test and check to see if its value or leakage change with heat. If good- Its value should stay within 5%, and should never show signs of leakage regardless of temperature.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:33 PM   #27
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Check the voltage coming out of the generator. You could be overcharging the system causing the condensor and coil to get hot and cut out.

My two Cents worth. Tinbasher
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:49 PM   #28
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We are having the exact same problems on this vehicle as we speak for the last few weeks and still cannot find the answer!!! But we are moving on!!! Been on here under "backfire" which it doesn't do DOUBLE THE PRIZE!!!!
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:53 PM   #29
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In a way you are lucky to have a 10 minute interval where the engine dies which gives time for diagnosis.

No matter how many thousands of items are replaced, verified, adjusted, checked, tightened, cleaned, or repaired, please remember that the engine stalling end of the line is "always" in the combustion chamber.

The combustion chamber is like Harry Truman, mostly ignored; but this is where the Buck stops.

If one finds either an "electrical" problem or "fuel" problem where it really counts in the combustion chamber, & you are 50% ahead in valuable repair time & costs.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:22 PM   #30
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as mentioned in my above post install a spark tester inline of the coli wire and observe the intensity and pattern when acting up vs running good to determine if the problem lies in the ignition
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:30 PM   #31
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Coil!
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:42 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 700rpm View Post
I have always believed, and it has proven true in my experience, that most "carburetor problems" are electrical.
Now thats a statement! I love it!



And that is one sweet double!
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:07 PM   #33
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I would drop the exhaust and try it , the muffler could be causing your symptoms .
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:15 PM   #34
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Bad coil. When it heats up it quits, then works when cooled a bit. Send it in for repair or find another coil .

My 2 cents worth.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:20 PM   #35
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Mine had similar problems. Overheated sometimes, a lot of backfiring. I pulled out the aftermarket screen in the fuel tank outlet after I figured out there is a screen in the top of the fuel bowl. I suspected that junk was being pulled against the screen choking off the fuel flow. In the end it was the carb float level being set to low. Henry's filtering system seems to work well. I wound up getting a quarter bowl of junk in the bowl.

Try this site. Good info!
http://www.model-a.org/troubleshooting_chart.html
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:37 PM   #36
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Check to see if at any point your fuel line is very close to the manifold or exhaust pipe. You could be getting heat from their at any outside temp which might cause vaporlocking.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:45 PM   #37
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Would an overheated coil cool down enough in ten minutes to alleviate the problem and continue on down the road? I've never experienced a hot coil, so I am just curious.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:53 PM   #38
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I always like Tom's ,what I feel are well founded diagnostic habits, and one thing I have learned is Test, Don't guess. I didn't see or read anything here if the coil was heated and tested. Possible breakdown after heating would cause the symptoms you describe. I also don't like parts changes with out testing the suspected parts that may be bad. If you suspected fuel delivery problems install a small auxiliary gas tank(quart or half gallon ) and go test drive. Heat can do funny things as far as resistance in circuits as well. Good Luck and DON'T walk away from a challenge!
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:59 PM   #39
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I had a professionally restored popout switch give me the problem you described. I had to stop 3 times in 50 miles on the maiden voyage of my town sedan. I replaced the popout switch with the reproduction on-off switch and it has run fine for the last 16 years.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:04 PM   #40
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When it starts misbehaving this way, twisting the choke rod to add fuel to the carb seems to have little effect. Pulling the choke rod out about two-thirds of the way (flooding it with gas) will cause it to sputter a little less and limp a little farther.
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If what you say here that pulling the choke helps, then it is gas not electrical. If it was electrical pulling the choke would have no effect.

Check and see if the gas line is in the carb or filter to far and blocking the flow of gas.

Last edited by George Miller; 01-27-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:10 PM   #41
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Grounding to the engine. My guess is the the ground is through the fuel line. This caused the fuel line to heat up and the fuel to turn to vapor. Without seeing the engine compartment to be sure I would place a cable from the chassis to the engine and see what happens.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:10 PM   #42
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I had a problem like this and it was the coil. When it got hot some of the copper wires inside seperated and it acted like it was dead. After it cooled down it would start up and run untill it got hot. I replaced it and solved the problem. I changed carb, dist., and any thig else I could think off. I was on a trip with the club and was glad to git it running again. eric
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:41 PM   #43
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I just went thru a simular problem,replaced parts including condenser and it run worst,even blew out muffler.Searched more ,Fuel system, etc., replaced more parts. Was about to give up and I then bought a condenser from napa to replace new one and it ran great again.Bought 1st parts including condenser from a well known model a house.New parts can be faultly.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:51 PM   #44
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Is this car still 6 volts, or has it been converted to 12 volts?
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:52 PM   #45
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The next time it acts up don't touch anything. Just shift to neutral, and let it coast to the side of the road. Then lift the left side of the hood and hold the coil wire 1/4" from a head nut while you push the starter rod with your right hand. Good blue spark, then you must have a fuel problem. Poor yellow or no spark, then don't mess with the fuel system but check the switch and cable leading to the distributor, and the short wire between the upper and lower plates.

My car was backfiring bad a few years ago, and it was very intermittent. One day it was starting to act up and I noticed that as soon as I touched the key on the repro switch the engine shut off. The weight of a small key fob swaying back and forth was sometimes enough for the poor switch contacts to not make. I removed the back cover on the switch and improved the contacts, so they now have a much better positive click when turned on.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:56 PM   #46
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Check the voltage coming out of the generator. You could be overcharging the system causing the condensor and coil to get hot and cut out.

My two Cents worth. Tinbasher
I will go with this.

I had exact same problem.

Powerhouse was charging 18 volts in a 12 volt system.

It turned the points blue and they misfired.

After checking fuel and carb because it sure sounded like that, I simply hooked a timing light up to the coil lead.

As soon as it started misfiring it was obvious.

You can even drive with the light permanently hooked up, if it may take 100 miles for it to happen and you have the diagnosis instantly.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:00 PM   #47
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The easy way (IMHO) to check for an intermittent fuel delivery problem is to use one of these:

It's a carb fuel level sight tube, about $8 from Brattons. You replace the bottom carb plug with it and bend the clear tube which has a stiffener wire inside, up, around, and above the bowl top. You will 'see' the float level. Drive 'till it hiccups, then quick, go look and see if it is where it normally is, or is down.

Electrical: You may also experience that type of behavior if you are running on straight generator, with the connection to the battery lost. In addition to the electrical stuff already suggested by the great Fordbarners above: Remove/clean- frame to ground strap bolt, both battery terminals, heavy cable to starter, wiring from cutout to starter switch, wiring to terminal box. How old is your battery? On rare occasions, internal connections between cells on modern batteries go bad or become intermittent. That is VERY dangerous, it can ignite the hydrogen and make the battery explode!! Here's a pix:

If my suggestions solve it, for a prize I want you to put together a good Tech-Talk about finding it and present it at one of your club meetings. Also post your experience here. If your battery blows up, don't call me, I'll call you. Did I mention safety glasses, baking soda and a water bucket? Absolutely always when doing electrical stuff in eyesight of a car bomb, er, battery.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:21 PM   #48
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WOW, Holy Cow again!! Look at all these "gotta-be" answers!! I sure hope I get selected to be on the ARC (Answer Review Committee) because I am definitely leaning towards the award winning diagnosis here of either the;

11111) Two loose lugnuts on the Left Rear wheel.

OR

22222) Improper mixture of the radiator coolant.


Both of these definitely seem like the sure-fire winners. Oh, and that one about the muffler and/or tire pressure sure seems worthy of an Honorable Mention too! It truly is amazing the responses we receive when those two little innocent words (Backfire & Prize) are used in the same posting!!


.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:28 PM   #49
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I think it is vapor locking.

Take it for a long ride and make it quit running. After it quits, raise the hood, and pour a bottle of water on the carb.

If it starts back up and runs, then it was vapor locking.

Now......to fix that , can be a chore, depending on the caus (several of whcih were described in this thread.)

Whats the prize?

Steve
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:35 PM   #50
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It could be sticking valves, especially if you have bronze guides and have run some old gas.
Do this, hand crank (switch off)your engine and get a good feel for how good the compression is. Drive car, and when problem arises again, stop immediately and hand crank again. A noticeable difference in compression could indicate valves sticking. Weak springs could also contribute.

When do I get my prizes ??????
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:39 PM   #51
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Here it goes again, "I had a similar problem", but I did. Like mentioned a number of times, I replaced the coil. So far, but I am not sure, this has worked for me. I need to do further tests to prove it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:43 PM   #52
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Do I have to pay shipping and handling for the free prize??
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:47 PM   #53
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Do I have to pay shipping and handling for the free prize??
Just what I always wanted a used/bad coil
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:08 PM   #54
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It's an 84 year old truck, maybe it just needs to pull over and rest awhile.........
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:17 PM   #55
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Quote:
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11111) Two loose lugnuts on the Left Rear wheel.
OR
22222) Improper mixture of the radiator coolant.
.
Never underestimate thinking outside the box! Brent, you may be correct.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:30 PM   #56
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Oh man, mine is running good but after reading all of this stuff I am afraid to drive it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:59 PM   #57
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Still 6 volts but replaced original generator with alternator.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:43 PM   #58
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WOW, Holy Cow again!! Look at all these "gotta-be" answers!! I sure hope I get selected to be on the ARC (Answer Review Committee) because I am definitely leaning towards the award winning diagnosis here of either the;

11111) Two loose lugnuts on the Left Rear wheel.

OR

22222) Improper mixture of the radiator coolant.


Both of these definitely seem like the sure-fire winners. Oh, and that one about the muffler and/or tire pressure sure seems worthy of an Honorable Mention too! It truly is amazing the responses we receive when those two little innocent words (Backfire & Prize) are used in the same posting!!


.
Checked the air in the tires-new- Rotated the tires also no help! Also turned the fan belt around no help! Our next step is to drive the route backwards Just maybe it'll work- driving Model a's since 12 yrs old now 63. I'm baffled!
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:44 PM   #59
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I would look seriously at your coil. They are heat sensitive. My fathers old Chrysler did the same as your car, and played up on the same stretch of road every time. Once the coil had reached a certain temperature it made the engine miss until it stopped altogether.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:47 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
The easy way (IMHO) to check for an intermittent fuel delivery problem is to use one of these:

It's a carb fuel level sight tube, about $8 from Brattons. You replace the bottom carb plug with it and bend the clear tube which has a stiffener wire inside, up, around, and above the bowl top. You will 'see' the float level. Drive 'till it hiccups, then quick, go look and see if it is where it normally is, or is down.

Electrical: You may also experience that type of behavior if you are running on straight generator, with the connection to the battery lost. In addition to the electrical stuff already suggested by the great Fordbarners above: Remove/clean- frame to ground strap bolt, both battery terminals, heavy cable to starter, wiring from cutout to starter switch, wiring to terminal box. How old is your battery? On rare occasions, internal connections between cells on modern batteries go bad or become intermittent. That is VERY dangerous, it can ignite the hydrogen and make the battery explode!! Here's a pix:

If my suggestions solve it, for a prize I want you to put together a good Tech-Talk about finding it and present it at one of your club meetings. Also post your experience here. If your battery blows up, don't call me, I'll call you. Did I mention safety glasses, baking soda and a water bucket? Absolutely always when doing electrical stuff in eyesight of a car bomb, er, battery.
I have one of those carb tubes no good! New Battery, New Gen built by the Tom Wesenberg! May I'll get in touch with Boeing!!! Just a ferry ride away!! Heavy cable good!!! ALL the Above has been done except checking the valves which will be this week!!!
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:50 PM   #61
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Quote:
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It's an 84 year old truck, maybe it just needs to pull over and rest awhile.........
New Motor 1000 miles on it!!
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by SteveB31 View Post
I think it is vapor locking.

Take it for a long ride and make it quit running. After it quits, raise the hood, and pour a bottle of water on the carb.

If it starts back up and runs, then it was vapor locking.

Now......to fix that , can be a chore, depending on the caus (several of whcih were described in this thread.)

Whats the prize?

Steve
Not in 3 miles at speeds of 25 or less!
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:54 PM   #63
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I will go with this.

I had exact same problem.

Powerhouse was charging 18 volts in a 12 volt system.

It turned the points blue and they misfired.

After checking fuel and carb because it sure sounded like that, I simply hooked a timing light up to the coil lead.

As soon as it started misfiring it was obvious.

You can even drive with the light permanently hooked up, if it may take 100 miles for it to happen and you have the diagnosis instantly.
New Generator built by The Tom Wesenberg It' Good Not overcharging!!!!
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:14 PM   #64
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Coil
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:45 PM   #65
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This happened on a car i drove, it was a combination of bad coil, internally fractured distributer cap that shorted out 2 plugs and had poor connections to the other 2 only when it was hot. Cold it was fine. Bad condenser and to finish it off the generator cutout was faulty and caused voltage spikes somehow (bad connections inside). Had to fix the lot of them before it would run properly for a length of time.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:52 PM   #66
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Knew an elderly, proud highly educated gentleman, (college graduate), who died about 50 years ago at age 80.

He never owned a car; but when he died he still had two (2) loyal mules & a 1930's bicycle.

Every time he saw a stalled car, he would go to the driver to tell him he knew why his car would not start.

His explanation of the cause of engine failure, even on modern cars, was "Classique" and always the same:

"Your magneto is damp!"

On this particular occasion, with all of Brent's lovely "Holy Cows" etc., poor soul would definitely be worthy of at least an honorable mention if he would not have been first & won "The Prize."

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Old 01-27-2013, 07:57 PM   #67
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I think this group has covered pretty much all the snafus possible. One time on a fall tour, a member was having similar problems, and so I disconnected his gas line from the carb, swung it up so I could blow on it, and problem solved. When Mr Wilson does solve the problem, and he will with all this expertise at his fingertips, I would like him to tell us what exactly the problem was for sure. We are all dying to know.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:26 PM   #68
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Quote:
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Coil
Changed out with two different known good coils
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:31 PM   #69
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I think this group has covered pretty much all the snafus possible. One time on a fall tour, a member was having similar problems, and so I disconnected his gas line from the carb, swung it up so I could blow on it, and problem solved. When Mr Wilson does solve the problem, and he will with all this expertise at his fingertips, I would like him to tell us what exactly the problem was for sure. We are all dying to know.
Removed the gas valve, gas line sediment bowl, line to carb,gas tank spotless,gas flows are all good! Don't dye yet we will find the cause and report so we can win the Prize,what ever that might be. We have special forces coming in next week to do it all over.. RESULTS to Follow!!! Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:54 PM   #70
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I had the same Backfiring situation happened to me, when the engine came up to normal operating Temps. Recently installed a Modern Upper Plate w/Chinese Parts.

I first changed out the condenser, same problem it would backfire when it got Hot. Drilled out another hole in my Re pro Gas cap, no help.
I ordered another set of Points Echlin, installed them, solved My Backfire Problem. Took the first set of Points Reinstalled them, to make sure that was the problem, started backfiring again, removed the Chinese points and Garbaged them.

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Old 01-27-2013, 09:13 PM   #71
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If indeed pulling the choke out helps some for a while it sure seems to me you may have a vapor lock. I still say check gasline getting too much heat from exhaust.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:21 PM   #72
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If indeed pulling the choke out helps some for a while it sure seems to me you may have a vapor lock. I still say check gasline getting too much heat from exhaust.
This could be the problem, but my 28 had that problem when using 10% ethanol crap gas and setting at a red light. Then it would cough and sputter for a few blocks until the fuel cooled a bit. Pulling the choke about 2/3rds. did help a bit as I pulled away from the light. I never remember having a problem as long as the car was moving over 10 MPH.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:37 PM   #73
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Bad ignition switch, especially a rero switch that doesn't have a good positive click to the ON position.
Poor wire insulation on an original popout switch, so it's grounding out inside the steel cable.
Short wire between the upper and lower dist. plates grounding out or broken.
I assume the terminal box connections are clean and tight, and all wire terminals are soldered to the wire.
My Money is on the ignition switch ! - I had the same symptoms when my one went bad - Took me ages to find it -Karl
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:42 PM   #74
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All these "It must be" comments demonstrate all the solutions problems to a very common problem in 80+ year-old cars. It will be very interesting to find out what it really was in this case!
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:53 PM   #75
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Did you try puting a carb on from a friends car that does run right? That would totally eliminate the carb.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:04 PM   #76
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I suggest checking the fuel tank for moving sediment. I don't think the crab apple comment is far from a possibility. Had a friend whose suzuki 4WD would run and then die, anywhere, anytime. He tried al sorts of things, including blowing air back along the fuel line. After lots of carb replacing and ignition system replacing etc, he pulled the fuel tank out, and emptied the contents. After the fuel came out, there was a rattle in the tank. He chased the source of the rattle, and it was a small petrified skink lizard. It would move around the tank and randomly block the fuel pickup in the tank. After letting the car rest a while, there would be enough fuel getting past the lizard, or the lizard would shift away from the pickup, allowing fuel to flow again. Not say it is the problem, but something to check.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:09 PM   #77
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My Money is on the ignition switch ! - I had the same symptoms when my one went bad - Took me ages to find it -Karl
removed end of ignition switch from distributor and replaced with a jumper screwed into distributor clipped to positive side of coil drove did same thing. So I know the switch is good.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:12 PM   #78
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Did you try puting a carb on from a friends car that does run right? That would totally eliminate the carb.
2 different carbs plus I rebuilt the one on the truck to be sure, It runs GREAT and idles for about 2.6miles on EVERYTHING that we have tried doing each item and then test drive at 2.6miles it has no power but will idle and run in first gear not stepping on the gas pulling the choke does nothing.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:14 PM   #79
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I suggest checking the fuel tank for moving sediment. I don't think the crab apple comment is far from a possibility. Had a friend whose suzuki 4WD would run and then die, anywhere, anytime. He tried al sorts of things, including blowing air back along the fuel line. After lots of carb replacing and ignition system replacing etc, he pulled the fuel tank out, and emptied the contents. After the fuel came out, there was a rattle in the tank. He chased the source of the rattle, and it was a small petrified skink lizard. It would move around the tank and randomly block the fuel pickup in the tank. After letting the car rest a while, there would be enough fuel getting past the lizard, or the lizard would shift away from the pickup, allowing fuel to flow again. Not say it is the problem, but something to check.
Fuel tank bright and clean and shinny from the tank valve lines sediment bowl to the carb Gas flows VERY steady.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:15 PM   #80
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If indeed pulling the choke out helps some for a while it sure seems to me you may have a vapor lock. I still say check gasline getting too much heat from exhaust.
Using the choke when it starts dying has NO effect on performance.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:17 PM   #81
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Coil
Sorry tried 3 different ones No difference in performance
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:20 PM   #82
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

What was the solution on this thread from last year? Seems to be covering all of the same ground...

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showth...ferrerid=16136
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:02 AM   #83
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What was the solution on this thread from last year? Seems to be covering all of the same ground...

https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showth...ferrerid=16136
Beside threads on why someone MUST change things on their A, what really bothers me is when various solutions are given to a problem and we never hear from the person with the problem again. What do they do sell the car?
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:05 AM   #84
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I was the one that started the thread a couple of weeks ago with the same problem Gary and I are still working on problem when we find it we will let you know. The thread was under backfire
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:33 AM   #85
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I was the one that started the thread a couple of weeks ago with the same problem Gary and I are still working on problem when we find it we will let you know. The thread was under backfire
Thanks for the update sorry you are still having problems?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:13 AM   #86
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Fuel tank bright and clean and shinny from the tank valve lines sediment bowl to the carb Gas flows VERY steady.
The same thing with my mates Suzuki. It would have a good flow of fuel, as the lizard was not blocking the fuel pickup every time it was checked. I still think emptying the tank, and then removing the tank to looking for a small object needs to be done. It's a pain in the rear, but it is the only way to ensure there is nothing in the tank.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:21 AM   #87
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I have been having similar problems and think I may have located the offending part. I won't know for sure until it arrives and I install it. The mystery part may be the POINT BLOCK. I discovered that mine is not holding the fixed point securely. It may be that when the distributor heats-up the threaded hole for the fixed point expands causing intermittent contact. I will report back probably Thursday.

Good luck
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:29 AM   #88
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The same thing with my mates Suzuki. It would have a good flow of fuel, as the lizard was not blocking the fuel pickup every time it was checked. I still think emptying the tank, and then removing the tank to looking for a small object needs to be done. It's a pain in the rear, but it is the only way to ensure there is nothing in the tank.
The small filter that fits into the shutoff valve should prevent any blockage at the entry port.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:00 AM   #89
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It may be the point block mounting bolt being to long. As the points wear thiner the arm part will hit it as it heats up.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:16 AM   #90
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OK, MR. Gnat made me remember a problem I had a long time ago; Is it possible the upper dist. plate is warn or too small to fit closely? I had one that when warm or just vibration would move it and cause problems, when I tried to restart I would naturally move the advance/retard lever, that would pull the plate back to where it would run,
Luck, E LaBrash
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:38 AM   #91
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Gary WA, are you in Florida helping SGWILSON904 solve his problem? Because if you aren't, you'd hijacked his thread and we've been replying to your posts and not solving SGWILSON904's problem.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:49 AM   #92
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Gary WA, are you in Florida helping SGWILSON904 solve his problem? Because if you aren't, you'd hijacked his thread and we've been replying to your posts and not solving SGWILSON904's problem.
Yeah, Gary, tow that truck of yours and come on down here to the sunshine and we'll figure this out! Wonder if we've got the same problem?...I can certainly understand your frustration in trying to find the answer!
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:15 AM   #93
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Default Not mentioned yet!!!!!!

[SIZE="7"]1) Starter mounted fuse holder. Some of these holders were assembled with a rivet through the plastic and after time of heat cool, etc. this rivet loosens and opens the ignition ckt. (bypass or remove this fuse holder. 2) The micro plastic fuel filter mounted in the sediment bowl does not like Ethanol and will swell, restricting the fuel flow (remove this filter)!
These issues I have experienced first hand!! Driving your A is worth all this work to get it on the road again!
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:00 PM   #94
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WOW ! I too thought Wilson & Gary Wa were working together. The way Gary was answering the possible solutions. It's like a 2 for 1 sale. Good Luck Men! I hope its solved soon.

This is still my favorite so far!

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I have always believed, and it has proven true in my experience, that most "carburetor problems" are electrical.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:01 PM   #95
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Ditto on the Fuse holder,had that problem too,new fuse holder solved it . also the wire in the Dist. When I moved the timing advance lever to full advance it would shut off the motor ,Changed out the short wire and fixed that problem .Please Let us all know when you find out the cure !!
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:19 PM   #96
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

I haven't had achance to read all the replies, but I had a similar problem with the first Model A I bought.
I bought all new ignition wiring rewired the way Henry had it 81 years ago.
This fixed all gremlins, and haven't had a problem since.
Richard
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:48 PM   #97
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did you check the wire between the the top and bottom plate on the distributor.....it often causes intermitent problems.
Yes.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:50 PM   #98
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I haven't had achance to read all the replies, but I had a similar problem with the first Model A I bought.
I bought all new ignition wiring rewired the way Henry had it 81 years ago.
This fixed all gremlins, and haven't had a problem since.
Richard
this vehicle has been running great! all of a sudden it started acting up after the Xmas parade in Dec.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:53 PM   #99
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I have been having similar problems and think I may have located the offending part. I won't know for sure until it arrives and I install it. The mystery part may be the POINT BLOCK. I discovered that mine is not holding the fixed point securely. It may be that when the distributor heats-up the threaded hole for the fixed point expands causing intermittent contact. I will report back probably Thursday.

Good luck
Supergnat
Thanks but we in Washington replaced the distributor with a KNOWN GOOD ONE!!!!!!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:08 PM   #100
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Mitch//PA, I'm not a parts changer and we know the problem, it's not running correctly!!! I have three model A's built by me and others no problems there! As far as Sgwilson904 thread I was JUST trying to help him out with a similar problem he has! I apologize if I took over HIS thread! I wasn't the one who continued his thread, it was all the replies that we in Washington have tried with no results. Seems as tho you don't have the answer for the correct fix EITHER! I'll leave it here and be even nicer!!!!! Have a Good Day!!!!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #101
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Long shot in the dark?
Have you tried eyeballing it in the dark?
Possible shorting you cannot see in the light?
You mentioned changing the high tension lead as "it was a little loose"
Sometimes with a leaky boot, you can build up a carbon track on the tower of the coil or across the distributor cap. When conditions are right the energy goes to ground on the easiest path. This would give you a fairly good charge of unburnt fuel in the pipe and a neighbor waking backfire.
Of course you've changed the coil out, but have you had a good look at the cap?
Good luck in the hunt, I hope you find it soon!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:22 PM   #102
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Mitch//PA, I'm not a parts changer and we know the problem, it's not running correctly!!! I have three model A's built by me and others no problems there! As far as Sgwilson904 thread I was JUST trying to help him out with a similar problem he has! I apologize if I took over HIS thread! I wasn't the one who continued his thread, it was all the replies that we in Washington have tried with no results. Seems as tho you don't have the answer for the correct fix EITHER! I'll leave it here and be even nicer!!!!! Have a Good Day!!!!
OK OK lets breath. We all get fustrated when is seems that we cannot help another model A'er. We need to summerize all the thoughts so we can better see what has already been done. It's easy to get lost after 6 pages.

Here are a few I don't remember if anything was done. Brent gave a step by step procedure for when if happens as did H. L. Chauvin. Do we know if this was followed? There were a couple of thoughts vapor lock. Was cool water poured on the Carb when it acts up? Was the ground to the engine checked?

We can get this!!!
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:01 PM   #103
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Mitch//PA, I'm not a parts changer and we know the problem, it's not running correctly!!! I have three model A's built by me and others no problems there! As far as Sgwilson904 thread I was JUST trying to help him out with a similar problem he has! I apologize if I took over HIS thread! I wasn't the one who continued his thread, it was all the replies that we in Washington have tried with no results. Seems as tho you don't have the answer for the correct fix EITHER! I'll leave it here and be even nicer!!!!! Have a Good Day!!!!
you know the problem its not running correctly. well thats the complaint and the problem is what part or component is at fault:::
How do you know your problem is the same thing thats happening in fl ? Maybe the same symptoms but possibly not the same failure.

i suggested putting inline a simple spark tester to visually ck the intensity and pattern of it when it acts up.
mike k suggested to use that carb float tool to see if the bowl is running low on fuel. these simple things can lead you to attack which system if any of the two are the trouble.

If it was diagnosed properly which advice was given of how to do that in the above replies to determine which system is at fault ELECTRICAL / IGNITION / MECHANICAL or FUEL it could have been solved easily without replacing everything that has already been thrown at it. If that isn't parts changing what is and apparently whats been done in Washington was just that. anybody can replace parts and hope it's fixed but what service is that to the less knowledgeable who asks for help here. take your modern car to a repair facility would you want parts thrown at it till its fixed? that could become mighty expensive and these old A's can add up also. sorry if your upset but thats the way i see it. continue on shooting everyone down on all the things that have been thrown at it.
and yes i can properly diagnose and repair this vehicle, determine which system is at fault without tossing parts on it, and then test the appropriate components. so continue on you have done a good job so far thats why this poor guy is in fl with a broken truck.
Congrats you won the prize

mitch//pa

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Old 01-28-2013, 06:04 PM   #104
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Mitch//PA, I'm not a parts changer and we know the problem, it's not running correctly!!! I have three model A's built by me and others no problems there! As far as Sgwilson904 thread I was JUST trying to help him out with a similar problem he has! I apologize if I took over HIS thread! I wasn't the one who continued his thread, it was all the replies that we in Washington have tried with no results. Seems as tho you don't have the answer for the correct fix EITHER! I'll leave it here and be even nicer!!!!! Have a Good Day!!!!
I'm sure that Mitch--who offered me some good ideas here--meant no disrespect...and I certainly can understand Gary's frustration with the very same problem I'm trying to solve.

You guys here in the Barn have been terrific to offer your time and expertise to both Gary and me (not to mention so many others with problems tough-to-resolve). Thanks to each and every one of you for the support...and if anybody has an additional thought, please chime in.

I'll let you know if/when we find a crab apple in the fuel tank <grin> or any other cause of this mind numbing mess.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:18 PM   #105
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I'll let you know if/when we find a crab apple in the fuel tank <grin> or any other cause of this mind numbing mess.
Maybe not a crab apple but what if it's as simple as crap gas. Tony S. had problems with his car running and draining the tank and refilling it solved the problem.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:23 PM   #106
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OK OK lets breath. We all get fustrated when is seems that we cannot help another model A'er. We need to summerize all the thoughts so we can better see what has already been done. It's easy to get lost after 6 pages.

Here are a few I don't remember if anything was done. Brent gave a step by step procedure for when if happens as did H. L. Chauvin. Do we know if this was followed? There were a couple of thoughts vapor lock. Was cool water poured on the Carb when it acts up? Was the ground to the engine checked?

We can get this!!!
Yes on all the above! except vapor lock. Thanks .this is for the veh in Washington. I'm done! Have a Great day everyone! and thanks for all your thoughts.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:24 PM   #107
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Here are a few I don't remember if anything was done. Brent gave a step by step procedure for when if happens as did H. L. Chauvin. Do we know if this was followed? There were a couple of thoughts vapor lock. Was cool water poured on the Carb when it acts up? Was the ground to the engine checked?

We can get this!!!
Well said, fellow Floridian...and I greatly appreciate you and the others hanging in there when it is so tempting to give up.

First, having checked the fuel tank, the filters, etc, including draining the tank and cleaning/replacing all filters, I do believe (as Ray Horton suggested back in Post #25) that it is NOT a fuel problem but something electrical and, as Ray and others suggest, most likely SOMETHING in my distributor.

So, here's my plan:

The easiest, first thing is to replace the entire distributor and cap with one known to be in perfect working shape. (Somebody here in the club must have one I can borrow.) I'll take the old one out, put the new one in and go for a long drive. If that solves the problem, I'll rebuild my own distributor with a new plate, new points, new wire, new condenser because ONE of those was the problem, right?

If the replacement distributor doesn't resolve the problem, I will then also replace my new coil with another known-to-be-working and see if that ends my trouble.

I'll also check the fuse plate because that's a very easy thing to look at and maybe even remove if there's any signs of trouble that some of you pointed out.

And if THAT doesn't work? I'll push it over a cliff! No, wait, there ARE no cliffs in Florida. Okay, THEN I'll start with the great diagnostics suggested by Brent, H.L. and others, one by one.

Reasonable? Other ideas?

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Old 01-28-2013, 06:42 PM   #108
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Sounds Like valves sticking when hot.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:49 PM   #109
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"If that solves the problem, I'll rebuild my own distributor with a new plate, new points, new wire, new condenser because ONE of those was the problem, right?"

Well, I would look everything over very carefully and see what I can observe what might be the problem. There are several components in your list of new stuff, and if you spend that money (about $40) and replace everything you won't know which component that it was that was faulty. Is it a 5-cent washer that's shorting out on the upper plate or a $5 point block that's cracked? It's almost assuredly not every one of those items listed!

Likewise, you can test your coil before spending $16-$20 for a new one. Use the scientific method and inspect and test one component at a time, then replace as your observations suggest.

Reading this thread might also help: http://fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=95936
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:25 PM   #110
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Sounds Like valves sticking when hot.
Just did a check of the valves and compression test today. This was done by a well known Model A Mechanic who is 80 years old and an expert at it. He could find nothing. Thanks for your Idea.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #111
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Auto Machine. St. Charles, IL.....630-584-1188
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:50 PM   #112
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Auto Machine. St. Charles, IL.....630-584-1188
One problem car in Florida, and one in Washington, so driving to Illinois would be a bit out of the way.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:53 PM   #113
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SGWilson, in your original thread you mentioned this "Pulling the choke rod out about two-thirds of the way (flooding it with gas) will cause it to sputter a little less and limp a little farther." This to me is an indicator that it is a fuel problem. Possibly vapor lock. Could you tell us how much longer it runs when you pull the choke rod out? Good Luck. Joe B.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:44 PM   #114
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SGWilson, in your original thread you mentioned this "Pulling the choke rod out about two-thirds of the way (flooding it with gas) will cause it to sputter a little less and limp a little farther." This to me is an indicator that it is a fuel problem. Possibly vapor lock. Could you tell us how much longer it runs when you pull the choke rod out? Good Luck. Joe B.
It never really dies altogether...it just sputters and backfires and loses power. Pulling out the choke floods the carburetor to the extent that it just gives it slightly more power momentarily...
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:10 PM   #115
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It never really dies altogether...it just sputters and backfires and loses power. Pulling out the choke floods the carburetor to the extent that it just gives it slightly more power momentarily...
Did this start all of a sudden, or with the onset of warmer weather?
It does sound like typical ethanol problems on warmer days.

The condenser and coil are often heat related when they fail, but I think you changed both of them.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:14 PM   #116
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Whats the PRIZE?
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:19 PM   #117
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Whats the PRIZE?
Send that poor car to the crusher!
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:22 PM   #118
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Send that poor car to the crusher!
It is at the crusher!
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:44 PM   #119
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looks like a HEAVY CHEVIEEEE....LOL
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:07 PM   #120
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plugged exhaust? Check heat riser??
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:41 PM   #121
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... I do believe (as Ray Horton suggested back in Post #25) that it is NOT a fuel problem but something electrical ...
It has been said here many times, "90% of fuel problems are electrical".
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:22 AM   #122
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Heat riser??????
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:58 AM   #123
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I once had a similar problem with my '28 Sedan after replacing a condenser on the road. Eventually discovered that the fibre washer was missing from the contact end of the condenser and also that the new condenser was a quarter inch longer than the old one. The car would sometimes start and run well all day, or run good for a time, or start and run badly, this all due to the condenser being too close to the distributor housing. I insulated the end of the screw from the dizzy and all was fixed.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:49 AM   #124
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Do you have to take the prize?
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:52 AM   #125
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Did anyone mention that if it has a stock dist. cap, they are notorious for the spark going to #4 cyl can jump out of the top of the cap to #3 cyl connector strap & screw up both cyls. Rev it up & check it in the dark. Also look for dull fuzzy area on top of cap under #3 connector strap.
I think this condition could possibly cause his symptoms.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:55 AM   #126
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Did this start all of a sudden, or with the onset of warmer weather?
It does sound like typical ethanol problems on warmer days.

The condenser and coil are often heat related when they fail, but I think you changed both of them.
Tom, it started this right after I got it last summer and we all assumed it might be vapor lock or some kind of heat-related issue...but now, even in 60-70 degree temps it STILL does it.

And the really weird thing: even after changing both condenser and coil, it drove just fine (mostly at 45 mph for long stretches punctuated by some stops/starts through small towns for more than 100 miles) before it resumed the same misbehavior when the engine was running at about 170 and air temp around 72.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:11 AM   #127
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Have you removed the fuel line at the carb and let it flow into a quart jar?
You should have a strong steady flow until the jar is almost full.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:15 AM   #128
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This thread got very confusing when it got hijacked. sgwilson904, i hope you get it fiqured out. I thing at a time. You will get it.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:32 AM   #129
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Have you removed the fuel line at the carb and let it flow into a quart jar?
You should have a strong steady flow until the jar is almost full.
Yes, at first thinking it was debris in the fuel line (we saw a very few flakes in the glass bowl at the firewall), we drained the tank entirely. Nothing much came out of the tank when we drained at the fuel shutoff valve.

Suspecting the flakes were tiny pieces of cork from the gas guage, we replaced old one with a new neoprene one to prevent any future cork erosion due to ethanol. We also replaced the filters at the tank shutoff valve, thoroughly cleaned the glass bowl and replaced filter in there, replaced fuel line itself, then checked flow which was fine. Also checked to see that fuel line was properly inserted at the firewall and at the carb.

After all that, it ran fine for a while (as in maybe 10 minutes), then started sputtering and backfiring and losing power again.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:20 AM   #130
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sgwilson904. whooa!!!! you just said you had filter in GLASS BOWL ? TAKE IT OUT AND CHUNK IT IN A DITCH. try running car again with filter out. have fun modelAtony Lafayette,la
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:14 AM   #131
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Having said that you have had help from club members, I would use that help a little more and borrow known working parts to help eliminate problems until I could zero in on the culprit.

I would go about this a little differently, first I would bypass the whole fuel system, by that I mean that I would find or make a two or three gallon fuel tank and pipe it directly to the carburetor. This would get you away from any problems from the tank, filter system, cutoff valve, bad cap, stuff in the tank or any other fuel related problem.
If this didnít do the trick I would reconnect the fuel system and trade out the distributor with a known good one a club member is using on a properly running car.

Next I would go to the carburetor and borrow one that is known to be good. If all these donít find the problem I would change out the ignition switch with a simple one that is known to be problem free.

Next I would go to the dash and remove it and look to see if the amp meter is shorting out against the firewall, and trade it out for one that is known to be working correctly.
And last I would start looking at the valves, checking for clearance.

If you play your cards right you will either find the problem or have a new car within a few days!!
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:26 AM   #132
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sgwilson904, I'm with "modelAtony". Take that fuel bowl filter out and throw it away.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:35 AM   #133
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sgwilson904, I'm with "modelAtony". Take that fuel bowl filter out and throw it away.
A screen should be in the top of the glass filter, but not the filter that some people add, which is easily seen through the glass.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #134
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Did you ever check the float level? if the float is set too low the fuel bowl will not fill up as it should. It might run fine at idle and a couple of times around the block. Once you get going down the road at a good clip the bowl drains down because the float is holding the needle partially closed and you get a lean condition that causes the car to backfire and overheat as you describe. After it sits the bowl fills back up (to it's low level) and the car cools off, it will fire back up, run, then it repeats making you crazy..
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:01 AM   #135
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A screen should be in the top of the glass filter, but not the filter that some people add, which is easily seen through the glass.
I should have been more precise. I did actually install only the small SCREEN and not that fiber filter thing I've seen some guys use and fills up much of the glass bowl.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:13 PM   #136
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You are reporting a few things that appear to be helpful, i.e.,:

1. Message no.1, paragraph no. 8: "Pulling on choke helps."

2. Message no. 114, first paragraph: "It never really dies" ........ & like a temporary hospital life support machine, again: "pulling on choke gives it slightly more power.".

3. Several have suggested the mysterious "vapor lock"; however, in Message no, 41, Mr. Mike V suggests what was previously reported, poor engine ground; hence, fuel line providing the engine ground & getting hot even in cool weather thus causing "vapor lock" others say are possible.

4. All of this voodoo sputtering when only God knows when, engine never dying, but engine helped slightly when choke pulled out sounds very familiar to lack of fuel.

5. Rather than buying 5 more coils, 4 more condensers, & 3 more carburetors, plus half a catalog of parts, I would first cut the gas line, (less than $6.00 to replace), & splice it with a rubber hose, (between sediment bowl to carburetor), just in case the gas line is heating as an engine ground & providing vapor lock.


6. If this procedure makes matters worse, you know you have hurt the engine grounding.


7. If not, with this one simple procedure, the Francois Duvalier's Mysterious Voodoo "vapor lock" has been eliminated by not having a part-time heated gas line.


Sincerely hopes this helps the mysterious "unlnown"!

Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 01-29-2013 at 01:19 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:20 PM   #137
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Quote:
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You are reporting a few things that appear to be helpful, i.e.,:

1. Message no.1, paragraph no. 8: "Pulling on choke helps."

2. Message no. 114, first paragraph: "It never really dies" ........ & like a temporary hospital life support machine, again: "pulling on choke gives it slightly more power.".

3. Several have suggested the mysterious "vapor lock"; however, in Message no, 41, Mr. Mike V suggests what was previously reported, poor engine ground; hence, fuel line providing the engine ground & getting hot even in cool weather thus causing "vapor lock" others say are possible.

4. All of this voodoo sputtering when only God knows when, engine never dying, but engine helped slightly when choke pulled out sounds very familiar to lack of fuel.

5. Rather than buying 5 more coils, 4 more condensers, & 3 more carburetors, plus half a catalog of parts, I would first cut the gas line, (less than $6.00 to replace), & slpice it with a rubber hose just in case the gas line is heating & providing vapor lock.

6. If this procedure makes matters worse, you know you have hurt the engine grounding.

7. If not, the Francois Duvalier's Mysterious Voodoo "vapor lock" has been eliminated by not having a part-time heated gas line.

Seriously hopes this helps!
or use the tool that mike K posted to see if the fuel bowl level drops its really elementary
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:47 PM   #138
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Per no. 136, & what owner reports, appears fuel delivery is a problem; next, why?

Possible new painted engine blocking ground?

Mesage no. 131 could also be a possible next step.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:11 PM   #139
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As several of us has had you can have vaporlock for a few reasons regardless of outside temperature. As I stated before I had a fuel line too close to the exhaust line and it caused vapor lock. Check yours.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:39 PM   #140
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no sign of anything but a few flakes at the bottom and in the clear glass filter at the firewall.
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Don't you think these flakes may be getting over the gas inlet and blocking the flow. It is a gas flow problem for sure. Unless you have two problems.
You need to check gas flow at the time of the problem. Take out the plug at the bottom of the carb, and see how much you get. Should be a steady stream. While your at it check for a nice hot blue spark. one has to be not working right, or both.

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:25 PM   #141
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To: sgwilson904

Tuesday afternoon attitude check ???
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:55 PM   #142
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tHE ABOVE suggestions are all good and there are many possibilities alond with the gas Cap not venting, make sure the wire from the coil to the dist. HAS A SOLID WIRE nof the cardon center jobs that are used on the cars today. Give it a try and drive for miles Gord. B by the Bay
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:12 PM   #143
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To: sgwilson904

Tuesday afternoon attitude check ???
First, H.L., I really appreciated your detailed test idea for proper ground. Today a club pal removed his distributor (known to be working well), we removed mine and replaced it with his (re-setting the timing).

We did notice lots of play in the shaft as we did this, so apparently a recent engine overhaul did not include replacement of the drive gear and related parts which should address too much play? I am getting those various drive gear parts but will meanwhile drive around to see how performance changes with this known-good distributor.

The problem, of course, is that it ran like a champ for 110 miles on a club tour last weekend before the dreaded curse returned, so who knows how far I should drive now to rest assured a good distributor is the answer to my problem. I can say in the 15 miles I drove today after the replacement, it SEEMED to run a slightly cooler and have slightly more power on an incline...but this could be psycho-somatic on MY part, as all of this has already made me crazy. <grin>

Also, when we closely examined MY distributor tat we removed, we noted the condenser wire attachment was SLIGHTLY askew. It is POSSIBLE (but we think not probable) it could have been close enough to cause an intermittent short.

Finally, when we removed the lower plate of mine, we noticed the curved metal piece has been bent at one time and poorly re-straightened. Again, we don't THINK this might have caused a problem but...???

Will drive more tomorrow and provide next update. Stay tuned.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:01 PM   #144
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Thanks for update -- your very much appreciated continued input is an inspiration for all of us to continue to "try" to help.

FWIW, items to consider from past experiences:

A. Model A's can run quite well with very worn distributor bushings because the pressure of the point springs keeps the wobbly distributor shaft & cam to one side thus maintaining close to the same point gap; and,

B. They can run quite well with "lots" of forward & backward play in distributor shaft because the engine camshaft for valves is turning the distributor cam only in one CCW direction.

C. Looking back today at old parts removed from it, my first 1930 Model A Coupe bought in 1958 for $25.00 was so worn out "everywhere", it may be totally unbelievable for some to imagine that it kept going -- luckily, it never left me out on the highway where I had to call to get towed back home -- didn't even have a phone back then.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:20 PM   #145
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Put a flathead v8 in it and be done with your problems LOL.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:45 PM   #146
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Check the muffler. Some times when they get old and backup will get hot and block off the exhaust. That would be something to look at.

Good luck with it. It looks like you looked at it all from here. Papanick
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:17 PM   #147
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I had a car do the same thing many years ago. We finally figured out the wires on the coil were reversed. Marv
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:27 PM   #148
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Update #2, as promised...

With known-working distributor now replacing mine that is suspect, I took it out on a drive today, a 72-mile trip down the Florida coastline to St. Augustine and back. (Outside air temp = 82--with apologies to those of you in the cold country.)

Just is it did in the 110-mile drive before the evil spirit suddenly possessed it last weekend, it seemed to run just fine. Much of the way was a cruise at around 50 mph. Engine temp (water OUT of engine, returning to radiator) stayed generally about 165 but did rise close to 190 when cruising was interrupted but a stop at a light for two minutes or so.

When I left the light after sustained cruise, I did notice some hesitancy and even a lone pop/backfire as I accelerated out of third gear. This was only temporary, however, and it smoothed out within a block or so.

Later, I noticed engine temp rose to 180 at one point during sustained cruise again. Then, after stop at light and resumed 40 mph, temp returned to about 170.

This is much like what happened Sunday, though today, on a shorter drive, it was not as pronounced and seemed to recover which it didn't do last time.

This is not conclusive, I know, but I'm wondering if maybe the distributor might not be the problem? Maybe it's a vapor lock brought on when the engine temp rises, as it is prone to due when stopping at a light after sustained cruise? (as Mike V Message #41 suggested)

When it's hottest, the carburetor is really warm but not so hot I can't touch it and hold fingers on it a bit. Could a faulty/insufficient engine ground be causing the problem, as someone suggested? Where is the ground and how do I check it exactly?
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:57 PM   #149
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1. It was reported some time ago on a rebuild with "all" newly painted parts, that the metal gas line from the sediment bowl/firewall to the engine was incorrectly acting as a ground from the chassis to the engine.



2. Because of the gas line's small amount of metal, (which can be indicated as a small hollow tube in a cross sectional view of same), as opposed to a large solid battery grounding cable with more metal, the small gas line was heating, thus causing a rare case of vapor lock.



3. When some owners experience grounding problems, (mainly because of fresh paint acting as electrical insulation), they provide a separate ground to the engine in lieu of relying solely on the original ground strap from the battery to the chassis, then from the chassis to the engine -- especially when they do not have metal pans on both sides of the engine.



4. If you would add a battery grounding strap from bare metal on the chassis to bare metal on a starter bolt, you would eliminate this reported "rare" vapor lock condition; or, you could try to implement paragraph 5. of message no. 136 above to elinimate this gas line grounding condition.

5. If one chokes an engine & it helps the engine to run a little better, this is most likely a fuel problem; & maybe in this rare case, the "fuel" problem "may" caused by "electrical" heat which causes vapor lock.

6. I did not think the other distributor would make a difference because of what appears to be intermittent fuel starvation.

Keep reporting your experiences -- it will be something simple.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:25 PM   #150
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H.L., I understand the concept but if the fuel line is serving as a ground and thus heating up, why doesn't the problem occur during a sustained cruise situation instead of just after a long cruise followed by a start-up from a traffic light?
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:36 PM   #151
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H.L., I understand the concept but if the fuel line is serving as a ground and thus heating up, why doesn't the problem occur during a sustained cruise situation instead of just after a long cruise followed by a start-up from a traffic light?
Steady "fast" flow of fuel through the fuel line and Air blowing through the engine compartment cooling the line at cruise.

Slow fuel flow at idle and no air blowing through the engine compartment at idle.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:32 PM   #152
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sgwilson904, is it possible that the performance (for lack of a better word) differences between the before/after distributor change may be due to a difference in the initial timing? Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:36 PM   #153
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This gas line acting as a ground "could" also be a reason why your carburetor is getting warm -- i.e., the carburetor could act like a heat sink at the end of the hot fuel line.

Nothing amazes me with what people find & learn while driving Model A's.

Model A experts can be thought of as people who decide to quit learning.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:04 AM   #154
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Really, if the fuel line is indeed serving as a ground circuit, how could it possibly get hot enough to cause vapor lock?! Ignition draw is not likely to be over 5 amps or so; the generator may be charging at the rate of 10-15 amps; hitting the brakes may momentarily draw another 5 or so amps for the stoplight. NOT enough to even slightly warm that gas line! There's more metal in that line than in the wire that feeds the entire electrical system (other than starter)!
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:49 AM   #155
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Hi 4o Deluxe,

Even though hearing of vapor lock, & beleiving it can exists, I have never had a vehicle that could produce vapor lock in our climate.

As such, only reporting what was previously reported from previous intelligent experiences in order to help this guy resolve what so far has "not" yet been resolved.

Coupled with the manifold/exhaust heat experience mentioned in message no. 139 above, appears this is what was experienced & reported about heated fuel on 06-05-2012 at 09:35 a.m.

Vapor Lock --or vapor in a fuel line
I don't know if this applies to any or all other folks, but yesterday I fielded a phone call from someone who described some symtoms like everyone has been describing wanting some tech advice. After thinking about it last night I e-mailed him early this morning for him to call me. On a hunch based on some other feedback he was giving me I suggested that he leave the ignition switch off and while reaching across the engine, engage the starter and allow it to spin for 20 or 30 rounds with one hand while touching the fuel line with another. He called me back and said it didn't even spin 10 rounds before the fuel line got hot enough to burn his hand.

As I explained to him, he has a ground issue. My initial thinking is if the fuel line is carrying the current, then is it "preheating" the fuel in the line enough to create a vapor? Maybe that would explain how someone has 3 cars using the same fuel and swapping carburetors does not make a difference for them. Maybe that would explain how the use of engine pans can cure the problem?? While this may not be the cure in every case, I believe it is a contributing factor to one person's issues.

Carry on.............

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In my opinion it is a safety hazard driving in traffic with a stalling car & the quicker this gentleman can determine the problem, the safer his entire family will be.

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:49 AM   #156
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Why not try by-passing the fuel tank. Mount a container (hang/secure from the radiator rods), run a line directlt to the carb, no filter and go for a ride. JMO
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:14 PM   #157
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Just reading here. SO does the engine actually shut off when this happens or does it just run so porly you can't drive? In the time it takes to fix itself have you taken readings with a infrared temp on the ground cable, fuel line, water outlet, etc? What causes it to fix itself, continually revving the engine? pumping throttle? idle? or what? There's been a lot of good suggestions I've not read the outcome to, like water on the carb. HAve you hotwired it to eleiminate the wiring harness, ignition switch, etc? Alternator producing a steady output? WHen it happens is there compression?
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:04 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by H. L. Chauvin View Post

Vapor Lock --or vapor in a fuel line
...I suggested that he leave the ignition switch off and while reaching across the engine, engage the starter and allow it to spin for 20 or 30 rounds with one hand while touching the fuel line with another. He called me back and said it didn't even spin 10 rounds before the fuel line got hot enough to burn his hand.

BRENT in 10-uh-C
Follow-up #3 as promised:

I had high hopes for this idea but, alas, when I let it spin 30 times or so while holding the fuel line, I felt no change in the warmth of the line whatsoever. So now...is it still worth cutting the line and splicing in a rubber tube, or add a ground from the frame directly to the engine?

I'm a little wary of hanging gasoline above the engine with a direct feed to the carburetor and taking off down the road at 50 mph though this actually COULD prove to be the ultimate solution to ALL my problems! Ka-BOOOM!

Answering noboD post just above:

Yes, does not shut off entirely, just sputters and pops and backfires so it will not drive.

No temp checks taken when it does this, although I note water temp gauge shows higher readings when stopped at a light after long cruise and just before this misbehavior starts.

The only thing that seems to fix it is to let it sit and cool. Then, it seems to work fine for a while again. Have yet to try pouring water on carb to see if that might alleviate some kind of vapor lock there...will try that at next opportunity.

Also, have not hotwired but amp meter indicates steady output from the alternator and there does SEEM to be steady compression as well.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:32 PM   #159
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I would run the tank almost empty and fill up with good gas with no ethanol crap in it. That would be an easy check to eliminate one possibility.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:12 PM   #160
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I have never experienced the fabled (mythical?) vapor lock, but I remember in an earlier thread two suggestions that people who have experienced it said worked for them: 1) clip one or two wooden clothespins to the gas line. I guess these would act as heat sinks if the line is getting hot. 2) Add a pint of Marvel Mystery Oil to a full tank of gas and watch for the symptoms.

But I still suspect electrical.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:15 PM   #161
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1. With follow up #3, i.e., no heat experienced with starter/ground test in message 158 appears to indicate no reason to cut gas line if the gas line does not conduct current & get hot when the starter turns.


2. In your first message, there was something noted that "may" be a concern: "We drained the tank, saw it had been coated ... " No telling what kind of coating.


3. Some used a witches brew of thined out "Permatex No. 2" gasket sealant, & who knows what else. Even though a dreaded thought, this unknown sealant could have endured regular gas fo years; but with ethanol added in todays gas, it may now begin to slightly dissolve the sealant & cause fuel problems when running through a heated carburetor.


4. Message no. 156 sounds like a good highway test, but as you cautioned, one hard bump, possible spilled gas on a hot manifold, & then maybe having to dial 911 for a fire truck.


5. Whatever you have, it appears very unique mainly because not many are reporting a similar problem. Maybe try Tom's no. 159 message above -- cannot hurt.

6. Please keep reporting detailed findings, hopefully somebody may think of something else.

Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 01-31-2013 at 05:09 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:38 PM   #162
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When it runs rough and you let it sit to cool do you shut it off? or let it miss and run rough? until it straightens itself out? When running rough have you pulled spark plug wires to see if they are all firing? I'm betting it will be very obvious when you find it.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:02 AM   #163
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Dont worry,there is another with a very similar problem,he is not on the forum ,but I spent many hours on the roadside trying to coax it home.we have been on many trips with the couple and it seems a similar problem,
I wait with baited breath to see the fix,
Runnerbun travels with us as well so he is familiar with the car and problem,believe me we have tried to sort it out.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:05 AM   #164
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Your fuel line is running to close to your exhaust causing fuel to evaporate in the line. Allow enough distance so that line can't get hot.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:07 AM   #165
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another old trick i saw my father use was a wooden clothes pin clipped on the fuel line.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:53 AM   #166
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Cheap Pencil Coil Polarity Test:

Because Model A's & Model A repop parts offered today are rather unique, listening to the many experiences indicated in messages given by other Model A owners, (approximately 16 on this thread,) one can see many have reported Model A "coil" problems; e.g. message nos. 13, 23, 30, 31, 34, 37, 38, 42, 59, 64, 65, 68, 101, 109, 115 & 147.

Supposedly, with even a minor breakdown in current flow, coils can get hot & cause ignition problems if polarity is not correct. Marking on coils are useless if marked (+), or (Dist.) or (Bat.) or (Ign.) if the coil was intended for a negative ground battery & the coil is installed on a positive ground battery vehicle -- or vice versa.

Coils can operate if not wired correctly but can lose 15% - 20% efficiency
plus lower gas mileage, & in some cases get hot & cause missing when hot -- after coil cools down, engine runs fine again.

This may or not be the problem, but below is an inexpensive, simple polarity test you may want to try to verify your coil polarity:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



If you are still skeptical about all this, there is a quick way to check directly which way the current is flowing in the high tension circuit. Disconnect a spark wire from a spark plug (or the coil wire from the distributor cap). Hold this HT wire near a grounding point (or near the connector end of a spark plug), and position the tip of a graphite pencil in between. When you crank the engine (no need to start or run) you can observe the resulting spark jump between wire and pencil, and between pencil and ground (or spark plug). A flare (hard to see) toward the plug (or ground) shows correct polarity while a flare toward the coil shows reversed polarity. If the flare goes toward the coil, just switch the primary wires on the coil and make note of the connections for future reference.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 02-01-2013 at 10:55 AM. Reason: hi-lite
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:10 AM   #167
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I found some white wire wrap at a swap meet. If I get stuck using 10% ethanol garbage gas on a warm day then I slip this plastic tubing over the gas line. It helps quite a bit to reduce the ethanol problems. I keep it under the seat when not needed.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:48 AM   #168
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Here is a brief but excellent read about the importance of correct coil polarity.

http://www.chicagolandmgclub.com/tec...neral/574.html
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:58 AM   #169
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tom where are your engine pans? that may help it run cooler !!!!!!!
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:03 PM   #170
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tom where are your engine pans? that may help it run cooler !!!!!!!
They're in the basement, but my car runs great now that I ran 2 1/2 gallons of pure white vinegar in the cooling system for 30 days and got all the rust flakes out of the block and radiator.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:39 PM   #171
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They're in the basement, but my car runs great now that I ran 2 1/2 gallons of pure white vinegar in the cooling system for 30 days and got all the rust flakes out of the block and radiator.
Just bust'em. Lol
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:24 PM   #172
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sgwilson, Can you tell me the measurement of the closest point the fuel line is to exhaust or manifold. Thanks, Joe B.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:07 PM   #173
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Wow - what a thread! It seems everyone in Model A-dom except me has offered suggestions - and very good ones at that - so here's my experience. This may be a long shot, but another $0.02 can't hurt the pile. We finished our coupe in 1988 and its maiden voyage was from southern NY state to Sturbridge, MA. The car ran great until we got 50 or 60 miles into the trip and it suddenly slowed down and died. With an entourage of experts in our group, we replaced the carburetor with a working one. Twenty minutes later, we were on our way again. Then, another 50-60 miles and same problem. This happened all the way to Sturbridge and even on the local tour. We replaced the distributor (one part at a time) and even put the condenser on the firewall next to the coil (where it's been mounted for the past 25 years without replacement!) but the problem persisted. On the way home from Sturbridge, I disconnected the fuel line for the hundreth time to again check for flow and there oozing out of it was a clear, snotty looking string of silicone caulk. I pulled it out best I could and we were on our way. Later, same symptom, same snot, same cleaning procedure. I had used silicone caulk as a sealer around my fuel gauge and found out the hard way that gasoline dissolves it - in a very slow but deliberate way. A thorough cleaning of the entire fuel system and an in-tank filter screen solved that problem once and for all. My point is that we blew through the fuel line, checked the sediment bowl and did all the "correct" troubleshooting but it was just dumb luck the car decided to have a runny nose at the same time I disconected the fuel line. Don't know if this helps, but if richening the mixture seems to bring the engine back to life, my money's on a fuel blockage somewhere. Good luck!
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:04 PM   #174
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1. My ethanol experience was with a newly acquired Model A in late 2006.

2. The problem appeared to be my adding ethanol gas in the Model A gas tank, & allowing it to stay in there for 2-1/2 years during partial restoration, while it dissolved my previously "sealed" gas tank.

3. Had no idea what kind of sealer was previously used prior to my acquiring it; however, upon re-starting the engine with ethanol gas & driving only for about (20) miles in my eldest son's wedding, the entire inside of the carburetor & the entire inside of the intake manifold turned jet black with a tar-like goo substance.

4. First tried cleaning the carburetor & intake black goo with paint thinner, then Acetone, next gasoline; however, a mixture of waterbased POR 15 Marine Clean immediately dissolved it, & worked even far better when the water was hot -- one (1) part POR 15 Marine Clean to four (4) parts hot water.

5. Later made up another same batch mix of POR Marine Clean with hot water, added about (2) gallons to the gas tank, rocked entire Model A from side to side, & front to back for about (10) minutes & repeated rocking within an hour. Allowed mix to sit in tank overnight & drained it the next morning whereby the clear thin mix turned black.

6. Repeated paragraph 5. above, but this time when drained, the POR 15 mix was a lot clearer.

7. Followed by filling gas tank to about 1/3 with only hot water for a rinse, shaking vehicle & after draining, the water was quite clear.

8. Allowed the tank to dry overnight, then filled with non-ethanol gas with about (4) ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil.

9. Just was lucky to have an old tank sealer that could be dissolved with a water based cleaning product which was designed to clean oil & grease from oily & greasy metal.

10. So common to read so many reported different Model A experiences.

Last edited by H. L. Chauvin; 02-01-2013 at 06:06 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:15 AM   #175
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Try running your vehicle with a different muffler system I had the same problem and tried all suggested remedies but to no avail. The problem gradually got worse. It was suggested to me (by an 80 year old whose first car was a Model A) that I probably had a carbon build up in the exhaust system. I tried an exhaust system off another Model A and drove at 50 -55 mph for 80km (50 miles) and no backfires! I am about to refit the original exhaust system (after "burning out the carbon") and am hopeful that the intermittent, unexpected & until-now-unexplained loud explosions will have ceased. Worth a try!
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:59 AM   #176
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There have been at least two posts so far in this thread suggesting an exhaust back-pressure problem. The symptoms certainly fit an intermittent occurance. I could see this for two reasons in an A: 1) an accumulation of those dreaded exhaust manifold seal rings down the pipe, sometimes jiggling into a blocked configuration. 2) Big rust flakes accumulated inside the muffler. When running they randomly fly up and block some holes, eventually too many. After sitting they settle, all is normal 'till it repeats.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:18 AM   #177
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Before I get to Follow-up/Update #4, as promised, let me say how much I appreciate that Model A folks seems to have what my mother used to call "the patience of Job." I appreciate you all sticking with me here and continuing to come up with ideas as we struggle to solve this mystery. Your suggestions, coupled with the help from the guys here in the Jacksonville A's, is keeping me at it.

My pal Mike, an old Navy vet (in the military service, not the store at the mall) has two A's of his own and he's been helping me implement some of the suggestions posted here. I'm surprised he hasn't yet suggested we drive the thing off a pier and see if it floats but he helped me work on it again yesterday and there are some new developments to report.

A couple of days ago, I noticed a few drops of gasoline dripping onto the floorboard from the sediment bowl fitting against the firewall. In tightening that, we noticed there appeared to be no silicone tape or liquid sealer applied to the threads. On the ride home, I discovered our tightening had increased the problem and now there were several drops on the floor. I turned off the fuel valve, ran the engine until it stopped and let it sit overnight which temporarily suspended the link.

Yesterday, we removed the inside fuel lines and found some silicone on one end of the threads but not the other. When we also removed the sediment bowl fitting for closer inspection, we discovered someone had once cross-threaded the threads of the inside fuel line connection. We replaced the fitting with a new one, using the liquid sealer instead of silicone tape on both ends. That solved the leak...but on a test drive, Mike determined the carb was running a little rough and we ought to swap it out to see if THAT is part of our big problem.

Once we removed the carburetor, we noticed just inside the fuel line was some white, stringy junk we took to be silicone. It wasn't clear if this was from the threaded fitting on the carburetor itself or whether this had come from inside the fuel line farther upstream. We dug all of it out, opened the carb to assure there was not any more inside, then put it back together. This seems to be right in line with the suggestion of Old 182's experience posted above (#173).

Now, with a leakless fuel connection and all silicone tape removed from all fuel line fittings (replaced now with the liquid sealer) and string stuff all cleaned out of the carb, we're ready for another long test drive today.

Recent posts that suggest hot fuel lines causing vapor lock--see #164, 167 and 172 above--led me to another discovery I've never thought about.

My fuel line from the firewall to the carburetor does not seem be too close to the engine at any point. JBohannon (post 172) asked for an exact measurement. The closest point is 3 inches from the manifold. I've posted a picture below. But in examining this, I also notice that my fuel line appears to be BRASS and not the STEEL lines most cars use and is sold by the parts houses.

My Internet research shows brass to be a better conductor of heat than steel, perhaps as much as 10 times more conductive. Could this play a role as a contributory factor if not a causative one? This is another cheap fix I could try if you all think it's a likely problem.

Finally, speaking of fuel line, let me also respond to the clothespin idea from Boober49 (post #165 above). Back in the hottest days of the summer when everybody in the club was convinced this was vapor lock pure and simple, we put enough clothespins on that line to hang two week's worth of laundry! They were cheek-by-jowl along the entire length...but did nothing more than provide much comic relief from some of our veteran members who were sure I was an idiot. And of course by now, I've given them much more evidence to support THAT point of view, haven't I?

So, when it warms up here a little, I'm off down the road to St. Augustine again to see how it runs post-cleaning the silicone crap. I'm hoping Old 182 might be onto something. If not, I'll drive 40 miles to fill up on pure, no-ethanol gasoline and try that, too.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:32 AM   #178
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No sealers should be needed for Model A fuel lines. I did have to tin the flare on an inside line one time to fix a slow drip.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:48 AM   #179
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sgwilson, I do not know if the brass fuel line is causing the problem but I can say I had the same problem and yes my fuel line was copper. Joe B.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:55 AM   #180
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Off topic but my Mom used to live in St Augustine, got to be one of the most beautiful places in the country. Many good memories.
Paul in CT
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:56 AM   #181
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I've used these with 100% success on propane, refrigerant, and hydraulic flares that wouldn't otherwise seal. Available made from several different materials to match the app. LINK

"When inserted into a fitting, the concentric rings form multiple seals down the face of the flare, while the Loctite coating fills minor imperfections, dramatically increasing the integrity of the fitting. New ISO and NFPA standards strongly recommend seals for all fittings."
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:57 AM   #182
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I had a copper fuel line from the Model A fire wall to the carburetor.

Because of constant vibration, generated heat, & metal fatigue, while working the copper fuel line back & forth, the copper hardened and fractured at the connection on the carburetor end & leaked gasoline.

(This fracture occurred in about (2) weeks & resembled taking a steel coat hanger, working it bach & forth in one short area until it breaks).

Next, I provided about a 6" diameter loop in the middle of a longer new copper line so that the copper line's loop could flex over a large area & it never broke again.

I saw someone's photo on this Forum sometime ago, of a loop provided in a Model A copper fuel line from fire wall to carburetor.

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Old 02-02-2013, 11:32 AM   #183
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I had a copper fuel line from the Model A fire wall to the carburetor.

Because of constant vibration, generated heat, & metal fatigue, while working the copper fuel line back & forth, the copper hardened and fractured at the connection on the carburetor end & leaked gasoline.

(This fracture occurred in about (2) weeks & resembled taking a steel coat hanger, working it bach & forth in one short area until it breaks).

Next, I provided about a 6" diameter loop in the middle of a longer new copper line so that the copper line's loop could flex over a large area & it never broke again.

I saw someone's photo on this Forum sometime ago, of a loop provided in a Model A copper fuel line from fire wall to carburetor.
Are you thinking of "The Worm" on a moonshine still
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:25 PM   #184
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sgwilson, I do not know if the brass fuel line is causing the problem but I can say I had the same problem and yes my fuel line was copper. Joe B.
Yes, sorry, I meant copper tubing, not brass.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:46 PM   #185
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I'd buy a new correct steel fuel line from a Model A parts house. Hopefully one is close. otherwise the shipping will probably be more than the part. Maybe get a few guys in the club that need parts and make one larger group order.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:03 PM   #186
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The issue of vapor lock has come up several times in this thread. While I suppose it's possible, it's unlikely in this case. Here are a few tidbits of information to chew on: Gasoline is made up of about 200 different hydrocarbons that all boil at different temperatures. In a distillation flask, 10 volume % of most gasolines have boiled under 50 to 70*F and all must finish boiling at or before 437*F to meet ASTM D4814, the spec for gasoline in the U.S. Butanes and pentanes are added to gasolines for "front end" volatility (cold starts); butane boiling at 31*F, pentane at 97*F. From there heavier components are added until the gasoline composition is complete with most gasolines finishing at around 400*F (aviation and racing gasolines way below that). The point here is that you may see gasoline bubbling in a clear filter or fuel line, or you may hear it in the carburetor bowl, but that isn't an indication of vapor lock; it's just the light ends boiling. Once the engine is warm, it will run fine with the mid-range and higher boiling components (even though some light ends remain). No offense meant to those suggesting vapor lock. I don't have any data, but I think to boil off enough fuel to cause vapor lock you would have to see actual sustained fuel temperatures well over 325*F, maybe higher. May be possible. Another $0.02.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:05 PM   #187
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[QUOTE=BRENT in 10-uh-C;579471]Well I would start by making it happen all over again and at the moment that the symptoms arise, do a little diagnostic work. First off, "just won't go" means different things to different folks but to me it means the engine stops running. At that point I would immediately (without touching/fiddling with anything else) remove the coil wire and hold it about ľ" away from a good ground source while someone cranks the engine over. The evidence of the jumping spark will tell a lot. During this same time I would feel the carburetor bowl and the fuel line for a temperature reading. If either is excessively hot, I would find the reason why.

Personally I suspect it to be electrical like a worn/loose wire inside the distributor. Ironically, when something like this comes into my shop, I first start checking for areas where "McGuyvering" has taken place followed closely thereafter by looking for reproduction parts. I have seen repro terminal box screws come loose and short out against the firewall, and I have seen poor quality wiring harnesses have loose terminal ends do exactly as you stated. I have never seen a situation that could not be solved when enough time & prudent thought were given towards the problem.

I can personally attest to the fact that the problem could very well be the terminal box attachment to the firewall. Loose screws or the lack of insulation spacers can and will cause the car to stop running without notice. Just a thought.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:28 PM   #188
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Has the ignition switch been checked for gas tank clearance? Many repro switch terminals will touch or come very close to touching the gas tank. I had to bend my terminals to the side on my 29 Tudor with an aftermarket switch.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:55 PM   #189
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:43 AM   #190
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By any chance, was the timing cover verified as being an "A" cover and not a "B". My understanding is that the timing pin is in a different location.

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Old 02-03-2013, 12:39 PM   #191
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Waiting with bated breath to hear how the latest test turned out!

IF (and I hope this isn't the case) the problem is still there, a possibility (suggested above several times) is that the terminal bolt heads on the terminal block are intermittently grounding to the firewall. I have installed a reproduction block in our Tudor as the old one disintegrated. I made some insulators using punch outs from an old tube - they fit into the hole in the terminal block between the bolt head and the firewall. I did it as a precaution, not because I was having a problem. It COULD be a factor in this situation.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:27 PM   #192
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

sgw904,
I typically don't look in the model A forum, but your problem is very similar to one I had with my 62 Vette. I too had an engine that ran fine when cold and coughed and sputtered when it warmed up. To make a long story short, I found the problem after tearing the fuel system apart. The flakes in my sediment/filter bowl were rubber pieces. Somehow they found their way to the carb jet area and got lodged in the small gas opening to the jets. As the engine warmed up the rubber particles expanded from the heat and choked off the gas supply. I was surprised to find this down stream of the filter, but after a complete cleaning of the carb and replacement of all rubber hoses, it now runs as strong as ever.
Good luck, I hope you find a cure.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:53 PM   #193
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10 pages and still no answers....
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:05 PM   #194
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10 pages and still no answers....
Lots of answers, just not sure which is the right one.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:13 PM   #195
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Lots of answers, just not sure which is the right one.

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Old 02-03-2013, 04:15 PM   #196
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Lots of answers, just not sure which is the right one.
Right! That's what I meant.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:27 PM   #197
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Or maybe problems "created" while tryin' to find the original problem??? These are SIMPLE CARS. Bill W.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:36 PM   #198
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I do not think we will ever hear what was really wrong.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:51 PM   #199
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

What is the "rest of the story"?
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:55 PM   #200
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

Does it use any coolant? I had an off topic car that had a bad head gasket, from what I can tell it would spew water into the cylinder(turn to steam) making compression more difficult and would also blow air out when the intake valve was open. This happened only after the car was warm... maybe it was a crack in the head or the beat up head gasket. I never cared to find out which because I just changed both.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:10 PM   #201
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Default Re: Who Can Diagnose THIS Total Mystery? Win A Prize?

So, without reading the ton and a half since I posted on page 2 or so, what is the verdict?

Has there been a cause found? It looks like folks are still throwing out ideas.

What is the actual cause, and if not known by now, why not? Can't believe 11 pages and no cure.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:32 PM   #202
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Was this an actual problem??????
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