351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad
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Thread: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

  1. #1
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    351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    So the problem I'm having is not in my Cougar, but in my '66 Mustang's 351 Cleveland. I really like this forum so decided to give it shot here. The problem is that it doesnt seem to run correctly if its anything above idle. It just sounds horrible with a loud possibly "knocking" noise, is the best way to describe it. Not really sure what knocking or detonation sounds like, and i have kinda of a loud exhaust already.

    Little history on my engine, its a lil beefed up with a mild cam, headers to 3 inch pipes and flowmasters. Ported n polished heads, edelbrock intake, holley double pumper, Duraspark 2 and MSD 6Al Box ignition. Probably hasnt run much in the last 5 to 4 years. Only periodically turning on and moving it. Before then, it ran perfect. But since then, I've had to replace the fuel pump becuz i was getting fuel in the oil pan, but i believe it was actually a deteriorated rubber in the power valve in the carb. Since then no gas in the oil. But now running as mentioned.

    So what can the issue be? I thought it was timing or vacuum advance but timing was fine when last driven around and vac advance checked out fine when i applied vacuum. I then opened my distributor and realized there was a considerable amount of corrosion on the armature, magnetic pickup, cap and rotor contacts. Can this be my problem with the poor performance and some smoking? Pictures are below. Sorry about the long post.
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    Last edited by POLOreme; March 31st, 2019 at 03:18 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    Not sure if that is causing all your trouble, but it is going to cause trouble. With the car sitting that long you likely have more than one thing wrong.
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  3. #3
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    Any recommendations on what to do if you get a bunch of fuel into the oiling system, after fixing the leaking/faulty part? Obviously I’ve already done one or two oil changes, trying to get all the fuel out. Just wondering if there’s anything else I should do or put in the oil.

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  5. #4
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    One good oil n filter change should do it .. I would bet after sitting that long you have a dirty nasty plugged up carburetor.

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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    I would start with a full tune up. Plugs, cap, wires and rotor. They I would go through the carb cleaning it well and new gaskets. Make sure the gas is good. Then see how it runs.
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  7. #6
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    So when I realized it was my power valve in my carb that was actually the culprit of fuel in my oiling system, I did take my carb apart and replaced both power valves, spray it all down with carb cleaner, inspected the needles and float bowls, and replaced the seals for the float bowls and metering blocks. Before that, about a year ago, I replaced all the spark plugs, but should probably inspect them. Spark plug wires are new MSD wires installed sometime last year. I will replace my cap and rotor, and going to attempt to clean some of the corrosion on the distributor armature/reluctor and magnetic pickup without removing any material off them. Gas is a few months old, but will put some new fuel in it and I’ll get back with my results. Thanks for the input.

  8. #7
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    So finally got around to mess around with the car. I changed the cap and rotor on the distributor. I removed each spark plug and saw that they are pretty fouled up from the fuel leak issues I had earlier. I sprayed them with carb cleaner and cleaned off a little, not sure if that would help. Then made sure I routed plug wires properly so that no spark induction would occur. But as I was plugging in the plug wires, I noticed inside the hole of the ignition coil, where the plug wire plugs into, had a pool of oil inside of it? Can this be my problem? It’s a Pertronix Flamethrower 1.5 ohm ignition coil and its about 15 years old. The car does fires up right away each time, and after doing what I did to it, it does sound a bit smoother, but once you raise those rpms when you drive away, I get that same noise. Obviously the oil in the coil isn’t right but if my coil was the problem, would it still fire up right away? Early stages of coil failing? I do have some smoking coming out of the tailpipes, which seems like its running a bit rich.

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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    Could be producing a very weak spark with your worn ignition coil. So weak even that it would "blow out" the spark at the plugs when you rev it.
    I would definitely replace it since it's already leaking, and I suspect this might be your culprit.

  10. #9
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    Coils are not intermittent and they don't partially fail. If the car runs the coil is not your problem. Basic things like checking compression (and fixing anything that is causing a lack of it) and then doing typical repairs that are needed any time a car is neglected for many years are going to make the car run well. Carburetor rebuild, gas tank cleaning, basic tune up, that sort of unglamorous but essential thing is what you need. Be systematic, overkill everything until it can't be any better. Then you won't have any problems for a long time.
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  11. #10
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    So just an update on my issue. I replaced the ignition coil that had oil leaking out of it, with a new MSD Blaster 2 coil. And HOLY S***, it sounded and responded sooooooo much better! Performed almost like it once did. Felt and sounded so good, I felt Comfortable taking out on the road and stepping on the throttle a little. Only thing I noticed was the plume of smoke coming out the tailpipes when I punched it. I was wondering if that smoke is because since I had a faulty ignition system, things weren’t possibly burning off completely in the combustion chambers and therefore since I’m most likely getting better combustion, it all needs to burn off? Does that seem plausible?

  12. #11
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    Re: 351 Cleveland not running right, sounds bad

    Glad the new coil solved your issue, could be there are still remnants of fuel buildup/crud in your system that causes the plume of smoke when you punch it.
    If it's black smoke, it's probably just that. If it's blue or white you might have another problem.
    I would drive it a bit to see if it get's better.
    Last edited by hanver; 1 Week Ago at 03:54 AM.

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