Can't catch a break

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Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:33 am

I will try to make this short........Over the weekend, I took the Spyder out for a quick drive (it wasn't the first this year) and about halfway through a less than 10 mile drive, the car started sputtering really bad. The last time it rode like this, my manifold bolts loosened and the hex bar fell off but that wasn't the case this time. If I gas it harder, it will drive normal but low rpms is almost undrive-able. I need some basic troubleshooting help over what I have done so I can limp it to the mechanic. It seems like a fuel issue or a vacuum leak to me but I am not a mechanic. The car just got a tune up last summer, the fuel pump was changed over to electric but all new filters and lines were added. There is old gas but it has the Stabilz (or however you spell it) and I did start it and run it every few weeks while it sat.

I have already: checked the exhaust bolts, the manifold bolts, the idle jets were cleaned, spark plugs and wires are new but I checked them all for tightness, I checked the connections at the distributor, checked the play in the hex bar. The filters are the plastic things and although the filter is dark-ish, it seems in order and I can see fuel move when I hit the gas.

I am planning on changing the fuel filters if needed but would likely drain the gas tank and put in new gas if I do this. I need starter fluid to check for leaks near the manifold gaskets (but one was replaced a year and a half ago).

Am I missing anything?
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby RVosari » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:25 am

Hi Key,

The problem is "something" getting into your idle jets...if the car runs on the main circuit...higher than say 3500 RPM... it's the idle jets.

Race gas / Av gas could be blue or purple...normal unleaded is clear or mildly yellow...not dark.

Take a hard look at the interior of the gas tank...if it was coated/painted...that could be separating from the tank wall and introducing particulate into your fuel supply !

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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:34 am

Hey Rev,

Sorry, the filter paper is dark...gas is yellow. The car runs a little sloppy at idle but yes, between 1300rpms and about 2500rmps is the issue. Draining the tank seems to be likely at this point so I will check the tank when empty.

There is a filter in front of the pump and two more before the carbs and when I took the jets out, there really was nothing there (I could see through the holes completely) but I really do think it is gas or leak.

Someone said they had an issue with their fuel pump and the ground wire that I also want to check. The pump is secure but I don't recall where the ground wire went exactly.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Larry Jowdy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:18 am

Obviously I"m miles and miles from you so diagnosing the problem via a few sentences is tough but, it still sounds like idle jets Read this: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=16410
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:59 am

Thanks Larry. That was actually the post I used to clean the jets out. I will re-do that step first before moving on to other things. I'd prefer not to drain the tank if I don't have to.

I also bought starter fluid to check for leaks and plan to do that as well before moving to the filters/tank.

There was a good bit of popping going on as well.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Larry Jowdy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:50 am

It's always good to have a can of spray carburetor cleaner hanging around. If you're careful and spray it around the base of the carburetor and the base of the intake manifold, the engine will flutter if there's an intake leak.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:03 am

okay, so this will be a pretty stupid question but I haven't done this before..............Careful for risk of lighting the engine bay on fire, careful to not spray to wildly on other components that could be effected by spraying on them or careful not to catch the can of starter fluid on fire?

I thought there would be a "risk" of fire if I just blasted the can at the manifold but just to be on the safe side, can you elaborate?


EDIT: Would smoke be safer to try? Propane torch un-lit?
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Larry Jowdy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:13 pm

All you need to do is to spray lightly. Nothing is going to catch on fire. As mentioned previously, spray around the base of the carburetor and the base of the intake manifold. It there is an intake leak, the engine will stumble.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:28 pm

Thanks, that is what I thought.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:21 pm

Update, not dirty idle jets. Checked for leaks but the bottom of the manifold is under tin so even though I didn't hear any drop in idle, I don't know how well I did.

Drained my tank, saw bits and going to try to flush the tank while everything is empty and disconnected. Changing all filter and possibly blowing out the lines a bit before putting new gas in. If that doesn't work, she is limping to the mechanic.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:45 pm

Suggestions on how to flush the tank without removing it?

It's up on one front wheel now so using anything but gas is concerning if any of it remains in the tank. I have some bits in there and only the filler cap opening and the line coming out of the bottom of the tank to work with. Thanks
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby danstern » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:19 pm

Don't think the tank is the immediate problem. It may be the source of fouled idle jets but if the engine is fine at high revs and throttle, you don't have plugged gas filters or big particles. Not to say you should't clean the tank but that's not the problem. Somehow the idle circuits are not working. My issue then is always the idle jets but. . . . . .
One check is to let the engine idle for a bit to get warm. Now either take the IR temp of each exhaust pipe, or just spray a little water on them individually. I'm guessing after sitting and idling for 10 minutes, one will not be as hot/sizzle the water as the other three.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby Drummerskey » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:39 pm

Honestly, the tank isn't that dirty and I saw no rust, just a few (stressing, a few) gummy bits. I was thinking about putting a little gas on a rag attached to my fill stick to try and mop it up a bit. I don't want to drop the tank. Dirty gas wouldn't create more popping, would it? The idle jets have been cleaned twice and blown out with compressed air. Someone more knowledgeable than me is stopping by to help diagnose further and he asked me to find accelerator pump diaphragms and has other testing tools.

Considering she ran like a dream after the tune up at the end of summer last year, other than cutting out after starting warmed up a month ago, also ran well.....I am stumped. My fingers are crossed that new gas and filters does the trick but I don't feel confident that will be the case. Once gas is in, I will try your sizzle test but a frowny faced ride to the closest mechanic seems likely in my future
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby albaran » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:46 am

If the car is running well at higher rpm, I would think it is not a fuel restriction problem. If the idle jets are clear, try disconnecting the linkage and syncing the carbs and playing with the idle mixture screws. That cured my similar problem.
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Re: Can't catch a break

Postby RBP » Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:48 am

Drummer, a few things to consider is that if the issue was with fuel delivery or just bad fuel the engine would run bad through the operating range not just the lower end. Next thing is that the idle circuits and more complicated than just the jets! If any of the gas or air ducts related to the idle circuits are blocked you will have this type of problem.

When you parked the car for winter did you wash it? Did you also wash the engine bay? If so did you get water into your carbs through the air cleaners or in your ignition? Just a few other possibilities to think about.
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