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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello

I have 1987 El camino, 305 V8, carbureted, that's giving me an issue. Okay, it idles around 1500 rpm in park and around 1000 in gear, with my foot on the brake. Also, it idles slightly rough from my perspective. It doesn't shake the car apart, but I wouldn't call it smooth.

I can drop into reverse and back out of the drive, but by the time I get into the road, it's starting to stall and die. If I manage to quickly get it into drive, and press the pedal, there is a hesitation and then it will will lunge forward and drive for a bit and then completely stall and die.

Now, When it dies in the road, I place it back in park, and it crank right back up again, and it will idle. However, when I place it in gear, it again hesitates, and when it finally responds, it drives for about 100-150 feet then stalls and dies again.

Also, it's had the rough idle and stalling for years, but nothing like it is now. I could at least keep it running as long I I didn't have two many stops signs or red lights. Now, I can't get more than 150 feet. Also, the stalling would get worse, once the engine got warmed up.

I recently replaced (within the last 3 months) the battery, ignition coil, distributor cap, rotor, ignition control module, pick-up coil, fuel filter, and a few vacuum lines.

Does anyone have any ideas? What are the chances it's the EGR valve? It's the original, and when I squeeze the diaphragm, I can't really get it to move?
 

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Do you have 12 volts going to the electric choke and is your choke pull-off working with vacuum applied?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, there is an electrical connection going to the choke, but if it's functioning properly or not remains to be seen. I'll check that and the vacuum-pull off next. As far as a vacuum line going to the transmission, I'm not sure, I'll have to check. It wouldn't be a bad idea to just replace it anyway, I would assume. Thinks for the suggestions.
 

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Yes, there is an electrical connection going to the choke, but if it's functioning properly or not remains to be seen. I'll check that and the vacuum-pull off next. As far as a vacuum line going to the transmission, I'm not sure, I'll have to check. It wouldn't be a bad idea to just replace it anyway, I would assume. Thinks for the suggestions.
Don't remember seeing a vacuum line on my '87, they don't use a modulator valve like an older transmission, you should have an TH 2004R and they shift a different way. Do you have any check engine lights? are you running the CCC carb and computer or has it been deleted?
From reading your first post it sounds like you may just need a rebuild on the quadrajet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, I have a check engine light. Actually, I think it's a "Service Engine Soon" light, to be specific IIRC. Also, I finally removed the EGR valve, and yep, It looks stuck wide open to me. Carb cleaner and Seafoam deep creep are not helping it close either. I ordered a new one today to replace it.

HOWEVER, I made another discover today, and I think this might be the crux of the recent incidents of increased stalling, which I would assume is also compounded by the EGR situation. While I was working on getting the EGR valve out (took 3 hours to get the second bolt out!!!), I noticed that on multiple occasions the built-in under-hood light would suddenly come on or go off. Now, It's suppose to come on automatically, as the hood is raised to a certain point. So, once I got the EGR valve out, I went poking around to see why the light wasn't coming on as it should. I reached down and barely jiggled the positive terminal on the battery and the light suddenly came on. Now, I suddenly remembered that when I replaced the battery in an attempt to fix the original no start, I had accidentally stripped the positive terminal port in the battery. But, I managed to get it back in fairly snug, and I assumed it would be okay. Apparently, it's not okay.

I think, with the new brand new ignition components, faulty EGR valve, and poor electrical connection, when I put it in gear and began to accelerate, the load it just way too much, and it just stalls and dies. I'm hoping the new EGR valve will correct the rough idle, and all the issues that could be related to that, and fixing the positive terminal lead will address the electrical issues.

I'll keep you posted. If someone with a similar issue stumbles across this thread, I hope it helps them!

It's like an onion, in that they're so many layers...
 

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The battery bolts on the side post batteries can strip out inside the battery connection very easily.
I also saw a battery were the connecting bolts were worn and did not tighten.
You can purchase new bots for about $5.
I don't know if there are oversize bolts should you strip the battery connection.
If the ground connection does not go tight without too much force, , try putting a washer between cable and battery so it tightens quicker.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I think I might try a washer. Thanks for the tip. The negative didn't give me any trouble when I installed the new battery, but I do remember the positive stripping out and was just falling off. The connector on the end of the terminal almost free spins around the bolt, now that I look at it closer. So, I'm absolutely certain it's barely making contact. I must have the bolt in some magic sweet spot that gives the illusion of tightness. I'm going to get some new bolts. I saw a video some time ago that showed new and longer bolts can reach further back in the port on the battery and interface with good threads. They really should make the ports themselves out of steel and not lead!
 

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If your problem persists after getting the battery connection squared away, start checking for vacuum leaks. Any of those hoses on top of the engine could be cracked.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I replaced ERG valve, and fixed the battery terminal issue and it still is giving the same problem. It dies out on the road when I start giving it gas. I would say somewhere around 40-50 mph+- it just suddenly dies. However, the rougher idle has smoothed out on a cold start. Also, I noticed that when it gets good and warmed up is when the problems get worse. I just got back from an attempt at a road test and it died 3 times trying to drive a mile and half. Additionally, when I crank it up now that it's warmed up, it will idle for about 25 seconds, give or take, and then suddenly die again. On a cold engine, it seems to run fine...for a while.

I checked, and the choke plate is wide open, as I assume it should be on a hot engine.

Also, I did check for vacuum leaks by spraying a bit of carb cleaner around hoses and the carb itself and I can't seem to find any?

Should I try a smoke machine?

Also, I read other suggestions regarding the fuel pump and fuel itself? The filter is replaced, so that should be squared away. However, how could there be a problem with the fuel system when it seems to be correlated with engine temperature?
 

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Three things come to mind from past experience and have not been addressed here yet. First, it's possible your gas tank isn't venting properly. Easy check is to try to drive with the gas cap off and see if any change. I had one car that couldn't make the end of the block without dying. I really don't think this is your problem but since it's such an easy and cheap thing to rule out......That's where I would start. Second is the possibility of the converter being clogged up if you are still running one. And third, it's also possible a muffler baffle has come loose and is also causing excessive back pressure with the same result. You might identify a bad muffler by bumping it and listening for anything loose inside. The converter will be a bit harder to test since the only way is to remove it to find out.

Good luck!

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the suggestion. I just checked the non-venting tank issue. I un-screwed the cap and it still ran terribly, so it's not that. Again, the rough idle has returned. Bear in mind, I still haven't changed the spark plugs or the spark plug wires. I'll try changing those next, I'm sure they need it anyway. They're around 18-19 years old, and I did notice corrosion on the distributor end when I replaced that. Now, would a misfire is one or two cylinders cause the issue I'm seeing, especially when it seems to be related to temperature? I know they can cause a rough idle, but the stalling on a hot engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Could a faulty pcv valve manifest these symptoms also, and as the car warms up might they get worse? I haven't changed that valve in years, at least 15 or more?
 

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I'm still gonna lean towards a clogged converter. Bad plugs and wires will give a lot of problems too, and can be contributing to the overall problem.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay, I'll see if I can check for that. If nothing else, I can "bypass" it. I'll replace the PVC valve as well. It's only a couple of bucks and it would eliminate one less possibility. However, I would think I clogged cat would also cause trouble starting. I have zero problems on that front. It starts instantly, whether cold or hot.
 

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Okay, I'll see if I can check for that. If nothing else, I can "bypass" it. I'll replace the PVC valve as well. It's only a couple of bucks and it would eliminate one less possibility. However, I would think I clogged cat would also cause trouble starting. I have zero problems on that front. It starts instantly, whether cold or hot.
A clogged cat will still pass at least some exhaust. Once the motor is running the back pressure begins to affect the engine and will make it work harder at idle to push the exhaust out. Going down the road the pressure builds until the motor can no longer push and the pressures counterract and the motor dies. As soon as it dies the pressure is released back through the still open exhaust valves and what is left of the exhaust system through a bad performing cat. So by the time you try to restart you are back to zero pressure in the exhaust. Like I said, if the motor has been running badly for a while and you say you haven't replaced wires and plugs for almost 20 years, there could be enough soot and such clogging that converter especially if it has been running badly like you described for a long time. I may be wrong but I have sen this more than once. Best of luck!

Joe
 
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