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1961 Continental Fuel Pump Question, Updates And More Updates....

Hi Bill,

I read something in your forum about a thermostatic valve on the Carter three-port fuel pump. Can you tell me more about this? Is it something you sell?

Thanks,

Kevin

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Hi Kevin -

The three port pump had this thermostatic valve built into the return line of the pump port as part of the device to alleviate or prevent fuel vapor lock. It is also clearly shown and explained in the Shop Manual. All 61 Lincoln engines were so equipped. I am sure that we can supply you with the correct three port pump if yours was replaced at some time with a two port. Your return line to the fuel tank etc. must be intact to have the system working.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Thanks Bill,

For the past twenty-years I've been plagued with what I think is vapor lock. A couple years ago, I switched to an electrical fuel pump...no help. I shielded the fuel lines with a heat-resistant foil wrap...no help. I changed the original fan blade to a larger, lighter six-blade, no help. Last September, while watching YouTube, I noticed the mechanical fuel pump in the video didn't look like the one in my car; the shop that rebuilt my motor went with a Carter two port. Once I realized this, I removed the electric pump and two port and installed a Carter three-port....with a brand-new push rod. This really seemed to help as I hadn't experienced the stalling that used to occur after diving the car and leaving it parked for 30 to 45 minutes.....until yesterday.

Here's the twist: I had the car in to my mechanic where he replaced the water pump, fan clutch, and a 160 degree thermostat. He inspected the block for what I thought could be missing diverter valves (because the car does seem to heat up at low speeds or idle, but drops right back down at speed) but discovered they're in there...solid brass and looking brand new (10,000 miles on the re-build). I also had him change my spark plugs and inspect the points.

As I'm pulling away there was an unfamiliar and momentary sputter. I backed off the gas, put the car in neutral, stepped on the accelerator, and the sputtering stopped. I drove away and watched the temp gauge fall back to the cool side and had no further symptoms. I should've turned around and gone back to the shop.

I came home for a bit and after a half-hour got in the car to drive to the marina. Within a minute of driving I felt sick to my stomach as the car sputtered again, only this time it was accompanied by that familiar dead steering wheel as I battled to get the car to the side of the road. Once again...the same pattern: wait it out while trying to start it every five or ten minutes. I took the cover off the air filter and observed that the choke wasn't stuck. Like clockwork, once the engine temperature was in the middle of the gauge, it started right up.

Since I've replaced so much on this car, I thought maybe this valve had something to do with the equation. I looked at it and it looks like it's either new or re-built. If it is malfunctioning, could this be part of the problem? Is there a way to test it?

This is driving me crazy as it's hard to have any confidence in the car.

Kevin

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Kevin -

When your car stalls and will not restart until it cools down is the perfect time for someone to find out if fuel is being delivered to the carburetor or not. If not the diagnosis and testing of the fuel pump is described in detail in the Shop Manual. This includes the vapor discharge valve for the three port pump as well as the fuel pump pressure and volume specifications.

Your email clearly indicates that you are having this problem when the engine is "overheating" at lower speeds and the issue disappears when the engine temp drops back to normal. If your cooling system and all of your previously mentioned repairs and parts replacements (including the diverter valves) were done correctly with quality parts the engine will not overheat in any climate that we experience.

You do not mention if the radiator was ever inspected by a good known radiator shop. Mechanics and car owners remove and send their radiators out to be flushed, cleaned and inspected but many have been fooled by incompetent shops that o/k a rad that is in fact proven faulty at a later date. Radiator repairs and inspections MUST be done correctly. Many cooling system problems have been solved when the radiator is finally taken apart and examined properly. Unfortunately you need to be aware that some shops will tell you that they did take your rad apart but in fact they have not.

If the engine is truly overheating then you must backtrack in order to correct that overheating issue. If you do diagnose that the radiator may be faulty, show a copy of this reply to your rad shop and ask if they agree or not.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Hi Bill,

Here's an odd question....would a vacuum leak cause the kind of problem I've been describing? My mechanic found a tiny foreign object in the carb...sorta like a BB but only half its size. He removed it and was convinced my car was fixed.

I drove it on Saturday night to a restaurant. Upon our departure, I got about a block away when it sputtered and died. Everything was so similar to what I've experienced before but with one HUGE exception. The evening was cool and the motor temp was below normal operating levels. The motor cranked and cranked and but just would not ignite.

A tow truck driver appeared on scene and poured a small amount of gas into the carb and the car fired right up and I was able to drive home. The next morning I was looking under the carb and heard a hissing sound. I cannot believe that my mechanic didn't find what I did: an eighteen-inch 3/8 vac line that was almost completely severed on both ends right at the hose clamp...it was literally only being held in place by the reinforcing threads built into the rubber.

I replaced it and, instead of cranking and cranking and cranking before firing, the motor now seems to be running before I release the key. Is this relevant to my stalling problem?

Kevin

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Kevin -

To answer your question " Is this relevant to my problem?" Only time will tell. Vacuum leaks such as this are not allowed and they can contribute to all kinds of issues. BUT when you stated that the engine started immediately after pouring fuel in the carburetor after you had cranked and cranked the engine it leads me to believe that an undiagnosed fuel problem exists. If the engine stalls again and the carburetor is not receiving fuel at that time then the fuel delivery system still needs to be diagnosed as per the shop manual. Carry a small fuel container on board to prime the carb. when and if it stalls again. This will be part of the diagnosis. I assume that your ignition system in regard to points and condenser has been well maintained.

Sincerely,

Bill

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Bill -

It happened again last night, much to my chagrin. This time I was about four doors away from my house. I had stopped at a neighbor's house and, noticing the temp gauge was still on the cooler side, deliberately left the motor on. I was inside for maybe fifteen/ twenty minutes and when I came out discovered the motor had died. I tried to prime the carb and I swear I could hear the gas bubbling/vaporizing as it hit the carb. I don't think I've ever heard this before. Plus, it took a lot longer to cool down, I'm thinking maybe three hours vs the normal one-hour before it started again.

After knowing most of this car's motor history, where would you zero in if yours was a shop. You mentioned fuel problems. I replaced the fuel pump and installed a new push rod at the same time; the fuel lines are wrapped with heat-resistant fabric and the fuel filter is clean. The shop manual does detail the vapor release valve and I'm assuming it works because when I disconnect the return line there's fuel in it. Could it become inoperable at higher temperatures?

I'm wondering if there's a problem in the fuel line, or perhaps the filter on the sending unit. What I can't understand is how an apparent "blockage," wherever it is, becomes "un-blocked". I did install a new gas tank but I don't think I've ever had anything done to the reserve tank.

Kevin

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Kevin -

It doesn't matter what you have done before. If the engine is shutting off suddenly and acting as you have posted many times, someone needs to do some "Meaningful Diagnosis" as I have already stated several times.

If the engine is also actually overheating as you have previously stated you must address an "overheating condition" that could be leading to fuel vaporizing possibilities. If the possibility of random poor fuel delivery is suspected at any engine temperature you must perform the fuel pressure and volume diagnosis on an engine that is at operating temperature. If the points and condenser have not been replaced recently they should be replaced because condensers (old or new) can be faulty and fail when they heat up.

To sum up, an engine that is capable of performing well and then mysteriously runs poorly and stalls erratically as yours seems to be doing is either not receiving proper fuel delivery to the carburetor or the ignition is cutting out during that critical stalling event. An engine that also has a recent history of any overheating as you have told us several times in your email needs to have this overheating corrected. Proper diagnosis by a competent understanding technician will be the key ingredient in this case in order to pinpoint the problem.

Sincerely,

Bill