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Author Topic: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire  (Read 894 times)

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Offline GunnersWillys

'58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« on: March 02, 2020, 01:49:44 PM »
Hey Folks: 

I've read up on this quite a bit and done a fair amount of troubleshooting, and may have hit a wall.  It's to the point now where it will be easier to ask versus continuing to throw parts at it. 

Long story, but I bought this vehicle back a few months ago from a someone I'd sold it to several years ago.  It was a bit neglected when I got it back and I've been working through issues.  Since getting it back it's been hard to start.  It seemed to run okay, spit a little, but overall ran pretty smoothly.  I used it at a Jeep event last weekend, and it started running very rough after sitting out in the rain overnight.  I changed the distributor cap because it looked pretty worn, also sprayed the wires with Wire Dryer, and it ran pretty well for most of one day.  Still hard to start though.

Yesterday I installed new points and condenser.  Wow, started easily and purred like a kitten (still a little pop at the tailpipe).  I took it for a couple of short drives of a mile or two, then gave it a bath.

After, it fired right up and sounded solid.  I decided to give it one more mile or so on the road.  Before leaving the driveway I started to notice a spit.  Half mile away, a much more pronounced miss.  I turned around, got it home.  It idled roughly for a minute or two then died.

I thought maybe the points had slipped so I reset.  They were off a tiny bit.  It ran, but still rough.  This morning it wouldn't start.  I picked up a new condenser, just in case, and installed it.  No change.  There was spark at the plugs but it wouldn't fire.  I installed four new plugs, again just in case, it still wouldn't fire.  I hit it with ether, it fired a little.  Finally hit it with 4 short bursts or ether and it fired and ran.  Better idle, but still missing.  Driving, it does okay at low RPM but spits like crazy at high RPM and won't fully accelerate.

I can pull the wires off the plugs while running, and the idle drops as expected.  Same for the distributor cap.   

I've got new points on the way, again, just in case.  I've not inspected timing.  I've not messed with fuel as I'm under the assumption it's an electrical issue. 

If new points don't fix it, where do I go from here? 

Thanks.

Offline athawk11

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Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2020, 03:47:37 PM »
Just some things to consider.

Condenser:  The internet is littered with stories from the Willys community about condensers.  Often, they are bad right out of the box.  I bought one from NAPA to freshen up my L134 engine.  It ran just like you're describing.  I put the old one back in and it continues to run just fine.  I believe Joe's Motorpool is offering a good replacement.

Coil:  I'm not sure this is your issue.  When they fail, they have similar symptoms as a bad condenser and poor engine power, but they generally start acting up after the engine is nice and hot.
 
Timing:  You didn't mention checking your timing.

Fuel Mixture:  If the carburetor is set too lean, you may have issues at higher RPMs.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 07:20:32 PM by athawk11 »
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Offline GunnersWillys

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2020, 04:41:12 PM »
Thanks.  My local Autozone shows a condenser in stock.  I'll pick one up this evening and see if it helps!

Offline SteveKfl

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2020, 05:19:54 PM »
My $.02... the statement that it fired up on the ether and with more of it ran smoothly, suggests to me a "fuel issue".  Whether it is sucking air in somewhere messing with the mixture, or the pressure from the fuel pump is inadequate or not enough "volume", or the carb and/or fuel filter is dirty, are areas that I would check before doing the same parts over and over.  You said "It has spark".  "Move on to fuel related areas" is my suggestion.  Good Luck!
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Offline 64CJ5

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2020, 08:14:08 PM »
Just another thought, could it be spark plugs or spark plug wires.  Something could be gaping as things warm up.
 
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Offline GunnersWillys

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2020, 10:51:41 PM »
Well, I installed a new coil, no change.  I did find a bad wire, but after fixing it, again, no change.  Following the new coil it would start and idle fine, run pretty smoothly up to mid-range rpm's, then go into limp mode at high rpm's. 

Next I installed new points.  Now it won't start at all, even with ether.

I noticed the distributor cam has a lot of play.  Pulling on it you can move it up maybe 1/8th of an inch.  No movement side to side, but spinning it clockwise or counter/clockwise, it moves more than I expected.  Issue there?

I realized I've been assuming the PO didn't mess with my timing settings.  I'll check that out tomorrow.

I haven't ruled out a fuel issue, but the pump is new and there is plenty of pressure.  Once it starts it seems to get plenty of gas.  The filter is new, I replaced it recently.  There is no water in the tank.  But if timing doesn't help I'll pull the top off the carb and check for crud. 

I'll also pull a plug or two and check for spark, if I can't get it started in the morning.  It's on a battery charger overnight. 

Keep the ideas coming!  Thanks.

Offline Rus Curtis

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2020, 10:58:14 PM »
....and it started running very rough after sitting out in the rain overnight.....

Everything mentioned should be checked.  Troubleshoot to avoid swapping parts.  Condensers can be bad out of the box.

I also think of fuel.

Take a sample from your tank drain.  Look for water droplets/sand/rust/etc.  You may also want to open your carb and look in the bowl too.
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Offline aboyandhisdog

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2020, 11:51:47 AM »
On the distributor there is a "hot" wire that goes through the side of the diz (attaches to a small terminal post).  It must be insulated from the diz housing with a small fiber or rubber "grommet/washer" set up of some sort.  A couple of years ago at the FCT, we were stumped by a similar problem and it turned out that the insulating washers had deteriorated to the point that the post terminal was making contact with the diz housing.  The jeep won't run when this happens.  Maybe something to check out.

Offline Squishymonster

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Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2020, 12:02:42 PM »
I had one issue that matched part of your description. I could accelerate well through 1st and 2nd gear but 3rd felt like hitting a wall of air. That was fixed by advancing the distributor a couple of degrees.

I also had to keep my choke half on.

So if your distributor can rotate even slightly by hand I would consider that a potential cause.

Offline GunnersWillys

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2020, 12:11:03 PM »
No spark to the plugs at all this morning.  I was not comfortable with the way I'd stacked the condenser terminal and coil terminal with the points spring.  New condenser had a weird set-up.  So I pulled it and installed the old one.  Fire returned, and I got it started with ether.  Runs intermittently rough still, so I'd like to mess with the timing.

Well I can't budge the distributor.  I loosened the nut that locks it down,  No budging it.  It won't turn as needed to change timing.  Before I break something, is there some trick?  I've never had this problem before. 


EDIT:  I read up a bit, and have been soaking the base of the distributor with PB Blaster, then running and cooling the engine.  No luck yet.  I tapped the disty with a hammer lightly.  Now no spark at the plugs again.  Can't win.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 03:32:57 PM by GunnersWillys »

Offline Squishymonster

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Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2020, 02:31:49 PM »
There is a youtube video by Metalshaper where he shows how to get a stuck distributor out. Unfortunately I cant find it at the moment. He does soak it several times and I think he ended up busting it anyway but says it usually works after a few days of re applying.

I suppose if it's that stuck I'd try the other suggestions before going down that route (while continuing to soak)

(found it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaP9ug03zjY&t=1209s )

No spark to the plugs at all this morning.  I was not comfortable with the way I'd stacked the condenser terminal and coil terminal with the points spring.  New condenser had a weird set-up.  So I pulled it and installed the old one.  Fire returned, and I got it started with ether.  Runs intermittently rough still, so I'd like to mess with the timing.

Well I can't budge the distributor.  I loosened the nut that locks it down,  No budging it.  It won't turn as needed to change timing.  Before I break something, is there some trick?  I've never had this problem before. 


EDIT:  I read up a bit, and have been soaking the base of the distributor with PB Blaster, then running and cooling the engine.  No luck yet.  I tapped the disty with a hammer lightly.  Now no spark at the plugs again.  Can't win.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 02:33:45 PM by Squishymonster »

Offline scoutpilot

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2020, 02:54:57 PM »
Be patient with it. Please! Soak it and work it a little in a couple of hours. This may take a few days. PLEASE be patient. Use a strap wrench.
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Offline GunnersWillys

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2020, 04:49:24 PM »
Success!  Sort of.  I tinkered with the connections for the condenser and points and got spark back.  Started it with ether, but it didn't want to start.  I'm able to move the distributor clockwise and counterclockwise about 1/4 inch, enough to mess with the timing.  Timed it by ear and found the sweet spot for best idle and mid-range RPM's, the took it for a ride.   Still spits badly and won't quite complete the high RPM band before is sputters and stops accelerating.  Again tinkered with the timing and found the sweetest spot for upper RPMs, but the issue still stands. 

So I don't think it's timing.

Running out of time this week.  When I can get back to it I'll start on the carb.  Gas looks a little cloudy in the tank.  Maybe I'll drain it and start with fresh.

Offline oldtime

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2020, 07:35:52 PM »
After you pull the air horn assembly from the top of carburetor you should measure the depth of gasoline in the fuel well. That alone will tell you a lot about fuel supply into the carburetor.

Offline Rus Curtis

Re: '58 CJ3B Intermittant Missfire
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2020, 09:22:17 PM »
Progress!  Good to hear you can move the distributor.  I tuned it once by ear and it wasn't advanced enough (should be 5* before TDC) and it ran rough.  Keep soaking and moving the distributor.

Bad gas will make life difficult.
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