Rambler Buckin and Kickin

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Hi. I have a problem with my 1968 Rambler American manual shift 199 cid single barrel carb rear wheel drive. This car has tended to run rich ever since I have had it (8 years or so). This past weekend on a 200 mile round trip it started to sort of buck where the engine sounds like it stalls very briefly then starts up again, like it is not getting enough gas. Was doing about 70-75 mph going up a hill when first happened. Car was at running temp. Then it didn't do it again until the return trip, but then again only after warming up and at load. Started to kind of buck and kick, occasionnal backfire when the accelerator was applied only. Was idling and running at low speeds just fine, but when accelerating was faulty. The next day it ran fine while cold, then after warmed up again started doing the same thing. I changed both fuel filters, ran the tank low and refueled, Sea Foamed the carb after cleaning all the linkages, changed the air filter and cleaned out the PCV and air intake/blowby filter. No change. I saw a small hole in the fuel line where it comes out of the fuel tank (could squeeze gas out of it so figured maybe air was getting in) and replaced that section. No change, except now after 4 days of this it is starting to idle rough also (had been idling fine until now). Runs good and accelerates good when cold. It has a relatively new carb and the choke appears to the untrained eye to be functioning properly. Has a new distributor cap and wires, and I believe a relatively new vacuum advance also. The windshield wipers are working fine (run on vacuum). Only other thing of note is that recently (several months ago) I had to step up to 92 octane from 89 to avoid knocking. Thanks in advance for your thoughts. I have a short list of suspect parts but as laid out in the terms of service about posting, I won't try to diagnose the problem while explaining it. Chris.

posted by  68American

You'd buck & kick too, if you had 35+yrs of rust in your tank. :laughing: After all that you have done, I would drop the tank remove pickup tube, remove tube screen, replace if you can(lots of luck) throw it away, clean out the tank. I'd almost bet a six pack it works. :2cents:

posted by  lectroid

LOL, you crazy bastard. :thumbs: :laughing:

Tell me what parts you have in suspect, and why. When you put the two togethor, they are helpful.

posted by  DodgeRida67

So what happened is this. The car had poor compression in cylinder #6 last year. Numbers 1-5 had about 125-130 pounds, and #6 had about 80. This had been making it idle a little funny but really no big deal.

So after it started acting really off (see first post) I brought it to the shop near my house (thought it wasn't going to make it, kicking and backfiring with every acceleration) to check it out, specifically the vacuum advance and the timing. I don't know too much about cars but armed with a couple books and the technical service manual from this car thought it might be related to these things (I thought about the gas screen at the tank too like mentioned in the above post but after looking at the tank and all the rust thought better of trying to get the screen out!). The mechanics at the shop looked at it and told me after checking the compression that it was the valves, and it needed a valve job for $1000. Cylinder #6 is now down to 60 pounds, but the others are okay. So I thought WTF, this shouldn't just be the compression, the car was driving *way* worse than if it was just the compression in cylinder #6, like almost not even driveable. Apparantly they did not drive it around to see how bad it was, they just pulled it in, saw it idling funny, and popped the wires and plugs to check the compression, saw that it was bad, and said that this was the problem. :ticking:

So I thought I better get it home and decide what to do, since these guys apparantly were not helping. So I go to pick it up, start it up, and lo and behold it drives and idles fine! Just like it was before it started acting up. So I have no idea what caused it to do that, but apparantly some part of taking the wires and plugs out, then cranking the engine with the plugs out, fixed the problem.

On a side note, the car seems a little underpowered (yeah yeah I know its a Rambler, of course it is underpowered) compared to what it was a couple weeks ago. Is it possible that a piece of a valve on cylinder #6 broke off and was preventing the valve from seating (which it doesn't do well anyway) causing it to act up, then by cranking the engine over with the plug out it blew that piece out? Or maybe the wires or plugs somehow malfunctioning then when re-connected it started firing properly again?

Bizarre. I have heard it is hard to kill a Rambler, but this is very strange. Anyway, I drove it around again last night and it is running fine, good as it ever did. Lesson learned: don't take it on a 3 hour trip on the interstate. Maybe the wrong lesson, but who cares? It seems to be fixed. Thanks for the thoughts. Peace.

posted by  68American

WARNING. it's not fixed. Clean the tank, replace or dump the screen. :2cents:

posted by  lectroid

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