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Lack of Power

Eggo

Well-Known Member
Local time
7:21 PM
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
Messages
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Location
Newcastle, UK
Hi, I've been struggling with my '73 Satellite for a few weeks trying to get it to run right because at the moment it just isn't. Drove it a few weeks ago and it had such little power and kept wanting to cut out when the revs were low. It has a 4bbl edelbrock, I've messed with the mixture screws and yesterday set them up following how an article explained to do it and loosened one, then tightened the other and backed it off 5 half turns and then did the same to the first one. It's now idling really nicely but when I try and drive it its almost like it's constantly going up a really steep hill as it just has very little power.

It was making a tapping noise which I thought was maybe the rockers but they are all on tight and not moving up and down by hand. I tightened the manifold bolts as a few of these were quite loose and the tapping seems to have stopped but not sure if this is related. It's also blowing loads of white smoke out of the drivers side exhaust and not as much at all out of the passenger side, even after adjusting the carb. Just proper stumped as to what's suddenly gone wrong with it as it was working perfectly beforehand and I haven't changed anything on it between it running fine and not.

I've ordered a timing light so I can look at that (not sure really what I'm doing but just having a go) and a friend recommended I get a vacuum gauge as well, both should arrive today. Nothing like this has gone wrong on my satellite before so I'm really at a loss as to what it might be. Please could I have some advice? Struggling a bit as without a car at the moment because the others have decided to give up at the same time, always the way!
 
Did you check the plugs? Sounds like a head gasket issue. Any bubbles in the coolant while running? Is it using/low on coolant?
Mike
Mike
 
Did you check the plugs? Sounds like a head gasket issue. Any bubbles in the coolant while running? Is it using/low on coolant?
Mike
Mike
I haven't checked the plugs yet. If it's a head gasket issue how would that cause the problem it's having? Just so I know and can learn a bit more because really confused by it. I haven't looked in the coolant for bubbles but it doesn't really use loads like I don't have to top it up often at all.
 
Check the underside of your radiator cap too for brown sludge, another indicator of blown head gasket.
 
I haven't checked the plugs yet. If it's a head gasket issue how would that cause the problem it's having? Just so I know and can learn a bit more because really confused by it. I haven't looked in the coolant for bubbles but it doesn't really use loads like I don't have to top it up often at all.
Coolant does not burn so losing a cylinder would give a 1/8 loss of power.
Mike
 
A couple things do raise a little concern... the smoke and tapping to be specific.

The color (and smell) of the smoke is important. White is typically water/coolant, blue/grey is usually oil, and black is excessive (rich) fuel. When it smokes... does it do that after it's warmed up and keeps doing it, or does it stop after a while? Does it dissipate pretty quickly in the air once it's out or does it linger for a long time after you drive off?


Definitely pul the plugs and check the radiator cap as @493 Mike and @66 Sat suggest. Start with the radiator cap... do so with the engine cold first, then start the engine, let it warm up... it shouldn't bubble or have any smoke/steam coming out the radiator.

Check your oil... is it a tan color on the end of the dipstick?

In a perfect world, post picture of the dipstick and the underside of the radiator cap.
 
A couple things do raise a little concern... the smoke and tapping to be specific.

The color (and smell) of the smoke is important. White is typically water/coolant, blue/grey is usually oil, and black is excessive (rich) fuel. When it smokes... does it do that after it's warmed up and keeps doing it, or does it stop after a while? Does it dissipate pretty quickly in the air once it's out or does it linger for a long time after you drive off?


Definitely pul the plugs and check the radiator cap as @493 Mike and @66 Sat suggest. Start with the radiator cap... do so with the engine cold first, then start the engine, let it warm up... it shouldn't bubble or have any smoke/steam coming out the radiator.

Check your oil... is it a tan color on the end of the dipstick?

In a perfect world, post picture of the dipstick and the underside of the radiator cap.
These are two screenshots from a video i took of it running. It kept doing it even after being warmed up, was running it for maybe 20 mins in total whilst messing about with it and then took it for a test drive and it was still doing it when I came back.

Will have a look at the oil and the cap when home, did check the oil yesterday and it looked dark not tan but will get a pic of it.

satty 1.jpeg


satty.jpeg
 
Ok... if the oil wasn't tan (milkshake), that's a positive sign.

Ok... so one potential item is mopar engines have a coolant crossover inside the intake manifold. Essentially, this lets coolant flow from one cylinder head to the other in a separate space within the intake to heat it up. Given that you said some of the intake bolts were loose, you very well likely have a leak in the intake that's permitting coolant to get into one or more of the cylinders... probably cylinder 7 (one in the back driver's side). The 318 heads have crossover ports in the front and rear, and intakes will typically have a hole just in the rear (because the heads are interchangeable left and right). Now, having said all this... the distance from the coolant port in the intake and that of the air intake port is, well, pretty far. The water would have to travel quite a long distance, putting more probability in the head gasket. But, unless you overheated the engine really bad recently, both going out at the same time... unlikely.

Actually, to that point... I've been assuming that the exhaust is straight back from each side...but is there a crossover in the exhaust system? Is the left and right exhaust connected under the car? If there is, then that explains why you're seeing a little come out the right side, and that puts more probability in a head gasket issue.

Were the loose manifold bolts you tightened on the driver's side of the engine? PErhaps towards the rear of the engine?

If there is a manifold-based coolant leak, it's unlikely in the early stages that you'll see water in the oil, but you may hear gurgling sounds from the radiator cap when running. At the end of the day, if that's the issue, then it's arguably speaking the best-case scenario (compared to a head gasket, cracked block, etc.)

Regardless of the reason... if you can stop (or minimize) driving the car until fixed... that would be best. Getting water in the cylinder is super bad and can (and likely will) destroy the engine in time. For example, if the leak gets worse (either intake leak or head gasket), more and more water enters the cylinder when the car isn't running. As a result, it will hydrolock when you try to start it and it's game over.

First thing (after checking the oil and cap, and sending pics)... pull the plugs on the driver's side and send pics of the plug. We'll focus on that side first.
 
Ok... if the oil wasn't tan (milkshake), that's a positive sign.

Ok... so one potential item is mopar engines have a coolant crossover inside the intake manifold. Essentially, this lets coolant flow from one cylinder head to the other in a separate space within the intake to heat it up. Given that you said some of the intake bolts were loose, you very well likely have a leak in the intake that's permitting coolant to get into one or more of the cylinders... probably cylinder 7 (one in the back driver's side). The 318 heads have crossover ports in the front and rear, and intakes will typically have a hole just in the rear (because the heads are interchangeable left and right). Now, having said all this... the distance from the coolant port in the intake and that of the air intake port is, well, pretty far. The water would have to travel quite a long distance, putting more probability in the head gasket. But, unless you overheated the engine really bad recently, both going out at the same time... unlikely.

Actually, to that point... I've been assuming that the exhaust is straight back from each side...but is there a crossover in the exhaust system? Is the left and right exhaust connected under the car? If there is, then that explains why you're seeing a little come out the right side, and that puts more probability in a head gasket issue.

Were the loose manifold bolts you tightened on the driver's side of the engine? PErhaps towards the rear of the engine?

If there is a manifold-based coolant leak, it's unlikely in the early stages that you'll see water in the oil, but you may hear gurgling sounds from the radiator cap when running. At the end of the day, if that's the issue, then it's arguably speaking the best-case scenario (compared to a head gasket, cracked block, etc.)

Regardless of the reason... if you can stop (or minimize) driving the car until fixed... that would be best. Getting water in the cylinder is super bad and can (and likely will) destroy the engine in time. For example, if the leak gets worse (either intake leak or head gasket), more and more water enters the cylinder when the car isn't running. As a result, it will hydrolock when you try to start it and it's game over.

First thing (after checking the oil and cap, and sending pics)... pull the plugs on the driver's side and send pics of the plug. We'll focus on that side first.
This makes a lot of sense thank you. The exhaust is straight back from each side.

The bolts on the drivers side were loose the 2 nearest the front of the engine and 1 or 2 at the back, and on the passenger side there were 2 slightly loose at the back but not as many or as loose as on the drivers side. I tightened the ones on the exhaust manifold though not the intake as I someone I know recommended I check the manifold bolts because of the tapping but I might've misunderstood which manifold ones they meant! Will have a look at the intake ones when home later today or tomorrow when I have more daylight.

When I was running it yesterday I didn't hear any gurgling sounds, I had the cap on though would I need to take it off to be able to hear that? I hope it's not a cracked block :( Will avoid driving it anyway although it has such little power and I live at the bottom of a hill I don't think it would get me out of my village anyway at this rate.

Thank you so much for your advice and for explaining it really clearly!
 
Ok... so, this could still end well.. I hope! And it sounds like the tapping was the exhaust, again, a good thing.

yeah... take the radiator cap off and just watch and listen while it's running... and take note of any smoke, little oily bubbles, or any sounds eminating from it.

Here's something to keep in mind... you have to (or certainly should) replace the intake gasket when you remove the head to replace the head gasket. So, what I've done is just go buy some intake gaskets and yank the intake... if you see a bad gasket, replace and reinstall the intake (super easy) and test. If you still have an issue, pull the intake and head, and then replace the head gasket... and you can reuse the intake gasket. Kind of an easy fix/troubleshooting approach. (Again, assuming this is just a gasket issue).

Keep us up to date... very curious about how this goes.
 
That white smoke sure looks like condensation to me. You can still see some coming out of the right pipe. One side on my 57 Ford will smoke for a good 10 minutes after the other one has cleared all its condensation.
 
@LowBikeMike I thought the same thing, but OP said, "It kept doing it even after being warmed up, was running it for maybe 20 mins in total whilst messing about with it and then took it for a test drive and it was still doing it when I came back." That's a long time... but, it's pretty cool and damp in the UK this time of year. Need to see the plugs...
 
@LowBikeMike I thought the same thing, but OP said, "It kept doing it even after being warmed up, was running it for maybe 20 mins in total whilst messing about with it and then took it for a test drive and it was still doing it when I came back." That's a long time... but, it's pretty cool and damp in the UK this time of year. Need to see the plugs...
True, but if several more exhaust manifold bolts were loose on the left side than the right, a good amount of coolant might have weeped into that left side exhaust. Or not, since he doesn't mention a coolant leak from the bolts.
 
True, but if several more exhaust manifold bolts were loose on the left side than the right, a good amount of coolant might have weeped into that left side exhaust. Or not, since he doesn't mention a coolant leak from the bolts.
Excellent point(s). Definitely some more troubleshooting to be done. Having had a bad intake gasket (and head gaskets, etc.) I tend to lean in that direction. Also, it's nothing for me to pop off an intake or head... so I don't think twice if I think there's the potential for an issue... may not be the case for the OP.
 
The source of the white smoke needs to fixed FIRST. With power brakes, fluid from a leaking m/c also produces white smoke.
Do a compression test.
Also, might sound silly, did you check to see that the carb is getting full throttle?
Secondaries will not open if choke hangs up; check that secs are opening.
 
Excellent point(s). Definitely some more troubleshooting to be done. Having had a bad intake gasket (and head gaskets, etc.) I tend to lean in that direction. Also, it's nothing for me to pop off an intake or head... so I don't think twice if I think there's the potential for an issue... may not be the case for the OP.
i’ve popped the radiator cap and there’s no gunk but it was lower than i would’ve expected it to be and had to put 2L in. i’m running it now and can’t hear any gurgling however and it doesn’t seem like the level is going down. checked the inlet manifold bolts and nipped them all up a bit but the two in the middle on the passenger side were really loose. it’s still blowing smoke out more on the drivers side than the passenger side but seems like a bit less than before so i’m confused. does that mean it could just need new head and inlet gaskets?

IMG_4148.jpeg


IMG_4146.jpeg
 
The source of the white smoke needs to fixed FIRST. With power brakes, fluid from a leaking m/c also produces white smoke.
Do a compression test.
Also, might sound silly, did you check to see that the carb is getting full throttle?
Secondaries will not open if choke hangs up; check that secs are opening.
will have a look into how to do a compression test, the secondaries are opening on the carb

IMG_4154.jpeg
 
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