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1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving


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tvtech01
Novice

Sep 28, 2018, 5:55 PM

Post #1 of 8 (293 views)
1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

Hello to all. I have the above wagon that I am having a problem while going down the road. Its a 55 ford RW and it has a V8 302 engine in it.Has a 2v autolite carburetor. The problem is this: I will take off real good with no problems at all,no misfire eighter.I can go for about 15 minutes or so and than the engine dies,just like if I had turned the switch off.If I try to restart the engine right after it dies,the engine will crank but will not start. If I wait about 10 minutes or so,It takes a few turns but it will start up. I can drive it for about a mile and than shuts off again.Have to wait 10 or 15 minutes to start it up again.I hauled it home and worked on it the next morning after the drive.I thought it had a vapor lock problem so I went ahead and replaced the mechanical fuel pump,the fuel filter,and the fuel line that comes from the fuel pump to the Carb. I also isolated the new fuel line from any heat. After I did all this,the next day I took it for a drive again and the same thing happened,engine died after driving for about 10 to 15 minutes. So,this time I thought maybe its not vapor lock but a electrical problem. I had this car in storage for a long time ( but I did start it up once a week) so some parts have been in it for about 15 years,this is the time we overhauled this engine.Anyway,thinking it was an electrical problem,I replaced the coil,the ballast resistor,new points,new condenser and the wire that goes from the negative side of the coil to the distributor. Again,took it for a drive and darn it,it still died on me. I am running out of ideas.Can any of you think of anything that might cause this problem? I did check the connections at the ign.switch and all are nice and tight. What I can't understand is why it won't die here at my shop? I can run the engine at idle for 15 to 20 minutes and it does not shut off like it does while driving.Its got me puzzled.For you guys that have a lot of experience with the 302 engines,is there a way to troubleshoot this problem here at my small shop? I hate to take it for a test drive just to have it shut down and leave me stranded. I sure hope that some of you might have other ideas that I can use to fix this problem.While driving the engine does not overheat,gauge is at 185 degrees all the time. The only other thing that comes to mind is a problem within the carburetor (I did put a new repair kit in it) or a bad distributor.Need some help please. I would appreciate any and all the help I can get. Oh,I forgot to mention that I converted this car to a 12v system. Thanks for all your help and ideas.
Mando


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Sep 28, 2018, 11:03 PM

Post #2 of 8 (278 views)
Re: 1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

Please try to space out thoughts in a paragraph not all one long sentence like that is awful hard to read.
Just what is the engine from as by cubic inch named "302" started in model year 1968 with points and all were 12V negative ground. The small block Windsor is really what it is.


This now being some creation of parts and thoughts once 6V now 12V you'll have issues with that gauges reading incorrectly and more.


Basics first I guess. It's shutting down now almost doesn't matter what it is which is missing first. Does it lack fuel or lack spark? Easy enough if it was a chainsaw put a spark flash tester in line on a spark plug wire and carry some starting fluid with you which is missing right when it doesn't start but does crank?


Misc. other stuff: 185F running temp? Does it have a thermostat in it? Needs one that's too cold or a wrong reading find out what it really is.
* Vapor Lock: Out of vocabulary now was boiling fuel from hot weather and fuel lines near hot air or engine parts. Use of proper fuel for this would help a lot without ethanol very preferred if you can find it where you are. The boiling fuel was usually idling or slow driving while very hot ambient temps did go away when cooled down as said hot weather and or hot engines from load or situation so know the 185F is wrong now and fix that.
What year is engine? Set points with a dwell meter just BTW should be fine you are already blaming items before knowing if OK or not. Dwell meter can tell you it's OK or not finding one you can trust may be difficult. No feeler gauges for point gap use dwell I'll find specs for you if you don't know.


Let's quit with just this. When it doesn't run what is falling out fuel or spark and the rest of anything really doesn't matter quite yet,


Tom



tvtech01
Novice

Oct 1, 2018, 10:13 AM

Post #3 of 8 (244 views)
Re: 1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

Good Morning Tom and everyone here at this forum. I do want to apologize for the long thread that I posted without breaking it down in paragraphs. This engine is from a 1968 ford galaxie 500.It is a short block Windsor engine. About 15 years ago we rebuilt the engine completely.

Everything is new other than the block. After the rebuilt,I drove it for awhile and it was running great.I than got really busy with work and therefore had to park it for some time.I would go out and start the engine up every few weeks.
I am retired now and have more time to eighter drive it or work on it if I have to.The reason I replaced some of the parts that I mentioned is because they are 15years old and have not been in use for most of those years.They are inexpensive parts so decided to replace them.

When I replaced the points,I did use a dwell meter that I have had for at least 20 years but it does work good.I set the dwell at 27 degrees.The book calls for a setting of 24 to 31 degrees.I also have a new condenser. One thing that I noticed is that the old ballast resistor looked pretty bad,like it had been running too hot.We did not replace this resistor when we overhauled the engine so its been there for about 25 yrs.

I also checked the voltage coming off the coil and going to the points.Its at 8.5 volts which I think is about right. Next time I take it out on a test run,I am going to take my volt meter so that when it shuts off,I can see if the problem is in the ignition system rather than a fuel problem.
Thanks for all your help.


(This post was edited by tvtech01 on Oct 1, 2018, 10:18 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Oct 1, 2018, 2:21 PM

Post #4 of 8 (224 views)
Re: 1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

Tests the memory sport. OK on dwell now with a dwell meter you can tell how loose a distributor shaft is by degrees of dwell revving it up shouldn't change more than 5 degrees or it a problem and plenty if that much.
Look at old points too anything with points. If there's transfer of some debris from one to the other you want to replace that condenser if not leave it it's happy no known life to me for them.
Other is vacuum advance (more on GMs) wires could rub inside engine would just die out and restart maybe like nothing is wrong look for it do what you need to if bare wire is touching anything to points and condenser.


Doubt it that more likely fuel so need to catch it. Fuel pump I think should be fine if not wet underside or worse oily just check that. Fuel line should be metal hugging along front of engine can get hot from engine heat NONE were a problem to me however that was also before this ethanol crap. Carb diaphragms for initial pull off of choke may not work and flood out hard to clear.
Forget but does this 1968 heat the choke with a tube to exhaust? If so known to clog up can be cleaned out and used to sell a kit to fix those right into an exhaust manifold the hot real exhaust would go thru choke coil and micro hole suck into carb to intake manifold vacuum.
It's running cold for a '68 should be 195F and like it there colder thermostats do NOT cover up a heat exchange problem.
Have you felt real vapor lock and when? Sorry if a repeat but some in very hot weather especially if you were driving along faster and stopped for a long time for a traffic something when you took off would feel like you were running out of fuel and quit it.
Just one move the whole fuel line away from running up the engine solved one not a Ford product at all same crude idea though.
Check diaphragms for leaking and that choke shuts off on time. Initial start tap gas pedal (you should remember this) don't pump just crank it should be fast idle about 1,500 maybe more and one tap drop down to about 1,000 and not long after running just another tap drop down to warm idle about 600 +/- you know that works.


Spray carb base gasket just because and make sure PCV is clear and full vacuum also if the 55 has power brakes (?) optional if anything it isn't a leak or where you plugged it off on the '68 carb on the back.
Strong guess fuel pressure should be about 4-6 PSI easy enough to check.
Chance are carb or wires to points and condenser rubbing or anything else we know it's OLD and so am I! These were fun new!


Let's not go there. Check at least that I remember the 68 real well with changes from model year '67 just FYI any engine,


Tom



tvtech01
Novice

Oct 2, 2018, 11:36 AM

Post #5 of 8 (203 views)
Re: 1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

Thanks Tom for the very good and helpful information that you have given me here.I will check again to make sure that the dwell degrees does not go beyond the 5 degrees when I rev.up the engine. The choke works off the heat from the exhaust manifold and I did make sure that the line is not plugged up.The choke is working good.


This morning I was making sure that the points and wiring inside the distributor were not shorted against any ground inside the dist. There is a bare ground wire that gives ground to the body of the points. This ground wire is connected to the points body via one of the 2 screws that holds the points in place.I noticed that the screw that holds this ground wire was loose cause the threads are worn out.


Only one screw was bad but replaced both for safety.If the points body/case were not getting a good ground, would that cause the engine to shut off while driving? On the distributor,if the shaft has too much play or worn out,what kind of problem will that give me.Just wondering.


Thanks to you and all in this great forum.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Oct 2, 2018, 12:25 PM

Post #6 of 8 (196 views)
Re: 1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

I think you found your problem. Can't have loose/worn threads for the wires, grounds or other. Is it OK now that you worked on it or still an issue? IDK - try to get that perfect so it can securely tighten up.
See what a whole dist. costs once came with points all there, hidden springs you don't think about the bushings that can wear any stain of sludge don't cooperate to do easily and a roll pin to control up and down motion on a thing (lack of a better word) at the bottom near gear.
Not sure why but distributors up front catch more heat probably a reason? In short yes that would cause sudden engine to shut off if all wrong and just might start right up again later like nothing is wrong to really cause hair loss!


Tom



tvtech01
Novice

Oct 5, 2018, 11:02 AM

Post #7 of 8 (179 views)
Re: 1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

Thanks Tom.
I am going to take it out for a test run this weekend and see if it still shuts off.Hopefully it will not shut off so that I can use it more often. Since the distributor has some play in the shaft,I am going to check prices on a replacement for it. Will let you know later this weekend or Monday on how it ran on the test run.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Oct 5, 2018, 3:10 PM

Post #8 of 8 (165 views)
Re: 1955 Ford Ranch wagon / Engine shuts off while driving Sign In

How are you determining that "play" in dist? Degrees or feel? It has some or wouldn't get lubed and still they don't get much. This is still guessing need to know if spark or fuel something (lack of or way too much) is shutting it down or the vapor lock has unique symptoms that do go away if cooler out in general.
Try to have spark in-line just a flashing tester will do adaptable to either a plug wire or coil wire in line don't let that ground out but if and when it's down crank from the solenoid if a quick one or two turn crank shows spark. That still leave however your ballast resistor is installed. 12V now needs one 6V didn't it gets full 12V while cranking and reduced when you quit the starter motor is lower to save points is why and coils meant for operating at lower voltages also must match set up you have.
Other is in line fuel pressure tested while cranking and not running said I think about 4-6 PSI not counting volume just yet - for later if you wish.
You already said dwell is in middle of a range - good, keep it there as that changes up and down a little already said just not so much out of range.


Keep testing all but fuel pressure to leave on and watch isn't tricky or so dangerous tester just must be fuel tight and fuel tolerant of course,


Tom







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