Rob Spiegel; I was replying to xti's tangent on the Monte Carlo problem. I don't think it was a crankshaft issue also. I doubt that I would have identified the missing crankshaft bearing support before the engine died.
Since you say nothing happens when the throttle is pressed I am assuming the engine speed does not increase - rev up. First thing to check is the throttle linkage and the carburetor butterfly. Manually actuate the butterfly. Check the fuel system - is the carb getting gasoline; fuel filters, fuel pump pressure and flow.
Since we're morphing around, try this one. And no, you can't read ahead to see what the problem turned out to be. Mainly because I'm not going to tell you until we see what the "masters" would have done to solve the problem.
Lets see how long it takes someone to figure it out.
The things I will tell you are simply facts about the vehicle, or where / how it was driven. They may or may not have anything to do with the actual problem.
Here we go:
Vehicle in question is a 1973 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a 275 HP 350 engine and TH350 transmission. Car is totally stock. I purchased it used (from a GM Dealer) in about 1975 with approx 40,000 miles on it. I live in Vancouver, BC. It rains a lot here.
The car was used as a daily driver.
I drove the car for approx. 10K miles, and decided to do a few minor upgrades to it. I installed a set of Hedman headers (hooked up to the stock dual exhaust), put in a bit more cam, installed a Cloyes True Roller Timing Chain, an MSD 6A Multi-Spark ignition, upgraded the cap, rotor, wires, etc., and installed the big Goodyear Wingfoots and 15x8 rims off of my '69 L88 Corvette. (I had just blown the 10th rearend out of it and decided to park it for a while)
Nothing terribly special, but it made a noticeable improvement in performance, and dramatically improved the handling and appearance. It may have increased the power by 50-75 HP over stock. Not a lot, but a nice little bump.
I didn't tear down the transmission, but I pulled the pan, and didn't see anything nasty, so I just put in a new filter and fluid. I probably put in a shift kit - can't remember for sure.
The car ran fine for about 15,000 miles. I drove it all over the place - even down to LA and back with no issues at all.
One day, it seemed that the power was down a little bit. Hardly perceptible, but down nonetheless. Maybe lost 5-10 HP, but hard to quantify. Might just have been one of those days.
The next day, it seemed a bit worse.
By the end of the week, it was very noticeable, and was starting to piss me off.
A week later, the car was a dog, and would barely get out of it's own way.
It got so bad, I had to avoid steep hills. I eventually had to park it, as it was no longer useful as transportation.
Basic symptoms were - push down the throttle, and bugger all happens. You might as well push on the brakes for all the good it did.
A cursory inspection of the engine, air filter, transmission and exhaust system revealed nothing. No smoking guns to be found.
What would you have done to figure this out?
PS - it's perfectly acceptable to ask any diagnostic question you want.
PS - If anyone happens to guess the correct answer right away, I'm not going to let on - to give other people a chance to chime in with their thoughts on the matter. Don't ask if such-and-such was the problem. Tell me how you would go about diagnosing it.
From Louis Frenzel's post: "Yet other do-it-yourself companies like Make and SparkFun are doing well."
My question remains, 'what was wrong with the new HEATHKIT'S business model that they failed?' IF you read NUTS&VOLTS magazine with any regularity, you'll see that kitbuilding IS alive & well, AND very sophisticated. Although much of the magazine is devoted to coding & using the new-age microcontrollers for robotic projects, there are many other entries which do NOT fall into that category. So, on the face of it, it would seem that HEATHKIT wasn't targeting the modern audience for their product line.
Because HAM radio has become so specialized, it's easy to understand why building a "ham shack" nowadays means going to a catalog of manufactured products. Even the stalwarts of the industry, EIMAC for transmitting tubes, is long since gone, so it's become a challenge to assemble component parts. Consider the stereo industry, another HEATHKIT profit center. No one builds components anymore. It's too easy to go to WAL*MART or some other outlet for an off-the-shelf setup.
In other arenas where HEATHKIT dominated, those markets do not exist any more. For example, home entertainment equipment. With the home theatre phenomenon, WiFi, DVRs, etc., there's nothing for them to sell in kit form. Plus, the sophistication of modern equipment no doubt would make any offerings very limited in functionality. And, finally, in test equipment, you have the same phenomenon. For someone truly interested in electronics research & hobby, one can buy excellent test equipment at ridiculously inexpensive prices. Why would anyone want to spend untold hours assembling an analog 100 MHz o-scop, when a 1 GHz digital scope can be had for very little?
That's sad to hear that Heathkit is gone again. I loved it when I was a kid, as well as many other science and engineering toys -- erector sets, chemistry sets. My guess is that kids now take a software approach to innovation play. We can see from Gadget Freak that kids are incorporating smartphones into their engineering play. Don't know if Heathkit could have kept up with that.
According to an article in today's ELECTRONIC DESIGN blog by Louis Frenzel, HEATHKIT has once again closed shop. So, it would seem that the euphoria is short-lived. Too bad, too, since having such companies might help to reinvigorate the investigativeness of the young mind. Of course there are others in this market, some doing quite well, so one has to wonder, 'what was wrong with the new HEATHKIT'S business model?'
John; What about the clutch on the air conditioning compressor ? It engages and disengages with the demand for cooling, and can be also be configured to disengage on heavy acceleration. So that is not a fixed load. I don't know how much load variation there would be from the power steering pump between straight ahead vs. turning. Are you getting an intermittent load from the power brake booster vacuum draw ? I think this problem was before serpentine belts and belt tensioners, but there is still the possibilty of a bearing running freely when cold and binding when hot. Many problems seem simple, but then you get down into the weeds and the finer details come into play.
MyDesign; Seriously ? How many times do you think a service technician gets a problem like an engine assembled but missing part(s) ? This is possibly a once-in-a-lifetime scenario. But now they have the benefit of experiencing this arcane problem. Also, many repair shops are now flat-rate. Hopefully the tech was hourly and got paid for the time spent on this problem.
MyronB; You want to run the engine without the water pump ? How will you cool the engine for the duration of the testing ? Actually it is not simple cooling, as the thermostat is probably set to open at about 180 F. so it is also an operating temperature issue.
How many people responding on this post to criticize the tech have real-world experience doing car repairs vs. second-guessing ?
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.