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Exploding Muffler


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GlennC1
Novice

Dec 3, 2015, 9:25 AM

Post #1 of 6 (651 views)
  post locked   Exploding Muffler  

Okay, I have a '79 Buick regal (231CID/3.8L with carburetor & HEI). Last night I was driving home down the FWY about 11:00 PM when the car suddenly loses power. Then it would pick up again,lose power again. So I decided I would try to nurse it home in the slow lane, about 50 MPH. All of a sudden I hear a loud BOOM and I see a large fireball in the rear view mirror. Scared the s@#% out of me. The exhaust was much louder after that. I got off at the first exit. It was dark but other than the exhaust noise the car seemed alright. Got it home,jacked it up and found the muffler had exploded. It was buckled in the middle and one of the end caps was blown almost completely off. I can replace the muffler easy enough,the question is:What happened? This car has been in the family since it was new and I maintain it well. It's never done this before. Since it didn't just pop the seams, and it actually exploded with a fireball it must have had a combustible mixture accumulate. This would lead to the carburetor.....I guess. Anybody ever heard of this before? Any input would be appreciated. It was kind of funny though: There was no traffic on the FWY except for me and one other car, also in the slow lane, behind me. When the muffler exploded He/She crossed four lanes of empty FWY to the far left and took off at a high rate of speed. Who knows what he thought was happening ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,. Thanks.


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Dec 3, 2015, 10:04 AM

Post #2 of 6 (642 views)
  post locked   Re: Exploding Muffler  

Something happened with the ignition system. Either it lost power from the ignition switch intermittently or there is another problem inside the distributor such as the ignition control module, pickup or wiring. What happened was that the ignition timing was altered from one or more of the possible scenarios from above causing the backfire.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 3, 2015, 10:57 AM

Post #3 of 6 (637 views)
  post locked   Re: Exploding Muffler  

Glad you can't see me laughing a little and it's not funny. I've seen that a couple times with even fairly new mufflers blow out by the seam - always cheap ones.


That's not why though. Might be two things going on. Ignition could make the spark and a choke that doesn't shut off all the way over fuel and get hot but raw gas in the muffler. Choke would also cause loss of power but a smoother loss unless you about floored it forces choke open a bit more and BOOM from any spark issue or flake of junk moving along.


It's a '79 so plenty should already be done or checked if lots is mostly original by chance and could be. Close to some changes, could this cat converter possibly still be original? Some just a couple model years earlier were full of pellets with the thinking you could dump those for new ones which nobody did but a screen to keep them inside at the back if let go pellets could go out exhaust red hot especially if over loaded with gas.


Whatever you find to fix the reason do buy a muffler that's fully guaranteed even for this as it did seem to happen only to the real cheap ones,


T



GlennC1
Novice

Dec 9, 2015, 6:57 AM

Post #4 of 6 (588 views)
  post locked   Re: Exploding Muffler  

Got it fixed. New muffler,good quality one. The wire going to distributor cap for the coil chaffed on something,probably the air cleaner. I could actually see where it had been arcing. That was a great call with the ignition system,thanks guys.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 9, 2015, 8:03 AM

Post #5 of 6 (585 views)
  post locked   Re: Exploding Muffler  

Problem on this HEI distributor could be made worse if the carbon spring loaded thing from coil to rotor is broken or missing. Just lift up cap and look at that would make it want to seek alternate ways to spark if bad. Can't recall right now if sold separately or only with coil?
Pic....

That center thing underside of cap should be a pencil eraser size carbon pile pushed by a spring. This showed only $20 for whole thing - new coil + would do rotor while there,


T



(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Dec 9, 2015, 8:38 AM)


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Dec 9, 2015, 4:17 PM

Post #6 of 6 (571 views)
  post locked   Re: Exploding Muffler  

Glad to read you got it figured out and repaired Smile Thanks for the follow up. Closed as solved. Can be reopened upon request by the OP.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.






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