Hi everyone, my name is Justin and I am a very new and proud owner/inheritor of a 1972 Mercury Cougar XR7 CV, 351C 2V. I just brought it home last week but I definitely have my work cut out for me. I have already solved a few other problems, but this starting/running issue has me at a loss. Here is what it does:
- It starts right up (Cold Start)
- Idles perfect (Between 700-800 rpm)
- As soon as I put it into gear, it chugs then dies
- I attempt to restart; the engine turns but it is not catching.
- After pumping the gas/flooring the pedal while turning the ignition, the engine barely catches
- With the pedal floored and the engine finally catching after about 20 seconds of trying to turn over, I can’t get the rpm’s over 1000 as it chugs and dies.
- Once this happens, the engine WILL NOT come close to catching again unless I let it sit for hours.
I have seen some ideas throughout the forums with regards to Vapor Lock etc., but I do not think that is the problem. Its like it’s not getting a spark or something, I do not understand it. I have replaced the spark plugs, put in spark plug performance wires, and replaced the carb with a REPRO this morning. However, sometimes I get it to start and run perfectly (when I let the engine warm up) with zero issues! I live in Monterey, CA, so its not like its cold here or anything.
On a different question, can anyone tell me where the plug pictured below goes to? It is the throttle solenoid and I cannot see ANYWHERE to plug it into. Maybe that’s my problem Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Welcome to the community Justin We all like to see pic’s of members cats so feel free to post a few. On a 73 Cat the throttle solenoid plugs into the harness that also has the ignition coil and water temp sender so check there. Yes the throttle solenoid does have an affect on idle speed and fule mixture ( from the 73 shop manual)
It sounds like a flooding problem for two reasons. Holding the throttle down affects the choke, which can help when there is too much fuel. The fact that you have to wait hours for a restart suggest that the fuel has to drain out of the carb. The solenoid may have a role to play in that so it should be investigated further, but there may be a carburetor problem as well.
I think the choke is stuck on.
Could it be a clogged fuel filter? The first part kinda sounds like it ~ getting just enough fuel to run a bit, but not enough to keep it going long.
The second half / having to wait 20 minutes, that sounds like it’s subsequently getting flooded, possibly from matting the pedal.
Thank you for the warm welcome, I will get pics up as soon as I get a nice wash. I drove it from Idaho to Cali, so its a little bit dirty. As for the Throttle Solenoid connection, I am still at a loss. I located the ignition coil, but not the temp sender…traced the wires as best I could but I could not find the other end of the connector for the Throttle Solenoid. Is there anyway someone could shoot me a pic of their connection with the Throttle Solenoid? I agree it sounds like I flooded my engine, but is there a way I can find out for sure? I looked inside the carb at the Venturi’s but it looked completely dry. The carb is a brand new refurb, so there SHOULD be zero issues with the carb. It was acting this way with the previous carb as well. The choke is not stuck on, however, I can see it open and close when I pump the pedal. The fuel filter is my next test. I have the part in my garage and will change it over tomorrow. If my engine is flooded, what is the best way to fix it?
Also, I was able to start the car this afternoon. It was very hesitant to start, took about 3-4 minutes of on and off trying. I really had to rev it up quite a bit when it finally turned over to get the fuel flowing. I let it run idle for about 5-10 min before I took it for about a 3 mile drive. She ran great and with no issues. I then parked it, shut off the engine, and fired her right back up. It started perfectly without me having to pump the gas. I did this 3 times. It’s been sitting for about 3.5 hours and it’s back to the same story…she wont start. Temps are in the low 40’s.
Sounds to me like it’s flooding up.
I know you say it’s a new carb, but is it properly adjusted ? Particularly the choke.
Does your car have a factory tach? When you replaced the plug wires did you also replace the points and condenser?
Justin, welcome to the insanity. While everyone here will always be MORE than willing to help, let me suggest this… find Cougar or Mustang guys locally too! Diagnosing and tuning a carbed engine is a little more involved than a bunch of guys throwing out suggestions. All the good intentions cannot replace one guy who knows his stuff being able to lay hands, eyes and ears on a car thats acting up.
SO! That said… anyone reading this close enough to help this guy out?
Justin? Also join up with some “Ford enthusiast” forums, find someone close by. Even a guy (or gal) into old Ford trucks will be a ton of help.
Happy New Year everyone! I went through the carb manual 3 times to make sure I adjusted it correctly, so the carb I believe is good to go. I also believe that the engine was flooded during my earlier posts, but that has since been remedied.
I now can get the car to start right up everytime, but keeping it running is the problem now. Yesterday it died on me while I was driving. When I started it back up, I had to keep it revved up for a minute or so before I could put it into drive without it dying on me. Even while flooring the gas pedal (engine already running), I could not get the rpm’s over 2500. This morning, a completely different story. I fired her up right away, but the engine died after about 5 sec. Fired it up again, but this time I kept the engine revved to about 2500rpms until it warmed up. Taking the recommendation of 2NDXRND (Thank you for the suggestion) I drove her straight to an auto shop who has a Cougar enthusiast at the helm. He was gathering information about my car from listening to her run, the timing, and the Exhaust odor coming from the pipes. I think it’s in the right place and I will post what they find as soon as I get the results.
The Cougar does still have the factory tach, is that a problem? I did not replace the points and condensor when I changed out the Plug Wires. Pending the repair shop’s diagnosis, I will be ready to swap those out if needs be.
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions, I greatly appreciate them! More to follow
Here is the diagnosis (They want $1,845.64 to do the repairs OUCH!!)
**CHECKED CONCERN; INITIAL INSPECTION:
VEHICLE STARTED. PERFORMED IGNITION SECONDARY SYSTEM PERFORMANCE TEST. FOUND
IGNITION COIL WEAK AND INTERMITTENTLY FIRING, REMOVED DISTRIBUTOR CAP AND
INSPECTED POINT GAP. POINT GAPS WITHIN SPECIFICATIONS AT .017 IN. WHEN CRANKING
POINT ARC. CHECKED FOR TIMING CHAIN SLACK, MINIMUM SLACK MEASURED AT THIS
TIME. RECOMMEND IGNITION COIL AND POINT SET. IGNITION TIMING IS OUT OF
SPECIFICATIONS (17 BTDC), SPECIFICATION IS 6 BTDC. INTAKE MANIFOLD GASKETS LEAKING
ENGINE VACUUM, THERMOSTATIC CHOKE GASKET LEAKING, ENGINE VACUUM GASKET LEAKING.
RECOMMEND REMOVING IGNITION DISTRIBUTOR,
SERVICE MECHANICAL WEIGHT SYSTEM, INSTALL NEW VENTED POINT SET AND
CONDENSER, INSTALL PREMIUM IGNITION COIL. INSTALL NEW INTAKE MANIFOLD GASKET
AND VALVE COVER GASKET SETS, INSTALL NEW COOLING SYSTEM HOSES AND DRIVE BELTS.
ASSEMBLE AND RETEST ENGINE OPERATION-ADVISE
HERE IS THE LIST OF THE PARTS REQUESTED:
QTY PART NO. PART NAME
1 IC10 IGNITION COIL
1 CS751 CONTACT SET (POINTS)
1 FA82 DISTRIBUTOR CONDENSOR
1 MS96010 MANIFOLD GASKET SET (IN)
1 VS50068R VALVE COVER GASKET SET
1 7472 HOSE - RADIATOR UPPER
1 7530 HOSE - RADIATOR LOWER
1 269 THERMOSTAT - ECONOMY
1 1050ST THERMOSTAT HOUSING GASKET
1 259530 BELT - A/C
1 15405 BELT - ALTERNATOR
1 259510 BELT - FAN & POWER STEERING
1 21515 OIL FILTER
5 75100 10W40 ENGINE OIL
Looks like $200 worth of parts and less than 8 hours of labor for a backyard mechanic. This is all basic stuff that should probably cost about half of the quote you received unless their shop rates are $200 per hour.
Jeff is right, thats a pretty steep quote. The guy gave a list of what he found and parts/parts numbers. 1st off (and this is just me…) I would do a tune up, replace the coil and get the engine timed. THEN I’d look for a intake gasket leak. While the car is idling, spray carb cleaner or ether around the intake. See if the engine RPM’s go up. If they dont, you most likely DONT have an intake leak. Note Keep your air cleaner on during this and dont spray into or very near the air cleaner intake. Make sure the little vacuum tree behind the carb isnt shot. (It sticks up out of the intake) Check the hoses to it. Trace them and make sure no hoses are broken or missing. Do that and see where you are…
they’re ripping you a new one, dude.
If only I lived a bit closer I’d sort all that shee-it out for you for a few flasks of Shiner Bock !!
One thing which might be worth looking at, my '71 has an FMX, dunno if yours does, there’s a vacuum hose which goes between the intake and the tranny.
Mine had perished and cracked, and was leaking, but only under a “perfect storm” of comditions.
RPM had to be “just so”, tempertaure had to be “just so”, it had to have idled for “so long” before you shifted it…
You get the picture> Anyways, took ages to find it because it was almost the last thing I checked !!
Yes, I was definitely getting screwed with service there. They were very knowledgable and very nice, but it’s Monterey, CA where EVERYTHING is overpriced! Just so everyone knows, I declined there service immediately after hearing their quoted invoice. I picked up the Cougar and garaged it til next weekend when I will do the repairs myself. It was $$ well spent to get the diagnosis…but that is a fairly basic repair to fix the issue. I will definitely use the carb cleaner method on the intake manifold, thats a great idea! I will also make sure I check to see if I have a hose from the intake and tranny and replace if there is any damage. Once all I finish the repairs, I will get it timed and let you guys know the results. Thank you EVERYONE for your help and advice.
I’ll just add that if you want to drive an old car around, and you aren’t made of money, you should learn how to do this stuff anyway. So, now is as good a time as any.
I posted a vintage tune up article here that I scanned, and it is a good read if you want to get more info on how to tune up the ignition properly.
There are tons of articles and write ups on the 2v Autolite carb. And testing your coil is pretty straightforward.
And, as always, use caution when changing oil to make sure you buy the product with the zinc additive package, as opposed to the stuff without that’s widely available.
You can do this. Just look before you leap, read, think, then pull things apart slowly, and ask all the questions you need to here. We don’t mind a bit.
tune up article:
And while you’re doing “stuff” you might double-check that timing chain. The most important check is to see if the cam gear (big one on top) is solid steel or if it has a plastic (actually nylon) coating. If it’s coated, just get another complete set (both gears and chain) and install them while while you’re working on the car already.
I don’t know what engine you have, and I’ve never had to “do” the timing set on a 302 or 351W; but if you have what seems like the most common engine for that era Cougar, which is a 351C with a 2-barrel Motorcraft 2150 carburetor; you have to know that it’s a lot easier to do this in your own garage, rather than in the grocery store parking lot after it “ran the best in its life” and now won’t start no matter what you try. A 351 Cleveland is a great engine and I love it to death; but changing out that timing chain and gear is “a bit of a hassle” in your garage, and magnified about 20-30 times if your garage is 14.6 miles from where the car is “dead”.
I’m pretty sure you can imagine how I would know…
I am completely blown away with all the help I have received from everyone on here…Thank you all so much for your time and advice.
All the recommended maintenance has been completed. Here is a list of everything I’ve done do date:
-New spark plugs w/ performance wires
-New carburetor w/ .25" spacer (Autolite 2150 2V)
-New condenser and and points (gapped to .017in.)
-New thermostat and gasket
-New radiator hoses (upper and lower)
-New valley pan and intake manifold gaskets
-New valve cover gaskets
-Timed the engine
The problems I still have:
1.) The engine starts immediately while cold. It idles at 600-800rpm’s but dies within seconds of dropping it in Reverse or Drive. Once the engine is warm, the engine runs GREAT with zero issues of dying.
2.) I STILL have a hesitation problem. If I floor it from a stop, the engine nearly dies. The hesitation occurs around the 2200-2500rpm mark, or when accelerating from a stop which is 300% more pronounced when the engine is cold.
I am still looking for a home for the throttle solenoid connector. I have located the wire harness where for the ignition coil and water temp sender, but no dice on the connection.
Any more advice is greatly appreciated!
And here she is…hope you like it!!