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  1. #1

    Question 2.3 running rich?

    Hi, I have a 1979 ford fairmont country squire with the 2.3L lima. The car has been giving me a headache for a while now.

    The engine never ran right, so i rebuilt the carb, changed the timing belt (it snapped when driving, bless non interference engines), plugs, wires, rotor, fuel filter...

    But now i have a new problem. The car seems to run criminally rich.

    During startup:
    It runs on three cylinders, puffs white smoke and reeks of fuel.
    After a minute or two the car almost dies (200 rpm idle, alternator light on, shaking), so i have to give it a bit of throttle, but after that warms up 'normally'. When i rev the car while its cold, the misfires gets worse until 2000 rpm when it clears out, it returns when letting of the throttle.

    When warmed up:
    The car shakes slightly when it idles, i think it misfires slightly and has very old engine mounts.

    Now i can live with all of that for now, here is my true issue:

    When driving, the exhaust smells of gas.
    I also noticed it blows soot out the exhaust when revved, and has trouble starting when warm.
    It also pops when letting my foot off the throttle.

    My hypothesis is this: it runs way too rich. (though it does need the choke when cold, so that's weird).

    Now the timing is set at around 10 BTDC (it idles worse when retarded any more).
    When I configured the car after the carb rebuild i followed Thunderhead289's way of thinking:
    square transfer slots, adjust timing to get idle speed right, vacuum canister to ported, then set highest vacuum.

    Here is the problem:
    The car won't idle with square transfer slots, so I opened them a bit more (it still has 0" of Hg at idle on ported).
    But this is what i noticed: when idling fuel dribbles out of the main venturi (holley 5200 with mechanical secondary).
    Could this be part of the problem? I think i opened the slots too much, but it won't run without them.

    Vacuum at idle is about 10" of Hg, and the idle screw doesn't make much of a difference.

    My assumption is that i have a vacuum leak, over adjusted on the transfer slots, so now it dribbles fuel out of the venturi at idle, and runs rich.

    So i have a couple of questions for the pro's on this forum:

    Could my assumption about the transfer slots be correct? The fuel bowl vent seems to have an electrical connection, could this be the problem?
    AND
    How would i make sure the egr doesn't cause a vacuum leak? I don't have a blanking plate, does anybody have some diagrams to show me what i would have to connect to where?

    I'm sorry for the huge post, am I allowed to post multiple questions in one thread? The question in bold are most important.

    I will attach pictures of my spark plugs and pcv hose, the dribbling venturi and idle readout can be seen here:
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...MI?usp=sharing

    Thanks in advance, vincent.
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    Last edited by BenzeneBear; 11-14-2021 at 03:49 PM.

  2. #2

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    Cam timing off?
    Is it actually running on all 4 cylinders?
    83 TC "Clone"
    85 Marquis LTS

  3. #3
    FEP Power Member
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    Looks like it's barely running on 2 cylinders. Egr blank off is easy to make out of 1/4" stock.
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  4. #4
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
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    2.3 carb motors need to be 'pedaled' to stay running when cold. Mine likes 900-1000 idle. They shake a bit too.
    In winter here may take 10 minutes to be able to drive it. Steady idle normal rpm no stall foot off gas pedal.
    And it always stalls at first stop no matter what. Idle vac reads 18-20 most of the time once warm.
    They do not really need a lot of choke if any when warm out.
    Engine should stall when idle mix screws are less than 1/2-1/4 turn from all the way seated.
    Do go back in the carb, pull out the power valve, and inspect the rubber part with magnifying glass for pinholes or tears.
    Mine ran much better with a new one. Old one had hard to see damage and leaked- rich running, lack of mix adjustment.
    Do reconnect the carb vent solenoid to 12v when ignition is on.
    Check for correct vac hose routing and rubber hoses for splits. Miss routing can cause drip.
    My hard hot start was linked to the charcoal canister connection. Kept dripping fuel into carb venturis.
    Experiment.
    Try direct to intake manifold vac connection, rather than ported, for distributor advance.
    Can bump up timing to 12 or until engine runs better. 10 may be too low.

    Idea is to find what engine wants by re-tuning: adjusting and checking parts are good, no leaks, carb is clean inside.
    Specs in the books will get it running. Fine tuning is not. Every engine is different. Keep notes of what changes what.
    Bad or old stale fuel can certainly cause havoc too. Hard starts and rough running.
    Last edited by gr79; 11-17-2021 at 11:52 PM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the reply,

    I am glad to hear they all like a bit of foot when cold, but some stuff on mine is still definitely wrong.

    I reconnected the carb bowl vent tube to the charcoal canister, though i unplugged all the vacuum stuff and put end caps on them in order to troubleshoot (did this some time ago).

    Would I be better just letting the bowl vent into the engine bay? Because if i don't purge the charcoal canister i presume it will cause trouble also.
    I'll pull the power valve but it is a relatively fresh rebuild (couple hundred miles).

    Is there any way to test the solenoid? Pull the carb and feed it 12V and listen for a click?

    I used ported vacuum because Thunderhead 289 did some videos about it, but i'll try manifold.
    I'll bump up the timing a bi if it makes it run better.
    I am also making a little smoke machine to search for vacuum leaks.

    Maybe I'll try blanking the egr (temporarily) to see if that improves things. Like KevinK suggested.

    Thanks for all the info, i'll keep you posted.

    Kind regards,

    Vincent

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck W View Post
    Cam timing off?
    Is it actually running on all 4 cylinders?

    I replaced the timing belt so i'll be taking a look at that, it definitely sounds like it misferes at idle (quiet popping from exhaust), I'll recheck the marks.
    Though I just have to line up the little dot on the cam gear with the little pointer arm, and line up the crankshaft with it's little marker (and set the dist. on cyl 1 ofc), right? It seems easy to get right, or did i miss an important caveat?

    Kind regards,

    Vincent

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK View Post
    Looks like it's barely running on 2 cylinders. Egr blank off is easy to make out of 1/4" stock.

    Hi, i'll try blocking the egr with some metal from an old pc case, could paper cardboard be used as a gasket? (The cereal box type).
    Could I get by simply squishing the sheet metal and gasket between the manifold and the old egr valve? (So basically reconnecting the egr valve after inserting the metal?)

    Thanks in advance,

    Vincent

    Also, i apologise as I am not a native English speaker but what is 1/4" stock? I tried googling it but didn't find anything.

    Thanks,

    Vincent

  8. #8
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
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    Oh and welcome to the site Mr. V. Car pics are always interesting no matter what condition or where taken.
    English and working descriptions clear at this end. Better than a lot others over here in the states.
    1/4" stock in this case means metal as a small plate. About 6mm.
    Thick because thin metal warps assuming there is exhaust gas heat at that location.
    Reused the old egr gasket and bolts.
    Could use the screwdriver to ear mechanic's trick or a mechanic's stethoscope to help hear the bowl vent solenoid click
    On my car, there is a vapor return hose from canister back to the fuel tank. Wont hurt to reconnect if present.
    Popping at the tailpipe can be used as another clue to tuning like the gas smell does. Light gray inside is much better than black.
    The 2.3 motor is sensitive to vac connections. Try leaving one off see if rpm picks up or stalls for a clue as to rich/lean mix is happening.
    Mine likes a little air leak like that. A hose runs from intake to the carb air horn side venturi tap and check valve, which was there from factory.
    Prior posts covered this oddity.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by gr79 View Post
    Oh and welcome to the site Mr. V. Car pics are always interesting no matter what condition or where taken.
    English and working descriptions clear at this end. Better than a lot others over here in the states.
    1/4" stock in this case means metal as a small plate. About 6mm.
    Thick because thin metal warps assuming there is exhaust gas heat at that location.
    Reused the old egr gasket and bolts.
    Could use the screwdriver to ear mechanic's trick or a mechanic's stethoscope to help hear the bowl vent solenoid click
    On my car, there is a vapor return hose from canister back to the fuel tank. Wont hurt to reconnect if present.
    Popping at the tailpipe can be used as another clue to tuning like the gas smell does. Light gray inside is much better than black.
    The 2.3 motor is sensitive to vac connections. Try leaving one off see if rpm picks up or stalls for a clue as to rich/lean mix is happening.
    Mine likes a little air leak like that. A hose runs from intake to the carb air horn side venturi tap and check valve, which was there from factory.
    Prior posts covered this oddity.
    Your explanation about the steel thickness makes sense, i'll try to find something.
    I'll also be testing the solenoid, since that seems pretty important.

    Also I forgot to share a picture of my car so here it goes:
    Name:  Image1Resized.jpg
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  10. #10
    FEP Super Member Bryan Knebworth's Avatar
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    Check the grittiness on the sparkplugs first. There is some metal-to-metal contact somewhere which is not normal. Also, gas AND water problems, junk that motor immediately--before its too late!!!! lol
    Last edited by Bryan Knebworth; 11-19-2021 at 09:38 PM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan Knebworth View Post
    Check the grittiness on the sparkplugs first. There is some metal-to-metal contact somewhere which is not normal. Also, gas AND water problems, junk that motor immediately--before its too late!!!! lol

    Could the grit be caused by oil consumption? (Worn rings for example?) Because I also notice quite alot of blowby smoke when unhooking the pcv valve.

  12. #12

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    Could just be remnants of all of the carbon build-up.

    I would re-evaluate your carb rebuild and double-check your timing.

    Do you have a way to do a compression test?

    Also, replace your valve cover gasket. (Evidenced by all of the oil on your spark plugs). Just the factory one (Steel core with the rubber coating), and don't waste ANY time with anything else (Floppy blue silicone ones with those silly inserts around the bolt holes, cork, etc.). The Ford PN is F57Z-6584-A (Application is from a Ranger 94-01). People even pull these things off of used engines in the j/y and use them over and over.)
    83 TC "Clone"
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck W View Post
    Could just be remnants of all of the carbon build-up.

    I would re-evaluate your carb rebuild and double-check your timing.

    Do you have a way to do a compression test?

    Also, replace your valve cover gasket. (Evidenced by all of the oil on your spark plugs). Just the factory one (Steel core with the rubber coating), and don't waste ANY time with anything else (Floppy blue silicone ones with those silly inserts around the bolt holes, cork, etc.). The Ford PN is F57Z-6584-A (Application is from a Ranger 94-01). People even pull these things off of used engines in the j/y and use them over and over.)
    The original valve cover was cork and leaked, i replaced it with a felpro silicone one and it is obviously leaking bad, thanks for the part number.

    Ill pull apart the carb to check if i did anything wrong, i wrote down what jets/air bleeds/ etc goes where, but does anybody happen do have a document of this in case i messed up?

    Thanks for your input,

    Vincent

    Sent from my SM-A715F using Tapatalk

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by gr79 View Post
    Oh and welcome to the site Mr. V. Car pics are always interesting no matter what condition or where taken.
    English and working descriptions clear at this end. Better than a lot others over here in the states.
    1/4" stock in this case means metal as a small plate. About 6mm.
    Thick because thin metal warps assuming there is exhaust gas heat at that location.
    Reused the old egr gasket and bolts.
    Could use the screwdriver to ear mechanic's trick or a mechanic's stethoscope to help hear the bowl vent solenoid click
    On my car, there is a vapor return hose from canister back to the fuel tank. Wont hurt to reconnect if present.
    Popping at the tailpipe can be used as another clue to tuning like the gas smell does. Light gray inside is much better than black.
    The 2.3 motor is sensitive to vac connections. Try leaving one off see if rpm picks up or stalls for a clue as to rich/lean mix is happening.
    Mine likes a little air leak like that. A hose runs from intake to the carb air horn side venturi tap and check valve, which was there from factory.
    Prior posts covered this oddity.
    I checked the bowl vent solenoid, it gets 11.8V when ignition is on (engine off), though it doesnt seem to be able to open the vent by itself, if i switch on the ignition, poke the vent with a screwdriver and turn the ignition off, i do hear it dropping.

    It cant lift up the vent, is this normal?

    EDIT: When running the car i see the vent actually opens, so there is no problem with the solenoid!
    I adjusted the float so it stops filling the bowl a bit sooner (to combat the fuel dripping from the venturi)
    Unfortunately this didn't help and fuel still drips form the venturis on to the throttle plate.

    Timing markers all seem to be in the right location.
    Last edited by BenzeneBear; 11-21-2021 at 12:18 PM.

  15. #15
    FEP Super Member xctasy's Avatar
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    Vincent, welcome. Does your car have Air Conditiong? If so, it will have the European Taunus/ Granada style return line to the tank. All Ford of Europe did to fix the dreadfull Weber 2bbl was fit a bleed back return line to ensure the float bowl level wasn't hurt by the bowl vent requirement for US and Swedish versions. In the USA, the Holley Weber is reversed and has a series of non return line changes on all 1974 to 1979 2bbl "H-W"carbs. They are a very akward design, requiring dillgent clrain and exactly the right throttle base position setting. The idle CO2 has to be set with an exhaust gas analyser, the well rubes and idle screws and all internal parts cleaned. The needle and seat to the float bowl is a very poor design...if it is not functioning properly, the factory float setting WILL be off
    There are two float settings depending on the float types, and the floats can suffer from hydrocarbon soak if they are old nitrophyl.

    The key thing is to check what gr79 says. I would drop the exhaust pipe so the catalytic converter doesn't get ruined, and spend an hour cleaning the engine with water using the old UTG method.

    Please forget the welcome he preserves for neighbours at the 2:20 mark. We are NOT all like that....


    See "https://youtu.be/JpBnLtvmO9c"

    https://youtu.be/JpBnLtvmO9c

  16. #16
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Gott love Uncle Tony. He's a national treasure lol! (And has quite the fox mustang history).
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by xctasy View Post
    Vincent, welcome. Does your car have Air Conditiong? If so, it will have the European Taunus/ Granada style return line to the tank. All Ford of Europe did to fix the dreadfull Weber 2bbl was fit a bleed back return line to ensure the float bowl level wasn't hurt by the bowl vent requirement for US and Swedish versions. In the USA, the Holley Weber is reversed and has a series of non return line changes on all 1974 to 1979 2bbl "H-W"carbs. They are a very akward design, requiring dillgent clrain and exactly the right throttle base position setting. The idle CO2 has to be set with an exhaust gas analyser, the well rubes and idle screws and all internal parts cleaned. The needle and seat to the float bowl is a very poor design...if it is not functioning properly, the factory float setting WILL be off
    There are two float settings depending on the float types, and the floats can suffer from hydrocarbon soak if they are old nitrophyl.

    The key thing is to check what gr79 says. I would drop the exhaust pipe so the catalytic converter doesn't get ruined, and spend an hour cleaning the engine with water using the old UTG method.

    Please forget the welcome he preserves for neighbours at the 2:20 mark. We are NOT all like that....


    See "https://youtu.be/JpBnLtvmO9c"

    https://youtu.be/JpBnLtvmO9c

    Hi, I think i have solved most of my problems,

    I advanced the timing to between 10 and 12 degrees (it was at 6),
    This made me able to back off the curb idle a little and maintain a steady idle.
    It still pops every now and then but alot less than before.

    Checked the powervalve, it was fine.

    I played around with the choke and now it idles when its cold (thanks to the cold curb idle or whatever it is called).
    When i press the accelerator pedal the idle drops down to around 900 (this is where i found it was the happiest).

    The engine is pretty worn so it'll never be excellent but for know it is good enough to have drive around and enjoy.

    Thanks to everybody for all their help, I'll see how the plugs turn out in the future to determine the mixture.

    -Vincent

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