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Tune-Up and upgraded parts
#1
Hey Everyone,

I apologize in advance for the novice nature of this post. I'm trying to build up some mechanical knowledge on my engine, and I'm hoping you guys can point me in the right direction.

My 73 is long overdue for a tune-up, and I want to give it a go myself. It's a 302 with a 2 barrel (I'm pretty sure everything is stock). I've never done a tune-up on a car, and was wondering if anyone could guide me through it, or at least suggest some resources that I can check. I know people have different opinions on Chiltons/Haynes manuals, so I'm not sure if I should pick one of those up or not.

My current goal is to get the motor running reliably, and then probably have a shop build a new motor for my car sometime next spring. I've done work to cars before (Disc/Drum brakes, oil changes, replaced a gas tank, fuel filter, etc) so I have some experience and tools, but for some reason engines intimidate me.

I'm also wondering if there are any parts worth upgrading while i'm doing this. Engine dress-up kit? MSD Ignition? Anything like that, or would I just be better off saving the money now, and putting that money to a crate/rebuilt engine?
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#2
aasukisuki;124957 Wrote:Hey Everyone,

I apologize in advance for the novice nature of this post. I'm trying to build up some mechanical knowledge on my engine, and I'm hoping you guys can point me in the right direction.

My 73 is long overdue for a tune-up, and I want to give it a go myself. It's a 302 with a 2 barrel (I'm pretty sure everything is stock). I've never done a tune-up on a car, and was wondering if anyone could guide me through it, or at least suggest some resources that I can check. I know people have different opinions on Chiltons/Haynes manuals, so I'm not sure if I should pick one of those up or not.

My current goal is to get the motor running reliably, and then probably have a shop build a new motor for my car sometime next spring. I've done work to cars before (Disc/Drum brakes, oil changes, replaced a gas tank, fuel filter, etc) so I have some experience and tools, but for some reason engines intimidate me.

I'm also wondering if there are any parts worth upgrading while i'm doing this. Engine dress-up kit? MSD Ignition? Anything like that, or would I just be better off saving the money now, and putting that money to a crate/rebuilt engine?

Ok well the most important question is How does the car run in it's current state? Do you notice surging, sputtering, rough idle, hesitant acceleration?

A tune-up persay giving your current knowledge i would advise you to leave the carburator alone if it starts and runs decent. I think something along the lines of replacing the spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor are all pretty easy to do with minimal tools. A shop manual will be helpful to show you how to replace the ignition points as well. If you are going to build a new motor I would just leave it at that for time being and just drive or enjoy the car and put effort and money into the engine build.

As far as engine dress up kits, well that's just a matter of personal taste but be wary of shiny oooh ahhh chrome (except air cleaner) parts as some will tend to not hold a good seal and leak oil, coolant, etc. And you must keep them clean or they will rust and well then it looks like you put a rust up kit on your engine instead Sad.

I could go into details but i think in order to fully answer your questions you should post up about how the car currently runs. Either way we will help you anyway we can to help you learn how to get your stang tip top.
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#3
matrixx;124965 Wrote:Ok well the most important question is How does the car run in it's current state? Do you notice surging, sputtering, rough idle, hesitant acceleration?

A tune-up persay giving your current knowledge i would advise you to leave the carburator alone if it starts and runs decent. I think something along the lines of replacing the spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor are all pretty easy to do with minimal tools. A shop manual will be helpful to show you how to replace the ignition points as well. If you are going to build a new motor I would just leave it at that for time being and just drive or enjoy the car and put effort and money into the engine build.

As far as engine dress up kits, well that's just a matter of personal taste but be wary of shiny oooh ahhh chrome (except air cleaner) parts as some will tend to not hold a good seal and leak oil, coolant, etc. And you must keep them clean or they will rust and well then it looks like you put a rust up kit on your engine instead Sad.

I could go into details but i think in order to fully answer your questions you should post up about how the car currently runs. Either way we will help you anyway we can to help you learn how to get your stang tip top.

The car is definitely running pretty rough, and almost sounds like one of the cylinders isn't firing, sort of brief pause in sound every second or so. It's also very hesitant, to the point where I have to baby the gas coming off of a stop so the engine doesn't choke itself out. It also seems to idle very high. I've read that the automatics should idle around 600 rpm, but it's definitely idling higher than that.

I think I will wait on any upgraded parts (like you suggested) and just put that into the new motor.

Hopefully my description of how it's running makes sense.
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#4
Well seems like your engine needs some TLC. But don't worry all is not lost though. If this car has fell behind on it's maintenance then for sure I would start with replaceing these items first. They're cheap and pretty easy to knock out in a few hours.

1. Spark plugs
2. Plug wires
3. Distributor cap
4. Distributor rotor
5. Ignition points set

#1-2 The plugs are pretty cheap and usually a few dollars a piece i prefer autolight brand. Of course you will need 8 Smile Easiest way to replace the plugs and wires are to replace each ONE AT A TIME. This way you avoid getting the wires mismatched and leave yourself wondering why its not running. Start at the first plug closest to the front of the engine towards radiator and take that wire off the spark plug and distributor and set it aside. Remove the spark plug and set it aside. Take new spark plug and check gap (most are pregapped nowadays but it's best to make sure) put some antiseize around the threads and screw into the engine, just snug it up it doesnt need to be super tight. Now match that old plug wire you removed with the new wire set, find the wire thats same length or really close. Connect the wire to the new spark plug and the empty post on the distributor. There now repeat the process one at a time for the other 7 plugs and wires.

#3-4 pay very close attention to your current distributor cap that you rust finished putting your fancy new wires on. Take one wire off at a time starting with the first wire i mentions earlier (cylinder 1) it doesnt matter it just easier to keep track of and less likely to make a mistake. go in one direction untill you have all the wire swapped over to your new distributor cap. The Cap is held on by TWO clips, snap them off and remove the old cap it pulls right off. Inside you will find the ROTOR on top of the shaft. just pull up on it and it will pop off. Take your New rotor and put in on the shaft, it has a provision so it will only go on ONE way.

#5 At the base of the distributor you will also find your ignition points. A little more involved at this point you may opt to install a electrnic drop in conversion like the one from pertronix here http://www.pertronix.com/prod/ig/ignitor2/default.aspx (well worth the upgrade) or you can just replace the old and probably worn point set. You have to make sure the gap is set right and maybe someone that remembers off top their head the specifics can chime in. I havent used points as they really only work good for about 3k miles and start wearing out from there. I switched to the Pertronix ignitor system as you keep your distributor, and it drops right in and works really well. You set it and forget it!

I think these 5 things if havent been touched on your car for a very long time will do wonders for your 302. After you do this then we can get a little more technical into the "tune-up" process. Oh and one more thing, you may remove the Air cleaner assembly when you replace the wires, distributor cap etc. Take your wing nut off and air cleaner and set it aside away from the engine and throw a towel or big rag/cloth over your carburator to prevent anything accidentaly going into your engine.
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#5
You are awesome! This is exactly the information I was looking for. I'll have to set some time aside this weekend, and give this a shot. I'll keep you updated.

Thanks a ton.
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#6
Matrixx... I've gotta say you are the man. That is a simple and very helpful write up on the basics. This is exactly why I love this forum, good people who really do care.

[Image: 1_24_09_13_4_29_06.png]
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#7
use the Pertronix matrixx mentioned, well worth the money and easy to set and forget

[Image: 2w6ugt2.png]
Brad Smith
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#8
This is a very helpful forum and just as I have had the privilege to receive excellent advice about my issues I pass on what I can. The best thing about this system I believe is that we are all human and we all make mistakes, therefore we learn from our mistakes and pass on the knowledge to save others from going down the same path. Eventually we wind up with a good idea of all the do's and don'ts so everyone benefits.
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#9
+1 on Matrixx and +1 on the Pertronix III recommendation.

Additionally, I recommend the following tools to assist you tuning your engine:

1). Buy a Timing Light (recommend digital w/Tach). I have the Actron
2). Buy a Vac pressure tester
3). Rent a compression tester
4). Rent a coolant pressure tester

Sounds like you might have a vac leak so I'd look at the trans to engine (modulator to rubber hose to steel line & steel line to rubber hose to vac tree), PCV to carb spacer, brake booster vac lines and any of the capped off branches on your vac tree. I'd replace them outright as well as the belts just so you are starting fresh.

Also, with the tools above download the tuning manual for an Autolite 2100 and set it to specifications. It looks painful up front but overtime it will become 2nd nature. The rpm setting you reference is with lights on, in D or R and while pressing in the brake.

Not sure about your gauges but a good set of autogage can tell you more about your car instead of the dummy lights if you have them. I recommend oil pressure, voltage and engine temp. I'd go with mechanical but electrical work fine as well.

Not listed but which may help your cooling (if you have an issue in the future) is to flush the radiator and block a few times with water and probably replace the thermostat (180 degree).

As far as what to upgrade that hasn't been listed - well, I'd go with a 100A single-wire alternator and ditch the voltage regulator. They can cause issues.

KR

-Former 70 & 72 Mustang Owner.
-69 Torino GT, Formal Roof, 351W, Edelbrock 600 cfm, Edelbrock 351W Performer RPM intake, headers, AOD trans, dual flowmasters w/H pipe, Pertronix II Billet, 3.5 TRACLOC g/r, 15" Magnum 500s, 100A alt, aluminum radiator, electric fan, Pro-car seats, mini-starter...owned since Dec 13.
-70 Mach 1, 351W, Edelbrock E-Street EFI, VHX instrument cluster, Hooker headers, dual flowmasters, Pertronix II, 15" Magnum 500s, 150A alt, aluminum radiator, dual electric fans, Pro-car seats, mini-starter
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#10
If you have a factory tach stay away from the petronix III ignition system.

Use a petronix I or II. The P3 uses a different tach signal that the factory tach cannot read.

The PII has almost all the same features as the PIII. The difference between a PI and PII is the PII has automatic dwell adjustment that is suppose to help cold starts. I've used all 3 versions and you don't notice the automatic dwell adjustment at all. All of them are a major improvement over a points ignition system.
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