Please help me! Im embarrassed

I hit a red light and as soon as I stopped, not only was the traffic light red but now my dash board was red in front of me. My car has been stalling quite often on me and I have been having with to deal with it. I immediately put my flashers on as I had a bad feeling I would be there a couple of light changes. The good news, it was so late at night and this road is not heavily traveled anyway that no cars were around or coming. So, my right leg now beginning its usual routine that it usually does everyday lately of bouncing off the seat when beginning to pump the gas pedal. The usual 5 dry deep thrusts of the pedal all the way to the floor and back up before turning the key first only to be met with a not so promising ?rrrrrrrrrrrr? that was lackluster at best, in other words my car didn?t even tease like it was trying for me. Release of the key and the only sights and sounds were the hazards resuming there ?blink blink blink? in the road and the sound they made in the car when it was not being cranked, and me beginning to bounce as the sound of the pedal squeaking thumping the floorboard began again while I continued pumping it. Now I sat in front of a green light, bouncing and pumping on a dead motor, looking in the rear view mirror as the first sight of head lights were about 150 yards behind me moving my way. They didn?t seem interested in stopping to help me because they blew by me and my stalled car pretty fast shaking us even more then we were already shaking from all the bouncing I was doing now cranking it over again. I am sure they probably could see me through the window bouncing up and down trying to get it started, especially since the hazards stop blinking when I start cranking the motor, so they saw the hazards blinking, then not blinking, then blinking again along with me bouncing like crazy!! They could have cared less, why are people this mean?? That?s ok though, I didn?t need there help anyway! I would get it started with my barefoot thumping the pedal and me bouncing up and down on the seat. Wrapping my left arm around the steering wheel and pushing the cigarette lighter in on the ash tray, I prepared myself for a third attempt at cranking my motor over as the red light above me now changed to red again to start the 2 nd cycle that I was stalled in the middle of this road late at night with no help. I stopped cranking it, dry pumped it very aggressively another 10 times and turned her over again to finally hear ?RRRRRRvrrooooom? as it staggered to life for me.

Knowing nothing about cars and being female, could somebody give me any ideas on what might be going on with it. It’s a 1984 oldsmobile delta 88 carbureted. Thanks

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If you know nothing about medicine, you go to a doctor. If you know nothing about cars, you go to a mechanic.

Pumping a car with a carburetor will squirt more fuel. It does not appear to be working very well. You likely need a new accelerator pump that would be included in a carb overhaul kit. But finding someone that still works on carbs will be a challenge. You need an old guy. The other issue is that it could be a spark problem caused by faulty ignition. So when it stalls, a mechanic needs to determine if there is a spark or a fuel problem first. If it is fuel, it also could be a weak fuel pump, clogged filter, or like said a carb rebuild kit. I used to rebuild my carbs at least once a year, so parts wear out. If you have a classic car club near you, ask a member to recommend a good mechanic that works on carbs.


I appreciate you giving me some advice. It’s just so embarrassing to be in that situation, you know?

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If you think about it, it is not embarrassing at all. Even for those of us who know stuff about cars, it is not like we are going to pop the hood in the middle of the intersection, get our tools and start going at it. You have to get the car to a safe place and figure it out later. So, usually that means a tow.
In my case, my biggest dilemma is whether this is something I can tackle myself or have to take it to a shop. So, where do I tow it to. Usually a coin toss and some guesswork involved.
As mentioned above, have someone look at the car!


I think back to a Friday night before a holiday. I stopped a a stop light and my car stalled. I put my flashers on, raised the hood and took a look. Some gentle soul I back of me honked his horn, like did he not see the flashers and the hood up? 50 miles from home. Before cell phones, I hiked across the street and used the pay phone to call a tow. The shop was next to a hotel, so took their airport shuttle to rent a car to get home. Saturday morning the shop said the timing chain was shot and thus the engine and offered to buy the car. I said thanks anyway and called my local tow truck to go get it and haul it the 50 miles home. Once home I paid $150 at Napa for the chain, gears, gaskets etc. and got to work with my factory manual. By early sunday the car was running again for another hundred thousand miles or so. I was never embarrassed like the jerk that honked at me should have been.

Now in defense (or defence for our uk readers) in this day and age, if you are not armed, damsels in distress can be a decoy or Trojan horse. Look it up. You get out to help and three or four hoodlums appear to rob you or steal your car. Life in the big city. Rural Minnesota is different.


This is the same post, posted by the same person August 20, 2022.
Me thinks a troll.


Someone bored on a Sunday maybe? At any rate there might still be people with carbs out there. The accel pumps seem to be on back order so not a hot item. And the kits don’t have the pumps in them anymore for the $20 it used to cost. And don’t forget the floats that can leak or the plastic ones become gas logged.

Really though nothing like a tune up with plugs, points, rotor, and a carb kit to make that car run like new. Didn’t need a check engine light.

When I read the unnecessarily “flowery” language and the references to bouncing in the seat in order to start the car, I thought that it looked familiar.

I agree.


This is the third tale of the bouncy girl, the first one was in a 1984 Camaro. These cars are rarely seen on the road, this must be some type of odd forum test, who will respond to this strange story? A display of obscene behavior in a car at night and nobody stopped to look.

If you have an ankle that rotates, you can operate the accelerator without bouncing in the seat.

I dunno, I had nice seats in my 59 Pontiac but in order to get it started when it was South Dakota cold out, I had to repeatedly jam the pedal down in quick succession maybe 20 to 30 times. I don’t know if I bounced or not but it was a workout. Carb overhaul never phased it. 50 years later, I’m thinking maybe that plug in the bottom of the bowl was leaking. A little epoxy or something might hav3 fixed it. Not sure if they even had epoxy back then.

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Must have been the carb. My 59 Catalina with a two barrel never failed to start in sub zero temperatures.
Press pedal to the floor, release, press halfway, turn the key— varoom.

I was expecting to see some odd link towards the end of the post. What some folks get a kick out of…

Not sure the intent of OP’s post, but there are many cars of similar vintage still on the road. So there’s probably other folks browsing the posts here interested in ideas for this sort of problem. I have some experience with an older truck, gasoline v8, using points/distributor & carb. Common causes for stalls & hard to starts; and common solution

  • Carb’s fuel inlet valve is sticking, clean or replace part
  • Carb’s accel pump has failed, replace that part
  • Carb’s power valve has failed & leaking fuel into intake manifold, replace part
  • Carb’s choke mechanism faulty; fix
  • Carb’s idle passages clogged; remove carb from engine and clean idle passages
  • Carb is totally out of whack; remove carb & rebuild & calibrate entire unit
  • Dist cap, rotor, spark plug or spark plug wire problem; replace parts
  • Ignition points burned, or oxidized; replace part.

Generally the first thing I try to determine for hard to start is whether the problem is too much fuel, or too little fuel. It’s usually one or the other. If the engine cranks and cranks but won’t start, then if I hold the accel pedal all the way to the floor and it starts then, too much fuel.

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Bouncing in the driver’s seat to draw attention is not a car problem and this person is not going to repair the carburetor.

Count the number of rear wheel drive Oldsmobiles you see tomorrow and report back, if it is significant, we’ll decide if this is a plausible story.


I’ll guve the OP troll some credit… the 84 Olds 88 actually had a carburetor…

This reminds me of the “House Husband” episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. A “House Husband” is someone who is paid a fee to help someone who needs an interpreter/buffer between them and their repair-tech.

Woman: My Audi is stuck in gear, it won’t go forward or reverse
Tech: You need a new transmission, $7000
House Husband: Just jimmy the gear shift lever
Tech: That is only a temporary repair
Woman: Jimmy the lever is all I need to do? Then I save $7000? Ok, I’ll Jimmy, I’ll Jimmy! Thank you House Husband!!
Tech: OK, it is up to you.

Three days later
Woman starts car, jimmy’s lever, all the dashboard warning lights turn on and start blinking like a Christmas Tree!!
Woman: Damn House Husband! … lol …

Where exactly is that in the OP’s post? I keep looking for it, but can’t find anything even remotely obscene , but hoping I’m just overlooking it … lol .

Inlet valve in spring. On my way to school and two blocks the car stalled. Hood up looking at it. Not two minutes later a guy stopped who happened to own the gas station my room mate and I used for gas and repairs. Took a screwdriver and banged on the top of the carb to dislodge the dirt. Problem solved, no charge. Learned something. Seemed like in spring the sand on the road seemed to cause problems.

Not to mention that the original post is longer than the Obligato to Mother Machree.

If the van is rockin’, don’t come knockin’