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1979 AMC Concord

I bought a 1979 AMC Concord. The body is in great condition, and I just love my car. Unfortunately, it’s had a few kinks. The carburetor needed replaced (so said the mechanic) and a few other things - water pump, thermostat (I did that myself.) It just won’t keep running! It drives fine, but red light - engine is out. Now the mechanic says it’s the idle speed solenoid (it simply wasn’t there.) Will this fix my car once and for all?? Also, it’s missing a PCV valve. Can it run without it for a while/

Is this car subject to an emissions test or inspection where you live? That will greatly affect how you proceed, because you will have a really hard time finding things like idle speed solenoids and other weird devices that were used to make the car meet the emissions standards of the time. What would probably be ideal is replacing the stock carburetor with an aftermarket carb made by Holley, Weber, etc. These are easier to tune and should yield better and more predictable performance and you won’t have to worry about hard-to-find rebuild parts.

I would not drive it very far without the PCV, but that’s a part you should still be able to just walk in and buy from a parts store and it’s easy to replace. You probably ought to do a compression test before you throw any more money at it, too.

Before you replace the carburetor, check the fuel line. I had a similar problem with my 1978 Oldsmobile. I was told that I had a carburetor problem. It turned out that a section of neoprene fuel line down by the gasoline tank had deteriorated. The fuel pump was sucking air. After this section of the fuel line was replaced, the car ran fine.

I was taught that carburetor is a French word that means “leave it alone”. Most cases of problems in old cars weren’t due to the carburetor. In your case, I would remove the fuel line from the carburetor side of the fuel pump and direct the line into a container. Crank the engine and see if you get a healthy stream of fuel.

find a real mechanic. your carburetor doesn’t need to be replaced, it needs to be repaired.

Probably every vacuum hose needs replaced. You may be amazed how well it runs after.

Good tip. There is a difference between carburetion and carburetor. The carburetor is a component in the carburetion system that provides the correct fuel/air mixture. Vacuum hoses, the air cleaner, the fuel lines, etc. all affect carburetion. A bad intake manifold gasket or even the gasket between the carburetor and the intake manifold affect carburetion.

In modern-speak, this makes the carburetor a SYSTEM, doesn’t it?