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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, I'm computer illiterate and have no experience with posting on sites like this, so I ask forgiveness if I foul this up and even can't find my post again and any replies it might have.

I have a 1987 RC with a carbureted 318, automatic transmission. Several weeks ago out of the blue it began stalling whenever the engine got warm or hot. It acts as if the ignition is turned off--no engine sputtering--but restarts immediately and runs for decreasingly short distances until it dies with no restart till it sits for a while. During one episode I nursed the truck into the local repair shop by limping along about 25mph and easing off the throttle every time a stall seemed imminent, and restarting when the engine did die.

The shop thought it was first a fuel problem, as did I. They replaced the fuel filter, fuel pump, and blew air through the fuel line. Those didn't work. They recommended next replacing the spark control computer (incredibly my factory manual has almost nothing on this particular Mopar ignition system) which would be very expensive, so I did that myself. No change.

I've driven the truck a couple of times the past few days near home, in case I had to tow it; got three miles in the first time before the stalls began again, but this time there was an episode of the truck surging, as if I were punching the throttle rhythmically, in addition to the usual stalls. After reading through the "Engine dies" thread on RC Central I drove it again yesterday taking a timing light (to check for spark) and a step ladder so I could look into the carb to see if it was getting gas. The ladder didn't work; even though I'm over six feet tall I still couldn't get a good look down into the carb, and crawling into the engine compartment is hard at my unyouthful age. This time I got to seven miles before the stalling started--but the engine didn't die completely but would stall and then idle perfectly if I let off the throttle quickly enough.

Applying throttle didn't work would make the engine stall, though. After repeated stalls and starts the engine barely turns over after about six tries, and since I only crank the engine a couple of seconds at a time and the battery is fresh, and the shop said the starter was shot, I had another put in.  It still won't crank on that last stall, even when it spins the engine like a pinafore in the earlier stalls.

To thicken the plot, the ignition switch isn't original and in fact will start the truck without the key. The key is necessary though to work the accessories. Red herring or clue to the mystery? I have no idea.

In sum, I've got somewhat variable stalls, warm or hot engine only, with the stalls usually but not always looking like the ignition is completely cut each time, but will quickly restart and run for a lesser distance in each interval until the Big Stall, after which the truck needs to sit a while. I've already dumped a ton of money into the beast with no end in sight.

I know it's not protocol, but I can't act promptly on any advice that might be given here because of lack of time and my own inability.  I will apply any advice given, though, as circumstances permit. Although it's almost May, we're still in the grip of winter here (send some of that global warming this way, please), and it's a reminder after the vicious winter we had here this year that I must get that truck fixed before summer ends.
 

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weak spark , ignition system , bad coil ?
 

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This sounds pretty similar to something I was dealing with a few months ago.  Replaced everything to do with the fuel system between the carb and the fuel tank before I thought to check my "sump tube" or fuel pick up inside the tank which was plugged up almost completely.  Rather than replacing the "pick-up/sending unit" I got some 3/8" hardline, made a new sump tube and bypassed the old one. 

Sort of a hillbilly temporary fix and I don't recommend it,  but at least it's a good way to find out before you replace the sending unit.

Best of luck!
 

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In my case,  I could limp it along gingerly on the gas for a bit then it would stall and I'd have to pull over and wait for the (electric) fuel pump to fill the bowls in the carburetor back up before continuing. I had a mechanical fuel pump when the problem first started and it was almost exactly like what your dealing with. The whole problem came on gradually and only got worse until I found the plugged up fuel pick up tube inside the tank.
 

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I went through something similar on my RC. I tried everything like the fuel filter, fuel pump, then decided it was electrical and eliminated the Dodge spark system and converted to HEI. I finally decided to rebuild the carb in sheer desperation. The inside of the carb was horrible, and I should have spent the $25 on the rebuild kit a long time ago. Stupid ethanol gas.  :mad:
 

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you did say you LOOKED into carb for fuel squirt after it died , correct ? and found fuel ? ..... replace stock coil w/stock coil .... ? check cap rotor wires plugs ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the tips. Although the shop said it blew the fuel line clear ( I presume) that might be an area that needs further attention. Coincidentally enough, the problem started very soon after I topped off the RC with about four gallons of 10% ethanol but that one-time exposure to ethanol shouldn't have screwed things up that badly. Otherwise I've only run non-ethanol gas (I learned that lesson the hard way with my '85 Dodge van.)

The truck had a thorough tune-up about 2000 miles ago--plugs, distributor cap, plug wires, etc.

I did try to look into the carb the last time I drove it and it began to stall, but couldn't look into it directly. A 30 mph north wind and low temp didn't help. In the garage today I used a mirror to check for gas in the carb when I pumped and saw nothing, yet it starts like a champ every time when the engine's cold--even in subzero temps-- so it seems to get adequate gas.

I'm guessing there must be a connection between engine heat and the stalling. The truck starts and runs perfectly while it's warming up so my initial guess of fuel starvation might be wrong, which means an ignition problem. I'll keep looking.
 
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