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Thread: 1972 240z Stalling after a few minutes of driving.

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    Default 1972 240z Stalling after a few minutes of driving.

    Howdy all,

    First off wanted to say I've been researching vapor lock and I'm not 100% that's my issue.

    1. Car starts fine, idles fine if not a bit lumpy.
    2. After the car warms to operating temp, head on out for a drive. Idle: 600-800rpm when warm after first start of the day.
    3. After 5 - 10 minutes of driving, the car will start to become unresponsive to throttle to the point at which if I give it any throttle at all and take it out of gear, it'll stall out completely, and I have to either jam it back down into gear if I'm going fast enough or just coast over to the side of the road.
    4. Once on the side of the road, however, it fires right back up. Oddly, once it starts back up, the idle is around 1300-1500, as though there's a vacuum leak that isn't present when the engine first hits operating temp, and it has zero power and will stall almost immediately if you try to put it in gear and give it throttle.
    5. If I wait 10 minutes, the idle is around 1100rpm. 20 1000 RPM. 30. 900 RPM. 40. 600-800rpm. Drive for 5 minutes, it stalls, idle is back up to 1300 - 1500 and no power.
    6. These stalls happen regardless of direction being turned, accel, deceleration, etc.
    7. While this is occurring, manipulating the choke doesn't have any impact.
    8. With my wife following, she does not note any black or brown smoke during these episodes.

    Ambient temp: 61f. Not hammering on the car at all, just going 60-65 on the freeway, but happens in town too.

    New fuel pump, filter, lines, spark plugs, air cleaner, damper oil, a few vac lines, etc.

    When this happens, there's plenty of fuel in the fuel filter housing and there is a good bit of fuel in the tank.

    Stock SU carbs, round top. Electronic ignition (new-ish). None of the insulation wrap remains on the fuel lines, HOWEVER immediately after this happening, when I pop the hood all of the fuel lines are cool to the touch. Even the carbs are pretty cool. I tried dumping some cool water on the lines and carbs and that got me a bunch of strange looks in the 7-eleven parking lot, but the stalling issue persisted.

    The car is new to me, and the previous owner (who has owned it for 30+ years) says it never happened to him before.

    I'm a fuel injection guy, to me carburetors are basically voodoo. I know what they do, but how they do it? Beats me. Suppose it's time to learn...

    Things I'm going to do/check next weekend (after Z-Bash, naturally):
    1. Timing
    2. "Quick & Dirty SU Tuning" checklist
    3. Vacuum
    4. Fuel pressure

    Any ideas beyond that would certainly be appreciated. Thanks again.

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    Hi, you could be describing my 1972 240z, which exhibited the same symptoms in 1984 when I got it!

    Ran great when it was running, but stalled randomly. My temporary solution was to let it roll to safety, pop the hood, disconnect the fuel line, and blow into it. Not sure if that helped - as I remember, the car was equipped with a mechanical fuel pump and an electric one which may have minimised any backflow.

    Anyway, after eliminating various possibilities (as you're doing), my dad and I eventually did solve my issue. We drained and removed the fuel tank, and rinsed it. Out came a small paper filter, about the size of a 50c piece, which had occasionally been sucked up against the fuel tube (?) inside the tank, restricting fuel flow and stalling the car. As an additional precaution, we cut a couple of V-shaped notches in that metal fuel tube to make sure nothing else could be sucked flat against it.

    We were never really sure where the paper filter came from, whether it was the gas cap or somewhere else, but that solved a very similar problem.

    Best of luck

    Rick


    Good luck.

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    Try and cause the problem again then immediately check for spark. Compare the spark quality when your car is running well vs. when it dies.

    Also look at the tach immediately when it dies to see if the drops to zero.

    I'm guessing your electronic ignition, coil, or possibly a condenser in the ignition circuity is heating up then failing only at higher temperature.
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    I would agree with Phil. What kind of electronic ignition is in your car?
    73 240Z
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    Hi all, thanks for the replies.

    Crane XR700 w/Crane PS20 coil. Both warm to the touch when the stalling happens, but no warmer than the surrounding metal in the engine compartment.

    I can "make" this car behave in this manner pretty easily... start it in the morning, drive for 15 minutes, happens every time without fail. Start it again 20-30 minutes later, drive it for 5 minutes, it stalls again.

    It comes on slowly during the first time of the day that it happens. So you're driving, and 10 minutes into the drive WOT makes it bog so you back off, thinking maybe you're giving it too much fuel. 2 minutes later, 1/2 throttle makes it bog so you back off more. Now you're going 45mph on the freeway. 2 minutes later, any throttle makes it bog and you're praying you make it up the off-ramp and into the 7-eleven. 1 minute later, it won't even idle. Wait 10 minutes, rinse, repeat until you get frustrated and call Hagerty roadside assistance for a tow.

    Re: spark quality, besides pulling a plug and eyeballing it, is there a more exact way of testing this?

    Also, I've been assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that when there's a weak spark condition, the amount of unburned fuel exiting the exhaust would produce a smoke and a raw fuel smell both in the front and in the back. There is no such smoke or smell at idle or under load.

    Its these contraindicating symptoms that brought me here. I'm going to keep searching, worst case I'll drop the tank and start digging around in there but not looking forward to that mess! It's over 3/4 full. haha.

    I'll have another crack at it this coming weekend and report back.

    Ryan

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    Also to answer another question, when it starts to stall, the tach needle slowly makes its transit from wherever it was at speed, down to zero. It isn't an instant drop. Jam it back into gear and it pops right back to whichever RPM you're at based upon gear / speed.

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    Check the quality of the ground for the ignition unit. Is it touching bare metal?

    When the stalling happens, are the plugs wet? What is the color of the plugs? Pictures help. As for the quality of the spark, get an inline spark tester (Amazon.com: Fool-proof Engine Ignition Spark Tester: Automotive).
    73 240Z
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    Each time it has stalled it has been on the side of a busy thoroughfare. By the time it limps its way back to the garage, I'm usually so frustrated with it that I just leave it. Plugs are brand new as of about 30 miles ago, old plugs were black but not overly sooty.

    I'll pull the plugs, buy the linked in-line spark tester and report back. Thanks.

    EDIT: looks like that tool just shows if there is vs if there isn't. There's no way of telling the quality of the spark. I know there's spark because I can fire it right back up when it stalls, or if I catch it in time I can let off the throttle until the engine catches itself, then put it in neutral and it will idle all day, but the second I try to give it any throttle under load, it'll stall.
    Last edited by mckennar; 04-21-2014 at 09:19 AM.

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    Now is sounds like junk in your fuel system. I know there have been threads with similar symptoms. I just can't remember where the problem tends to be.

    By the way for the tester, the brightness will indicate spark quality.
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    I put in another 2 cents for "check the fuel system"
    On my '73 the culprit was a pile of crap that got caught in the electric fuel pump's filter, and it had very similar symptoms of stomping on the throttle and nothing happening and trying to limp down an offramp and waiting for 5 minutes.
    1973 240Z w/ roundtop carbs, 280zx e12-80 distributor, 280zx alternator, late model Altima junkyard electric fans. 115 Blue Metallic & white side stripes.

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    One more thing to add... when its doing its stalling-under-load thing, if I put it in neutral and pull to the side of the road, the revs will typically be at 1100-1300 (typically the car idles at 600-800). If I let it sit in neutral on the side of the road and do nothing, the revs will slowly climb to at least 1500, perhaps more. I don't wait around for the revs to go higher, so I usually shut it off and let it cool down a bit. Of note, the higher the revs are in neutral, the more susceptible the car is to stalling under load.

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    I'm going to take a shot at this. If we start with the normally dark plugs, idle was set with a rich mixture. As the engine starts to run low on gas the mixture leans out & the idle goes up. No power under load is classic low fuel supply to the carbs. There is plenty of fuel in the filter up front seemingly the problem exists from the filter to and including the carbs. Check the f. lines, filters in the banjo fittings on the float bowl & fuel pressure & volume test. There may be a filter in front of the gas tank too.

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    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't SUs get richer as float bowl fuel levels drop? As fuel levels drop, the surface of fuel in the jet moves downwards to a narrower portion of the needle and actually uncovers more surface area for engine vacuum to draw on?
    1973 240Z w/ roundtop carbs, 280zx e12-80 distributor, 280zx alternator, late model Altima junkyard electric fans. 115 Blue Metallic & white side stripes.

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    Same thing on 2 of my 240's. It sounds like vapour lock...fuel boiling in the rails that run along side of the valve cover. Remove them and insulate them. Also remove the manifold heating where the glycol runs through. I thought mine was ignition since it feels like it but it's not. Common on the 240's since it gets hot under the hood.

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    Sus get leaner as the fuel level drops. The fuel level is supposed to be just a little below the top of the jet which is determined by the float level. Easy to test the vapor lock theory, test drive it with the hood cracked open. My previous 71 Z & I shared 20+ years as a DD & despite not having insulated f. lines, only a heat shield, I didn't experience V. lock once.

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    Howdy all,

    Update: with ambient temps at 56f at 4:30 this morning, I drove it with a trail vehicle to the gym about 10 miles from my house. At mile 7 it started acting up. With the engine running (and idle slowly climbing towards the 1500rpm mark) I reached in and felt around for hot spots on the fuel lines, there were none. The fuel filter container was full to the top. The carbs, fuel lines, fuel pump (etc) were all cool to the touch.

    As I mentioned before, dumping cool water on the carbs / lines did nothing to resolve the issue and the idie continued to climb.

    I am now more than ever confident that there is some kind of fuel delivery restriction. I will report back as soon as I get a minute to work on it.

    I just wanted to say thank you for everyone's help... whatever the cause of this issue is, this outpouring of support, advice, tips and tricks has been the most comprehensive, least cynical first thread I've ever started on a website. I've been running around online automotive forums for 15 years now and this is one of the few where when a new person asks for help, everyone doesn't scream at them to use the search feature... which FWIW I have been doing since January trying to figure this issue out but thanks for not screaming at me to do so.

    So again, thank you all for your time, I will let you know what I find. Hope to see some of you at Z-Bash (Motorsport! Car Shows & Events - The Z Store, Nissan-Datsun 240Z-260Z-280Z-280ZX-300ZX(Z31/Z32)-350Z-370Z Parts) this upcoming weekend. I'll be the only guy wearing a Volvo Motorsport shirt.

    Cheers,

    Ryan

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    Maybe try daining tank to see what comes out.

    I you have debris then try running it from a jerry can of fuel (send and return to it),


    an you take a photo of the plugs. They could be fouling, Use NGK or Denso if you have them

    try disconnecting the choke cables and pushing the jets all the way up too
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    I would say it's time to eliminate the fuel system. either drop the tank or just drain it into a pan to see what gives. Pull the fuel sending unit and check both supply and return-blow thru both. I would remove the fuel rail an make sure the return side is not obstructed. Pull the inlet sides of the SU float bowls and check the filter there. Also check the fuel hoses from the float bowls to the carbs to make sure they are not collapsing under heat. The ignition next
    Good luck
    Steve
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    i am having a similar problem and maybe considering on reverting to the original camshaft as the car is tending to fail when it is between 800 to 2,000 RPM. Once it reaches over 3,000 RPM it is really stable.

    The car actually has the following specifications:

    New Datsun L24 motor with crank and rods from a L26, special oversized 84mm flat top black coated pistons from D.L. Potter Engineering with E88 Head and Far 311 New Race Cam.

    2 original SU Hitachi round top carburetors rebuilt.

    Tomorrow i will have the best carburetor mechanic here in Panama, Central America where it is 32 degrees Celsius to fix this problem. I will appreciate if someone can provide me with a list of things he should check to get this stalling problem solved.

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    Before messing with fuel lines, if your z has an EGR valve, thats the problem, your taking in to much cool air at operating temp and its limiting combustion, plus you said the plugs were kinda fouled so thats a rich run, meaning somewhere your car is starving for balanced air. Throttle body probly has plenty of carbon deposits and will help the problem. If the EGR is faulty in some way it will mess with combustion, the throttle body, and the exuast system is likely to clog up 30 percent faster or more. Why I say EGR first is cause all you need is a EGR valve gasket ( like 2 bucks ) and a can of carb cleaner with a wire brush, and a couple hours to clean the EGR. The EGR is supposed to start working at op temp, and the vacuum works it, mine was sticking and gave me all kinds of issues, I replaced all fuel parts including the tank, and my running problems turned out to be that sticky EGR. Might as well check the simple cheap stuff first. The PCV hose will be clogged to. My Z became perfect after cleaning the EGR and throttle body.

    Assuming you have one of course, im in california so all Z's here have 1.

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    Did you even read the first post before answering-




    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrimOne View Post
    Before messing with fuel lines, if your z has an EGR valve, thats the problem, your taking in to much cool air at operating temp and its limiting combustion, plus you said the plugs were kinda fouled so thats a rich run, meaning somewhere your car is starving for balanced air. Throttle body probly has plenty of carbon deposits and will help the problem. If the EGR is faulty in some way it will mess with combustion, the throttle body, and the exuast system is likely to clog up 30 percent faster or more. Why I say EGR first is cause all you need is a EGR valve gasket ( like 2 bucks ) and a can of carb cleaner with a wire brush, and a couple hours to clean the EGR. The EGR is supposed to start working at op temp, and the vacuum works it, mine was sticking and gave me all kinds of issues, I replaced all fuel parts including the tank, and my running problems turned out to be that sticky EGR. Might as well check the simple cheap stuff first. The PCV hose will be clogged to. My Z became perfect after cleaning the EGR and throttle body.

    Assuming you have one of course, im in california so all Z's here have 1.
    Steve
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    Yeah I mean I really don't know what to say here TheGrimOne... the car is a '72 with carburetors so no throttle body. No EGR but an air pump that is now in the "closet o' forgotten parts" along with the original exhaust manifold. Thanks for the effort, but it's decidedly misdirected.

    A small update - my landlord about had kittens when he caught me elbows deep in the engine bay this past weekend. He started blabbing about a part in my lease that says no working on cars blah blah blah fines blah blah blah eviction etc. Anyways, I haven't been able to drain the tank yet. I'm probably going to tow it to a shop unless I can drain and drop the tank and blow out the lines on a weekend where he's out of town. Will keep this thread updated as I get further into it.

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    your right about the TB, dont know why i threw that in there, just the middle of a rant i suppose, but i had a 73 240z thats was carbed and had an egr, thats why i was askin about yours.

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    Update - blew out the lines w/compressed air, drained and filled the tank, replaced the brand new fuel filter with another brand new fuel filter... drove 3 miles, stalled again. Waited 10 minutes, drove 1.5 miles, stalled. Waited 10 minutes, drove 1.5 miles, baaaaarely got it into my driveway and it stalled again.

    I'm thinking I have about 20 different issues to tackle, not the least of which are vac leaks, exhaust leaks, etc. Realized these things have power brakes yet I have to apply about 80lbs of force on the pedal in order to initiate braking. Thought it was like my Demon and '66 Mustang w/o power assist brakes. Guess not. Applied shop vac to master vac, magically brakes became easier to press (engine off). Started engine and put my thumb in the line to the master vac, it barely had any suction at idle at all. All signs are pointing to a massive vac leak... which is weird because it idles rock solid at 500-600rpm when warm. I must have missed something when I pulled the air injection equipment.

    Also, carbs are original and have never been rebuilt. I looked through 32 years of receipts over the weekend and never saw anything about the carbs.

    I'll update this thread when I get this thing running properly.

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    I had a similar problem on my 72.
    Was a dirty distributor to coil connection. I had previously squirted WD40 around, and over time it had collected grime on the connections.

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    I'm experiencing the same exact issues with stalling and braking. Just thought i'd chime in to offer my help as i troubleshoot and figure it out.
    On mine, there are some plugs in the intake and the car is pretty modded up so it could be anything.

    My first assumption was fuel, the electric pump died and i replaced it as well as the filter and the filter before the mechanical pump. I'm going to drain the tank and go from there.
    The vacuum leak idea is good though, i'll have to check that out but like you said, mine idles really well so i don't think that's the culprit.

    I'll have to see how my brake booster responds to what you did to yours as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by mckennar View Post
    Update - blew out the lines w/compressed air, drained and filled the tank, replaced the brand new fuel filter with another brand new fuel filter... drove 3 miles, stalled again. Waited 10 minutes, drove 1.5 miles, stalled. Waited 10 minutes, drove 1.5 miles, baaaaarely got it into my driveway and it stalled again.

    I'm thinking I have about 20 different issues to tackle, not the least of which are vac leaks, exhaust leaks, etc. Realized these things have power brakes yet I have to apply about 80lbs of force on the pedal in order to initiate braking. Thought it was like my Demon and '66 Mustang w/o power assist brakes. Guess not. Applied shop vac to master vac, magically brakes became easier to press (engine off). Started engine and put my thumb in the line to the master vac, it barely had any suction at idle at all. All signs are pointing to a massive vac leak... which is weird because it idles rock solid at 500-600rpm when warm. I must have missed something when I pulled the air injection equipment.
    I'll update this thread when I get this thing running properly.

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    Mine ideled great in the garage but when I got away from home, too close to call a wrecker, It would quit. I could change out the filter up front and blow back through the supply line and it would get me home. It is a '72 tank that was crusted with crap. I took the sending unit out 1st, get your tank below half full, and it was rusted pretty bad. So I put a camera in the hole and barely could see rust in the picture. Dropped the tank and couldn't beleive what was there. You could stick a magnetic parts picker upper in there and probably get some thing but most of the 12 ounces in mine wouldn't stick to the magnet, CRUD.
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    Last edited by siteunseen; 07-29-2014 at 04:18 PM.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    Wow, that's nuts. I just got a usb boreoscope so i'll be having some fun with that. i'm about to drain the tank and go from there but i think it's still almost full so we'll see. Probably wont complete it today.

    Did you re-seal the tank, get a shop to do it or just scrap the tank and get a new one? I'm not sure what will be the best rout for me if i do find a bunch of crap in mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by siteunseen View Post
    most of the 12 ounces in mine wouldn't stick to the magnet, CRUD.
    Yummy!! That's a great pic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SheWantsTheZ View Post

    Did you re-seal the tank, get a shop to do it or just scrap the tank and get a new one? I'm not sure what will be the best rout for me if i do find a bunch of crap in mine.
    I dropped mine and cleaned it then coated with Red Kote, replaced all the hoses to the evap tank too. It was a jobbie job!
    Here's the thread, half is the tank work the other half is about our shoes, we have fun on here.
    http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/f...ing-story.html
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

  31. #31
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    @siteunseen & SheWantsTheZ, I wanted to update / close out this thread with the conclusion:

    Bit the bullet, drained & dropped the tank and while not quite as bad as yours, it was by far the absolute worst I've ever seen on a running car. Anyways, long story short, sent the tank out to be cleaned and re-sealed. Put it back in a few weeks ago, replaced both of the vent lines while I was at it and what a difference! I've driven over 200 miles so far and no stalling, no high idle, nothing. Runs like a top.

    So, bottom line, if repeated blow-outs of the fuel lines and in-line filter changes don't do it for you, bite the bullet, drop the tank and clean it out.

    Many thanks to everyone here for making that suggestion.

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