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I just picked up a 55 Bel Air auto with a 235. I am having trouble getting the car to start on it's own, idle in gear and a lack of power when driving. The car started right up and ran when we picked it up, but it was very rough and low on power. I contributed this to 20 yr old gas and needing a basic tune up. Here is a list of items replaced and tasks performed during the tune up:

1. Cap, Rotor, Points-set at .18, Condenser, Coil, Plug wires and plugs gapped at .35
2. Carb- Throttle shaft was worn out leaking tons of fuel-Did rebuilt it 1st before buying a reman, installed 2 fuel filters and drained all bad gas from tank
3. Fuel pump- Was leaking past diaphragm
4. Ran the valves--Hydraulic lifters and set the timing 4'
5. Starter- Was on the way out when car was purchased

I started off with the basics- cap, rotor, points, condenser, plugs and wires. This seemed to help the running rough issue, but not the power issue. It started and idled but when we ran it down our street, it had no power. Foot on the floor and no build up of power at all. This is when I noticed the carb really leaking fuel. So I rebuilt the carb 1st with no luck. I had the old card apart 4 or 5 times making sure the float was set and everything was in place after the rebuild.
Nothing seem to make a difference and it really started leaking fuel from the throttle shaft and a crack in the casting. So I picked up a remaned carb from Napa and a new coil. This is when the hard starting seemed to come into play. It would start on ether and idle, but once I shut the motor off ,I would have to shoot it with ether to start it again. At this point I wanted to verify the timing and went ahead and ran the valves. I have checked and double checked timing, ponits/gap, condenser, wire's plugs, coil, fuel from pump. I have not opened the new carb and checked the float level as of yet. Could the float level be affecting my no start and power issues? The system is pretty basic, but it's sire kickin my ars! Sorry for the long read!
 

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is fuel pump good? if so, then would check fuel float level. :anim_25:
 

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One thing is that bad gas can cause you all sorts of problems. It certainly has water in it from condensation. I'd drain the tank, from the plug at the bottom of the tank, then put in about four cans of dry gas, along with some fresh gasoline. See from there if it helps.:anim_25:
 

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Thanks guys. I have already drained all the old fuel and added 10 gallons of 91 octane. Same problems. The fuel pump is new and looks to be in working order. I'll check the carb float level next. Thanks!
 

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It appears from your post that you installed the coil and carburetor at the same time, and traded one problem for another.

If you are using the external resistor and installed a new coil with an internal resistor, you will not have enough spark for proper ignition. The two resistors in the ignition system will cause problems just like you described.

As a quick test, if you still have the old coil, reinstall it and test drive the vehicle.

I hope this helps.

Billy
 

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Thanks for the heads up Bill. The problem was happening before the coil swap. The old coil was leaking oil and I figured it was time to be swapped out. I made sure it's a externally regulated coil before the install. I'm thinking my problem is in the new carb. Thanks for every ones input! I'll let you know if I find the problem.
 

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I had a similar problem and did the same changes you did except I rebuilt the carb twice and never got another one. First I found the timing was a tooth off so I pulled the distrubitor and fixed that. It started a little better, but never had any power and this was a rebuilt engine. It was marginal on flat ground but a hill would just about kill it. After going throught a compression check, valve check, and all the other stuff, I decided to make sure the butterfly was opening all the way in the carb. I had my son come over to help and he press the peddle to the floor while I looked in the carb and it was only opening about one forth open at full peddle down. The carb linkage has quite a few parts and I knew that all the links on the side of the engine hadn't been changed, but the kick down on the power glide had been removed when it was rebuilt. The link to the passing gear kick down being slightly off makes a BIG difference in all the other linkage as it sets the bellcrank angle on the side of the engine, where a little bit of movement there makes a lot of difference at the carb butterfly. I changed the kickdown adjustment and now the carb will give me almost full open. The car now has pep and can go up any hill with ease. So it's worth looking at. Hope this may help. If you need the linkage adjustment instructions, let me know and I'll post where they are.
 

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Have you done a compression check? You might a stuck lifter and you have a dead cylinder. Also you could fire up the engine and start pulling plug wires and see which causes a change or not. when you pull a plug wire and nothing changes, then look at that cylinder.:anim_25:
 

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You say you set the timing 4'. Do you mean 4 degrees? The timing should be set to top dead center by lining up the ball under the pointer on all 235 6 cylinder engines with the engine idle at the lowest possible rpm and vacuum advance disconnected. Hope this helps Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had a similar problem and did the same changes you did except I rebuilt the carb twice and never got another one. First I found the timing was a tooth off so I pulled the distrubitor and fixed that. It started a little better, but never had any power and this was a rebuilt engine. It was marginal on flat ground but a hill would just about kill it. After going throught a compression check, valve check, and all the other stuff, I decided to make sure the butterfly was opening all the way in the carb. I had my son come over to help and he press the peddle to the floor while I looked in the carb and it was only opening about one forth open at full peddle down. The carb linkage has quite a few parts and I knew that all the links on the side of the engine hadn't been changed, but the kick down on the power glide had been removed when it was rebuilt. The link to the passing gear kick down being slightly off makes a BIG difference in all the other linkage as it sets the bellcrank angle on the side of the engine, where a little bit of movement there makes a lot of difference at the carb butterfly. I changed the kickdown adjustment and now the carb will give me almost full open. The car now has pep and can go up any hill with ease. So it's worth looking at. Hope this may help. If you need the linkage adjustment instructions, let me know and I'll post where they are.
Well I thought I had checked the carb opening, it seems I was wrong. Stuck a pin light down the carb, and low and behold-- not quite 1/2 throttle:damnmate:. Re-adjusted the throttle linkage for full throttle and know she starts. Thanks ab4op! I'll reset the timing tomorrow at TDC and see how she runs--Thanks fiddlerpin! I did run a compression test on all 6 cylinders. It was a bit lower than what I wanted to see--between 105 and 115. With any luck, maybe she'll take me around the block tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for your help. I'll keep you informed!
 

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Glad that helped and that it was a cheap fix. I had thought of checking mine for full open several times but every time I thought about it I didn't have any help. I guess I thought about doing it so many times that I talked myself into thinking I had done it. I wonder how many other tri-five sixes are running around with out a full butterfly opening? As I said I'm glad that was your problem also since it was a cheap fix, but as they say, "misery loves company". I feel better now that I'm not the only one who thought they checked this and did not! Good luck and have fun driving your "Classic" car.
 

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First I found the timing was a tooth off so I pulled the distrubitor and fixed that. It started a little better, but never had any power and this was a rebuilt engine.
There's really no such thing as "one tooth off". You can set the timing correctly with the distributor in any position as long as the plug wires are in the correct location relative to the rotor.
 

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I'm sure you are correct about the "one tooth off " on a V8 not mattering, but with it off by one the hold down bolt on the distributor would not allow me to rotate it far enough in the correct direction to be in the correct time with out running out of slot in the hold down. It's not like a V8 with just a clamp, it has an elongated hole and you only have so much play with rotating the distributor.

Update: I just realized that you can loosen the vacuum advance clamp screw and move the distributor inside it for more adjustment, so you are right that there is no such thing as one tooth off.
 

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235 timing

I had a 57 with a 235 and it was sluggish. I advanced the timing from the factory setting and it responded well. Just advance the timing a little at a time until you notice ping on a load, like up a steep hill. then back it off a little and I'm sure you'll like the improved power and gas mileage. It worked for me.
 
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