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amberlmansfield

1965 Ford Falcon 4-Door. Help, please?

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I recently got a 1965 Ford Falcon 4 door. We drove her from Fort Gratiot down near Detroit in April 2010. For those unaware, about an hour and a half drive with no problems. Now she keeps making a sputtering want-to-stall sound. When I hit the gas it only gets louder with longer gaps in the sputtering and will occasionally make her stall out entirely. When looking at the temperature it's at about halfway, but the fuel gauge is slightly off so the temperature gauge could be as well. Our first thought was either a charging problem or an overheating problem. To remove the story of why we ended up doing such, just trust we needed to replace these parts. We have replaced the alternator, voltage regulator and wiring (which were tested after and appear to be running smoothly), radiator, water pump and the idle has been played with, if it's turned a half turn back or quarter forward she starts to stall. She's still sputtering and we have a couple of options left and are stumped where to begin.

If anyone could recommend where to begin or what else it could be, please do help. We're intending to start ASAP. Thus far between our intuition and other people's opinions it could be vacuum system failure (how can WE test for that without a mechanic?), fuel pump, carbuerator, thermostat, fuel filter or timing could be off. We know she needs an exhaust system but as of now we're not certain that could be causing stalling, could it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you very much,

Amber Mansfield

Edited by amberlmansfield (see edit history)

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

My first question is how long has the car been sitting. If for some time, my first guess would be to look at the carb, fuel filter & fuel system. Sounds like it is starving for gas.

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The man before me got the Falcon from someone he knew whose relation to him escapes me, but she sat in a garage for 3-4 years. He started driving her in '09 and drove her for some months before selling to me in April. Until these past 3 weeks or so she ran like a champ which is what's confusing me. She's sat 3-4 years and ran about 1 year afterwards before this problem. The fuel filter looks new to me but I don't know about the fuel pump and the carbuerator has a couple small pieces loose but nothing serious.

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I would still suspect fuel problems. Any old car likely has considerable crud in the tank, and it takes a small amount of it coming loose to stop up the works. Replace the fuel filter first, then go from there. A bad fuel pump or a leak in the fuel line will cause insufficient fuel delivery to the carb. The carb may well need a rebuild as it likely has crud sediment in the float bowl. A tiny amount of crud will easily stop up the idle circuit in the carb. Remember this circuit bleeds air and not fuel into the carb in most cars. If the fuel filter is plugged with rust or goo then the tank will need cleaning to fix the problem for good.

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I had the same issue with my 1965 Corvair last month. Check your vacuum advance on your distributor. A dashpot moves the points base plate to advance the spark. My base plate had a loose pivot and wouldn't always return. The timing was all over the place! I installed a rebuilt one from Clark and she has never run better. Also check see if the sock on the fuel pickup in the tank is good.They get blocked up too!

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Thank you very, very much. I appreciate all the help! We managed to track down a fuel pump today and it should be in tomorrow (seeing as she did sit 3-4 years, it won't hurt and it was only about $30 bucks) and we'll probably be installing that tomorrow. I suppose my head was too into the project to stop and consider that rust could have gotten in the gas tank so I'll probably start the day off draining the gas tank and checking for rust, then I'll replace the fuel pump and fuel filter. Hopefully I don't need to go much further then that. Thank you very much, Robin Coleman. I haven't seen any fuel leaks so I don't believe it to be the fuel line. I guess once I'm done replacing all that tomorrow I'll see how it goes. Thank you tcang, I'll be sure to check both of those before I move on to the carburetor (which I am completely dreading if and when I must rebuild).

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If the carb and fuel pump are older, they may contain rubber parts that are not resistant to alcohol, and if you're in an area with only ethanold blended fuels available, this could be making the fuel pump and carb unhappy.

Falcons used a Holley carb with a diaphragm-type accelerator pump ( as opposed to the old-style leather plunger ), and this too could be affected by modern E-90/ E-85 fuels.

I'm having this issue with the Holley carb on my '61 .

Also double-check the condition of your points & condensor. Points that are pitted/burned and gapped too close will also cause very poor running.

Good luck - once you get the bugs out, you'll find the Falcon a great car; Mom and I each had 1962 Falcons, and Dad had a '63 & a '65, both were Futura Fordors...

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I know I said I would update you guys and let you know what happened... But after everything going on we called an early night. Currently, we have replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter and the metal line leading from the fuel pump to the carburetor because it was so rusty that the brass fitting on the line was rusted onto the line itself. We see no sign of rust, so have left the gas tank alone entirely. Trying to start her up now and she just repeatedly turns over with no true start. At this point we've removed the spark plugs and began cleaning them out and also in hopes of the engine clearing out just in case we flooded it, but otherwise we cannot figure out why she won't fire up. I read about checking the vacuum advance but I'm not sure how to check that or the sock on the fuel pickup in the tank... We're thinking about the carburetor next, but she was at least running before and since replacing the fuel pump, filter and line she won't start at all. Any ideas?

EDIT: Scratch that. A friend's dad happened to drop in. I never knew he knew cars so well and he managed to give a fresh pair of eyes. The coil was being ground on the fuel pump so it wasn't sparking. We shifted the coil and she fired up. She drives like a champ now, but occasionally the ALT light flickers on and she still sputters a bit which we're told is a timing problem... So our next mission is rebuilding the carburetor and fixing the timing. Thank you very much for all of your help!!!

Edited by amberlmansfield (see edit history)

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It's not ununsual for the Alternator / Generator light to flicker at idle... as long as it goes out when you pull away from the stop sign.

Glad to hear you're making progress !

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I have to change my distributor cap and points from time to time to keep my falcon running smooth and check the gap on the spark plugs

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Sometimes the light will stay on, even while cruising along at like, 40 or 50. Other times it won't. Not sure what it is but right now I'm just grateful she's up and running smooth again. Thank you very much, De Soto Frank. :)

Fowlcoon: We did that while we had some down time after accidently kinking the line from the fuel pump to the carburetor. While one was bending the new line the other was cleaning and regapping the spark plugs. (It was during that time that the coil was being ground on the fuel pump) When I first bought the Falcon on April 1st, the first couple things I did was a tune-up and an oil change... So I didn't think that logically we would need to clean them off, but they were filthy!! Starting to think we need an upper end rebuild now, too. *sigh* Getting there slowly but surely.

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The plugs could be fouled up because of all the carburetor trouble. But there is a second possibility. Those Ford sixes often suffered from valve stem seal failure resulting in excess oil entering the engine thru the intake valve stems.

When you took the plugs out did they seem to have a sooty deposit? That's gas. An oily greasy deposit is oil.

You could run the car for a while and check the plugs again.

Another clue is to look at the exhaust. Black smoke means too much gas. Blue smoke means burning oil. White smoke is normal, it is water vapor you see when the weather and engine are cold.

A puff of blue smoke on starting means bad valve guides. Blue smoke on acceleration means bad rings.

Do you have to add oil often? That is another clue although it could be more due to leaks than oil burning in many cases.

It is also possible the bad carb dumped a lot of gas in the oil. An oil change might be in order or take out the dip stick and give it the sniff test, if it smells of gas change it.

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Yours is a very typical problem with old-style gasoline delivery systems.

Has to do with the "vapor pressure" or "boiling" of the gasoline.

Modern gasoline boils off MUCH easier and faster than 1960's gasoline. For a good reason - the higher the vapor pressure, the faster the car will start in cold weather.

All modern gasoline vehicles have high pressure fuel pumps in or next to the gasoline tank, because modern motors are "fuel injected". The modern fuel cant "boil" or vapor-lock in a modern car with pressurized fuel lines.

Your old-style fuel pump SUCKS fuel from the tank, and then SQUIRTS it up to the carbuerator "bowl", which can get quite hot during normal driving, causing modern fuels to boil off.

There are two ways to solve this.

One is to get some fresh 1960's gasoline. 1960's gasoline has a much much lower vapor pressure than gasoline you buy today. That explains why cars in those days didn't do this.

If you can't find any fresh 1960's gasoline, I strongly recommend you install a electric fuel pump 1) as CLOSE to the gasoline tank as possible

2) as LOW as possible

12 Volt electric fuel pumps are available at just about any auto parts house. They will PRESSURIZE the fuel in the line from the gas tank to the carb. Gasoline under PRESSURE in a fuel line will not vapor-lock as it does when it is SUCKED thru the lines by the old-fashioned type diaphragm/ engine-driven fuel pumps.

Remember " they dont build them like they used to " for a good reason ! One of those many reasons is that today's gasoline boils off when not under pressure, faster than 1960's gasoline!

Edited by MetalFlake (see edit history)

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Amber, to follow up. New repo gas tanks are cheap!! If you want a reliable driver, I would suggest to get one. They are under two hundred including shipping. This is one of the first things I do when I get a new toy. Enjoy you new baby. Pat

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