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Won't Idle Properly

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by johnd, Apr 21, 2022.

  1. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    I cannot get my 1725cc engine to idle properly. I recently installed an Alpine Innovations carb/manifold setup. The car ran great after the installation, but I subsequently ran into a problem getting the engine to run. (I don’t believe my current issue has anything to do with the AI equipment.) I’ve replaced the spark plugs, plug wires, coil, distributor, and ground strap – all to no avail. The only way I can get the car to idle (and even then it idles rough) is to have the idle mixture screw 4.5. The timing is slightly advanced but only because the vernier adjustment on the distributor is already up against the block. My distributor replacement involved replacing a Pertronix unit with a points-style distributor recently rebuilt by Advanced Distributor. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Meant to write with the idle mixture screw 4.5 turns out and the idle speed screw 3 turns in.
  3. Toyanvil

    Toyanvil Diamond Level Sponsor

    Sounds like vacuum leak.
  4. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Agree - but that's the first thing I looked for.
  5. Thor 1211

    Thor 1211 Silver Level Sponsor

    yes, and probably a good idea to look at the color of the spark plugs. If they are white, it might confirm it. If they are black, then it's likely something else?
  6. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor

    Did you check the torque of your intake manifold bolts after running in?

    Also, your dizzy shouldn’t be up against the block. You might want to review the installation instructions in the WSM to get the install correct.
  7. Gary T

    Gary T Gold Level Sponsor

    If you had the distributor rebuilt by Advanced Distributor, did you note that the timing for the rebuilt unit is different than the stock unit, because the rebuild is designed for today's fuel. I had mine rebuilt by him and that was noted on the unit when I received it.
  8. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Plugs are black
  9. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    Vacuum leak will generally create a lean condition. Black plugs generally indicate a rich condition. How did you check for vacuum leaks John? Is the choke opening all the way?
    Scotty likes this.
  10. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Choke fully open - used propane torch to look for leaks.
  11. Rick Young

    Rick Young Platinum Level Sponsor

    When I had my strombergs rebuilt the car ran poorly after I reinstalled them. I looked for a vacuum leak spraying every joint. I tried a hose on the end of a propane torch and still couldn't find a leak. I doubled up the manifold gaskets still no good. I took the manifold to a machine shop where the owner ran a straight edge across it. He looked over his glasses and said, "Come back next week." The mainfold was all cleaned up & perfectly flat. That solved my problem.
    Good luck.
    Scotty likes this.
  12. SierraNev

    SierraNev Platinum Level Sponsor

    I am a complete novice on this but I had a similar problem when I purchased my Series V in June 2021. Idle was really rough and it stalled frequently.
    My neighbor has a 356 Speedster with dual webers. He poked his head over the fence and said, " Don't use cheap gas." I now run 91 octane and the car runs GREAT. Starts easy. Idles smooth. No stalls. Sounds even better.

    My 2 cents. Maybe I got lucky, cause I really am learning something new about these cars by the hour.

    Toyanvil and Scotty like this.
  13. Scotty

    Scotty Donation Time

    Shouldn't this Carb setup work just about right out the box?
  14. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    It did when first installed.
  15. DanR

    DanR Diamond Level Sponsor

    <Might be a notch or two out of adjustment....
    Scotty likes this.
  16. DanR

    DanR Diamond Level Sponsor

    Could it be you switched the plug wire positions?
    Scotty likes this.
  17. johnd

    johnd Donation Time

    Good suggestion (as are the others) but I have 1-3-4-2 etched in my brain.
  18. AlsPine

    AlsPine Gold Level Sponsor

    Did you run a cylinder compression test?
  19. husky drvr

    husky drvr Platinum Level Sponsor


    The numbers are correct, and they are wired to the distributor cap in a COUNTER-CLOCKWISE direction?

    Cyl 1 - then cyl 3 - then cyl 4 - then cyl 2?

    The cap tower used for number one affects how the distributor aligns on the engine. Number one cylinder will fire with the rotor in only one position due to alignment of (if properly assembled) the crankshaft, camshaft, oil pump drive gear, and distributor drive dogs. It seems from your described distributor position, you might have the plug wires shifted by one position from ideal.

    Just a few thoughts,

  20. Scotty

    Scotty Donation Time

    Your Idle and Mixture settings sound way off unless the Carb has different jets than a Redline Weber 32/36.

    I've had similar issues as you and found that somewhere -very- near the stock settings is bang on for my Weber. Mine runs okay at 1-3/4 turns for Idle Speed and 2-1/2 turns for Idle Mixture. I played with going with more turns and it did make the car run a -little- better but still rough and it sooted the Plugs quick.

    Whatever the AI Weber came set as stock, set it back and swap your dirty plugs for new, clean ones. When I had dirty plugs the car ran like crap just because of that. See if that improves the situation.

    You're running Points/Condenser and I have had two sets of Points crap out on me. The quality on some of them is trash and the Condensers may not be too far behind that, so take note of that. YMMV though. I went with an Electronic Ignition setup that swaps out the points with the unit but keeps the Dizzy and it's made a huge difference with how the Alpine runs.

    Are you adjusting the Carb after it warms up?

    Also, as someone noted, I have to mention: The quality of Gas makes a huge difference. If the Alpine isn't drinking Premium, it will let you know how much it hates anything else. Plus Ethanol is not your Alpine's friend.

    Saying all of that, if you replaced/rebuilt the Dizzy after you installed and had the Weber running good, then it's the Dizzy and maybe your timing that's your issue.

    I hope something in here helps you.

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