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1988 Ford Festiva Starting and Running Problems

This is probably a carb issue, I’m guessing, and no mechanics in my area (that I know of) will troubleshoot or work on a carb. I’m hoping someone remembers enough about them to give me repair pointers, since a new car is not an option.:slight_smile:

The car does not start cold, but does turn over. If I remove the air filter and hold the metal plate in the carb open to allow more air in, it starts after a few tries. The problems started suddenly after the car sat one weekend, after a fresh fillup at Wally World the Friday before. I’ve replaced the spark plugs (it wouldn’t run at all until I did) and an obviously worn out fuel filter. I’ve checked the mechanical fuel pump and it is delivering fuel at the right times and in good volume. Reading the spark plugs told me nothing other than they were old and warn. The engine will “backfire” out of the top of the carb while starting if I let too much fuel vapor build up. When the engine hits operating temperature it maintains an acceptable vacuum level. It will stubble from time time while running, and once that starts the engine wants to die (apply a little gas and it will go back to smooth running). Also, there is a noticeable ~1 second delay between hitting the gas and the engine revving up. While driving, pulling out from a stop will cause the engine to die unless I back off the clutch very slowly while holding the RPMs high.

Any ideas? I’ve heard constrained exhaust system and “the carb” as possible causes, but I’m needing to find something specific to test. And the carb tests in my manual are… lacking.

Solved! It seems some oil got into the distributer cap and was causing intermittant misfires. I cleaned out the oil and the car runs fine now. Now to solve the other issues I found while doing this repair…