Several years ago I wrote you about my ’65 Falcon convertible, asking for options to re-do my suspension. I took your advice and put only upgraded factory stuff on, basically Opentracker A-arms and lower control arms with Bilstein shocks. It’s a very comfortable ride, but now I have a new problem.
When I am driving down the road at 65–70 mph in fifth gear (T-5 swap), the engine loses power and I hear a spitting type sound (fft, fft). If I downshift to fourth, the power seems to come back. This only occurs after the car has been running for 5–10 minutes at 65–70. The car has a 289, Autolite four-barrel carburetor, Mallory distributor, new generic NAPA coil, fresh plugs/wires, and I am using a ballast resistor.
It’s wonderful to hear you chose/enjoy my suggested suspension modifications, as it’s usually in the owner’s best interest to stick with a factory-style suspension, but with upgraded shocks ...
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This happened again Saturday when I was climbing a long hill in the mountains. It only lasted about 30 seconds. I have a cheap Carter electric fuel pump. How would the engine react if the pump was acting up.
I think a fuel cutting out would be smoother than what you are experiencing (probably). And it would likely happen at full throttle too, not just when you try to accelerate in OD.
Good day gents:
Does the engine have the original points type ignition or an upgraded electronic one like the Pertronix Ignitor series of drop in ignitions? If it already had the Pertronix in it, you don't need a ballast resistor or resistor wire (GM used a resistor wire) in the circuit. If you're still using the old points type ignition, I'd double check or possibly change out the condenser. I believe the coil should have about 1.5 ohms of internal resistance, maybe a bit more, but too much would also cause that problem.
You've probably checked the plugs already but if it's like my Dad's old 64 Falcon it went through spark plugs pretty quick. It was our driver to get to the cottage and he spent most weekdays working on the car to get it ready for the following weekend. And that was his "Good" car. 🙂
One more thought guys:
Why the electric fuel pump? The Ford mechanical fuel pump is excellent. It could be the volume of fuel, from the electric pump, is too small for heavy load applications. Where is it located? Most electric fuel pumps have very low vacuum, so they need to be as close to the tank as possible, preferably with gravity feeding the pump. If the pump is under hood, then it's having to draw fuel from the rear of the car to the front and may not have enough vacuum to do that under high load situations. It could even be the alternator or battery is getting compromised and, again under high load conditions, the battery voltage is falling down enough that it affects the electric fuel pump.
This sounds like a new problem with my '60 Galaxie. It has a 352 cid V8. When going up hills on the interstate, if I try to accelerate, it coughs once or twice.
I was thinking I need to adjust the 2 barrel carb. Maybe the problem happens when the secondary kicks in? I know the previous owner replaced the carb. Based on the rich smell of the exhaust I don't think he properly adjusted it. Thoughts?
All these answers sound good. The only thing I’d add is check; spark plug gap, spark plug wires. Spark plug wires (carbon) can break internally. When they get hot the break (gap) may expand causing a loss of spark at the plug. Also check the routing of the wires.
Probably too many resistors in the coil circuit but ... I'd also put in a new vacuum advance pot, my '54 didn't run right at higher speed so put in a new one, nobody make the exact one for the original Y-block dist' so we got one for a '50, cut off the hooked rod and welded it back on, 90 deg' turned, works like a charm now.
Stephen said he added a ballast resister to the system which could be the problem if his is using the factory Ford harness. Ford used a very light gauge wire to the coil to create the necessary resistance and the added ballast might have created too much resistance.
I'd like a bit more information on this. The power seems to return when the transmission is downshifted? So that (obviously) means that the RPM increases. This only seems to be noticed after the engine warms up? Is there an automatic choke on the carburetor? This doesn't seem to indicate an ignition issue to me but it does require more information. I would thoroughly inspect the carb base gasket and after the engine is warm and idling, spray some silicone aerosol around the intake manifold where it meets the heads to see if the idle speed changes. While I was at it, I would temporarily install a vacuum gauge in the car and check for a steady needle (no wild fluctuations) under the noted fifth-gear operation. The distributor vacuum advance is only supposed to work during part throttle (ported vacuum source), so a low vacuum signal and low RPM (inadequate mechanical advance) coupled with a high load would cause a slight stumble. Let us know what you find.
It sounds like this car still has a points type ignition system. A relatively cheap upgrade is to convert to electronic ignition. This will ditch the ballast resistor and make this Falcon more trouble free.
With many of the comments talking about the ballast resistor, why not find out what the true voltage is at the coil? Voltmeter red lead on the coil + terminal, black on battery ground, and run the engine. If the voltage is around 10V-11V, with 14V at the battery, that would be about right. If you find that you are around 8V or less, try bypassing the external ballast resistor and see what the volts are then. Also, run the engine for long enough to get everything up to temp, as higher temps increases resistance, which lowers both voltage and current. You may start with a decent voltage that drops as wires heat up. TimK noted that Ford used a resistor wire for the ignition. Maybe check the volts both in and out of the add-on ballast resistor. Good Luck!
Certainly could be too many ballast resistors, it sounds like an ignition misfire. Crack one of those new plugs during installation? Could be an open plug wire also, test them with an ohm meter. Or arcing in the distributor cap. You might see a carbon track on the inside if the cap is the problem.