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Car wonít run right - need help gang

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Old April 11th, 2018, 04:52 PM
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Car wonít run right - need help gang

Hi all - 72 cutlass convertible - 68 455 - 4 speed manual - quadrajet - last fall I drove it to the convertible top place and it ran decent - got a new top on it (yay! Big victory there) week later drove it home (short drive) and it would not run - would idle (not great) but second I let out clutch it would die - tried reving up large Rpms to get it rolling and second I let clutch out ... stall - I was able to limp it home by slowly letting out the clutch without giving it any gas and I would go at idle speed but any gas would kill it. End of season - tarp it up - fast forward to this spring - I rebuilt the quadrajet - went mechanical fuel pump - I am getting gas - I messed with timing and it idles better I can rev it up all I want ... but when I put it in first and drop the clutch .... dead - I checked distributor today and wasnít able to advance vacuum by sucking on line and mechanical advance weights wouldnít move - I capped off all vacuum ports on carb just to see if that would change anything - would simple advance not working cause such a drastic effect? Any ideas? Thanks as always gang for any help - little frustrated over here 😩

Last edited by 72442455; April 11th, 2018 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old April 11th, 2018, 05:18 PM
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Yes, if the distributor won't advance it will die with a load. Set dwell if applicable, put a timing light on it, set timing, and see if it advances with rpm.
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Old April 11th, 2018, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
Yes, if the distributor won't advance it will die with a load. Set dwell if applicable, put a timing light on it, set timing, and see if it advances with rpm.
thank you! Might take a few days to get back to it - I will keep you posted.
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Old April 11th, 2018, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
Yes, if the distributor won't advance it will die with a load. Set dwell if applicable, put a timing light on it, set timing, and see if it advances with rpm.
actually (sorry replied before I thought about it - long work day and beat) I did put it to the timing light and wasnít getting mechanical advance - I didnít do vacuum with the light though - but I canít twist the distributor for any advance or move the weights with cap off - no expert but is it seized? Replace? Repair? Hit it with a hammer? Any recommendations? Thanks!
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Old April 12th, 2018, 09:18 AM
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Newbie question but.... can I buy a new distributor for it and just drop it in OR does it have to mate with the cam kinda like a differential ring and pinion gear?
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Old April 12th, 2018, 09:53 AM
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Yes you can buy a replacement or put a parts wanted ad in the classifieds if you want the exact pn# for your car. There are many youtube videos on how to disassemble one and rebuild it. Or you can send yours out to get rebuilt.
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Old April 12th, 2018, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
Yes you can buy a replacement or put a parts wanted ad in the classifieds if you want the exact pn# for your car. There are many youtube videos on how to disassemble one and rebuild it. Or you can send yours out to get rebuilt.
thanks
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Old April 12th, 2018, 06:02 PM
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The weights can be removed from top of distributor and cleaned up.
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Old April 13th, 2018, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by classicmuscle.442 View Post
The weights can be removed from top of distributor and cleaned up.
Iíll give it a shot - but honestly leaning towards new distributor with hei and electronic ignition - have to read up on the conversion as Iíve never done one - thanks!
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Old April 13th, 2018, 05:39 PM
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Hard to beat a set of points, when HEI module dies your dead in the water without another module. Clean the points and back in action, never know when the module will die.
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Old April 13th, 2018, 06:26 PM
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When a condenser fails you are dead in the water also. I have seen points so bad that there was not enough to clean and regap. There are good and bad with any system you use, just plan accordingly.
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Old April 13th, 2018, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
When a condenser fails you are dead in the water also. I have seen points so bad that there was not enough to clean and regap. There are good and bad with any system you use, just plan accordingly.
would the failed condensor allow the car to idle and rev but die under load? I am going to have a closer look at the points, weights, springs, and vacuum advance if the weather ever straightens up over here 😩.
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Old April 14th, 2018, 05:50 AM
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No a bad condenser would lead to backfiring and usually a no start, it is not causing your issue. You need to cure why you not getting timing advance with rpm increases.
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Old April 14th, 2018, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
When a condenser fails you are dead in the water also. I have seen points so bad that there was not enough to clean and regap. There are good and bad with any system you use, just plan accordingly.
Never had a condenser fail and kill engine in 44 years. Module on HEI failed that was only 5 years old, pulled car out of garage and engine died. Had to replace module. If points and condenser are maintained on these lithely used cars the failure rate would be very small if at all.
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Old April 14th, 2018, 06:48 PM
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I've seen 4, 2 on model A's 1 on a 62 Chevy, and 1 on my 68 Coronet R/T. I agree a points system is a bit easier to troubleshoot, but both can fail easily. It takes the same amount of time to change a module as it does a set of points.
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Old April 14th, 2018, 08:09 PM
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Let us get on track here with some basic trouble shootin...
1. Verify proper fuel supply AND pressure (examine the filter too, is the gas fresh?).

2. Verify zero vacuum leaks (by inspecting ALL lines, carb base gasket and verifying the vacuum advance is working and the diaphragm isn't leaking. Sounds like it isn't working?

3. Did you use the correct base gasket under the carb? Did you torque the carb? It's really easy to over tighten and warp).

4. Verify proper spark is present and "read" all 8 plugs.

5. With a timing light and tac/dwell meter verify base timing(10-12* BTDC), and dwell 30* or .016-.018" gap with clean contacts. Never run a greasy feeler gauge into points. Clean feeler gauge and points with contact cleaner or brake cleaner wipe with a lint-free cloth. If you cant twist the distributor with the hold down clamp loose then the dist is frozen in the block. Verify this. If it's frozen we'll get into that.

6. With a vacuum gauge hooked up to INTAKE manifold vacuum, how many Hg's are you seeing at warm curb idle? Is it steady? Adjust air fuel screws to obtain the highest vac reading possible.

Your distributor visually looks pretty clean. The springs look sprung so they may need to be replaced. Good opportunity to custom tune the mechanical curve. The slight bit of rust dust at the weight pivots suggest the weights are moving. They and the rub blocks need to be cleaned and conservatively lubed for sure. Grab the top of the dist and wiggle side to side. Should be zero side to side movement, up/down is normal.

That one piece point set is junk. Purchase a high-quality Standard blue-streak point set and matching separate condenser. Get the proper bracket and screw to hold down the condenser. Verify the black wire running through the distributor to the coil isn't frayed, broken or grounding out anywhere on the distributor body or breaker plate. Clean and lube the point set cam and point set bumper block.

With the answers to 1-6 answered, we can better assist you and prevent tail chasing and unneeded cost, throwing unnecessary parts at it.

Last edited by droldsmorland; April 14th, 2018 at 08:12 PM.
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Old April 14th, 2018, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by droldsmorland View Post
Let us get on track here with some basic trouble shootin...
1. Verify proper fuel supply AND pressure (examine the filter too, is the gas fresh?).

2. Verify zero vacuum leaks (by inspecting ALL lines, carb base gasket and verifying the vacuum advance is working and the diaphragm isn't leaking. Sounds like it isn't working?

3. Did you use the correct base gasket under the carb? Did you torque the carb? It's really easy to over tighten and warp).

4. Verify proper spark is present and "read" all 8 plugs.

5. With a timing light and tac/dwell meter verify base timing(10-12* BTDC), and dwell 30* or .016-.018" gap with clean contacts. Never run a greasy feeler gauge into points. Clean feeler gauge and points with contact cleaner or brake cleaner wipe with a lint-free cloth. If you cant twist the distributor with the hold down clamp loose then the dist is frozen in the block. Verify this. If it's frozen we'll get into that.

6. With a vacuum gauge hooked up to INTAKE manifold vacuum, how many Hg's are you seeing at warm curb idle? Is it steady? Adjust air fuel screws to obtain the highest vac reading possible.

Your distributor visually looks pretty clean. The springs look sprung so they may need to be replaced. Good opportunity to custom tune the mechanical curve. The slight bit of rust dust at the weight pivots suggest the weights are moving. They and the rub blocks need to be cleaned and conservatively lubed for sure. Grab the top of the dist and wiggle side to side. Should be zero side to side movement, up/down is normal.

That one piece point set is junk. Purchase a high-quality Standard blue-streak point set and matching separate condenser. Get the proper bracket and screw to hold down the condenser. Verify the black wire running through the distributor to the coil isn't frayed, broken or grounding out anywhere on the distributor body or breaker plate. Clean and lube the point set cam and point set bumper block.

With the answers to 1-6 answered, we can better assist you and prevent tail chasing and unneeded cost, throwing unnecessary parts at it.
thank you so much! Weather went to hell here - this will take me several days if not the rest of the week. I will get back to you when I have it all answered. Thanks again! ~ Joe
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Old April 15th, 2018, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 72442455 View Post


actually (sorry replied before I thought about it - long work day and beat) I did put it to the timing light and wasnít getting mechanical advance - I didnít do vacuum with the light though - but I canít twist the distributor for any advance or move the weights with cap off - no expert but is it seized? Replace? Repair? Hit it with a hammer? Any recommendations? Thanks!
He already said this is his issue...
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Old April 15th, 2018, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
He already said this is his issue...
i have to have another look at it - I might have oopsíd on my diagnosis - I did a lot of reading and now understand distributors a bit better - Iím no master mechanic but am learning as fast as I can - the vacuum advance appears to be bad but have to have another look at mechanical - freezing rain and misery in Michigan at the moment - next weekend will be nice 🤘🏼
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Old April 15th, 2018, 08:23 AM
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Iím going to systematically go step by step through everything and make sure everything is doing what it is suppose to be doing and fix any issues and take it from there - I rebuilt the carb and that didnít solve the problem - I obviously donít know how to diagnose this issue so need the step by step - I really REALLY appreciate all the help! ~ Joe R.
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Old April 18th, 2018, 05:23 PM
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What ever you do, Do Not trade in your distributor as a core. What kind of Points and Condenser are inside? As was stated already, Purchase a high-quality Standard blue-streak point set and matching separate condenser. Get the proper bracket and screw to hold down the condenser.


For your information they will offer 2 different types of points. You will want the heavier spring. Also consider the Blue Streak Distributor Cap and Rotor.
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Old April 18th, 2018, 06:30 PM
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Old April 18th, 2018, 06:31 PM
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The Corvette vendors will have the good ignition parts.
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Old April 18th, 2018, 06:35 PM
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You can get Corvette points at the local parts store.
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Old April 24th, 2018, 08:04 AM
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*update*

Thanks gang! Got some answers this past weekend.

1) fuel is good - new filters - put an inline pressure gauge and Iím at 5.9 to 6.9

2) no vacuum leaks - did a vacuum test and Iím steady at 21 Hgís - quick pump to throttle drops it down and it recovers quickly - looks good

3) correct carb base - didnít over torque carb

4) I purchased a new vac advance module, the blue streak points and condenser, a new spring kit for mech advance (was cheap figured what the hell) I also got a new ignition coil ....

I apparently was having too much fun playing with my car so the girl friend creates yard honey doís - so was unable to complete the ďfireĒ portion of my testing - but I put it back together (minus the tach wire I had hooked to ignition coil) to move it so I could do her yard duties and it started easily and rolls down the street again!

I plan on installing all my ďfireĒ toys ASAP and setting the dwell - timing - and a/f - but it is running as good as It did last summer right now.

could it have something to do with that tach wire? Itís a factory tic toc tac but itís inoperatable - I hooked it up end of last summer to see if it would work - it didnít - but since I had it hooked up correctly I left it that way - seems to time out with when it started to act up but unsure - is it possible that could have something to do with the ďstall under loadĒ issue I was having?

either way itís good to know whatís going on with my car - I was just guessing at vacuum and fuel before - now I know!

Thanks! ~ Joe
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Old April 24th, 2018, 08:43 AM
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Your problem could have been anything. Glad its running good, do your dwell, timing, and carb idle A/F adjustments and hopefully your good to go.
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Old April 25th, 2018, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
Your problem could have been anything. Glad its running good, do your dwell, timing, and carb idle A/F adjustments and hopefully your good to go.
thanks again!

Last edited by 72442455; April 25th, 2018 at 07:12 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old April 25th, 2018, 05:11 PM
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*another update*

Today I put in the new ignition coil - new vac advance canister - new separate blue streak points and condensor - and a set of medium springs - I ran out of time but fired it up just to make sure I put it together correctly and it started up - it ran rough but I imagine that it would because I havenít set the point gap yet - I have some questions - I canít put a breaker bar to the crank as it has no center bolt - just four bolts around the pulley Best I could take pics - thoughts?

This is what the center of my crank pulley looks like I canít get a strap wrench between the crank pulley and water pump pulley - any suggestions? Can I starter bump the engine to get points in right position? Also Iím not sure how weights for mech advance are suppose to move? I took them off and put them back on with new springs - I could ďpushĒ the plate that holds the points but could t move weights at all Is this center oval ish piece suppose to move independent of the dog bone looking plate it sits on? Because mine doesnít.

Lastly I atttached my old points pics for analysis
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Old April 26th, 2018, 09:55 AM
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Fo

found a video
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Old April 27th, 2018, 04:00 PM
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more help needed please

Still trying to solve my ďturn engine over manuallyĒ hard to tell with CSM but hereís what I think Iíve got going on - my CSM is for my 72 cutlass convertible - but the engine is a 68 455 toronado - I have the 3 groove 4 volt crank pulley n it Top view The CSM shows this This very front bolt (left of pic)
The 160 ft lb torque bolt
Do I have to pull the three groove four bolt crank pulley to access that center bolt to crank engine over by hand?

I think this is what I have
Front view - am I missing something that goes in the center here? Thought I read something about a ďdampener?Ē Any ideas?
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Old April 27th, 2018, 04:06 PM
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I believe there is a bolt missing. I meant to mention it above.
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Old April 27th, 2018, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
I believe there is a bolt missing. I meant to mention it above.
anything special? Or just find something that fits? (Iíll of course go get a grade 8 when I find the correct size/thread)
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Old April 27th, 2018, 05:05 PM
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Its a hardened bolt and thick washer. Post a parts wanted classified asking for one, someone on here should have it close to you. Clean the hole really well.
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Old April 27th, 2018, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
Its a hardened bolt and thick washer. Post a parts wanted classified asking for one, someone on here should have it close to you. Clean the hole really well.
thanks!
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Old April 28th, 2018, 01:55 AM
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Parts wanted worked like a charm! Many many helpful people here! Thanks for your patience with me oldscutlass and everybody else! Thanks for helping me with all this priceless information and helping me navigate this wonderful site with all these amazing people!

I have my crank bolt and washer on order and I also picked up a dwell meter on eBay.
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Old April 30th, 2018, 05:42 PM
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New New Update!

Dwell is spot on at 30 Degrees - timing and a/f are adjusted and car now runs Better than it ever has for me! Thanks all!

Few issues still pending - mechanical advance will not advance (canít get any the plate to rotate at all) And havenít tested vacuum advance yet but do have new module on - any ideas?
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Old April 30th, 2018, 05:46 PM
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Old April 30th, 2018, 05:50 PM
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68 455 toronado crank pulley assembly photo needed please

Lastly - does anyone have an original 68 455 out of a toronado that could post a picture of the crank pulley assembly - this is what Iím looking at with mine - just curious 68 455 toronado crank pulley center view
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Old April 30th, 2018, 06:40 PM
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Here is a picture of the crank with the bolt in the end. The balance is sitting on to of the engine, it slips over the crank and is drawn all the way in by the bolt. Looking at your picture, Looks like it has been missing for a very long time.

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Old May 1st, 2018, 01:57 AM
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Thanks for the pic - any idea on the mechanical advance?
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