'RESTORED' and RUNNING CORRECTLY are NOT the same thing... - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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1973 CJ5 
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'RESTORED' and RUNNING CORRECTLY are NOT the same thing...

I just got done with a fully (and beautifully) restored '84 CJ-7 that wasn't running correctly.

The owner has dealership bills and private garage bills for over $4,000 worth of work on this particular Jeep trying to plug up oil leaks, get the engine running correctly, ect. since he did a complete frame off restoration.

Restoration went VERY WELL,
Frame in good shape, axles in good shape, ect.
But the rough running and cold starts were driving him to the point of selling the Jeep or never driving it again.

He's a member if this forum, but I'm not going to name him.
If he wants to chime in, that's OK with me, but he's a bit embarrassed about the entire event.
$1,700 for 'Form-A-Gasket' around front cover to stop leaks and install an aluminum valve cover from the Chrysler dealership.

$700 for a carb rebuild from a private garage that DID NOT solve the problems...

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

I was contacted by PM here, went to have a look...

$120 for ignition upgrade parts, cap adapter, cap, rotor, plug wires and new plugs, carb rebuild kit, hand towels and carb cleaning solvents.

Upgraded the ignition, checked to see the vacuum advance canister was working,
Checked for TDC of compression on #1 cylinder,
Verified the balancer and distributor set in the engine (Correct),

Checked compression, all cylinders producing compression readings of 'New' engine.

Rebilt the carb took about an hour, every adjustment was out including the float level.

Put the ignition upgrade parts on, took about 1/2 hour,

Checked timing and engine vacuum... WAY OFF!
Adjusted the carb idle fuel mix, adjusted the distributor,
Vacuum came right up to factory 'New' readings.

Cold start problems next,
Checked the choke supply and manifold heater, both working.

Checked the high idle, WAY OFF, screw actually MISSING!
Replaced screw and spring detent and adjusted.

Still had an intermittent miss that was shaking the engine pretty badly. Random miss, not the ignition cap, rotor, wires, plugs...

Plugged in my 'Test' module, a GM HEI module with DuraSpark harness plugs on it, with DEDICATED GROUND.

Plugged in the factory module,
Added a ground wire to the heads and ignition module,

Nothing but cleaning and adjusting the carb, adding a decent high voltage circuit from coil to plugs,
And adding grounds to head & ignition module.

$120 worth of parts, chemicals and three feet of 'Ground' wire...
I charged him $30 an hour for 4 hours or work, and I went to/from parts store to fetch parts,
No markup on parts, no charge when I didn't have my hands on the vehicle.

What makes me think of this is he just went ripping by my house blowing the horn!
It wouldn't run in the cold before, so I guess he's VERY happy with it now!

The moral of the story is...
Don't take the small stuff for granted!

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post #2 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 09:05 AM
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I think that what you just described is the reason more and more people are disgusted with "reputable" shops anymore.

pay a premium for substandard and/or incomplete work, with no personal integrity towards customer satisfaction...

burns me to no end...


"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 09:09 AM
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This is why you should learn how to do work yourself. These vehicles are beyond simple. After a little bit of time, you could basically fix them in your sleep. Don't pay to have anything done unless its ABSOLUTELY something you can't do in your own garage - but then again most of those tasks can be completed with the help of someone experienced in that area.


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post #4 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 09:43 AM
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I think what sends most people to the garage is the actual diagnosis of the problem.

Must of us can pull and replace parts. But it's determining what is causing the problem that is troublesome.

One thing I would like to say is it is a good idea to stick with a good mechanic when you find one. Loyalty is Big, for the little guys. They'll take care of you for that loyalty.
I am lucky in that one of my best friends is a mechanic. I don't ask much of him, except for advice or ideas. But when I need it, he comes through for me. And in return, I take care of him- cash, beer, sanding his truck, etc....

You get the idea....
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 10:17 AM
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One of the problems I have with some of our newer mechanic is thay are parts changers. If you can't plug it into a computer then it isn't broke. A valuable lesson is that you need to diaganose what is really causing the problem and fix that. Good job Hammer on atacking each problem and fixing that and then moving to the next instead of just shotgunning the whole thing.
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 10:56 AM
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If I only lived in SW Indiana by Hammer!!!!! Nice job.
Nothing worse than getting taken by a mechanic shop and having the problem still exist.
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post
I just got done with a fully (and beautifully) restored '84 CJ-7 that wasn't running correctly.

The moral of the story is...
Don't take the small stuff for granted!
As always, nice writeup Jeephammer!


"Bad things happen to you because you're a dumba$$"
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 01:51 PM
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1984 CJ7 
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Mechanics that know or can still remember carbs are a dying breed, at least around here. When I first got my jeep I went to my mechanic and he said " thats as good as I can get it" He also lost his shirt trying to fix it. I went on here and had it running right the next day. Its sad, but at least we all JF and the smart people on it.
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-04-2010, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
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Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,180
I don't consider myself 'Smart' by a long shot,
But I do remember my mistakes, and when I find something that doesn't look/feel quite right, I dip back to why I sold this or that because I couldn't get it running correctly when I hear of someone else finding a 'Fix' for the same issues I had and apply it towards what I'm dealing with.

Experience is a wonderful thing if you remember what you already had to deal with and don't stop trying to figure out the problme even after it's long gone.

I read about all these people that have such issues with the stock ignition, put in an HEI clone, and the vehicle started to run 'Correctly' again...
I wonder how much of that is faulty ground to the ignition module through the distributor housing,
And the simple act of changing distributors simply scratches away the oil residue buildup and you get ground to the new distributor...

Or when people change carbs because they simply can't get the stock carb to run 'Correctly', when it might be something as simple as float level, vacuum leak or incorrect external adjustments...

Changing carbs will usually fix base plate vacuum leaks,
And with a new carb, you are likely to have INSTRUCTIONS on adjustments they might not have been able to find for the stock carb.


On a completely unrelated note,
I purchased an '82 blazer in very good shape, lots of extras, custom wheels & tires, ect. for CHEAP simply because the owner believed the engine was 'Blowed Up' and wouldn't listen to me when I said I though it was something else.

Turned out to be the alternator front bearing had went out and was making a knocking noise.

I purchased the little CJ-5 I drive around now because the owners (AMISH!) were using it to pump water.
They had the rear end jacked up, two wheels welded together and used it to turn a belt driven water pump.

The owner SWORE it was a 'Blown Up' engine, and I offered him $400 more than he was asking since I KNEW it wasn't the engine,
He simply wouldn't hear it, told me if I didn't want to give $600 for it, he would sell it to someone else or scrap it...
So I gave him $600, went home, replaced the passenger side header that was rusted through...
No more knock!

Some people you CAN help, others you can't, and it's taken me a lot of years to tell when to back away and just let them think what they are dead set on doing.

The guy I wrote about above is TICKLED TO DEATH with his Jeep now,
But it's been so unreliable for so long he won't drive it out of town yet, but he's been ripping around in it since I got it done about 2 weeks ago,
So he's LOVING it so far...

One other thing I forgot to list was it would quit running like someone shut the key off once in a while, especally after he hit a bump, but not always.
Sometimes it would fire right back up, other times he would 'Wiggle' everything under the hood, and it would eventually start back up.
He had TWO $195 tow bills from that Jeep this summer, and the Jeep would start right up when they dropped it off the hook in his driveway...

So I checked the coil terminal connectors, and they were BADLY misshapen.
Some time with a tooth pick & needle nose pliers, and the sudden dying has gone away.

I find this to be a common thing on the '78-'86 models, and it's on my 'Check Everything' list...
After 25+ years of hammering away on that harness, I'm surprised that ANYTHING works under the hood at all!

Fill your connectors with dielectric grease, Messy, but VERY effective at keeping corrosion to a minimum,
And don't forget to pay to the Jeep Gods at least once a week!
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post #10 of 15 Old 02-06-2010, 03:44 PM
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I know when I went to Stark Tech (Stark State now..) for automotive they only spent 1 week on carbs, and that was just for a basis to build upon for why fuel injection works the way it does. The teacher said that they aren't supposed to spend much time on carb anymore since they are 'obsolete' to the normal dealership mechanic.

I know what I know about carbs from my experience on my car (85 Cutlass Supreme, SBC, Holley vac 2ndary 600CFM), and have adapted it to my CJ. I am a little rusty on the fine tuning though, just because I have been playing with the EFI of my Ranger for the past 6 years or so.


1978 CJ5 5.0HO/T177/D300, '86 D30/D44 WT axles, 'glass body, 31x10.5 BFG A/T, TDK galv'd frame - DD and weekend toy

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post #11 of 15 Old 02-06-2010, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post
The moral of the story is...
Don't take the small stuff for granted!
Quoted for truth.

The important corallary? "Never assume" Can't tell y'all how many times I assumed something was ok because I'd just worked on it "last week" only to have it turn out to NOT be ok.

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post #12 of 15 Old 02-07-2010, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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1973 CJ5 
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Location: South West Indiana
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I just had the guy I was talking about tow a '57 CJ into my driveway this morning!
He was out ripping around in his '84 CJ and found a '57 CJ broken down and towed him to my house instead of taking him home...

Fuel pump is out, couldn't help the guy on a '57, no one had one in town so we towed him home,
But the guy with the '84 said his Jeep is running EXACTLY like it should since before it wouldn't hardly pull it's self, and towing someone would have been COMPLETELY out of the question!

Glad he's happy!
But showing up on Sunday morning with a broken Jeep of someone he didn't even know is pretty cool!
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-07-2010, 01:47 PM
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So you didn't lube the centrifugal advance and phase the rotor. What a hack job!

Just kidding, nice work!
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-07-2010, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
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Originally Posted by bleoh View Post
So you didn't lube the centrifugal advance and phase the rotor. What a hack job!

Just kidding, nice work!
No, but I did adjust his accelerator pump, tighten up his starter cable connection, and tell him what he needed for his fuel pump.
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-07-2010, 07:21 PM
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Dang, this is such a nice story Do you do TJ's? I haven't broken mine yet...... but .....

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