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Running rough - 1961 Mercury Meteor


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The last few times I ran my car to do body work on it has been running rough.  Before that it was running great.  Sounds like a miss at high idle warm up and it's really rough at idle after warm up and when you hit the throttle it stumbles and sounds like it's loading up. The idle is set at specs, dwell is at specs, timing hasn't moved, haven't adjusted the carb scews.  I'm thinking points or condenser.  Thoughts???

352 Engine

2 bl Motorcraft carb

 

 

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Fuel filter?  Vacuum leak?  Stuck valve?  Just some thoughts out of the blue.  I might start by looking at the plugs and see if there is any indication that the issue relates to one particular cylinder.
 

It could be in the distributor as you say.  Points are easy to inspect.  I once had a Ford pickup that for whatever reason was notorious for the contacts corroding in the distributor cap.  That gave me symptoms similar to what you describe.

 

Good luck!

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I'm going to pull the plugs and see what they look like. Vacuum is pulling at 18 on the gauge at idle.  Fuel system is all new from tank to carb.  Thanks for all the tips so far.  If the plugs look good then I may change the points and condenser any way since they where bought from a big auto parts restoration company.  I'm sure they are sub par cheapies compared to the originals.  Who sells good quality points and condenser these days? 

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Hard to know. I know that rough idle commencing after it's warmed up can be caused by a bad coil. I replaced the coil on my 390 FE because of that symptom and it basically fixed it ( there were other things I had to dial in, too.) Another symptom of a bad coil is hard restarting after the engine is warmed up...which happened with my Y-Block Wagon. A new coil cured that completely.

 

Problem is, I no longer trust brand new parts, especially electrical. So if your coil has recently been replaced with a new unit, it could still be that. It took about four new voltage regulators before my Ranch Wagon got one that lasted (knock on wood.) The ones that didn't last I got on eBay, the one that did last I got at NAPA. Six volt unit, so not easy to find at local parts stores. I always wonder about intake manifold gaskets in cases like this, too.

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, JamesR said:

I always wonder about intake manifold gaskets in cases like this, too.

I suggest you clean the plugs, and spray starter fluid or WD-40 around the intake to see if you have leaks (engine will increase RPMs if a leak exists).

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You probably see by now that there is no single answer to your question that will fix the problem. All are good suggestions. Create a checklist from these, add to it if you have any ideas or more show up here. Then start going through the checklist, checking them off as you go. If you find the one or a combination of ideas that fix the problem, it may be worthwhile to make a note of what you did; you may need to correct the same problem in the future.

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On my '65 Corvair some replacement point sets had rubbing blocks that wore down prematurley resulting in the points gradually closing. I suspect that you don't have enough running time on this engine for this to be the case. Unless the distributor cam surface wasn't lubricated! Easy enough to check. 

 

Phil

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On 3/27/2022 at 5:57 PM, Laughing Coyote said:

The last few times I ran my car to do body work on it has been running rough.  Before that it was running great.  Sounds like a miss at high idle warm up and it's really rough at idle after warm up and when you hit the throttle it stumbles and sounds like it's loading up. The idle is set at specs, dwell is at specs, timing hasn't moved, haven't adjusted the carb scews.  I'm thinking points or condenser.  Thoughts???

352 Engine

2 bl Motorcraft carb

 

 

Carb need to be checked. Floats, idle adjustment, fuel mixture etc 

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I pulled the plugs and they had a lot of black soot on them.  I cleaned them and just ran it this morning.  Runs like new. I guess not being able to drive it like a real car right now is causing the load up on the plugs.  I guess I just have to get it done faster. Thanks for all the advice guys.

Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to Running rough - 1961 Mercury Meteor

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