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ncpetersc 07-02-2018 09:49 AM

Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Hello all, first time posting, after a long time lurking. Great site, with lots of knowledge and advice!

I'll try not to get too wordy with this, but I want to provide a short history of my trials and tribulations with a 1972 C-10.

I inherited the truck just about 2 years ago now, and had it shipped from AZ to NC where I now reside. It ran when I got it, though not well. I remember having to drive it home a few blocks from where the car hauler could drop it off, and I had to put it in neutral at intersections so I could rev it up a bit so it wouldn't die.

I didn't do much to it, as I am NOT a mechanic. Changed the oil, tried to clean things up a bit so I could see what I was looking at. Made some small idle adjustments so it would run semi-smooth. I drove it rarely, as it was more stressful than enjoyable.

It pretty much sits in the driveway, and I would start it three or four times a month. I knew I had carb issues, as every once in a while it would drip gas when I tried to start it. My solution was always to pull the filter out and give a couple squirts of carb cleaner into it. Temporary I know, but always worked, so I could at least start the thing.

Two things in particular I wanted to figure out. There was always a slight ticking under the drivers side valve cover, it would come and go. And the thing smoked like crazy. White smoke; always seemed more on the drivers side to me.

Anyway, I just kept starting the thing. Added rislone to a few oil changes, thinking if something was just "sticking" that might help. And I was basically too much of a chicken to even take a valve cover off and have a look. I have no experience doing any of this, and also have a history of making things worse when attempting to do this sort of stuff.

Time for a bit of honesty here. Being white smoke I suspected (feared) head gasket issues. So I tried a bottle of that Barr's leak fix stuff. Now I don't think this could have hurt anything, but I could be wrong. Something more severe did occur within the next few weeks.

One morning I started it, and it started backfiring. I didn't run it long, but it was long enough. Dejected I know I was getting nowhere, so I called an auto repair shop to come and pick it up.

I'm not originally from the area, and have only owned newer vehicles while living here. So I had to roll the dice with the choice of mechanic. I mean I asked around, and looked up what reviews I could find, but it was still just a shot in the dark really.

The day they picked it up, they called me back within about two hours with a report. What they had found were two SEVERELY bent push rods. We talked about how everything else looked in there, and how much the repair would be. I didn't want to start putting money into a repair, and have to have it torn open again later. But the guy said everything looked good, and for a couple hundred bucks he'd replace the pushrods. On reassembly he said he would adjust all the rockers, and check the timing.

I was pleased with how quickly they got back to me. But, I think that first day they had the truck was the ONLY time they called me.

I called them that Friday before they closed for the weekend. No parts yet but should be early the following week.

I was out of town for work that next week. Never heard from them, so I called on Friday again looking for an update. I had to stop them half way through, when I realized they were not even talking about my truck but some other vehicle. But the report was that it was done, but not running well. They said something was wrong in the motor, and the labor required to get to it, find it, and fix it, might mean a new motor was the best option.

I didn't want to make that decision without thinking about it, and thinking about how to make it work money wise. So the following week I went to pick the truck up. The mechanic took me out to the truck, and tried to start it. It wouldn't start, popped the hood and he tried to start it again. Gas was leaking out of the carb, it wasn't happening. We went back inside and got the owner of the shop out to look at it. But the battery was pretty much done now anyway.

SOOOO they talked about a number of things, but the carb needed to get fixed first. Which I agreed with, I knew it would need to be rebuilt at some point. Might as well be now. So they said $300 to rebuild it, and I just said fine.

Another Friday comes along and I hadn't heard from them. I didn't get to call them in time before they closed. So I called during the day early that next week, and sure enough they said it was done a few days ago. So I go to pick it up, pay them close to $800 and they hand me the keys.

I had a heck of a time starting it, and it was running very rough. Any throttle would cause coughing, spitting, backfire out of the carb? I looked around, and noticed the plug wires on the passenger side laying on the exhaust manifold. I shut it down, moved the wires, and went in to get some zipties or something.

The owner came back out with me, and I showed him the wires and asked for something to tie them up. While I was showing him, I noticed the 6 wire wasn't even on the plug. I was disappointed to say the least. I just wanted out of there. He plugged the wire in and tied up the wires. Unfortunately it only ran nominally better when I started it again. But again, I just wanted out of there.

It died the first few times I tried to pull out on the highway. I took a little longer route home on some back roads where I could limp along. It was smoking like crazy, and coughing/missing quite a bit. It was hot, I was upset, and stressing about getting home. I will say that it ran a little bit better further into the ride. Anyway, I made it home, and didn't even want to look at it.

What to do next? I decided to take some baby steps. I have no confidence remember. On the way home from work I bought some plug wire clips to route them more properly, and borrowed a compression tester. The next day I pulled all the plugs, to do compression test. Plugs looked pretty nasty. Compression test seemed positive to me. Pretty much 120 PSI across the board, with an odd 115 or 125. Got 130 once, but retested and got 120. I'm hoping this tells me things aren't hopeless at least as far as rings and valves go.

The next day I went to buy new plugs. BTW has anyone else struggled getting to the #4 plug? There was no way to get a socket on it with the exhaust manifold. I finally puzzled a way to sneak a box wrench on it and get a small turn at a time. When I went to get the plugs I found a set of those thru-sockets they use for long bolts. The plug slid through that, so it worked well to put #4 back in.

I measured all the old plugs. And they were a consistent .9mm gap (about .035). So that is what I gapped the new ones to. I then tested each new plug on its intended plug wire for spark. Everything looked good, so I put them in with a little anti-seize and connected all the wires back up.

Was all set to start it up... and the battery was dead from all of my tests I guess. Left it on a charger over night to try again the next day.

Next day, it starts. Not running all that well. And anything but the gentlest application of throttle caused it to "caugh" or miss or bogg or whatever that is. Noted that the 'tick' I used to hear did seem to be gone (probably valve/pushrod related). I also looked around the carb and noticed an unplugged vacuum port. If I put my finger on it the rpm would change and it would sound different. I don't know about better but different. I also saw that my choke was not connected. The clip holding the bar to the linkage was gone.

Once I shut it down, I looked at the carb some more and discovered the hose for the choke vacuum canister (cutoff?) was tucked under the fuel inlet but not actually plugged into anything. Looking on-line I think it should go to the port right above/behind the fuel inlet which was plugged. So I hooked it up there, and used that plug to cover the port I noticed was open. This port is straight out of the passenger side of the carb.

When I restarted it, I was actually pretty pleased. I would say that it was probably the best I heard it running since I got the truck.

A few hours later, however, was a different story. I had fashioned a clip out of a beer can and connected the choke back up to the linkage. I had also checked the oil, and added a little. I think that's all I did, and the darn thing was difficult to start. And I had to feather it or keep some throttle to keep it running. I can't think what could be so different from when it ran fairly well a few hours earlier.

I shut the hood frustrated again.

Sorry this is such a long post, but I wanted to share as much "history" as I could, before humbly asking for any advice/support. :lol:

I had planned on putting my timing light on it next, but if it runs like it did the last time, that seems pointless.

Any thoughts or advice for a NON mechanic?


Ol Blue K20 07-02-2018 10:19 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
You need find a friend with some experience to help to you some basic diagnostic stuff. Does it still have points or was it converted to electronic ignition? You also need to recheck everything the shop messed with to insure it was done correctly.

thedudeabides86 07-02-2018 10:44 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Hi and good morning! Welcome to the place. I'm not savvy on diagnosing issues, but I'll be interested to hear what other members have to say. There's a lot of good people out here that know a lot and have helped me through changing the motor on my 72.

Grumpy old man 07-02-2018 10:47 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Call me crazy ,But wasn't this "saga " posted before about a year or two ago ? :chevy:

ncpetersc 07-02-2018 10:54 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga

Originally Posted by Grumpy old man (Post 8292790)
Call me crazy ,But wasn't this "saga " posted before about a year or two ago ? :chevy:

If there was a similar "saga" I promise it wasn't this one. But I will certainly dig around to see if I can find that post. It might provide some insight.

S_Gibson 07-02-2018 11:38 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga

Originally Posted by ncpetersc (Post 8292753)
I had fashioned a clip out of a beer can....

Impressive. I never considered using the container as an excuse to pound a few for a project. Sorry I'm not able to offer any incite or assistance to your plight, but I shall use your example as an excuse to ingest more alcohol. "Honey, fetch me a few beers, I need to drink couple to fab parts for the project."

LockDoc 07-02-2018 11:39 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Sounds like the fuel filter sock might be plugged or deteriorated in the tank. It is on the end of the sending unit fuel pickup tube.

geezer#99 07-02-2018 11:51 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Where’s the pics?
Some pics of your motor from several angles would help a lot.

ncpetersc 07-02-2018 12:06 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga

Originally Posted by geezer#99 (Post 8292825)
Where’s the pics?
Some pics of your motor from several angles would help a lot.

Yeah, I will try to get some pics added when I can.

To answer an earlier question, I am pretty sure I am dealing with points.

I did some more searching for similar "saga's", and one I read made me remember something else. When I started it last, before calling it for the day, I remember my eyes burning the fumes were so bad. I may just disconnect that choke lever that I reattached, and see if that changes things.

Thanks for the feedback.

Artofdeath 07-02-2018 02:51 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Youtube can be your friend especially ff you aren't afraid to turn a wrench. Sounds like you aren't. You can learn a lot and do it yourself.

Fire, Fuel, Air. That's what makes her chugga chugga. Sounds like you had a vacuum leak. Open port at the base of the carb. Maybe a stuck choke. That will make you run rich and burn your eyes.

You picked the right vehicle to learn on! Take pics, post questions! Don't be afraid to take the valve covers off! We are here to help!

ncpetersc 07-02-2018 07:26 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga

Originally Posted by LockDoc (Post 8292821)
Sounds like the fuel filter sock might be plugged or deteriorated in the tank. It is on the end of the sending unit fuel pickup tube.

I have never heard of this filter sock. I assume this requires draining the tank somehow to remove the sending unit to have a look?

ncpetersc 07-02-2018 07:33 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Working on getting pics off my phone.

In the meantime. Disconnected the choke in case it caused the sudden difference, but that did not help. Still was barely running.

Took more cranking than it should too, and noticed gas seeping from carb again. Only thing I can think is needle not closing again. Tried to squirt some carb cleaner into the inlet like I have in the past, changed the filter while in there. Waited a few hours, and still would not start. Gas seeping again.

When the filter dried out, I tapped it on the ground and some brownish powder came out.

I'm thinking fuel tank corrosion now?

I see new tanks for about $170. Hopefully this isn't too bad to replace.

Anyway, pics to follow. If there is something in particular not shown, let me know and I'll get a pic of it.

Thanks guys!

ncpetersc 07-02-2018 07:44 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
5 Attachment(s)
Okay, first set of pics. Probably a little close up, but wanted to show distributor to answer earlier question.

The plugs I replaced this weekend:

garyd1961 07-02-2018 07:47 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
My "guess" would be you need new points, condenser, rotor button, distributor cap, fuel filter, and probably a new carb. I would get someone I could trust to take a look at it before spending any more money though. Sometimes you can just file the points and reset them to get by for a while but few mechanics know how to set points anymore.
The shop you went to was a rip off.

just saw your pictures, definitely points. Also looks like the motor was replaced with a GM crate engine.

Steeveedee 07-02-2018 08:46 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Let me get this straight. They rebuilt the carb to the tune of $300 and it's leaking fuel? Tack them to a tree for stealing your money. You should go ask for a refund, and if you don't get it, go to your state's version of the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

6T7 C10 07-02-2018 08:59 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
First of all I commend you on the work you personally have done so far. You have done more to fix your situation than the shop it was at. Keep being methodical and purposeful. Even compression over 100 is a great engine vital sign. Search Youtube about timing, points, condenser, and dwell next. At that point you should be seeing some improvements. Then air/fuel/vacuum is next on the agenda. Have confidence and know upfront it is three steps forward and two back sometimes. Keep asking questions, invest in simple quality hand tools, and may you not round off bolt heads, cross threads, and put things back the way the factory intended.

ncpetersc 07-02-2018 09:21 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Trust me, I am not happy with the shop it was at. But I have yet to get a good referral.

I think, though, that if its a gunked up tank that is the problem and maybe the needle not seating because something got in there. Would that eventually cause fuel to seep out somewhere, even after rebuild. I really do not know.

A few of you have focused on the ignition. I will try to do some reading and maybe look at the distributor on the 4th when I am off.

I wasn't really thinking that since it ran so good (that ONE time) after I changed the plugs and all. And I did check each for spark, with its dedicated plug wire.

Thanks again for all the help. I'll keep plugging away.

geezer#99 07-02-2018 09:58 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Fuel seeping out isn’t always caused by a leaking needle/seat or a float problem.
A lot of times it’s caused by the person pumping the crap outta the pedal to try to get it to fire. All that pumping sends a big shot of fuel into the inside of the carb.
If your choke worked, you likely won’t need to overwork the pedal.
Likely your inexperience is causing the seeping.
Don’t fret, I mean no harm.
Just pointing out one of the ways you’ll see seeping.
We’ve all been guilty of the same action.

You need to get your choke working.

Pro299 07-02-2018 10:40 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Also you're using a divorced choke and it appears in the pix that the rod is not connected to your linkage.

fourspeedwagon 07-02-2018 10:53 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
Were you able to see or tell where the fuel is leaking from?

The fuel leaking out isn’t nessasarily “the problem” if that makes sense. It is a problem but might not be what’s making it run poorly.

Steeveedee 07-02-2018 11:20 PM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
If I was on your side of the continent, I could lend a hand. It just grinds my gears that stuff like this happens and the owner can't get decent help.

dmjlambert 07-03-2018 12:11 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga
ncpetersc, welcome. I've been exactly where you are. Don't let it fret you too much. There's a lot of great info on this forum and the folks here are super friendly and helpful. Take baby steps just like you say.

There will come a point where it becomes more enjoyable than stressful, and that is when you've arrived at a hobby. Until then, it is true it can be a pain, but that's just because you haven't seen the light at the end of the tunnel. On a truck like yours with that Quadrajet carb and a Goodwrench engine, that light is not an oncoming train. :) Lots of great advice posted above from the other members of your team.

I encourage you to press on and pick a thing to work on and open a new topic to post pictures of what you're asking about, and ask your questions. We like to see questions and pictures. Ask for opinions.

I'm not a mechanic either, but learning. I am more comfortable with removing and replacing parts, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. It does cost more to do that, though, but that is the price you pay for getting started more quickly than taking the thing completely apart down to every individual bolt and screw. For example, I took my carburetor apart, and found some really weird stuff in there, and could not find anybody who could tell me what was going on. I tinkered and messed with it, and posted pictures, asked questions, stumped quite a few forum members with the weird stuff I was finding, then finally called time of death on that carburetor and ordered a fresh Quadrajet from National Carburetors. I was so relieved to get something that was ready to go, shiny and beautiful, and just bolted on and fired right up. That carburetor cost me about $220, which was probably about $50 more than a carb rebuild kit plus the cleaner and extra parts I would have needed to make it just a little better than it was before. And the thing came with a lifetime warranty, which I've already used once.

Your first reply from Ol Blue K20 was very good, you can move along in the project much better with a local friend. I joined and I highly recommend it. You can make a post like I did, where I asked my neighborhood "who around here knows about cars and likes to do shade tree mechanic work?" I ended up finding a great guy who is very knowledgeable, he's a retired mechanic and does work on cars around the neighborhood for some extra spending money. When I'm getting ready to really screw things up, he can bail me out. I have him do the work on my more modern cars that my wife and daughter drive, and I have him do the things I can't handle on this truck or redo the stuff I've screwed up on my truck. He doesn't have any overhead, and doesn't charge much, because he's working out of his house garage. There's a lot of people who do that. In the city I used to live in, before was invented, I met a couple of shade tree mechanics that ended up the best help ever, by asking at O'Reilly Auto Parts "hey, do you know any shade tree mechanics?" Sometimes those guys working at the car parts stores know who has a reputation for "knowing about old cars." One time I was in O'Reilly's and asked that question, and the guy just smiled and said "ask Bob over there" and pointed to a customer. Bob was a guy that was constantly in O'Reilly's buying parts, because he worked out of his house garage. I walked up and introduced myself, and he was the most fantastic mechanic, and charged about 1/3 to 1/2 of what a mechanic facility charged, and he did the job right. He was honest about what sort of things can wait and what I needed to get repaired right away. Bob even had little clear vinyl oil change reminder stickers printed up and used them when he changed oil in cars. One day my car wouldn't start, it was dead, and he made a house call for me. He crawled up under the car and gave the starter a whack with a hammer and had me try starting it, and then he drove it over to his house and changed the starter. It was fun having him for a friend and mechanic, and the only reason I quit relying on him as my mechanic is he moved a hundred miles away. I miss Bob...

OK, there I gave you a long post back! Hey, post some pictures of your whole truck so we can ooh and ahh over it!

ncpetersc 07-03-2018 07:16 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga

Originally Posted by Pro299 (Post 8293202)
Also you're using a divorced choke and it appears in the pix that the rod is not connected to your linkage.

Rod was disconnected when I got it back from the shop. One of the last things I did before it went from running OK to not was connect that rod. So I disconnected again to make sure that didn't cause a problem.

The actual rod feels like it is rubbing the cover when connected, so I thought maybe the friction was preventing the linkage from behaving properly. I think I need to bend it some to try to eliminate the rubbing, but I will reconnect it.

ncpetersc 07-03-2018 07:17 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga

Originally Posted by fourspeedwagon (Post 8293211)
Were you able to see or tell where the fuel is leaking from?

The fuel leaking out isn’t nessasarily “the problem” if that makes sense. It is a problem but might not be what’s making it run poorly.

I'll try to observe more closely next time, but I would say it seemed low and near the back of the carb; a little on both sides.

ncpetersc 07-03-2018 07:19 AM

Re: Help a NOOB - A continuing saga

Originally Posted by Steeveedee (Post 8293237)
If I was on your side of the continent, I could lend a hand. It just grinds my gears that stuff like this happens and the owner can't get decent help.

If only! Appreciate the thought though.

Incidentally, I am going to have to get some pics up of the whole truck, because MAN it's almost a clone of the one in your pic.

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