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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First--I'm a rookie at engine stuff. My 57 has 350 small block bored to 355 with mild cam and gear drive. Has HEI ignition; Had local shop time it with digital timing light; runs good for about 1 mile then starts missing, losing power, then dies. I had it re-timed again figuring the HEI distributor is getting knocked out of correct timing since in sits tight against firewall. Drove it down the road--same thing happens. Could I have a charging issue? Battery issue? I thought it might be a carb adjustment (Edelbrock)but it runs great for the first mile or so. Any help with starting to weed things out appreciated.
 

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First--I'm a rookie at engine stuff. My 57 has 350 small block bored to 355 with mild cam and gear drive. Has HEI ignition; Had local shop time it with digital timing light; runs good for about 1 mile then starts missing, losing power, then dies.
Does it fire up again straight away or have you needed to tow back?
I had it re-timed again figuring the HEI distributor is getting knocked out of correct timing since in sits tight against firewall.
Was the timming out ? Did it need to be moved to re-time? If so then yes the distributor is the issue.
Drove it down the road--same thing happens.
What happens? does the distributor move out of position or is it fine ? Does it just quit like you turned off the ignition or does it cough and splutter then quit? Did it ever run correctly ? if Yes what has changed to develop the issues ?
Could I have a charging issue? Battery issue? I thought it might be a carb adjustment (Edelbrock)but it runs great for the first mile or so.
Without the answers to the above, it is hard to say. However i feel NO.
I would check your free length of the power supply to the distributor. Seams like you get a mile from the shop, into a not so congested area, get on the gas and it quits, Could also be possible fuel pressure related ( blocked filter, low float, blocked jets etc) however without the above info i would take the electric side first for the diagnosis.
Any help with starting to weed things out appreciated.
As above
Hope it helps
 

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As Mouse said, need more information. If it starts back up without a jump, it's not a charging or battery issue. If you have to wait a while or have to crank on it to restart, it could be the gas tank vent is causing a vacuum in the tank. Try leaving the cap loose.
If the HEI is actually against the firewall, the movement of the engine may be causing it to get out of time, depending on the answer to Mouse's questions. You may need to get a small body distributor with an external coil.


mouse zzr600 : I would check your free length of the power supply to the distributor. Seams like you get a mile from the shop
Do you think his extension cord isn't long enough? :)
 

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Ive run into this problem before with gm hei, change the ign module. When it heats up it breaks down and dies. If it cools it starts and runs till it heats up.:anim_25:
 

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Ive run into this problem before with gm hei, change the ign module. When it heats up it breaks down and dies. If it cools it starts and runs till it heats up.:anim_25:
I have seen that before, narrow it down but I`m feeling the module too :anim_25:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are you getting plenty of fuel? I'd check for a plugged filter, pick up tube, or line leak.
I thought about that trying to get to sleep last night. I will check on these issues after work today--need to go to local shop to use lift.

Also, makes me suspect something's up since all of a sudden my fuel gauge started working--well at least it's bouncing around-haven't had a chance to fill it up to check for accuracy--too busy screwing around with trying to get it to run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
spittin and sputterin

Does it fire up again straight away or have you needed to tow back?
Was the timming out ? Did it need to be moved to re-time? If so then yes the distributor is the issue.

Yes I had my local shop time it with a digital timing light twice now--at the time thought maybe it was hitting the firewall and knocking it out of time--not so sure now.

What happens? does the distributor move out of position or is it fine ? Does it just quit like you turned off the ignition or does it cough and splutter then quit? Did it ever run correctly ? if Yes what has changed to develop the issues ?

I assumed the distributor was getting knocked out of position because of being so tight against the firewall. It "coughs and sputters then quits". Yeah, it was running fine, started happening on the way home from a shop that fixed a few odds and ends for me--trans fluid leak (pan gasket), new trans dipstick tube, rear brakes, freeze plug--nothing in the engine bay or fuel. No clues there.

Without the answers to the above, it is hard to say. However i feel NO.
I would check your free length of the power supply to the distributor.[/U][/B] Seams like you get a mile from the shop, into a not so congested area, get on the gas and it quits, Could also be possible fuel pressure related ( blocked filter, low float, blocked jets etc) however without the above info i would take the electric side first for the diagnosis.

O.K I'll call that shop today to see if he remembers messing with anything else while he had it. THANKS HEAPS FOR ALL THE ADVICE!!
As above
Hope it helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are you getting plenty of fuel? I'd check for a plugged filter, pick up tube, or line leak.
Just cleaned out one of those glass in-line gas filter the guy had in it. It was very dirty. That's all I've had time to do tonight. Work on checking the rest of the fuel lines next.

Thanks--I appreciate the help/suggested remedies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As Mouse said, need more information. If it starts back up without a jump, it's not a charging or battery issue. If you have to wait a while or have to crank on it to restart, it could be the gas tank vent is causing a vacuum in the tank. Try leaving the cap loose.
If the HEI is actually against the firewall, the movement of the engine may be causing it to get out of time, depending on the answer to Mouse's questions. You may need to get a small body distributor with an external coil.


You know it's funny you say that, because actually the last time it died on me was right at the bottom of my driveway--almost close enough to the house to run an extension cord and battery charger down to it. Anyway--yes I had to jump start it since constant restarting after turning the distributor to get it to start ran the battery low. I got home from work today though and it started right up. Only had time tonight to clean the in-line fuel filter. Back at it after work tomorrow in this sweltering humidity.
Thanks for the help/advice.


Do you think his extension cord isn't long enough? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ive run into this problem before with gm hei, change the ign module. When it heats up it breaks down and dies. If it cools it starts and runs till it heats up.:anim_25:
Yeah it's a Delco Remy and fairly old I'm told. It came on it when I bought it. What you said sure seems to fit what it's doing. Only had time today to clean the very dirty glass in line fuel filter so far (trying to start with the easy/obvious stuff first) and will attack the distributor issue next.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have seen that before, narrow it down but I`m feeling the module too :anim_25:
Thanks. As I've updated everyone -- I only had time to clean the fuel filter so far. Not a lot of time this week, but my local shop said to pull the distributor and drop it off so he could check it out.
 
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Almost EVERY HEI module failure is caused by the coil in some level of failure.

That said, IF the cap is hitting the firewall, it will get worse when the engine is revved off idle, in gear, the engine will lift, and move to one side of the chassis as it revs up.

If that is occurring, the contact cam lift the rear of the cap off the distributor body, increasing the rotor to carbon button clearance, which increases the load on the coil, forcing the module to failure.

Today, the resistance tests of coils and module we used to go by, aren't valid. The only really accurate way to test the modules and coils is to remove them from the distributor, and find an auto part store with a coil/module run tester, and test them. That said, when you do have the coil and module tested, have the store person leave them on the tester and get them to full operating temp, don't let them just do a 5 second test and stop.

A good quality HEI module is he NAPA TP45, and other modules that cross over, from Borg-Warner, Neihoff, Standard Motor Parts (Blue Streak).
 

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Yeah, it was running fine, started happening on the way home from a shop that fixed a few odds and ends for me--trans fluid leak (pan gasket), new trans dipstick tube, rear brakes, freeze plug--nothing in the engine bay or fuel. No clues there.
There is a possible clue here
What trans do you run??
If a th350 or a trans that runs the vacuum modulator you may have the vacuum line disconnected or dislodged (due to the pan gasket replacement). When carb comes of choke ( a mile down the road from cold) to much air is drawn in thus the cough, splutter, die.
Just thinking
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Almost EVERY HEI module failure is caused by the coil in some level of failure.

That said, IF the cap is hitting the firewall, it will get worse when the engine is revved off idle, in gear, the engine will lift, and move to one side of the chassis as it revs up.

If that is occurring, the contact cam lift the rear of the cap off the distributor body, increasing the rotor to carbon button clearance, which increases the load on the coil, forcing the module to failure.

Today, the resistance tests of coils and module we used to go by, aren't valid. The only really accurate way to test the modules and coils is to remove them from the distributor, and find an auto part store with a coil/module run tester, and test them. That said, when you do have the coil and module tested, have the store person leave them on the tester and get them to full operating temp, don't let them just do a 5 second test and stop.

A good quality HEI module is he NAPA TP45, and other modules that cross over, from Borg-Warner, Neihoff, Standard Motor Parts (Blue Streak).
Well, you may have my next move all laid out with your reply because after cleaning out the glass in line filter last night (it only has one filter by the way--nothing back by the tank) I decided to try again after work today taking it down the road--same thing happened--runs fine for about a mile then starts fading out, sputters and dies. This time I sat for a while to let it cool down a little, then tried to restart. No luck. Turned the distrib a little--it started--got it another quarter mile--died again. One more time turning the distributor and I got it back to my garage. Once in the garage it revved up great in neutral--sounded great. So, back to the drawing board--guess it's time to try my 50/50 chances on the in-cap coil or the module replacement since it appears it's not fuel related so maybe it's lack of spark. Heats up, coil and/or module fails. Agree with this next move, or should I try something else first?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There is a possible clue here
What trans do you run??
If a th350 or a trans that runs the vacuum modulator you may have the vacuum line disconnected or dislodged (due to the pan gasket replacement). When carb comes of choke ( a mile down the road from cold) to much air is drawn in thus the cough, splutter, die.
Just thinking
TH 350 yes, but I checked all that and it's hooked up to back of carb. I don't have any choke. It did from the start, and still does fire right up when cold and all I do is let it warm up a little and off I go -- UNTIL it gets hot and dies. Man this is frustrating! See my reply to Dave for my latest experience.
 

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Well, you may have my next move all laid out with your reply because after cleaning out the glass in line filter last night (it only has one filter by the way--nothing back by the tank) I decided to try again after work today taking it down the road--same thing happened--runs fine for about a mile then starts fading out, sputters and dies. This time I sat for a while to let it cool down a little, then tried to restart. No luck. Turned the distrib a little--it started--got it another quarter mile--died again. One more time turning the distributor and I got it back to my garage. Once in the garage it revved up great in neutral--sounded great. So, back to the drawing board--guess it's time to try my 50/50 chances on the in-cap coil or the module replacement since it appears it's not fuel related so maybe it's lack of spark. Heats up, coil and/or module fails. Agree with this next move, or should I try something else first?
Have you looked at the other end of the vac line on the modulator itself at the trans end ?
My thoughts go now with the distributor hitting and being knocked out of position. Have you looked at the engine mounts? Are the mounts week or broken causing the engine to lift on acceleration? A small body distributor may help. If it fires after re-position of the distributor i doubt it is the module, they generally fail, you wait for it to cool, then fire without moving distributor, fail again and do not come back.
 
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