Jinxed That Bitch

Oh boy what a day I just had.

I changed the thermostat in the Caballero this morning. Because it has a carburetor on it, I had to take the fuel line and the fuel filter housing off to get to the back bolt on the thermostat housing.

I cleaned everything up, actually resurfaced the aluminum thermostat housing and was putting it all back together when the crotchety old man across the street made an appearance.

He can’t stand it when I work on something like this so without fail he has to come over and see what I’m doing and pitch me a bunch of shit.

I was just getting ready to put the fuel filter and housing back on the front of the carb when he pipes up and says I should change the filter while I have it out.

So I grumbled about it and figured he was right and went and got one.

Changed that and finished putting everything together.

Filled the radiator, checked the oil and fired it up.

I let it sit and run for at least 15 minutes to make sure the new thermostat was working. In the mean time it started getting warmer and warmer outside. I ‘m pretty sure it was over 90 degrees this afternoon.

Everything seemed to be fine so I jumped in it to head out to the dump to get rid of a truck full of rotten apples that we spent all day raking and bagging up yesterday.

The whole place reeks like Apple Cider Vinegar and they gotta go.

I took off and got just about a mile away and had to stop at a light.

The next thing I know the damn rig starts idling like shit and dies.

I held the gas down and cranked it and it started back up but wouldn’t idle for shit.

I tried babying the thing just to get to the dump, it’s only about 4 miles away but no dice.

It just kept getting worse and worse and finally got bad enough that I pulled into a new subdivision they are throwing up about half way between home and the dump.

It kept acting like it was flooding out.

I messed with it, took the air cleaner off and could hear gas boiling inside the carb.

I held it to the floor and tried to get the engine to clear up but pretty soon it’s sputtering and a whole bunch of smoke starts coming out from under the hood. I shut it off, yanked open the hood and got enveloped by a cloud of smoke.

A little closer look and it’s coming from UNDERNEATH the rig. The catalytic converter got pumped full of gas and oh boy did that sonofabitch get hot when it lit off!

I finally bagged it.

The only thing I could think of to cause this all of a sudden would be for some little piece of crap getting flushed into the carb and sticking under the float needle after I changed out the filter,.

Got the info out for my breakdown coverage and got a tow truck coming.

Of course with the Covid bullshit, you can’t ride along home with your rig anymore so then I had to call the Wifely Unit and that pissed her off but good.

Even though I was only TWO FUCKING MILES FROM HOME, it took her a good half hour to get there.

I left the key in the rig and got a ride home.

Two hours later the tow truck finally shows up and dumps my rig in the driveway.

I then proceed to try tearing the top of the carb off to see if some shit got stuck under the float needle.

Have I ever mentioned that this 1983 GMC Caballero was the very first year that GM put a fucking computer in?

Do you know what that means?

It has an electronic carburetor on it.

Yes sir.

Three electrical connectors on it.

When I finally got enough crap unbolted to be able to pry the top of the carb off I started very gently lifting up one side because I have absolutely no idea what I am going to find under there.

I get it picked up about an inch on one side because the accelerator pump linkage is still attached when I hear a little rattle rattle thunk. Something just dropped out of the lid.

I got it up and out of the way and started looking with a little flashlight.

Pretty quick I see a small dowel pin looking thing sitting on top of the butterfly and under the venturi on one side. About 3/4’s of an inch long and 3/16’s in diameter.

Long story short, it’s not magnetic. As a matter of fact, it’s Bronze.

It only took me an hour with sweat dripping off my nose, laying across the top of the engine, with a six inch set of tweezers I had to grind the piss out of to get narrow enough to get between the venturi and the barrel of the carb and fish around enough to grab it sixteen times before I finally got it out to find that out.

Then I had to study the prick to figure out where it came from.

The fun part.

I finally discovered that it went in another hole right next to the accelerator pump shaft and up against the rocker arm for the pump.

Then looking down into the carb I see what it is for.

A little push button switch sitting down in there.

Inside the carburetor.

I am assuming it is the throttle position sensor.

The switch feels like a linear potentiometer.

That was the first time I had to dig it out.

After I yanked the top off and the fuel filter housing off I spent another forty minutes figuring out how to get the float out so I could pull the needle off the seat and clean it all out. There is all kinds of happy shit down inside this carburetor.

Putting it all back together is when I dropped that fucking Bronze push rod back down in the venturi, again.

I got it out in ten minutes this time. Then I went and put a nice big glob of grease on the bastard before I stuck it back in the hole.

I finally got the top of the carb back on, put all the screws in and was tightening the last one when I noticed the choke linkage rod wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Took it all back apart, found it had fallen out and landed behind the carb, reinstalled it, fished the top of the carb back on and the little Bronze rod thought it was going walk about for the third time.

Oh hell no.

More grease, gently put everything where it needed to be and bolted the damn thing back together.

Finished putting it all back together and getting all my tools out of the engine compartment.

By now sweat is just pouring off of me and I am good and pissed off boy.

Got in the damn thing, cranked it a few times to fill the carb back up, pumped the gas pedal one time and it fired up.

It even idled.

I hit the gas a few times, it took a few minutes to clean up from all the gas in the damn thing and it ran like it always had,.

I let it run until it got warmed up and shut it off. It started right back up and idled fine so then I let it sit and run while I put tools and shit away.

Then I shut it off.

I fiddle fucked around putting more stuff away and generally cleaning up waiting for it to heat soak a bit.

It fired right up and ran fine again.

I just got back home from a nice test drive over to my buddies house.

Twelve hours after I started in on this little project. I still haven’t eaten anything yet today.

This is the first time in the five plus years that I have owned this rig that it has actually stranded me.

The overheating problem seems to be cured and the carb has had the living shit cleaned out of it now.

Hopefully it’s good to go for another five years.

16 thoughts on “Jinxed That Bitch

    • Actually it’s my own damn fault because I really haven’t done a damn thing to that rig in ages.
      It was all overdue maintenance. It just decided I needed a good bite in the ass for all the neglect.


      • I know, I’ve been there and done that, just giving you a polite stink eye. 🙂

        I did an engine swap in an old ford a lot of years ago, then went on a x country road trip, it was only good fortune that i was less than 60 miles from the house on the return leg when the front crank seal and the water pump decided to shit the bed. Still had to sleep in the car waiting for the tow. In the middle of February.


  1. The way I see it:

    You can either deal with electronics or you can deal with carburetors.

    Unless the local jackboots is checking to make sure you’re complying with the digital carbatooter, chuck it and go mecha-nickel as God intended.


  2. Hmm, “the crotchety old man across the street”. Phil, I hope your house paint is different to his, our your wife may make a wrong turn coming home at night.


  3. Not sure about where you’re at, but here in Texas after 20 years you can strip all that crap off and run it old school with no electronics, no emissions, no cat converter, nothing. Yearly inspection costs drop to almost nothing. They don’t even do a sniff test on something that old. I’d yank all that crap off and set it up like 1968. Throw on an aftermarket Holley or Edelbrock carb with a new aluminum dual plane intake. Set of headers and straight pipes with some glass-packs. Probably run better too. It wouldn’t be the first time I ripped every single hose, cannister, line, wire, and other related paraphernalia off an old truck. My 82 Dodge Ram suddenly perked up and ran good with that old 318 afterwards. And all the neighbors knew when I was coming home.


  4. …at the third disassembly, I was waiting for the “the crotchety old man across the street” to come by again (and you to give him a bloody lip)…lucky for him!


  5. Hey, if nothing else it does sound like you’re keeping yourself mightily entertained during your forced vacation.
    I’m beginning to not handle mine very well.


  6. Congrats on surviving the electronic carburetor repair. It’s all simple stuff but the problem is the little weeny with the calculator and some engineering degree that designs that crap to be as difficult as possible to work on. It would be easier to run TBI than I would think it would be to run a feedback carburetor. That’s just my opinion. Never had any issues with TBI. Stupid simple injection.


  7. I had a 83 Monte Carlo, with a 305 and that same worthless carb. After rebuilding it, then pulling it back apart three times, I heaved the POS in to the scrap pile. It got a Edelbrock dual plane, a Davis mechanical HEI, and a vacuum secondary Holley 600. Ran about as good as a clapped out 305 possibly could.
    I had intentions of fixing it up, then it puked the TCI transmission that was supposedly good to 400 HP. Come to find out that it was nothing more than a junk yard pull with a valve body kit in it. I expected more from a transmission I bought out of Summit Racing. 25 years later, and I still DESPISE TCI . I soured on the car and gave it to a kid that chopped it up for a Street Stock body. Looking back; I should have just put a freshened 350 in place of the 305, then added a third pedal for a proper man’s transmission.

    Whitehall, NY


  8. When I married my wife she has a two year old ’82 Monte Carlo SS with a 350 cross fire injection (first year for computer and the cross fire injection which was designed for the 305). The SS was a decal option that allowed ordering a 350 engine but the car was a base car with the SS package, 350, auto trany, and a bench seat. He father had the foresight to get a drivetrain extended warranty that covered anything computer or engine related till it had 70k miles or was 6 years old. That car was in the shop every 4 to 6 months for a check engine light – most of the time a sensor had failed.

    When it had 72K on it I went through what you just described but I was not successful in getting it running. After screwing with it for a week I put an Edelbrock low rise Torker intake, Holly 650, an electronic distributor, and a signal cheater box to trick the computer. I also cut out the catalytic converter. It picked up 35-40 hp, gas mileage increased 3 mpg, and it had crisp throttle response that could now light up the rear tires. She totaled it 6 months later.


  9. Pingback: If Variety Is The Spice Of Life… | Bustednuckles

  10. Just a lil trick I use for small items in hard to reach places.
    The black urethane windshield (install/sealer). The old stuff came in flat roll with waxpaper separator? (The new stuff is thinner in caulk tube-not that!)
    use a small glob of that- held in your gripper, and use it like flypaper to snag the “Sonof a $#%^*%$ damn thing” that is pissin you off! 🙂
    Same goo is great for using a tiny ball to get debris and metal shavings off/outta a magnetic bitholder/driver.
    GOOD gooey duct tape, or Aluminum HVAC tape, also work for magnetic debris removal but are second rate imho.
    I have even wrapped the tape types, backwards (so it is sticky side out) around needlenose/hemostats/screwdriver for tricky pokey, if applicable…

    Best Regards!

    Liked by 1 person

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