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Author Topic: HELP I have a dead Eagle  (Read 4915 times)

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Offline LeesSummitEagle

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HELP I have a dead Eagle
« on: December 26, 2014, 03:04:30 PM »
Hello all. I have a 1988 Eagle that was running fine until Christmas Eve. Was on a trip of 135 miles and the car ran great in the highway. When I got to my destination and stopped at a stop light, the car started to bog down, backfire, and almost stop until it shiffted and then it ran OK. This did this at several more stoplights. When parked, it would idle smooth with no miss. The next day, I tried to start it and it would not start. After multiple tries, it finally started but quickly died and gas and smoke blew out the carb top. Thought I had a stuck float and did a carb overhaul. It did not help and is doing the same thing - blowing smoke and gas out of the carb if is does start and dies. Any ideas where the problem is? Will have to be towed to the repair shop next monday and I am stuck. Again, this is a 1988 modle with onl y 42,000 miles. It has the old style carb and the computer is out of the loop. ECM Test bypass on ingition. Any help will  be appreciated.


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Offline Jurjen

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2014, 05:51:06 PM »
Could be a number of things.
Basically you need compression, fuel and spark to get it running.
Easiest is to check ignition. Remove a spark plug cable or the central lead from the ignition coil.
Fix it with the tip in a position about 1/8" from a grounded part.
Have someone start the engine, a steady train of of fat blue parks should be visible.
If not, I would suspect the ignition coil , pick-up in the distributor (the flexible wires going in) or the engine grounding.


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Online rmick

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2014, 07:45:11 PM »
Could have also skipped a tooth on the timing chain.
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Offline Nightpath

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2014, 08:28:35 PM »
I've seen this before on 2 different Eagles, it ended up having to do with electrical/ignition. This is the route to follow :

Check these :

- ground wire(s) - these WILL make an engine seem like it's dying and on it's last legs. Add a few grounds around on the car.

- starter solenoid - this is ALWAYS the first thing I check after grounds. I've had this make it look like the engine was dying, fuel pump bogging, plugs need swapping and even the timing skip. It's a cheaper than heck replacement, and I prefer the older ones rather than the new ones.

- distributor cap - remove it to make sure the rotor and cap inside are still good. Also ensure it's not swiveling around (causes timing issues)

- plug wires -  use a timing light on each wire. A broken wire will cause a load of issues.

- plugs - alternatively, remove the plug and wire, pop the plug back into the spark plug wire and sit it on a grounded point, watch for a spark

If the plugs, distributor and wire look good check the timing. Some people have reported a skipped timing chain but I haven't seen it happen (even on pulled engines getting to run).

My guess is the solenoid, or the intake/exhaust manifold gasket blew a chunk. It will also cause these exact same issues. The carb can blow out the top if you keep trying to start it...that's normal.

Give that solenoid a few smacks and see what happens, or tap it while it's turning over.

Offline IowaEagle

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2014, 08:57:06 PM »
Ignition module is what I always check first.  Its the least reliable component, in my opinion.
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Offline Mernsy

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2014, 09:26:18 PM »
Could be the timing chain jumped a cog, too.

Too late...rmick already posted this...
« Last Edit: December 26, 2014, 09:27:42 PM by Mernsy »

Offline IowaEagle

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2014, 09:32:35 PM »
If the Timing Chain and cam gear are original you should plan on replacing it.
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Not a Jeep.  Not a Car.  Its an AMC Eagle!

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Offline LeesSummitEagle

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2014, 11:26:29 AM »
Thanks for all of the replys. I am limited as to what I can check as all of my tools and parts are back at home and only have a few hand tools. I am running an MSD Ignition module instead of the standard and have never had a problem with it. After reading other posts, I suppect the timing gear and chain as it had the original. Will find out Monday when I get it towed to the shop.

Offline Nightpath

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2014, 12:15:19 PM »
Check it yourself in under 10 minutes :

Pop out plug #1

Find the timing mark on the balancer and mark it so you can see it easily. A white crayon, liquid paper or coloring pencil will work in a pinch. ( http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/411289_555_002_1.jpg )

Stick a straw into the plug #1 hole (or something reasonably skinny and nothing that will dig into the engine or break off inside. I use a drinking straw from McDonald's, but have used a tube of shrinkwrap).

Rotate the crank with a ratchet, the straw will go down and up., remember that it will be 180 degrees off on one rotation and then right on the money on the next. When the cylinder reaches the top you should be at about 0 on the balancer. It might be +/- 2 but if it's in that range your timing is fine. Don't blow money on taking it to a garage when you can do it easily.

This is pretty well exactly what most garages will do to check the timing chain prior to removing the front end of the engine. It's simple and very effective.

Offline eaglefreek

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2014, 04:22:09 PM »
Check it yourself in under 10 minutes :

Pop out plug #1

Find the timing mark on the balancer and mark it so you can see it easily. A white crayon, liquid paper or coloring pencil will work in a pinch. ( http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/411289_555_002_1.jpg )

Stick a straw into the plug #1 hole (or something reasonably skinny and nothing that will dig into the engine or break off inside. I use a drinking straw from McDonald's, but have used a tube of shrinkwrap).

Rotate the crank with a ratchet, the straw will go down and up., remember that it will be 180 degrees off on one rotation and then right on the money on the next. When the cylinder reaches the top you should be at about 0 on the balancer. It might be +/- 2 but if it's in that range your timing is fine. Don't blow money on taking it to a garage when you can do it easily.

This is pretty well exactly what most garages will do to check the timing chain prior to removing the front end of the engine. It's simple and very effective.
The only problem with that method is that the crank pulley is directly attached to the crankshaft. Unless the rubber in the balancer went bad and shifted, the pulley will read the same if the timing chain skipped or not. It's the camshaft that will move out of time and without taking anything apart, a compression test would probably be the first thing to try to diagnose that.
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Offline carnuck

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2014, 10:40:48 AM »
I vote module. I always kept a spare in my last Eagle. This one has HEI dist for backup. Could be cross arcing in dist cap. Was it fueled up just before it happened? (within 50 miles) Diesel in the regular gas tank will do that. Water in the dist cap is an issue this time of year.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 10:53:10 AM by carnuck »
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Offline LeesSummitEagle

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2014, 08:16:26 PM »
Here is an update. Since I did not have the correct tools with me and it was very cold outside, I had car towed to shop. They called me late in the afternoon and told me they got it running but do not know what had happened. The timing was way way off, but the ignition and compression were good. They said it was running good now and I could have it back. However, I did not feel good as to why the timing had changed thet much. So I decided to have them pull the dist and check the gear and go ahead and check the timing chain and replace. I would rather pay for it now that to have another breakdown on the way home. Will post back on what they found with the timing gears and chain.

Offline Nightpath

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2014, 11:27:02 PM »
I bet the distributor came loose, twisted and caused your issue. They would have just went in, checked the timing and loosened the bolt to adjust without checking to see if it was loose. That's how most garages do it.

As for my post, I completely forgot to add in about removing the lid from the distributor and checking where the rotor is when you're turning it as well. When you hit #1 plug check where the timing is at. If it's not moving when you rotate then the chain is probably loose, if it is but it's far off the stock mark (8-12* isn't it for the stock motor?) then the timing skipped.

My bad.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 11:28:10 PM by Nightpath »

Offline LeesSummitEagle

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2015, 10:49:31 PM »
The Eagle is flying again. Thanks for all of the replys. As to the last post, I did check the distributor the first thing and it was tight. This is from the shop report:  Wiring is good. There is good input from pickup coil. Ignition wires test good. Cap and rotor contacts are good. Compression is good at 160-170 psi. There is only 4 degrees stretch in timing chain and camshaft timing is correct. Ignition timing was retarded close to 20 degrees. After setting timing it started and ran. They removed the distributor and checked drive gear and pin. No problems found. I told them to go ahead and check the timing chain. There was wear in the chain and the original plastic gear was there. So, I had them replace it. Drove back home with no problems. Will have to wait and see if problem returns. I hope not as it was not a cheap fix.

Offline carnuck

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Re: HELP I have a dead Eagle
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2015, 11:51:16 PM »
If the oil pump did a partial seize up, it can shear the pin, then it can catch again on the next round. Preliminary inspection would see nothing wrong. I was even fooled by that in my '91 E350 with 460. It caught when I went to look at the truck, which had been towed in because it quit running. I thought ignition box or something else, but it fired up fine for me and I drove it a couple months before it did it to me. Mid way to the swap meet to sell a pile of parts! I even used it for moving with no probs. My '82 C20 pickup quit in the exact same spot while hauling a 5th wheel to the swap meet. That was a missing ground strap with the coil in cap HEI. It caused the module to overheat and blow out along with the pickup coil.
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