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83 F150 Running Rough Won't Idle

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IR Buffaloed
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83 F150 Running Rough Won't Idle

Post #1 by IR Buffaloed » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:25 am

Bought an 83 F150 wit a 300 awhile ago and about a week ago I was driving to work and it stalled as I was pulling into the parking lot. I managed to get it started again but it was running terrible, wouldn't idle and I had to keep my foot on the gas to keep it from dying. After work I managed to get it home but again I had to keep my foot on the gas the whole time...a bit tricky working the clutch and the brake with the left foot!
Decided it was time for a tune up anyway so picked up a new set of plugs, plug wires, dizzy cap and rotor. Pulled #1 plug and it was in terrible shape, all carboned up and half burnt, a real mess. The rest of the plugs were not too bad but I went ahead and changed them anyway. Got that all sorted out, fired it up and no change, nada! So now I'm thinking it's a timing issue so I hand crank it until the timing mark on the harmonic balancer is line up TDC pop the dizzy cap and VOILA! the rotor is pointing to cylinder 5. So I pulled the plug on number one and got it to TDC on the compression stroke using a screw driver to confirm it and the dizzy rotor is pointing to cylinder 1!! Now I'm totally confused and decide that if this is a case of timing gear gone wrong I should start with the distributor. Now, seeing as this truck is 30+ years old, and I doubt it has ever been apart, it pretty much leaks a bit from everywhere so it turns out the connector for the distributor leads is totally soaked in oil inside and out. Then I get the bolt off the distributor clamp and I can't get the distributor out, it'll turn, it just won't pull out. So we crank the engine over by hand while pulling on the distributor and was able to get it out about a quarter inch or so before I decided I had enough for one day and it was Miller Time! :beer:
I've heard of timing chains "jumping" and belts blowing teeth etc. but do the timing gears loose teeth too? I'm wondering if the distributor gear has lost a tooth or two or something else has sheared and that's why I'm having trouble pulling the distributor. I'm beginning to think I have a lengthy overhaul in my future.
67 Mustang 200ci C4 auto; 83 F150 300ci 4spd std w/stump puller
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Re: 83 F150 Running Rough Won't Idle

Post #2 by bubba22349 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:34 am

On old engines that haven't been maintained well or just because of a very long life span, sludge gets built up on the distribor body making it hard to remove. You will find that turning the Distribitor back and forth and also pulling up will eventually remove enough of the sludge build up so that it comes out. Then the Distribitor can be cleaned up good, it is not nessisary to turn the engine over to get it out and that will overly complicate the process. Before you remove it though make sure that # 1 is at TDC on compression stroke then leave the engine there so it is ready to reinstall the distribor. I doubt that the distribor gear is bad or the timing gears, in either case if they were the engine probally wouldn't run at all.

In my opion you are looking in compleatly the wrong area to solve your "rough running won't idle problem" I think you will find that the carburetors the most likely cause and maybe in need of a full rebuild or it might be as simple as just needing a little Maintance with a fresh fuel and air filter's. Good luck :nod:
Even a bad day Drag Racing is still better than a good day at work!

Current project is a 1988 John Deere 420 Garden Tractor I need a few small parts to get it fixed, plus some cosmetic items, maybe a few attachments, if you happen to have or know of JD 420 parts would welcome the help!

My Ex-Inline 6 Fleet 1954 Customline 223 3 speed with O/D, 1963 Fairlane project drag car with BB6, 1977 Maverick 250 with C4, 1994 F-150 a 300 with 5 speed.

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Re: 83 F150 Running Rough Won't Idle

Post #3 by B RON CO » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:02 am

Hi, X2. Your engine has timing gears. no chain. When the cam gear breaks it won't run. If your timing is off the rotor may seem to be pointing to # 5 on the cap. If it is between #5 and #1 your timing is retarded and should be adjusted with a timing light, per Ford instructions. It should be a little before # 1. Your problem is likely fuel system or vacuum leak. Good luck
B RON CO. Still workin' on it!

1933 Ford Pickup - 59A Flathead V8
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