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Truck doesn't want to run right and is driving me insane

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#1 diesel nut OFFLINE  

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Posted June 01, 2016 - 11:04 PM

Hello all, Need some advice on what may be wrong with my truck. This is going to be kind of long so sorry in advance about that. I have a 1985 Dodge Ram D250 with the 360 V8. It has an Edelbrock intake, a 3310-11 Holley carb and maybe a mild cam. Not sure on the cam cause the guy I bought it from likes to bs people to justify his high asking prices plus he also had told me it had a 4.10 posi rear which it doesn‘t.
 I bought the truck probably 10 years ago and have just run it in the summer and never had any issues.  I took it out of a 2 1/2 year storage about 2 months ago. Fresh gas and a new battery and it fired right up and ran perfect for approx. 3-4 weeks other than the time the choke decided to close on its own which I fixed.
I was going up a mild incline at about 50mph and the engine bogged down like it was low on gas. I pumped the pedal a few times to see what it would do and if I got it in the right spot it would run for a couple seconds the do it again. Pulled over to the side and when I let off the gas completely it stalled. Pumped the pedal twice and it fired right back up and ran fine to where I was going. On the way back it did it again and continued to do it 7 or so more times in the next half hour until I got home. Drove it the 2 miles to work and it did it again. Most of the times it was pulling up hill at around 45mph but a couple times was on flat sections of road going slightly faster. 
After talking to a couple people at work it was decided it really should have a tune up.  I replaced the plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filter, fuel pump and rebuilt the carb. It made no difference. I strapped a 2 1/2 gallon can to the inside of the fender and hooked it to the pump and it ran perfect. Let it sit for a couple hours so I could clear out a space to drop the tank and when I went to bring it in I could barely keep it running because it siphoned the gas out of the can back into the tank. Hooked the tank back up and it ran fine for a day. 
The next day it started skipping. Get it running and have to rev it up to at least 1100rpm to make it stay running while in gear but it would skip so bad the truck would shake. Checked the timing and plugs but couldn't find anything. Checked the dist. and the shaft had noticeable wiggle in it. Put a reman one in along with a new water pump because that decided to leak too. Ran better than ever for 3 miles then bogged out going up a hill at 50mph. Let off on it and put it in neutral and it stayed running as I coasted about 3/4 of a mile down hill to a gas station and had to put it in gear to get off the road and it was skipping again. Made it home and went to the store the next day to get the ignition control module,  ballast resistor, and coil. 
Coming home it died just like it ran out of gas. Put 4 gallons in and it started after about a minute of cranking and ran horrible for about 30 seconds and smoothed out and ran perfect. Got it to work and dropped the tank and drained approx. 12 gallons of gas out. Flushed the tank as best I could, cleaned the sock on the sending unit, and replaced the rubber lines everywhere. Still did the bogging out at about 45. 
Put in the ICM and resistor and let it run while I bumped up the idle speed a little so it would run smoother and let it run for 15 minutes and it stalled. Pulled the sight plug on the float chambers and they were empty. Readjusted them and got it running and took it for a drive of about 2 miles. Dead on the side of the road from no gas in the carb. Pulled the sight plug and it started up, drove till it ran out of gas again which was about a quarter mile and had it towed to work. Filled the float chamber through the tube sticking up in the intake and it fired right up but now the float level is too high. Drove it around as hard as I could without the air cleaner on it which is about the size of one on a 20hp gt  engine and it ran better. I was able to make it bog out but I was doing about 75 going up hill. Put the air cleaner back on and it was back to skipping a little and bogged out at about 45. 
Any ideas on what direction I should go? I really need the truck to tow the trailer at work so I need to get it fixed. 
Thanks in advance, Stewart

#2 Bmerf OFFLINE  


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Posted June 01, 2016 - 11:53 PM

Try a bigger air cleaner? :poke:


Just kidding. But back in the day those small air cleaners would cause all kinds of problems. Something about the way the air moves though them and creates a vacuum on the little air passages. 


In your case it sounds as if there is something blocking the fuel inlet with no gas in the carb. Is there a filter at the inlet to the carb? Probably need to clean/rebuild carb.


Did a little research; here are a few articles:








I am no expert on Holley carburetors. Maybe someone else will know the answer. I wish you luck.

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#3 classic ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 12:23 AM

It could be the accelerator pump diaphragm on your Holley giving you problems. There are fuel filters behind the nuts where the duel feed fuel line hooks to the carb, also. I would replace the filters and the accelerator pump for starters. Here's what the filters look like, and a typical Holley accelerator pump assembly.

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#4 Eric OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 01:20 AM

New carb, sometimes carbs can develop small defects that will really screw with your troubleshooting. But before that have you checked for any air leaks sounds so erratic and you seem to have changed quite a bit. Good luck.
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#5 poncho62 ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 05:14 AM

I had a similar problem years ago.....Turns out, the steel pipe coming out of the tank had rusted through at the top of the tank, not enough to leak on the ground, but enough to suck air....Might be something to look at

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#6 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 05:20 AM

I sense that like poncho62, the problem may be involving the gas tank. A steel line with a pinhole leak, a rubber line that is cracked or constricted, an internal tank filter that is plugged, or maybe just some crapp in the tank that moves and plugs the pickup tube. Good Luck, Rick

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#7 dodge trucker ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 05:53 AM

yup either a pinhole in the gas line or else a bad fuel pump. on that ballast resistor... it gets alot of blame for problems it can't cause.... if it doesn't start and then die when you release the key, then that isn't the problem.

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#8 DougT OFFLINE  


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Posted June 02, 2016 - 06:15 AM

I tend to agree with Rick and Poncho too. Since you had the tank down and replaced ALL?? the hose, I'd suspect the line along the frame. You could block the hose at the tank and pressurize the line from the pump to check it for leaks. I can't remember if the 360 pump runs off an eccentric on the front of the cam or not but I did have a vehicle with a strange fuel delivery problem that ended up having that eccentric loosen up and slip on the front of the cam. I've also seen cam lobes wear down to where the pump doesn't have a full stroke. That can be tested with an electric pump. I'd check the line first though.

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#9 Jack OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 06:54 AM

Long shot but is the fuel tank vented?  Try running it with out the cap once see if that makes a difference. 

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#10 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 07:20 AM

Lot of fuel pumps have a sock type filter on the pickup line.  They can get plugged with the lining that was put in the tank to prevent rust from forming.  The new gas will slowly dissolve that lining and it plugs up the fuel pick up sock.  Went through the same thing with a Ford of the same vintage.  All depends on what company the tank came from.  Only way to fix it was a new fuel tank.  Cost prohibitive.  Good luck with your problem.

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#11 1oldbuzz OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 07:33 AM

Ok if it was in storage for 2 1/2 years and if it had ethanol in the tank

it will have taken its toll on the rubber parts in the fuel pump

be it an in tank or engine mounted pump

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#12 crittersf1 OFFLINE  


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Posted June 02, 2016 - 07:35 AM

Long shot but is the fuel tank vented?  Try running it with out the cap once see if that makes a difference. 

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#13 toppop52 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 09:09 AM

If you haven't replaced the fuel pump, do it now.

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#14 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 10:06 AM

Other thoughts are frosted or iced up carb. That will make it run nasty. If the intake is blocked in the exhaust port, between the heads, that flows under the carb to keep it warm, then it can't warm the carb and frosting will happen in the carb. Temperature and humidity are some of the causes of carb frosting also. This can happen even on a nice sunny day. I have seen it on an s10 chev truck I had , and my ferguson tractor will do it on a nice day. Maybe try some heated air from the exhaust manifold into the carb, just to see if that changes anything. This is just suggestions that I have experienced. But I would say, you have some sort of fuel trouble as suggested by other members.

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#15 Auburn David OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2016 - 11:10 AM

Edelbrock intake..aluminum..check that its torqued right and isn't warped .They can do odd things when they heat up,I had all kinds of problems with them leaking back in the day and it sounds like what you have going on.

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