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Discussion Starter #1
...Just got my car on the road, drove it around for about a week then all of a sudden it wouldn't idle when I shift into drive anymore (or reverse). When it's in park it idles fine, then when I put it in gear the rpm drop so much it dies. The engine is a 350 with a th400 trans. Its pulling 12" of vacuum at idle in park. Anyone know what could be causing this? Is my torque converter messed up and not letting the engine idle in gear?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't know too much about the engine. It was in there when I bought the car. Sounds like it has a small cam. nothing too crazy. the heads are 2.02's. 600cfm holley. The converter is a stock 12". When i initially got the car running this wasn't a problem. Just started happening the other day. I'll check for vacuum leaks again.
 

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If the car has been sitting for awhile. Replace the fuel filter. It may not get enough gas under a load. Earl
 

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Well it sounds like your distributor may have been moved a little bit. I would try checking the timing first. I have to readjust my timing about twice a month because my motor vibrates it out of timing. Nothing serious but a pain none the less.
 

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You could check the weights in the distributor too. Many times cars with a stock converter drop the RPMs so much that the weights retrack and take too much timing out. On serious HP engines we lock the distributors to prevent this.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses guys. I set the timing this morning. With the vacuum advance disconnected it's at 12 degrees. The vac advance adds about another 12 to that. The fuel filter is only a few weeks old and it seems to be getting good fuel pressure. Could it be a bad gas issue?
 

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Your plugs may be fouled. My engine has a craving for plugs. It burns so much gas/oil that I literally have to change the plugs every month or two. Right now they're gettin pretty bad. When I put it in gear it almost wants to die. I have to feather the throttle to keep it going. Once it warms up completely it's a little better, but not much.

Might try the plugs next. :)

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #9
...Things have gone from bad to worse. I tried diferent springs in my distributor but that didn't help, I tried a new batch of gas and that didn't help either. Then The engine started running rough at idle in park too. And now it wont even start. It turns out that I'm not getting any spark. It's got an HEI in it and it is getting 12 volts to the distributor. The dist. is brand new. I checked all my plug wires with an ohm meter and they were good. I have no clue why the plugs aren't firing!
 

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Is the 3 wire connector plugged into the cap along with the 12v source? I forgot to hook that up once and couldn't figure out why the car wasn't starting. Looked around at everything and saw the plug just sitting on the intake. :eek:

Have you tried pulling a plug, leaving the wire on it, and holding it (with a pair of pliers and/or a rag) up to the fender or any other piece of metal on the car (not the engine, ;)) and trying to start the car? That way you'd know for sure whether or not you're getting spark.

Have you also checked the cap and rotor? I know you said it's a new distributor, but sometimes the rotor just doesn't contact the cap very well. There could also be rust and/or carbon in there.

If all that checks out ok and all the connections are good, I'd say the coil is dead.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #11
All right, it's been a while but I finally got my car running. I swapped in a new distributor, and that got the engine running again, but the car still died when I put it in gear. I pulled the intake off and saw that there was a massive vacuum leak coming from the lifter valley. A new intake gasket (edelbrock brand. I'll never use a fel-pro again) did the trick, but It still died in gear. Then I put in a new, looser converter and That did it. I don't think I needed more stall speed to get the car to idle. I think the old converter was messed up somehow.
 

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(edelbrock brand. I'll never use a fel-pro again)
Just curious as to the problem with Fel-Pro; I've never found anything as good as their products. Hell, I've re-used Fel-Pro head gaskets many times on a 14-1 engine, re-used the intake gaskets on different engines, used the same header flange gaskets for several years without failure........I don't think anyone makes a better product except GM!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Don't get me wrong, Fel Pro does make great products. Some of their intake gaskets however are made of a material thats too hard to allow an intake to seal properly to the head. That's why I was getting a vacuum leak from the lifter valley. Edelbrock is now making gaskets that "squish" enough to provide a better seal.
 
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