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Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: cschneider53 ()
Date: September 07, 2020 02:26PM

After a summer away, I'm back trying to get my Corvair started before the weather stops being gorgeous in the PNW. I had a full engine rebuild done by Mel Raven and from day 1 there were issues with fuel smell, leakage, rough idle and dying at a stop. I took it back to Mel twice and after the second time it seemed to run ok but the idle was still a bit lumpy and every once in a while the engine would still cut out at a stop or if I let off the throttle too fast. Fast forward to just about a year ago and it died for the last time and I never could get it started again.

Since that time I replaced the distributor with Seth's HEI unit which he adjusted for my 140. That's been installed and I made sure to find TDC manually (finger test) and it lines up perfectly with the marks. With the help of Rex and Steve Goodman I've narrowed down some issues.

1. The electric fuel pump that was installed was sending over 7psi to the carbs. That is probably the reason why I was getting fuel pouring out of one of the carbs. I put a pressure regulator on there to get it down to 3psi and flushed all the old gas and put in new clear gas. Still wouldn't start. This was back in April.

2. Today I tested spark on all cylinders and verified the timing order is correct and firing as it should. One thing I noticed when pulling out the plugs is that they are very sooty, especially 6 and 4. No surprise as it was the driver's side secondary which completely flooded.

3. Even though I've had the fuel pump shut off since April, when I pulled all the plugs, they reeked of gas. Again with 6 and 4 being particularly bad.

4. I have Roger Parent's SS linkage installed but in opening up the throttle plates for the pressure test I noticed that the driver's side secondary linkage was slipping and resulting in the primary being fully open while the secondary remained closed. I will work on tightening this up.

5. I tried doing a compression test but only got to #1 before my POS $20 tester from Amazon started leaking at a crimp. Cylinder 1 showed just over 170psi. I'm waiting on the OTC deluxe tester to come tomorrow and then retest.

My plan is to compression test all the cylinders and then install new Bosch WR8AC+ plugs with verified gap. Then make sure the linkage is good. Flush the fuel one more time and then keep my fingers crossed I can get it going again. Anything else I should be doing?

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: September 07, 2020 02:30PM

You ight check your oil quality. It is always possible it is diluted with the excess fuel from the flooding problems.

best wishes, Steve
Rear Engine Spec. Inc. Golden, Colo.

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo---1965 Crown V8
1967 monza 110/4---1968 monza 110/4
1971 amante gt 110/4

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: joelsplace ()
Date: September 07, 2020 02:39PM

If the plugs are sooty they are probably fouled. Clean or replace them and I'll bet it will start. Do check the oil for fuel as Steve suggested.

Northlake, TX
5 Ultravans, 118 Corvairs and counting...

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: playerpage ()
Date: September 07, 2020 02:58PM

If I had to guess, I would say all of your issues start and end with that fuel pump. Now that you have that sorted out you may have better success.

Eric C. Player
Fargo, North Dakota, by way of Porterville, California
MEMBER: CORSA National, Central Coast CORSA, South Coast CORSA, Vintage CORSA, Sfba CORSA, and Great Plains Corvair Club.
THEN: 1965 Monza 110, Canary Yellow - 1965 Corsa 180 Turbo, Red - 1966 Monza 110, Purple - 1967 Monza 140, Red - 1966 500 110, Black; nicknamed "Shadow" - 1965 Monza 110, Camaro Yellow; nicknamed "Silver"
NOW: 1966 Corsa 180 Turbo, Blue; nicknamed "Bluvair"
"He cautioned me not to take notes. It would not have helped if I had, as he would start a paragraph with, 'It is therefore obvious. . .'
and go on from there to matters which may have been obvious to him and God but to no one else."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, character of Daniel B. Davis, 'The Door Into Summer.'

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: cschneider53 ()
Date: September 07, 2020 03:46PM

I'll give it an oil change while I'm at it. The reason it has an electric fuel pump is because the mechanical died and dumped gas into the crankcase.

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: Timothy Shortle ()
Date: September 07, 2020 06:01PM

was that recent (time and mileage) that the fuel pump leaked into the crankcase?

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: RobertC ()
Date: September 07, 2020 11:22PM

Well, it seems you have been not as methodical as you should have been.

But, at least you found the fuel pump pressure issue.

As others stated, change the oil / replace the spark plugs. Well, if you have a good nose, you can smell gasoline on the dipstick if the oil is not good - too much fuel is in the oil. If there is really too much fuel in the oil, the dipstick should show "over full". Do not ask me how I know.

Statement #3 does not make sense to me. I am old (like most of us) and my brain is fading, but fuel does not flow from the carb to the combustion chamber magically. And, for the period of time you state, it should have evaporated. You must have been cranking the engine over.

Since #4 / #6 is a problem area, I would remove the carb closest and check the float level and check that the float is good (does not have gasoline in it).

As you state, you need to set up the carb linkage correctly.

My opinion; you need to do all of the above before you try to (re)start the engine.

Compression test at this point is not necessary. You need to get the engine running. It will still run if one / two cylinders are 60 lbs.

Distributor: It appears that you changed the distributor on a non-running engine. To me, this added another level of complexity to your existing problem(s) (because of my fear of swapping distributors). Besides electrical; a distributor does not work because of the point gap; the pivot on the point plate is worn - and even more rare - the brass distributor drive gear on the crank is worn.

Good luck.

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: autocomman ()
Date: September 07, 2020 11:42PM

it sounds like an ignition issue as your plugs are alwyas wet. What coil are you using, and it looks like on seth page thats a custom board as teh driver for the system.

You can start by taking the oil wire off and using a spark tester, the kind where you can see the spark jump the gap avaiable at most auto parts places and see if it will jump 1/4 inch then 3/8 inch then 1/2 inch. You should have a bright white or blue spark and it will snap loud enough to sacre you into not wanting to put your fingers any where near it. If you dont have that, then the ignition system si suspect. If its a yellow spark or it wont jump 1/2 inch (any hei system absoutly will go that far) then ohm out the coil to be sure its in spec. If you have no spark, then keep going down the line, power and ground at the dizzy, proper connections to the coil, grounding etc etc.

If hes using ford type a/c reluctor too yu should be able to use an DVOM set to A/C scale. If you spin it with your hand you should get at least 1v. So many things to check here. But it sounds like a spark issue.

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: cschneider53 ()
Date: September 15, 2020 01:09PM

I'm back. Let me answer a few questions and update on progress.

The coil came with the distributor when I bought it from California Corvairs. It is the MSD Blaster 2. There should not be an issue with voltage to the coil since for testing purposes I have it directly connected to the battery.

I tested spark on all cylinders through the new plug wires that I got with the distributor from Cal Corvairs. The pic below is representative of what I got from all of the plugs.

Compression test is done and is as follows:
1: 170
2: 165
3: 160
4: 150
5: 160
6: 140

I got new Bosch WR8C plugs and gapped them to .045. I really couldn't find a definitive resource for gap on the HEI distributor but there was a thread a little while back that was debating between .045 and .035. Either way I don't think the gap will keep it from firing.

I haven't changed the oil yet but will do that as soon as I get a filter.

The linkage is still an issue and I'm having trouble figuring it out. It's only the passenger side secondary that is not opening correctly. I don't think that is going to prevent me from starting the engine and idling so if I don't figure it out quickly I'm just going to test without it.

Any other suggestions?

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: RobertC ()
Date: September 15, 2020 06:27PM

You mentioned #4 / #6 were very sooty.

I mentioned you should check the carb in that area and see if the float level is correct / that the float is good - does not have gas in it.

Might also check that the butterflies on the secondary carbs are completely closed.

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: JimBrandberg ()
Date: September 17, 2020 07:29AM

One thing that jumped out at me in your original post.

"... it seemed to run ok but the idle was still a bit lumpy and every once in a while the engine would still cut out at a stop or if I let off the throttle too fast"

When you let off the throttle fast it might be returning to where it's supposed to be. When you let the throttle off slow it might be hanging up due to sticky linkage.
If it's not returning all the way you might not even be in the idle circuit as far as the carburetor fuel path is concerned and the throttle plate may not be covering the slot as far as the vacuum advance is concerned.

It's sort of small potatoes when you can't get it started but something to consider later when trying to get it running good.


Another thing just above.
"I got new Bosch WR8C plugs and gapped them to .045."

That Bosch number is not familiar to me and could just be a typo. I think I used to use W8AC (7502) Super, then WR8AC (7902) Super Plus. I've switched to NGK so my Bosch recollection is a little fuzzy.
If I was having trouble getting it started I would reduce to .035 for now but I don't have much HEI experience.


Robert C mentioned being methodical.
When getting a 140 going I start with my known good test carburetors and the secondaries blocked off with plates.
When I'm happy with that I swap in the forever primary carburetors.
When I'm happy with that I install the secondary carburetors.
I do all that because I have the stuff but the idea is to get back to basics by eliminating possible problems, some of which are secondary flooding or not returning to idle.
Along those methodical lines I know Roger Parent recommends swapping his linkage into an engine that's running good with the original stuff.
I don't know what to think about the ignition system possible problems.

I'm certainly not trying to doubt your abilities or the fine parts you have. I'm only responding to your call for suggestions. I'm sort of thick when it comes to figuring out what might be wrong so I try to return to what's known to be good and add new things one at a time.
I had a hell of a time with a 140 this week that was allegedly running good when it dropped a valve seat 20 years ago. It turned out to be not anywhere near that simple. It seemed to be a number of little things rather than one big thing. What I don't understand is how stuff might go bad just sitting there.

I resisted responding to this for a while since I didn't think I had anything helpful. I hope you hang in there and post updates. We can all learn from your plight. You've got a lot of good stuff there once you get it sorted.

Jim Brandberg
Isanti, MN

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Re: Help getting my 140 started
Posted by: American Mel ()
Date: October 03, 2020 11:10AM

I see no response to Jim's suggestion. (which was made OVER two weeks ago.)
It is a GREAT idea!
Make it simpler on yourself.
Block off the secondary intake ports, until you have it running.
That takes an entire mess of possibilities out of the equation, and after it runs, you can add them back in. thumbs up thumbs up

WA. state, 1 mile south of the Canadian border, I am not at the end of the world, but you can see it from here.

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