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Hill climbing in 3rd...1917 Buick....fuel starved


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It has no problem climbing them in 3rd gear, but it runs out of gas. Conks right out.

 

Same hill in 2nd gear, easy as pie but too slow.  Shift to 3rd, goes faster, torques fine for a few seconds but requires more leadfoot on gas......runs out of gas. 

 

Never happens on level ground or in 2nd gear.

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I'm just thinking out loud here, but, there could be several causes for 'running out of gas' as you say.  Maybe there is not sufficient vacuum pulling fuel from the fuel tank.  The valves could not be seating properly.  The rings could be not so good.  If the engine runs pretty good on level ground and it craps out under a load, that would indicate to me that there is something wrong in the fuel delivery system.  Correct me if I am wrong here, but you have told us on here that you did just the bare minimum to get the engine running.  Without thoroughly going through the engine you basically do not know exactly what you have and what is going on with it.  I am not bagging on you here, but you need to stop and realize that an engine that has set for decades is not going to come back to life and run like it did yesterday without some very close attention and proper restorative maintenance.  I am in the final stages of getting the engine in the '16 ready to run for the first time in 44+ years.  There are a lot of intricate details in one of these old engines that can go wrong and the thing will run like crap.  Everybody thinks that these things are as simple as pie, but, I am here to tell you that there are a lot of things that have to be just right and then they will run like they were designed to.  Start looking and eliminating.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Morgan, 

    What is your vacuum reading at idle?  You will need to disconnect the vacuum to the vacuum tank so that you can read the manifold vacuum at full strength.  There are several adjustments that will effect the vacuum, so this is the one indicator that will tell the condition of all the engine components and their state of tune.  These are the notes from my car after the rebuild.  

 

At idle.  

Timing on  the 1-6 line (TDC)

Rpm 380 full advance

300 full retard

Vacuum 16 mm Hg full retard. 

Vacuum 18-19 full advance

Leaning out (turning the fuel screw in) will raise the vacuum some - as high as 20.  If too lean it will backfire in the intake so it needs a richer mixture.  I lowered the vacuum to 18-19 . 

Fuel mixture screw set at 3/4 open.

Hugh

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Posted (edited)

Well I went out this morning and did the same 2 hills that made this happen, one on Glenwild and one past my house, but stayed in second gear all the way, and it was smooth sailing as usual. I just have to stay in 2nd and go slow. As a driver in 2020 I want to go faster, like I did with my 40 Buick which flew up these hills. This old 242 engine has tons of horsepower and has all this potential to go faster up the hills in 3rd, but the fuel delivery system isn't up to the task. I guess in 1917 they figure people would be going really slow with dirt roads and horses in the way.

 

Here is my theory. Lead footing it up these long hills in 3rd gear runs the vacuum tank out, then when it comes time to refill the tank, the vacuum switches to refill mode which is harder going uphill because the hill has a grade of 12% and the tank is much lower than the engine, which means the gas has to be sucked uphill, which it can't do because all the vacuum is being used by the carb to hot rod up the hill, the vacuum open to the fuel line robs vacuum from the carb and that means no more gas to the high speed jet in the carb, car runs out of gas and then there is no vacuum at all to refill the vacuum tank. That explains why all 3 times this happened, I had to pull out my pint bottle full of gas (that's not Vodka officer), because the vacuum tank was empty. Each time when I got it started again I stayed in 2nd.

 

Plus, 3rd gear has lower engine RPM which means less vacuum. I hate going slow in second but I guess that's what I have to do.

 

 

 

Edited by Morgan Wright (see edit history)
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"Drive by the vacuum tank--and Motometer."  I now have two cars (formerly three) with vacuum tanks.  On long grades, keep the throttle to less than half so that there is vacuum for fuel suction to replenish the reserve.  One must be aware of the reserve quantity of one's own vac tank (varies by make and year).  If one has to apply more than half throttle, do so for short bursts that will not completely deplete the reserve, then back off a bit for one minute or so to replenish.  It may become necessary to drop to 2nd gear, but again keep the throttle at the Sweet Spot to maintain or replenish the reserve.

 

The same principle applies to the prospect of overheating on long grades in hot weather.  The more fuel you feed into the cylinders, the more heat is created for transfer to the coolant.  The best solution I've found is to find and run at the Sweet Spot (half throttle or less) except for occasional bursts of more than half throttle.

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in addition to Hugh’s vacuum checks:
 

Check gas cap for good vent hole

 

Check screens and filters for restrictions

 

Sealing of the two needle valves and flapper valve in the tank. 
 

Lots of tanks leak at the cover as the casting ages. 

 

On a grade the pump has to pull harder for head required since the tank is lower. 
 

I’ve pulled many long grades on tours in the Blue Ridge Mountains with never an issue just stay at half throttle so you have some level of vacuum also mentioned. 

 

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Hi I have run the Hill at The Newport Antique Hill Climb for over 16 years 1918 Dodge Brothers touring car.  Makes no difference what gear holding the throttle wide open for Avery short period of time you are out of fuel and the vacuum is so low it can not replenish the fuel . It's using lots of fuel low vacuum and cannot keep up.  MIKE

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Asking people who drive like Richard Petty to keep the throttle at half is like tossing a steak to a German Shepherd and telling him to eat only half.

 

But I'll try my best. Thanks all.

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11 minutes ago, Mikefit said:

Hi I have run the Hill at The Newport Antique Hill Climb for over 16 years 1918 Dodge Brothers touring car.  Makes no difference what gear holding the throttle wide open for Avery short period of time you are out of fuel and the vacuum is so low it can not replenish the fuel . It's using lots of fuel low vacuum and cannot keep up.  MIKE

Hill climbs are a horse of a different color, because by definition you're running almost exclusively beyond half throttle, mostly FULL throttle.  In such a case, I'd be inclined to fit a vacuum tank with a very large reserve, or use a supplemental fuel supply tank on the firewall, or an electric pump regulated down to 1 psi.

 

For my own cars, I figure, conservatively, that my fairly large capacity reserves carry 1.25 to 1.5 quarts.  At heavy throttle, I believe I am getting no worse than 4 miles per gallon or 1 mile per quart.  Accordingly, I can do full throttle for 1.25 to 1.5 miles on the reserve capacity of the tank without any replenishment.

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Engine vacuum is at its lowest when the engine is at highest load ,such as full throttle. The tank IS vacuum operated so low vacuum is probably the largest issue. The other is that fuel demand is highest at full throttle. I know that no one wants to drive while watching a vacuum gauge but it could be used as a tool to learn various hill climbing techniques . It can also be useful in assisting with reducing fuel consumption when on flat ground.

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Of course the easy answer would be to add an electric fuel pump, as close to the tank, as far back, and as low as possible, with a switch to enable using it both to prime the fuel system after storage, and to aid in situations such as you describe

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6 hours ago, Grimy said:

 

For my own cars, I figure, conservatively, that my fairly large capacity reserves carry 1.25 to 1.5 quarts.  At heavy throttle, I believe I am getting no worse than 4 miles per gallon or 1 mile per quart.  Accordingly, I can do full throttle for 1.25 to 1.5 miles on the reserve capacity of the tank without any replenishment.

 

How do you know the vacuum tank is full when you start on the hill? Maybe it was almost empty and ready for a suck cycle....

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6 minutes ago, Morgan Wright said:

 

How do you know the vacuum tank is full when you start on the hill? Maybe it was almost empty and ready for a suck cycle..

It never really gets fully empty until Richard Petty, Morgan Wright, or Mikefit drives it.  🙂   My quantity estimate is at the low end of the reservoirs which would actually hold close to a gallon if filled completely.

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25 MPH at half throttle on a long grade beats 0 MPH on the shoulder in my book 

 

I have now witnessed 3 old car fires in 24 years of active touring.  All three were directly attributed to electric fuel pumps  No thanks 

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I want to think on this a bit. When I was a kid,,, a while ago, our car was a 27 Buick Standard.  I don't remember dad ever having an issue running out of fuel on a hill,  The 17 D-35 that he had before that was also known as a good hill climber.  I have a 29 IHC truck that has a vacuum tank although it is the later design without the switch arm mechanism, and it went all the way to the grain terminal with the throttle wide open, as it was way under powered.  Never a problem. I have often wondered why. Is the carb engineered too small so the vacuum never hits zero?  One thing I found on the d-35 4 cylinder is that the valve timing of the intake valve is way late by modern standards, I wondered if they did that to increase vacuum?  I'm thinking that would hinder, not help. Has anyone else spent any gray matter on this question?

Edited by Oldtech (see edit history)
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15 hours ago, Oldtech said:

I want to think on this a bit. When I was a kid,,, a while ago, our car was a 27 Buick Standard.  I don't remember dad ever having an issue running out of fuel on a hill,  The 17 D-35 that he had before that was also known as a good hill climber.  I have a 29 IHC truck that has a vacuum tank although it is the later design without the switch arm mechanism, and it went all the way to the grain terminal with the throttle wide open, as it was way under powered.  Never a problem. I have often wondered why. Is the carb engineered too small so the vacuum never hits zero?  One thing I found on the d-35 4 cylinder is that the valve timing of the intake valve is way late by modern standards, I wondered if they did that to increase vacuum?  I'm thinking that would hinder, not help. Has anyone else spent any gray matter on this question?

 

The explanation to your post was on your page before you typed a word.

 

"Saskatchewan"

 

I loved that show "Corner Gas" but I sure didn't see any hills.

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Well... Actually in the central and northern it's not all flat. We have the Saskatchewan and Battle rivers with high banks and grades over a mile long . 

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