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Riviera not running :(

Guest JouniK

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Hi again! After many enjoyable miles (kilometres..) my Riviera has some trouble breathing. Here are the symptoms: This morning I drove 2 miles and at the final few yards it felt like the engine was out of gas. So I parked it , took my daughter to the kinderkarten and continued to work like nothing happened (1/2 mile).

After work I went to the parts store (1/2 mile) and when I left there the engine cranked but did not start. I pumped the pedal a few times and it almost started. I repeated this like 3 times and suddenly the engine started just fine.

I drove the car to my garage (1/4 mile), checked the fuel filter, carb, plug wires etc. Then I started it again and it was working fine. I let it idle like 5 minutes, everything was ok.

I thought it was oke to take it back home but after driving 1 mile the engine stalled again. And started after a few atempts. Then I drove 1/2 mile stalled again, 1/2 mile stalled again and then I got it home.:mad:

So first I was thinking the problem is the fuel pump. I discussed about the problem with a friend of mine, he told me it could be the condenser in the distributor. It gets hot and wont work, and after cooling a little it works again etc. I have Pertronix ignition so no condenser...

Any help? (there is gas in the tank ;))



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There is a sock like filter on the end of the fuel pick up tube inside the gas tank.

It could be possible that crud in the tank has loosened and is getting sucked towards that filter clogging it.

When you shut the car off, the crud falls away until the next time the engine is running.

I've heard of this causing similar symptoms in old cars.

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I bet it is a fuel issue too. Old gas tanks in old cars are often the skankiest part of the car, but you never know it until you have a problem. A buddy of mine kept hearing a clunking noise, he finally pulled a mop handle out of his gas tank on a Camaro...really. Try pulling the fuel filter. Let it dry overnight. Next day, shake out the filter over a clean paper towel. If you've got junk in the tank or the lines, you'll see tiny specks of rust, dirt, whatever coming out. Also, Sweep could be right about the pressure pulling it up while running too. It might be sludge or particles. I had the particles problem. It was maddening. The car would run great...then barely at all. Typically, it was stumbly, choked and cranky at low RPM. PRL

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1. The first check should be the fuel pressure. You should see 3-5 PSIG.

2. You can disconnect the fuel line at the carb and attach a small hand vacuum pump like a Myteevac. Use the brake bleeder bottle and just keep pumping and filling. Look for stoppage, dirt and grit, and the like; anything suspicious. I would run at least 4 or 5 bottles through.

3. Check your sending unit connections for cracked hoses and pinholes in the tubes.

4. You have fuel in the tank. Be sure it is more than 1/4 tank. My car runs out when the gauge reads 1/4.


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Dont guess at what the problem is and start changing parts. Check for fuel and spark when the problem presents itself. That will get you on the right path.

To check for fuel simply remove the air cleaner and check to see if your accelerator pump is working (assuming it is in proper operating condition). If there isn`t enough fuel in the bowl to allow the engine to idle there wont be enough fuel to get a few good, prolonged shots from the accel pump.

To check for spark pull the distributor side of the coil wire, insert a metal object into the end of the wire like a screwdriver, hold the metal object 1/2 an inch from a good ground and crank the engine. You should see a good bluish spark accompanied by an audible "snap".

Good luck,

Tom Mooney

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Thanks guys!

I had a little time today so I tried to find the problem. First I took the fuel hose from the tank off the pump and blew air in it -> bubbles in the tank, so at least some gas gets through. Then I poured some gas in the carb throttles and tried to start the car. It started with no problem, so I let it idle about 10 minutes. So something funny is happening. It might be the tank full of debris or some electric problem (loose connector etc.) One thing i notices was that the rubber fuel hose was bloated, so I´m going to replace it. It may not like the alcohol in the fuel ;) ( here we have 2 gasolines to choose from, 95 oct with max.10% alcohol, and 98 oct with max.5% alcohol).

So I hope I can drive the Rivi to my garage and inspect it some more. I hope I can drive it a few more weeks before the winter.

Its not very common in here to drive an old car through the winter (too much snow, too cold, too slippery, too much salt on the roads) so the car is about to recive some more care soon :)


Edited by JouniK (see edit history)
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