I’ve recently acquired a 1982 Chevette. 4-door manual transmission, gas (not diesel). It’s being used for a film, and it’s perfect except for one little issue.
The car starts fine (sometimes needs a little starter fluid), and generally drives fine around town. But if you sit and idle for a couple minutes after driving (usually longer than a normal red light), once you start going (usually in 2nd gear), the engine sputters and the car dies. When this happens, the car won’t start for 10-15 minutes. The engine turns over but doesn’t fire. Starter fluid will get it going, but as soon as it burns that, it dies.
The problem appears to be that gas is not getting into the carburetor. It has a new fuel pump, and we’ve replace the fuel line and cleaned out the fuel filter. The carb is not stock. It’s a Holley that it had when we purchased it. There are a lot of outlets capped off, and I don’t know enough to know what might not be hooked up properly.
After the car dies, the fuel pump buzzes as if it’s trying to pump fuel, but it doesn’t appear to actually be pumping. Normally we just wait it out, but sometimes we kill the battery trying to restart it. We’ve successfully push-started it a couple of times, but that only works after enough time has passed that it would have probably started up fine anyway (if we hadn’t killed the battery trying).
To sum up, if we follow this sequence of events, the problem will always present itself: start up normally (after not having driven for a couple hours), drive a few miles, idle for 2 or more minutes and then continue driving. Once we continue driving, it dies before we get up to speed.
Any ideas on what to do? I only know enough about this to barely describe the problem, but I am not a car guy. I’ve been learning little by little with this one. We have recently replaced the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor, ignition control module, ignition coil, thermostat, o2 sensor and alternator belt. None of this has had a noticeable affect on the problem.
Any advice is much appreciated.