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1963 Continental Running Issues

Hi Bill -

A couple days ago I started/drove my 63 and it started ran fine initially. As the engine warmed I heard a very, VERY quick and mild "single" miss (not a "backfire" - more of a very quick/mild "stutter"). Thought nothing of it. As I drove the car it ran fine but a couple more of these very, VERY quick/mild "single" misses. After I got home the car started to run very rough and the "missing/stumbling" became continuous and much worse to the point the engine would barely run at all. This is all in a span of about 15-20 minutes. I parked the car and ordered a new fuel filter from Lincoln Land as I thought it was either a dirty or even clogged fuel filter (as I had just filled the tank the drive a few days before - and the tank hadn't been filled that full in probably 10-15 years or more) - usually half tank was as much as I ever put in. So after the filter arrived I started the car and it as expected (and unfortunately) ran terrible again - would barely run at all. So I pulled the fuel line and ran it into a bottle and cranked the engine - seemed to have plenty of fuel "pumping" so I proceeded to change the filter (fuel filter I pulled off appeared to be fine as well - but only $10 so no worries). I then pulled the carb and checked everything - all looked fine. A very little bit of dirt in the "bowls" which I cleaned out as well as cleaned and blew everything else while I was in there. I've cleaned and rebuilt the carb myself a couple times so I'm pretty comfortable with it. Reassembled everything and still have the same result. Again, the thing that's so worrisome is that I went from a perfectly running engine to one that barely runs at all in like a 15-20 minute span. In closing - the entire top end of the engine was rebuilt last year (valve job) and on top of that everything while I was doing this was replaced/rebuilt/machined/etc (I mean everything! :) including rebuilt fuel pump and new "rod" and rebuilt distributor and new timing gear and chain) while the engine was all apart . Also ALL electrical tuneup items were replaced with new as well. Car has run beautifully until just now. Disclosure - Timing could only be done "manually" as the timing marks on the damper did not "line up" - guessing because of slippage that appears to be pretty common from what I've read. Wish I would have replaced /rebuilt this as well - probably just about the only thing NOT "done"! Could this damper slippage (if it happened again) cause any running/timing issues I'm experiencing if it did recently "slip" again??? Thinking timing - I loosened the distributor and rotated by hand to see if timing was the issue - with no real results/improvement - so I put it back to where timing was set. So in closing. Any thoughts/suggestions before I have to have the car towed to a mechanic? It's not drivable like this. So discouraged - especially after the HUGE amount of time and thousands of dollars I just spent last year. Thanks very, VERY much for your insight/opinions and time!!!



Hi Robert -

We are sorry to hear of your experience. That must have been disappointing for you.
At first I was thinking that debris was possibly being pumped from the gas tank but your filter was clean and you were happy with the fuel flow during testing. Is it possible that the carburetor floats or float could be sinking because of a puncture. This of course will not allow the fuel to shut off properly at the needle and seat and will cause a rich mixture and a rough engine. The plugs could be inspected for the usual black carbon deposits that indicate a rich mixture. Another thought would be what are the chances of a bad tank of fuel?

The next item to consider is the basic tune up items. The points could have slipped their adjustment or the condenser could have failed (even if it is new). The inside of the distributor cap and rotor should also be inspected for moisture or possible cracks which would cause some random misfiring. Ignition coils are durable but also have been known to fail sometimes. I am assuming that all of the other extensive engine work that you describe was done correctly for you. After you explore some of the above suggestions, email us again with the results or if needed some further advice based on your findings.