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'69 E-Type sputters, coughs & dies

DJames

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Finally got a nice weather forecast last week and decided to go for a ride. Car started normally, pulled out of the garage, shut it down, made ready to leave, restarted normally and got about a block from the house and it started to cough and sputter and died. Tried restarting and it tries to run for 10 seconds or so and dies. Luckily a neighbor with a tow strap pulled us back home. Living in the Midwest, I pretty much put the car away in the winter and this year we went straight from winter to the lower 90 degrees in May. I try to run the car around the block once a month or so but it hasn't had a several hour long trip in a while. Given that recent history I shouldn't have been shocked when I discovered I had last bought gas in September of last year (complete with a treatment of Sta Bil). Given the age of the gas I wonder if first I should drain the tank and refill with fresh. I was telling this yesterday to a friend who owns a couple of Corvettes and he suggested I try pouring in a treatment of Sea Foam before I to drain it all out. Has anyone have knowledge of Sea Foam (I have never heard of it), and an opinion on whether that is a good idea or bad idea or do you think the bad gas idea is completely off the mark.

Thanks,

dj
 

TimK

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I have a similar pattern of use for my Austin Healey, but I try to run at least 10 miles each time I take it out. I’ve never had any problem with fuel purchased late summer last year and treated with Stabil. If you are doing infrequent very short trips, you may be accumulating condensation and carbon build up. I don’t have a solution for getting the car running again, but once you do, I’d recommend longer trips and some hard acceleration. Have you checked the spark plugs for fouling?
 
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Finally got a nice weather forecast last week and decided to go for a ride. Car started normally, pulled out of the garage, shut it down, made ready to leave, restarted normally and got about a block from the house and it started to cough and sputter and died. Tried restarting and it tries to run for 10 seconds or so and dies. Luckily a neighbor with a tow strap pulled us back home. Living in the Midwest, I pretty much put the car away in the winter and this year we went straight from winter to the lower 90 degrees in May. I try to run the car around the block once a month or so but it hasn't had a several hour long trip in a while. Given that recent history I shouldn't have been shocked when I discovered I had last bought gas in September of last year (complete with a treatment of Sta Bil). Given the age of the gas I wonder if first I should drain the tank and refill with fresh. I was telling this yesterday to a friend who owns a couple of Corvettes and he suggested I try pouring in a treatment of Sea Foam before I to drain it all out. Has anyone have knowledge of Sea Foam (I have never heard of it), and an opinion on whether that is a good idea or bad idea or do you think the bad gas idea is completely off the mark.

Thanks,

dj
well.....the description is not broad enough to adequately discern the issue fully.

However....I would be looking at a fuel filter (if one is installed other than the sediment bowl), and remove the sediment bowl, look for water (big problem with ethanol based fuels), then disconnect a line, key on, and pump into a container, looking for A) adequate fuel flow and B) and water in said container.
And remove the petrol tank cap....in case you're sucking a vacuum.

Lack of adequate flow...rubber hose.....electric pump perishing....garbage in the tank plugging the inlet.....but before you dump it all, do that and if you have a replacement drain on the tank with the small drain plug in the middle, try that to see if water/separated ethanol.
 

Geo Hahn

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Could also be a stuck needle valve preventing the fuel bowl(s) from filling. You should be able to see fuel getting sucked into the intake with the air cleaner plenum off and looking into the throats of the carbs.

If one or two are stuck sometimes a sharp rap with a piece of wood (e.g. a 2x2) will jolt them loose, worst cases require dropping the fuel bowl(s). Pretty easy on the rear carb, more of a pain for the front carb.
 
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Could also be a stuck needle valve preventing the fuel bowl(s) from filling. You should be able to see fuel getting sucked into the intake with the air cleaner plenum off and looking into the throats of the carbs.

If one or two are stuck sometimes a sharp rap with a piece of wood (e.g. a 2x2) will jolt them loose, worst cases require dropping the fuel bowl(s). Pretty easy on the rear carb, more of a pain for the front carb.

Twin Strombergs unless swapped out for three SU's, right?
Chance both needles stuck shut are little...not quite none.
One stuck wouldn't cause the engine to fully die....just shake and roll.

Gotta remember with Limey Limos, if you think it's fuel, it's ignition..if you think it's ignition, it's fuel.
 

LarryK

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Get some spray carb cleaner, not injector cleaner. take tops off carbs and spray. Check for oil in damper of carb. Check filter. Put carbs together, start and spray cleaner into carbs. Watch for backfire. Check plugs for fouling\black for rich and or wet. I would change them. Also, check exhaust for mice trails. I have started a lot of sitting Jags that had mice nests in the exhaust. I used to work for JustJags in Maplewood in the early 90s. Any problems, check my profile for ways to get in touch. I'm across the river from S. County half way between Columbia, IL and Belleville. Have Jag on a cart, Valiant on jack stands. Do have some used ignition stuff we took off show cars to put new dress up items.
 
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DJames

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Well, I decided to try the easy thing first. I have drained the tank,fuel line to the filter and the filter bowl. There is a small slotted plug in the center of the bottom of the Stromberg carbs. Is that just a threaded plug that would drain gas from the carbs or is it some kind adjustment device I should not mess with?

Thanks
sj
 

LarryK

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Take top off carbs, pull dampers out, check diaphragms for cracks, check for oil in top of damper. Spray carb out. Go from top of housing on strombergs and clean floats and check valves, if SU pull top off fuel bowl on side of carb and check floats and spray out. If it runs, possibility of low oil in damper. Bottom on the stromberg is a sealed adjustment. Recheck plugs, make sure they are clean.
 

LarryK

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How are you doing on carbs?
 
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DJames

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Just got back in town an hour ago. Went up to Milwaukee to visit friends. It just also happened to be the 115th birthday celebration of Harley Davidson up there. LOTS of Harleys up there and on the hiways. Hope to know if the gas was my problem by the end of the week.
dj
 

LarryK

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I rebuilt a MK V11 engine for a friend. He put petronix ignition on it and had fuel like problems. Boiled down to needing the petronix plug wires. Just a thought.
 

mwagon

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Hi,
did you here the fuel pump working even after dieing? Is there fuel in the fuel bowls? If not could also be block fuel bowl venting
 

LarryK

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Any progress here?
 
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DJames

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Hi Larry,

Well, I drained and refilled the tank and lines, changed the fuel filter to no avail. Took the tops off the carbs, checked for anything sticking and inspected the diaphragms for any tears with no improvement. Pulled all plugs, nothing looked unusual to me, made sure the plug wires were making firm contact at both ends, no help. Noticed that when I tried to start, it seemed to run correctly for a few seconds and then starts to choke so I thought just maybe the fuel pump was no longer supplying enough pressure to keep up with the carbs once they started asking for supply. Had a spare pump in the trunk so I change it out but no help. I really don’t have the tools nor the confidence to start fooling with the ignition, distributor etc so I have made arrangements to have the car hauled over to LeStable next week. Will reply with the findings when I get them.
 

LarryK

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Sorry you have to send it out. Seems like you don't really have the time to dig in. I don't think I could get it on my trailer. I have been working on them since 1965. Dad had a dealer bring home a 57 140 Coupe, wouldn't shut off. They left it running in the driveway and Dad drove into the garage and pulled the wires. Mom and Dad took off to Indiana and I wired it and drove it to school the next day on learner's permit. Have carb kits for everything. I have heard of LeStable, I worked at JustJags 90-92. Rebuilt a MKV11 3.4 couple years ago, after a friend picked it up from an engine shop all screwed up. Spent thousands of $ and I re-rebuilt it and transmission and carbs for $750 in parts. No labor, he had already been screwed, needed him to enjoy the car not hate it. Not much harder to work on than a Chrysler slant 6, just more bolts and nuts. Let me know what they find. Once running, I am over the river, thru Columbia and then to Millstadt, fried fish Fridays in town. Good luck.
 
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DJames

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Well, I was pretty sure it wasn't an "air" problem and felt I had eliminated a "fuel" problem so of course it was a "spark" problem which I know little about. Apparently it was mostly distributor related, burnt points and a bad condenser(?) along with slight adjustment of some kind to the carbs. Suppose to be running like a top now.
 

LarryK

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Good to know. Hopefully you will get some decent days to drive before stabilizing for the winter. Ever drive over the river to Il, come up from Columbia to Belleville, Millstadt is halfway to Belleville. Fish stand open on Fri and Sat. I'm two blocks from stop light intersection and fish stand.
 
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DJames

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Cool, we have been your direction a time or two in the past. Been to a German place a bit farther south for lunch once and stopped in at Gallagher's once. We are North County so our areas couldn't hardly be farther apart and still be in the same metro area.
 

LarryK

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I had assumed South County. Is a ways to go.
 
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