'77 Buick Riviera starts then immediately stalls

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  #1  
Old 03-21-13, 07:04 PM
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'77 Buick Riviera starts then immediately stalls

I've got a project car I've just started working on. It's a 1977 Buick Riviera with an Oldsmobile 403 V8; completely stock. It last ran about 3 years ago when it was parked where it is currently sitting. It ran and started fine then.

I tried starting it earlier without much luck. I put fresh gas in the tank and and tried starting it but I could only get it to turn over. So I then put a small amount of gas in the carburetor and it fired right up but stalled a second later. I could never get it to run, only start after putting gas in the carb and stall a few seconds later.

What should I try next? I have no idea when the fuel filter was last replaced or when any other maintenance was last performed. I'm fairly good with cars, but all the ones I've worked on are much newer than this and none of them had carburetors. Any help is appreciated.

EDIT: Meant to add, the car has 111,000 miles on it.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-21-13, 08:00 PM
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i would first un hook the fuel line to the carb and crank it over to make sure fuel is getting to it.
 
  #3  
Old 03-21-13, 08:19 PM
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Bigbob1122,

"T" in a fuel pressure gauge and crank the engine.

You should get a fuel PSI reading of 5.5 PSI to 7.5 PSI.

If you don't get those PSI readings (secondary) to a really severely clogged fuel filter, you have a defective fuel pump.

Thank You
Amy
 
  #4  
Old 03-22-13, 03:16 PM
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I tried this and did not see any gas come out. I think this also rules out the filter since the filter is on the carb and the line I unhooked comes before the filter.

Any other ways to test the fuel pump? Is there a way to definitively tell if that's what's wrong?
 
  #5  
Old 03-22-13, 06:09 PM
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hook a vacuum gage to the in side of the pump & see if it ""Sucks"" If the pump has a suck on the inlet, no dischage than check lines for leaks & also the sock in the tank..,,, Roger
 
  #6  
Old 03-22-13, 08:57 PM
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these are simple pumps. remove it and take it apart. i bet the diaphragm has a hole in it.

im sure your local auto parts can sell a rebuild kit.
 
  #7  
Old 03-22-13, 10:26 PM
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I'll give that a shot. Any idea how to get to the fuel pump on this car, or should I see about buying a service manual for it($10 on Ebay)?
 
  #8  
Old 03-22-13, 11:49 PM
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follow the fuel line. it should be mounted to the front left of the engine.
 
  #9  
Old 03-23-13, 05:38 AM
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should I see about buying a service manual for it
Repair manuals always come in handy - especially if it's a vehicle you intend to keep for awhile.
 
  #10  
Old 03-23-13, 08:33 AM
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if you by chance find you have fuel at the carb after disconnecting fuel line and turning engine over...most probable cause at that point would be a stuck or lacquered float due to sitting for 3 yrs. Very common in old cars that just sit around for years.. disassemble and clean.rebuild
 
  #11  
Old 03-23-13, 05:19 PM
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Found it. Looks much more simple that I thought it would be.

My pump has 3 lines, 2 that run back towards the tank and a metal one that runs to the carb.

Should I go ahead and take the pump out and check the diaphragm or should I try replacing the fuel lines?
 
  #12  
Old 03-24-13, 05:29 AM
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Since the car has sat for a long time, I'd start by just disconnecting the lines and blowing them out. Once you know that the lines are clear of obstructions, hook them back up and see if the gas flows, if not - then it will be time to pull the pump.
 
  #13  
Old 03-28-13, 04:25 PM
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I disconnected both lines running to the fuel tank and used a small hand pump to try and clear them. After pumping for a little while I could hear the gas in the tank sloshing around and a few seconds later some air and a small dribble of gas came out of the other line. I take that to mean both lines are clear.

I tried starting it but I still got nothing. Should I try the fuel pump now?
 
  #14  
Old 03-31-13, 06:12 PM
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Wanted to update everyone in case anyone needs this info in the future.

I replaced the old fuel pump with a brand new Airtex pump for $25. The installation was a breeze since this car has an eccentric instead of a push rod to operate the pump. Much easier to install. Took maybe 45 minutes. Poured a little gas in the carb and the car started right up on the first try and continued to run until I turned it off. Sounded pretty good too.

The bad news is that I'll have to replace the rubber line running to the pump since it appears to have a small tear in it. Luckily that's an easy repair.
 
  #15  
Old 03-31-13, 08:19 PM
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thank you for the update happy to hear you fixed it
 
  #16  
Old 04-11-13, 11:43 PM
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I've got another question not related to the fuel pump but I don't want to start a new topic.

I noticed that when I start the car the radiator fan comes on full blast and is incredibly loud. Any idea what might be causing that?

Also, after letting the car run for about 5 minutes or so it starts to smoke pretty bad and I can hear a loud rattling noise coming from the catalytic converter. The exhaust also spits out small black chunks on occasion as well. When I turn the car off I can still see wisps of smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe for a good 5-10 minutes after the car is turned off. What causes this? Bad cat? Clogged exhaust? The smoke is very light blue and is definitely not steam.

The car would run great if I could get both of these issues figured out as well.

Thanks!
 
  #17  
Old 04-12-13, 05:25 AM
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Light blue smoke would be oil, probably not unexpected for a 30+ year old car to be burning some oil. Do you have to add much between changes? Fans coming on high right at start up could indicate a couple of things; stuck fan relay or possibly bad temp sensor making the fan circuit think the engine is hot. Rattling in the cat could mean it has reached the end of its life expectancy. Might be a good idea to have it checked at a good muffler shop (I prefer independents to the chain shops).

Edit: You probably haven't driven it far enough to monitor oil consumption. Given it had sat for quite a while, could have some piston rings not sealing properly or possibly some dried out seals.
 
  #18  
Old 04-14-13, 02:46 PM
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Thanks for the info. What should be the first thing I do here? I don't care if it smokes a little since it's an old car but I don't want to be smoking up the whole neighborhood either.

I haven't driven it much. Basically just up and down my driveway. Runs good, just very smoky.
 
  #19  
Old 04-14-13, 03:36 PM
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Bigbob1122,

If the blue smoke appears AFTER the car has been parked for a while this would suggest bad valve seals. Oil has dripped into the engine while the car was parked. Engines have valves that open and close. The valves are opened mechanically by pressure being applied to them via rocker arms. The valves let gas and air into the engine, and let exhaust gases out of the engine after the gas and air have been burnt. The top of the valves (where the pressure is applied) are covered in oil. There are valve seals to stop this oil from coming into the engine. When these valve seals wear out, they let the oil into the engine. Oil going into the engine is then burnt along with the gas and air creating the blue smoke. Usually the car has to sit for a while (such as all day) with the engine not running for the oil to drain into the engine through the worn valve seals. Sometimes the smoke will be worse when the car is parked on a slope as this can tilt the engine, making more oil end up at the worn valve seals. This causes more oil than usual to end up in the engine and creates more blue smoke when starting the engine.

If blue smoke appears ALL THE TIME your engine is running then the first thing to check is the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) Valve. If pressure builds up in the oil pan, the PCV Valve allows this pressure to release. The pressure is released into the intake manifold where the engine gets its air for working. The intake manifold is also connected to your engine air filter. If the PCV Valve gets stuck open then it will keep mixing the air with oil and other gases from inside the engine. The oil then gets mixed with the Gas and air and gets burnt creating the blue smoke.

Thank You
Amy
 
  #20  
Old 04-14-13, 08:10 PM
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Thanks for the info! I'll give the PCV valve a shot first since it's cheap and easy to try.
 
  #21  
Old 04-14-13, 09:33 PM
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I wouldn't get too excited about a little smoke on something that has sat for years. Get it where it is safe to drive and put some miles on it. I hope you have or are going to change the oil. I used to buy old tractors and fix them up, and the best thing you could do with one was to put it to work to stop the smoke and smooth out the running.
 
  #22  
Old 04-15-13, 02:11 PM
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bigbob1122,

The big picture is if you live in a state where ďEmission StandardsĒ are part of the annual vehicle inspection, your vehicle (since itís blowing blue smoke) DOES NOT DESERVE to pass inspection.

Now hereís the twist. Since your vehicle is a 1977 getting it TO PASS the inspection is EASY ENOUGH. Problem is doing something like that is ILLEGAL.

Long story short, if you have an inspection done, and the inspector does something illegal to pass your car you could still get a ticket.

In other words (after the inspection was done) youíre driving down the road (still blowing blue smoke). A cop or a state trooper sees the blue smoke and issues you a summons.

Well not only will you have to pay that summons, but you have to submit PROOF that the blue smoke issue was corrected.

Also the DMV (in the state) you live in is going to HEAVILY FINE the inspector that passed your car in the first place. I hope you can understand what Iím saying here?

Thank You
Amy
 

Last edited by Gunguy45; 04-15-13 at 02:39 PM. Reason: Removed critisizm
  #23  
Old 04-15-13, 07:50 PM
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I live in Alabama, so no emissions testing to worry about. I don't care if the car smokes a little, but I just don't want to leave a smoke screen behind me wherever I go. There are cars on the road here that have problems way way worse than a little blue smoke.

In the next few days I'll try replacing the PCV valve.
 
  #24  
Old 04-16-13, 03:19 AM
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I agree with retired wrench, I wouldn't be overly concerned with the blue smoke for the time being. I've bought more than one old vehicle that used a little oil when I first got it but after a couple of oil changes they quit using oil. It's hard on a vehicle to sit unused. Try the easiest stuff first, puts some miles on the car and reevaluate the engines condition a little later
 
  #25  
Old 04-16-13, 12:51 PM
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BigBob1122,

Again critical information is NOT being brought to your attention so I will continue to help you. Just so you know a little about me, in 5 days it will be 38 years that I have been certified as an ASE Master Mechanic. I currently own 2 repair shops, and Iím in the process of buying a third shop.

Ok living in Alabama (where there is no) annual vehicle emission helps your particular situation. Fact is you could still get a summons via the Alabama DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) for unhealthy and unnecessary air pollution.

In other words, youíre simply driving down an Alabama street minding your own business, but leaving clouds of blue smoke behind you as you drive. The vehicle (to your left, right, or directly behind you) is being driven by an inspector from the Alabama DEP.

The inspector (he or she) sees the clouds of blue smoke that your car is emitting. Well the inspector has the right to stop you and issue you a summons for unhealthy and unnecessary air pollution. Such tickets are rare, but they do occur because the blue smoke was witnessed by a government agent, and (the fact that it was witnessed by a government agent) gives the agent the authority to issue you a summons.

Next thing is what happens if you decide to drive your car out of the state of Alabama into a state THAT HAS annual emission standards? Well if a police officer or state trooper sees the clouds of blue smoke being emitted by your car, you could get a summons. Good part is that since the summons is out of your home state, there will be no points on your license. Bad part is you still have to pay a fine.

Finally right now the smoke issue is minor, but with continued use of the car the issue is only going to get worse. If your goal is to keep this car and drive it, mechanical intervention (at some point) is going to become necessary to repair the smoke issue permanently.

Thank You
Amy
 
  #26  
Old 04-18-13, 10:01 AM
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I usually agree with the advice provided by Amy but he last paragraph of the last post I have trouble with. You have no way of knowing "it will get worse" It could and again it could get better, Im just saying give it a try. I have seen many engines "heal themselves". I have an old lawn mower I bought that would run out of oil in a couple hours. I knew the engine was not too old so I babyed it along and today you can trun it all day and it wont be down any.
So you will know something about me,in May it will be 59 years since I graduated high school and went to work as a line mechanic in a GM dealership. I worked at various dealerships till 62 (outside of 2 years) when I bought my own place that I ran till retirement. During that time I repaired everything from air planes to wooden legs along with the usual stuff. I was constantly fending off offers from various dealers wanting me to come work for them. I am not up to speed on all the latest stuff but the basics still remain the same. As Red Green says "keep you stick on the ice"
 
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