I'd do a bit more checking before you bought any more
parts. It could be the distributor, but on a hunch, I pretty
much doubt it. Are you totally sure you are actually losing
spark? How is the ignitor? Radio noise cap? A flaky radio
cap can cause problems like that from what I hear.
It would be nice if you had a scope so you could watch the
spark, etc as it happens. I've had cases where I thought I was
losing spark, or say injector voltage, but was being fooled.
I went through that on the camry that had the carbon problem.
At first I could swear I was losing spark, but nope... It wasn't.
But it took some decent test gear to be able to make sure.
In my case, I have both scopes, and also a RMS peak reading
voltmeter. They really come in handy in a case like this..
I may be all wet, but it still smells like a fuel problem to me.
Either that or that nasty carbon keeping the valves open
when it gets hot.. Just curious... Thats a 88, so should be a
carb... When it cuts out, check the carb for the power valve
making a squirt when you move the throttle. If it sprays, the
fuel delivery is probably ok. You'll have to look down into the
carb to see that spray. Or...As a 2nd quicky option. When
it cuts out, spray a bit of gas, or ether, carb cleaner, in the carb
and see if it fires right back up. If so, probably fuel. If not, it
may be losing spark. Do you have a timing light? If so, it can
be used as a spark indicator. Watch the light blink when it runs.
If it quits blinking on that particular wire, it's losing spark.
If not, the spark is ok.. But make sure not to confuse the
engine quitting , with an actual lack of spark. IE: they may
happen at the same appx time, and fool you into thinking
it lost spark, when actually, it just quit fast nuff to quit sparking.
I would think you should get a slow blink even just cranking the
Just curious... Thats a 88, so should be a
BTW, if it did turn out to be a lack of compression due to
carbon, it will not start even if the fuel is present. In that case,
you should see a "slow" blink of the timing light indicating
spark, and fuel at the carb, but still no run. I think the best way to
carbon holding the valves open would be to do a quick compression test
*before* it gets a chance to cool off. If indeed you saw a lack of
from carbon, it should slowly return as it cools back off.
The problem you are having almost mimics the carbon problem
on that camry to a tee.. Not saying it's that, but it sure could be.
BTW, if it is carbon, it will appear semi gradual as it warms up.
Cold, it will run perfect usually. But as it warms up it will start to
develop flat spots in the acceleration, and seem kinda boggy.
Then it will start to have little power, and seem like it's slowly
running out of gas. Finally. It's kaput, and stays that way until
it cools off, and the cycle repeats. What makes me semi doubt
your dizzy is bad, is that it conks out at the same time, every time.
I would expect a flaky dizzy to be a bit more sporadic, unless it was
some kind of thermal problem. I guess it could be, but I sorta doubt
it's the problem really. If you lose your timing blink totally, I'd
checking everything from the plugs back until I got to the flaky part.
But you'd probably need to do it while it's hot and acting up to find
Once it cools, it probably won't show up from the way it sounds.
Thanks a ton for the advice, reason I suspect it is the distributor is
because once it quits I cannot get any spark at all from the ignition
coil and plug wires, also the red dust in the dist is accompanied by a
decent amount of grease though I don't really feel much play in shaft.
Also right before it quits it's running perfecly, no power
loss/bogging. Got a used dizzy off of a 3geez.com member for $60
shipped so we'll see how that goes, if not I will look at other
ignition components I haven't checked and after that take it to a
freaking shop lol. Thanks, will update. Tom
Since the car is new-to-you, did you check to see if the igniter has the
proper heat-sink paste on the backside (like a Pentium Chip).
If it can't keep cool, it will shut down like you described. I think we
had another one like this a few months ago. I may be wrong.
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