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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've gotten a lot of good help from this forum and hopefully you guys can come through again, because I am at a loss. I apologize if this post is long but I want to make sure I cover all the info I can.  I have a 2wd 1987 Ramcharger with a 318.  Ignition was changed from lean burn to a orange box ignition that came as a kit with new distributor, and with the help of the forum is working great.  I had the ramcharger taken to a shop to run new vacuum lines as there were some major vacuum issues.  Transmission seals fixed.  And a new carburetor, as the original 2bbl holley was shot.  Carb was replaced with a rebuilt factory replacement.  The shop sent it back because they claimed it was bad and caused the engine to bog down.  Second carb that came in they claimed the same thing.  Third carb came in and they said it was good to go.  I come pick it up and its running great.  However after about 3 miles on the way home engine started bogging down/stalling and died.  Coasted to the side of the road and it immediately fired back up and after about a mile did the same thing and died again.  Finally got it home and after I turned it off it would not restart and I could strongly smell gas, and I assume it flooded.  After sitting for about an hour I went out and it fired right up.  Took it down the road and it ran perfect for a few miles then started bogging and dying again.  I called the shop and they said they stand by their work and will get a new carb and replace it at no cost to me,  however I am worried that 3 bad carbs in a row seems a little unlikely.  Any suggestions that I should be looking at causing this problem, rather than just doing infinite carb swaps, or are the "professionally" rebuilt carburetors really likely to be that bad?   
 

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What about the original carburetor was "shot". What were the  symptoms that you had them look at it for?Did they test drive truck any distance when finished? I agree,3 "bad" carbs is iffy,possible but not likely.

Does truck have original fuel pump and 3 nipple metal inline fuel filter. Whereabouts did you smell gas front,back of the truck.
Did you check to see if it had spark when it wouldn't start? Pull a plug wire off,stick a spare plug in it and lay on engine and crank and look for spark.

Does truck still have charcoal canister installed and hooked up? As they fail small pieces of charcoal travel up into the carburetor causing a flood condition. A gas filter can be installed inline and allow gas fumes to pass but not charcoal. A clear filter will show charcoal particulates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I bought the truck, it had been sitting for at least a year.  The lean burn system had gone on it and wouldn't start, so it was parked.  The original carb was absolutely full of corrosion and everything was seized up and wouldn't move.  I was told probably from letting ethanol gas sit in for long period of time, but what caused that damage I don't know for sure.  So I told them I just wanted to go with a new carb of the same type it came with, which was rebuilt holley 2bbl.    I replaced the lean burn with a orange box kit that came with a distributor with a bit of headache on wiring, but help from this forum I got in, and the truck immediately fired and actually ran and sounded quite good.  However it quickly became apparent it had choke and other issues, which is where it went into the shop.     

It has a brand new delphi fuel pump and gasket installed in it, as well as a new three nipple filter with the return line hooked to it.    When the truck died on me and I smelled gas, I smelled it immediately after exiting the truck.  As soon as I opened the door I could strongly smell it coming from the hood area.  It was dark at that point and visibility was limited so I wasn't able to really see what was going on.  I attempted to restart it and got nothing, and assumed the carb was flooded.  I did not check for spark at that point.  I came back a little later to see if it had any life, and it immediately started, and I moved it to better spot where it wasn't blocking the drive. 

As for the charcoal canister, it and every bit of the emissions system was gone when I purchased it. 

Later today after I posted this,  I decided to run the truck a bit and see if I could induce the same symptoms while I had more time to mess with it.  Truck immediately started, idols quite well.  I drove it for about 10 minutes, under various circumstances.  I drove it being quite light on the gas,  and also a bit more heavy footed.  I drove it up and down a steep hill and it performed quite well with no issue.  So I decided to head back and about half a mile from the house it started stalling again.  I tried putting it in the neutral  to see if it would catch up but it stuttered some more, the headlights dimmed and it died.  It fired right back up and made it home.  I did check for spark at this point on the first plug and got good spark.  I started it up and let it idol for a while and didn't get any issues out of it.    One thing I have noticed that may be completely unrelated is this truck runs quite cold.  Not even a 1/4 of the way up the temperature gauge.  I verified that thermostat is opening and closing and I can hear and feel it moving water and have checked that its not stuck open.  I am not super familiar with the era of dodge, or how cold they run,  but I did have a corvette that the temperature sensor didn't work correctly on, and tricked the computer into making it run rich,  but I don't know if that issue is applicable to this vehicle. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I also forgot to add, that while truck was idling tonight I took the air cleaner off and as soon as the cleaner came off there was a very high pitched whistling coming from the carb that I know was not there when the engine was cold, and was not audible until cleaner was removed.  It sounded like a vacuum leak but I could not for the life of me find the source.
 

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Whenever you smell gasoline that strongly , stop , look for wet gas all over the intake around the "new" carb . IF you see wet gas , stop . do nothing to ignite the spilled gas .  carbs can and do overflow .
no the temp gauges on these year trucks are OFTEN at 1/4 to 1/3rd tank and the engine is running at normal temps , with your ignition system , it has no effect on a computor ...... no worries there . seems like the shop is willing to fight "the problem" I'm going to guess its a automatic choke issue at this point , several bad rebuilt
carbs ? yes possible ,..  and or how old are the "technicians " how much do they work with carbs? and zero computer ?  whistling sound : the air cleaner is also a silencer , so it could be just that , after the engine is warm completely , remove the air filter , LOOK at the carb , it has a flat plate at the air inlet , a choke plate , ounce warm , that plate should be vertical / open , cold it should be closed ... 
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The strong gas smells was a bit concerning and I will do a more thorough investigation and not try to start it under those circumstances again.    From what I can tell, the choke is opening and closing correctly,  at least sitting at idle it is anyways.  The shop I am using is a small local place that's been here since the early 80s.  The three mechanics there are all well into their 50's and one in his 60s.  They all have quite a bit of experience working with carbs, and it's a place I trust and have used several times in the past.  However no one is a above making mistakes or overlooking something.   

I feel better about the operating temperature now.  I didn't think it had anything to do with it but had similar issues with a much newer car.    The whistling sound concerned me too.  When I took the air cleaner off it sounded like a major vacuum leak,  but I couldn't find it,  and usually vacuum leaks that loud are not typically hard to find.  But when you put the cleaner back on it can not be heard.  As you stated that many bad carbs seems unlikely, and each new carb that gets put makes it seem less likely to be a carb issue.  When I called the shop to tell them they already ordered a new carb for it, so I am going to take it back and let them swap it out.  Since the choke was giving major problems when I got the car is still on the culprit list would it be wise to have them install a manual choke on it just to make sure the automatic choke is no longer an issue and take it off the list of possibilities?    I am also going to point out the whistling out of the carburetor.  From information I have been reading on the forum I am also going to ask them to put a timing gun on the engine and check timing,  as I have read that having retarded timing can cause issues similar to mine. 

I am also going to install a new coil.  I saw a few threads saying coils can cause these problems when they start going bad.  When I installed the orange box,  I had wiring issues at first that was causing the ballast resistor to blow. So I ran the truck with out one for a while, which I know was quite hard on the coil.  And since it's an easy and cheap swap I figure I'll go ahead and do it.    If that doesn't do it the only other thing I can think of is the truck is having vapor lock issues, which is something I've read about but never personally experienced.  When I bought the truck it was missing it's gas cap so I don't know if someone had similar issues and did that allow it to vent, or if the cap was robbed for another car once the Ramcharger was parked.   

 

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good to hear about the repair shop , hang on to them ., what suprises me is this at some point a I'd of thought  that the mechanic would have LOOKED at one of these 'rebuilt" carbs himself , because at some point the parts place is going to give him a hard time , how many bad ones can ya get in a row ? ya know ? one thing you don't want to do is start reading on'line about all the "possibility's " and start "fixing" everything at ounce . Let one play out before ya jump to another ,sadly, many of the imported NEW parts are NO GOOD in the box .
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well the truck just got dropped off, and I relayed to him the information I had and my thoughts as well.  I was told the carb they are putting on it today is going to be good, and if it's not they will rebuild it themselves.  I asked why they didn't look at the carbs that come in.  He said if they spent the labor fixing everything they got that was supposed to be rebuilt they would have to hire someone else.  He said it's easier for them to send it back till they get on right.  However this one has gone on long enough that they will rebuild if need be.  They are also going to take it on a more thorough test drive this go around and if it still acts they will let me know and we will start going through things one at a time.  I am glad I read your post before I went, because I was going to head to the local napa and grab one of everything lol.    Thanks again for the information, as I was able to relay what was going on better and get attention brought to new things, as they were just doing endless carb swaps.  And while that was not costing me any more money, it wasn't addressing the issue it was having. 
 

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please to let us know how you make out , thanks :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just got the truck back today.  And somehow it really was bad carburetors lol.  He said they checked everything from timing, to ignition, to remnants of emissions that could be causing the issue.  Couldn't find anything so they swapped out for the new carb, got it adjusted to the truck and as of right now its got about 45 miles on it and is running like a champ.  I would have never guessed that many rebuilts could be bad but it really was.  Thank you so much for the help with this.  All this info did uncover an unrelated but still bad voltage regulator in all the testing that would have gone unnoticed for probably quite some time.   
 

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if you thought that many bad carbs was sumptin ..... voltage regulators have been a BIG issue lately , bad , too much charge/too little charge right out of the box .....  check ground strap/wires and the bolt that HOLDS the reg to firewall ( it IS the ground) ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the heads up,  because that might be whats going on here.  Something else bad out of the box lol.  The one on it is all over the place, and is a new unit.  The voltage is going from 8v to 16v and anything in between.  Now that I know it's a known issue, that will save me some time, because I would have had a hard time believing two were bad out of the box, even after going through all these carbs lol
 

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Thinking of going to a Denso internally regulated alternator before my voltage regulator craps out and I can't find a new good one. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's actually a good idea.  If I have any more issues I will be making that swap as well.  I went to napa after work, and had to make 3 exchanges before I finally got one that I am happy with.  While I was spending money I went ahead and bought a starter from a 1994 dakota which spins a whole lot faster.  I was having issues with the truck not wanting to turn over when it was hot.  It bolted right on and now I couldn't be happier with the way this thing is running.  Hopefully this voltage regulator will hold out. 
 

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esrbtwo said:
Thanks for the heads up, because that might be whats going on here. Something else bad out of the box lol. The one on it is all over the place, and is a new unit. The voltage is going from 8v to 16v and anything in between. Now that I know it's a known issue, that will save me some time, because I would have had a hard time believing two were bad out of the box, even after going through all these carbs lol
test the wire that POWERS the regulator from the key switch , if that voltage is jumping around , all regulators will do the same , check the ground wires from engine TO firewall . al those things good ? buy a different regulator from a different source ..
 
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