StylishOne

Trying to figure what went wrong when engine just stops

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My friend called me with an issue  he is having with a 74 Eldo. He bought the  car after it was sitting a long time in the garage.  If I have the story right it was brought to a general  mechanic ..oil  change filter n battery were  changed , etc. That part I'm checking on.. He took it  on a 40 mile trip no problem. The next day drove it on some in town chores and it died  while driving n wouldn't restart.. (btw the car has 45000 original on it. . )

He had it towed to a service center. Couldn't find a problem .. didnt lose oil or over heat.. it wont do anything now! 

Any ideas what to look at? I thought vapor lock or motor seized ?? He's  gonna try to turn the fan ..

Any of you have things to check  to help figure it out..

Thanks 

 

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Posted (edited)

When a car just quits it is usually either gas or spark. You could check the fuel filter or filters first, there is probably one on the carburetor inlet and may be another in the gas line. Bad gas or dirty gas.

The other possible problem is ignition. Most likely coil or other component failing when hot. You can check this next time it quits, often a part that fails when hot will start working again when it cools off so you have to check right away.

 

When you say 'it won't do anything now' I took that to mean, it won't stall or quit and you can't tell what the problem was. But then you say "he's gonna try to turn the fan" which implies the engine is frozen. Which is it? Is the car running perfect again, or is it frozen up? I should think if the engine was frozen, or wouldn't start, the mechanic would have noticed. But you say the service center couldn't find the problem. Your message makes less and less sense the more I read it.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Sorry I'm no mechanic, n I wasnt there..It wont turn over as I understand it does nothing. No it never started again..  I'm now thinking either seized or shorted wires from sitting n rodents might have gotten to some wires..you're right it could be fuel but generally they buck n stall..

Does it make sense now?

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2 minutes ago, StylishOne said:

It wont turn over as I understand it does nothing

So the starter doesn't work?

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OK, the solenoid doesn't even click. You had best get a wiring diagram and start looking at the ignition switch.

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Could the battery just be dead? It wont jump? Those early electronic distributors had control chips/modules in them that would go bad without warning and the car would crank and crank but never even try to start. I think new one's are availble now.

 

But if theres no juice flowing and it wont even crank then Spinnyhill is right and you should start with the switch or the solenoid and see why power isnt getting to the starter.

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Could be anything from a loose wire to a frozen motor. It must be some mechanic if he can't find anything wrong with a car that won't even turn over. If I was there I could tell you what is wrong in 5 minutes. Unfortunately it would take 5 hours to list every possible fault and how to fix them. Suggest you find a new mechanic, one who is competent. Preferrably an old gray haired or bald headed guy who knows how to work on a V8 engine with a carburetor and distributor ignition.

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Update.. oil doesn't smell burnt.  I hear now when he puts battery in it sparks.. In going to talk to that mechanic during the week.. do 74 fans attach directly to the  crankshaft or does it engage after a bit.. he said something  about it free floating? 

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The fan always spins free when the motor is not running.  It has a clutch fan.   Is the shift lever in park?

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If you are getting spark at the bettery terminal when you connect it, everything off, you have a short circuit somewhere fairly upstream. Find it. And yes, 1974 is the first year for electronic ignition in a Cadillac.  -  Carl 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, StylishOne said:

He had it towed to a service center. Couldn't find a problem .. didnt lose oil or over heat.. it wont do anything now! 

Any ideas what to look at?

 

Seat of the pants troubleshooting when you don't have any tools.

 

Step 1 - With the battery connected will the headlights burn?

  • YES- Go to step 2.
  • NO- Dead battery OR bad battery cable connections.  Go to step 4

Step 2 - With the headlights turned on, do the headlights go dim when you turn the key to the start position?

  • NO- Go to step 3.
  • YES- Weak battery or bad battery cable connection.   Go to step 4

Step 3 - Do you hear a click at the starter when you turn the key to the start position.

  • NO- Go to step 4.
  • YES- Possibly a bad starter or starter solenoid.  Go to step 4.

Step 4 - Call a real mechanic who has tools and knows how to use them.  Most "Service Centers" nowadays have technicians that only know how to use a code reader and they're lost when it comes to a '74 model Cadillac.  :)

 

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)
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6 hours ago, billorn said:

Could the battery just be dead? It wont jump? Those early electronic distributors had control chips/modules in them that would go bad without warning and the car would crank and crank but never even try to start. I think new one's are availble now.

 

But if theres no juice flowing and it wont even crank then Spinnyhill is right and you should start with the switch or the solenoid and see why power isnt getting to the starter.

You won't get a HEI distributor until 1975. This is a point distributor.

Follow Ronnie's advise.

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5 hours ago, C Carl said:

 1974 is the first year for electronic ignition in a Cadillac.  -  Carl 

 

But : of course my memory could be wrong. I don't think so, though. My books are on the other side of the mountains, so I don't think I can verify this. Seems I installed a HEI from a '74 Eldo in my '71 35 years or so ago.   -    CC 

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They went to HEI because of catalytic converters, Catalytic converters came in 1975.

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HEI was an option for most GMs in 1974. Some had points and some had HEI.

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use jumper cables from battery to starter  --negative on casing of starter positive to  starter bolt  should turn starter--  bang starter with hammer  solenoid may be stuck

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