Car stalling at lights


I just became the (not so) proud owner of a

1979 Pinto Wagon. Supposedly it has less than 50,000 miles on it…Hopefully the odometer hasn’t flipped…anyways, I bought it from a private seller. Everything seemed great when I bought the car. The guy drove me around in it and it was accelerating decently. OK idle, not choppy. It drove straight, braked well, handled ok. Unfortunately though, as you’ll see in the next paragraph…I didn’t ask to test drive it and when I did, I had already bought the damn headache!

When I drove the car away from his place, I got out on the open road and came to an intersection. I stopped and then put my foot on the gas and the car stalled. I Restarted, tried not to lose my cool, and drove to the next intersection. Same thing. It stalled upon putting my foot on the gas.

I drove the car through a few more intersections and figured out that if I pressed the gas “hard” at an intersection, it would stall. However, if I let off the brake, and let the car pull forward and then ease g e n t l y into the gas, I would be golden. The highway drive was really nice. I really like the way the car feels when it gets up to speed. Unfortunately the starting is the issue!

I called a friend to get a reliable mechanic’s name…unfortunately that mechanic does not work on Saturdays, so I drove the car into the nearest shop (pep boys, unfortunately) and caught a ride home.

Now, the car was cheap as heck. I wouldn’t mind putting a few hundred bucks into it if it means It’ll get fixed. It sounds to me like a fuel delivery problem, not a transmission problem, correct? Any ideas so I have some ammo before I go to pep boys tomorrow to see what they say?


If you’re willing to spend a few hundred bucks, I’d say you probably should open up the carburetor and have it thoroughly cleaned.

My guess is the accelerator pump diaphragm needs to be replaced. If not that it is most likely the carburetor. The likely problems will be finding a mechanic who has even seen a carburetor, and finding rebuild parts. Good Luck

I believe they were still using carbs on that model.