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What causes a carb to backfire?


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Some of the best classic and antique car mechanics I know have no official accreditation. They learned their trade at the school of hard knocks. 

 

Did Henry Ford or Ransom E. Olds or the Dodge brothers take an auto shop class in high school? I don't think so. LOL

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As for being a mechanic or not.

I once owned a boat dealership, I was always getting calls from vocational schools with programs that would subsidize wages for newly trained small engine mechanics.

There were some guys that could be trained in my field but not most.

A guy has to understand what he is working on. I my case we had factory backing and training.

The franchise dealer training emphasizes troubleshooting techniques using the manuals and special tools for a given product.

It is important that one knows how to troubleshoot and understanding the results.

Even with all this training some guys just don't get it.  I would suspect that they have some talent that I don't have as we all accell at something.

In short, my best mechanics had the "knack", the book trained ones usually didn't.

 

I found that I was better off hiring a good sales crew up front that could answer the phone and keep people away from me unless an emergency and do the mechanicals myself. Fewer come backs.

I once had a mechanic tell me that any job worth doing is worth doing twice. I wonder if he ever found his nitch since he didn't make it at my shop.

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I had a room mate/friend in college (Georgia Tech) who was a genius when it came to the bookwork.  He rarely had to study to ace subjects that had me knocking my head against the wall (maybe that's what's wrong with me today ... concussion :P ).  With all of that genius however, "GOOD GRIEF GERTY, DONT'T TURN THAT BOY LOOSE AROUND MACHINERY!!!!!!!!  As much as he tried, a wrench, screwdriver, or a tool of any nature, just would not "fit his hand".  As pointed out by Jack M above, my friend just did not have the "knack" when it came to dealing with the practical/real-world aspect of machinery.

 

With all of that said, have we figgered out "What Causes a Carb To Backfire?"  We're now at post #123, including this one.  This has been an interesting thread because with all of the mechanical expertise represented by members of this forum, there is still some discussion about this mechanical malfunction.  My opinion (unfortunately, I'm no expert) is that if all of the good advice offered is followed in a logical sequence (for example, try the easy fixes first), the problem will be defined and a remedy found.

 

Just my opinion,

Grog

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 have we figgered out "What Causes a Carb To Backfire?"  We're now at post #123, including this one.  This has been an interesting thread because with all of the mechanical expertise represented by members of this forum

 

Just my opinion,

Grog

 

The backfiring problem has been resolved thanks to Helfen from Vulcania who said I should rev it up to 3000 rpm and put my hand (I used a rag) over the carb until it almost dies and repeat that procedure several times. I took the car out at 7:30 this morning to be first in line at the motor vehicle department to get my Kentucky antique plates and it didn't backfire at all during the 10 mile round trip. Several others passed along a lot of good ideas too. The engine still smokes pretty good but Junkyard Jeff is coming down from Dayton, Ohio in the next week or two to check the valves, timing and some other things so I've been very fortunate to get a lot of help from the great people on this site. Thanks again to all of you....

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If you think you need the help of a hobbyist, you should join the local AACA Region. The Kyana Region certainly has some good people who can help you learn how to work on your Edsel.  

 

Kyana Region

President - Fred Trusty

2012 Bear Camp Rd

Louisville, KY 40272

 

A few minutes ago I called and left messages at the homes of the club president, VP and webmaster (the only 3 numbers listed on the site) and asked for info on joining their chapter so I'll let you guys know what happens. Like I said in an earlier post, in the past I've been told that they are "not accepting new members at this time" so we'll see if that is still the case....

Edited by Lebowski (see edit history)
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The backfiring problem has been resolved thanks to Helfen from Vulcania who said I should rev it up to 3000 rpm and put my hand (I used a rag) over the carb until it almost dies and repeat that procedure several times. I took the car out at 7:30 this morning to be first in line at the motor vehicle department to get my Kentucky antique plates and it didn't backfire at all during the 10 mile round trip. Several others passed along a lot of good ideas too. The engine still smokes pretty good but Junkyard Jeff is coming down from Dayton, Ohio in the next week or two to check the valves, timing and some other things so I've been very fortunate to get a lot of help from the great people on this site. Thanks again to all of you....

that's Great !!! 

Congratulations !!

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I had a room mate/friend in college (Georgia Tech) who was a genius when it came to the bookwork.  He rarely had to study to ace subjects that had me knocking my head against the wall (maybe that's what's wrong with me today ... concussion :P ).  With all of that genius however, "GOOD GRIEF GERTY, DONT'T TURN THAT BOY LOOSE AROUND MACHINERY!!!!!!!!  As much as he tried, a wrench, screwdriver, or a tool of any nature, just would not "fit his hand".  As pointed out by Jack M above, my friend just did not have the "knack" when it came to dealing with the practical/real-world aspect of machinery.

 

With all of that said, have we figgered out "What Causes a Carb To Backfire?"  We're now at post #123, including this one.  This has been an interesting thread because with all of the mechanical expertise represented by members of this forum, there is still some discussion about this mechanical malfunction.  My opinion (unfortunately, I'm no expert) is that if all of the good advice offered is followed in a logical sequence (for example, try the easy fixes first), the problem will be defined and a remedy found.

 

Just my opinion,

Grog

 

Along the same lines, I have a friend that writes firmware for Intel. This is the part that the computer has built in so that it can read software.

Way advanced stuff.

I think he is a genius in his own right. But the poor sap cant tie a shoe.

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Along the same lines, I have a friend that writes firmware for Intel. This is the part that the computer has built in so that it can read software.

Way advanced stuff.

I think he is a genius in his own right. But the poor sap cant tie a shoe.

I know this guy who is gifted with his hands and has a thinking process that is off the charts. People call him a genius. His command of medical theory and practicality is second to none. He doesn't have a medical degree, but he just knows what to do.

Someday when the time comes for you to have open heart surgery I'll sign you up. After all, that book learning and the accreditation process is a bunch of bull.

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This morning I replaced the plugs, condenser and distributor cap in the Edsel. I bought a rotor too but it was the wrong one so I put the old one back in. I didn't replace the points because I don't know how to adjust them after you put them in the distributor. Anyway, it smoked a lot less when I started it up in the garage. Could replacing these things have anything to do with it? Several pages back in this thread someone suggested that I do that so I did. I took a pic of the old plugs and they don't look too good to me. What do you guys think? 

post-101899-0-65442300-1448992491_thumb.

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This morning I replaced the plugs, condenser and distributor cap in the Edsel. I bought a rotor too but it was the wrong one so I put the old one back in. I didn't replace the points because I don't know how to adjust them after you put them in the distributor. Anyway, it smoked a lot less when I started it up in the garage. Could replacing these things have anything to do with it? Several pages back in this thread someone suggested that I do that so I did. I took a pic of the old plugs and they don't look too good to me. What do you guys think?

Sorry,No

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Bit sooty & starting to foul (oil burning but the electrodes look almost new. (very squared off). As a plug ages it gets almost round.

BTW am one of the few BIOS programmers left. I used to write antivirus programs that ran before the OS booted up. No big.

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A few minutes ago I called and left messages at the homes of the club president, VP and webmaster (the only 3 numbers listed on the site) and asked for info on joining their chapter so I'll let you guys know what happens. Like I said in an earlier post, in the past I've been told that they are "not accepting new members at this time" so we'll see if that is still the case....

 

The president of the Louisville chapter of the AACA called me tonight and we had a nice chat for 45 minutes. He said they have a limit of 275 members and that they are very close to that number now. He also said that a new member needs to be sponsored by a current member. I'm not sure what happens if you don't know any current members. I guess I have plenty of time to figure that out since they only accept new members during the month of October-no exceptions. Is this the way all the other chapters operate? He also said he didn't know of any current members who would be willing to help me try to figure out why my Edsel smokes so much. I'd like to get the problem resolved one way or another over the winter instead of waiting until next October so hopefully Junkyard Jeff will come down from Dayton sometime in the next couple of weeks so I'll at least know if I need a valve job or rings or something else....

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No that is not how most AACA Regions or Chapters operate. Hopefully they allow non-members to attend some events to get to know about the club and meet some members. That would enable you to get involved with the local club and see if you are interested in becoming a member. 

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The president of the Louisville chapter of the AACA called me tonight and we had a nice chat for 45 minutes. He said they have a limit of 275 members and that they are very close to that number now. He also said that a new member needs to be sponsored by a current member. I'm not sure what happens if you don't know any current members. I guess I have plenty of time to figure that out since they only accept new members during the month of October-no exceptions. Is this the way all the other chapters operate? He also said he didn't know of any current members who would be willing to help me try to figure out why my Edsel smokes so much. I'd like to get the problem resolved one way or another over the winter instead of waiting until next October so hopefully Junkyard Jeff will come down from Dayton sometime in the next couple of weeks so I'll at least know if I need a valve job or rings or something else....

 

I don't think I would want to be in that club. (I don't do clubs anyway)

I have never heard of such a thing.

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I'm not a member of their region, but if they will accept a 50+ year member of national AACA as your sponsor, I'll be happy to send you my member number and full contact info.

 

Actually, they should just look at this thread to determine your worthiness.

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I'm not a member of their region, but if they will accept a 50+ year member of national AACA as your sponsor, I'll be happy to send you my member number and full contact info.

 

Actually, they should just look at this thread to determine your worthiness.

 

I'm pretty sure the sponsor needs to be a member of the Kyana (Kentucky-Indiana) chapter which leads me to believe that it's kind of a "good old boys club". Fred (the guy who called me) said he would call me next August to see if I wanted to attend one of their functions as a guest but I'm not holding my breath....

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If the Kyana Region has a waiting list and does not accept members on a regular basis, it is an unusual Region. The only other Region that I have ever heard of that has a waiting list for membership is the Hershey Region. I am a member of several different AACA Regions and my local AACA Chapter as well. None of those clubs have any sort of waiting list to join. I can understand that a large club might have some legitimate reasons to restrict additional members. We have enough trouble finding a meeting place for my local AACA Chapter and I count 141 members on our Chapter Roster, although we generally have a little less than half of that number at meetings regularly. I would think that if a Region can't accept people who want to join, they should consider starting some different local chapters to enable those folks to enjoy AACA club activities on a local level.

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I have sent your info to a member of the region who may be able to sponsor you or help you yesterday.  Several of our AACA regions have a limit on members.  In most cases it is due to size of meeting facilities or just ability to deal with the numbers especially when you add families.  I know that Kyana definitely wants to add more members and has done so every year.  If Fred says he will call you he will!  He is an outstanding, hard working guy who does a lot for everyone.  Send me your contact info so I can get it to a guy who will sponsor you aaca1@aaca.org.  The Kyana Region is a great group of people who run a terrific swap meet, donate to charitable causes, have hosted national meets and are a great group of families.  I hope they are able to allow you to join sooner than later.   

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If the motor is tired I would suggest buying a good used motor that can be heard run as they can be picked up cheap since alot get pulled in favor of V8s,there is a big truck version that is a 262 but have never seen any. I will bring all the necessary tools and equipment with me and hope I can get it running better for you.  There is a 223 in my area on craigslist that can be heard run but we will worry about that after I check it out.

 

Junkyard Jeff drove over from Dayton today to take a look at my engine. We went for a drive and he could see that it was smoking pretty good. He checked the timing and it was way off so he adjusted it but that was about all he could do. He told me what I was pretty much expecting-that the engine is tired and needs to either be rebuilt or replaced. I like the replacement idea better because it would be faster, cheaper and easier. If anyone knows of a rebuilt or good running 223 between model years 1954-64 that doesn't smoke within 1000 miles of Louisville please let me know. Thanks again to Jeff for cruising over to take a look at my engine....

Edited by Lebowski (see edit history)
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Junkyard Jeff drove over from Dayton today to take a look at my engine. We went for a drive and he could see that it was smoking pretty good. He checked the timing and it was way off so he adjusted it but that was about all he could do. He told me what I was pretty much expecting-that the engine is tired and needs to either be rebuilt or replaced. I like the replacement idea better because it would be faster, cheaper and easier. If anyone knows of a rebuilt or good running 223 between model years 1954-64 that doesn't smoke within 1000 miles of Louisville please let me know. Thanks again to Jeff for cruising over to take a look at my engine....

If this is a matching #'s car I would rebuild the engine. A Ford six is so easy to do. To be honest and not knowing details of Ford products I would have never thought the Edsel came with a six. The combination seems rare to me. I've never seen one like that before. 

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If this is a matching #'s car I would rebuild the engine. A Ford six is so easy to do. To be honest and not knowing details of Ford products I would have never thought the Edsel came with a six. The combination seems rare to me. I've never seen one like that before. 

 

It may be easy for you but it's not easy for me. It's not a numbers matching car. There are lots of Edsels with 6 bangers....

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I wouldn't worry about numbers matching because as a far as I know there weren't any serial numbers used on the engines. You would go by the casting numbers to verify the correct year.

Yes they did use sixes in Edsels but they weren't too common. The six was a credit option.

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Incredibly obvious, but has anyone checked out the air filter on this car? Oil bath or element? If it's oil bath it could be long overdue for a good cleaning, but I suspect at that year it should have an element. Due for a change? If the vacuum trick worked on the carb, it sounds like it either wasn't cleaned out very good during the rebuild, or you were still getting crud from the tank or lines after it was done. An extra element at the carb inlet might help. When you guys were doing the timing, did you check to make sure the advances were working properly? I know the consensus seems to be that it's an oil burner that needs rings etc, but if you put all the externals back on the next motor without  checking them out, you could be bolting some of the old issues back onto the next motor.

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Just occurred to me:  Is this car equipped with a PCV valve (positive crankcase ventilation valve)?  They were mandatory in California on new cars beginning in 1961, but The Pipples' Republik also required me to retrofit one onto a 1950 Pontiac.

 

I believe GM may have had them even before 1961.

 

Just IF you do have a PCV, either factory or a retrofit installation, it should be located and cleaned or replaced, just on General Principles.  

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 Is this car equipped with a PCV valve (positive crankcase ventilation valve)?  

 

Jeff checked and said it didn't have one. Thanks for the suggestion....

The car didn't come with one from the factory. It came with a pressure suction road draft system.

California was the first state to implement PCV system in 1961, Federal requirement for PCV was 1962. Some states like California made you retrofit one on a 1955-1960 car when you sold the vehicle. Later if you happen to be a original owner and didn't do the retrofit  ca. had changed the requirement not to have it done.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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If you recall, I mentioned that the point gap affects the dwell angle and, thus the timing. Did you guys check on the condition of, or replace the points before timing the engine? Has the oil burning diminished any at all since adding the "Restore"?

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If you buy a used engine it is going to be 50 years old and may not be any better than the one you have. Not trying to rain on your parade, just pointing out the obvious. Do a compression test, check oil pressure, and run it long enough to find out if it burns oil or not. You don't want to buy an engine, pay to have it swapped in, then find out you wasted your money.

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That motor is definately tired,plenty of smoke out the tail pipe and road draft tube and the oil cap. We did not check the point gap but the timing was retarded about a 3/4 inch away from the mark,I wish I could have been more helpfull but its rebuild time for that 223. I drove my 65 custom 500 down there and burnt a exhaust valve on the trip so it looks like I have some work to do too.

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A cheap attempt would be to stick a PCV in the system ands see what happens.

I agree that this owner already has a used motor in his car,  Chances are that the next one will be used as well.

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