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85 Brat Sputtering


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14 replies to this topic

#1 millhouse

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 07:03 PM

I just purchased a fresh looking brat with 80K original miles. No rust and fires right up. I actually drove it to my brothers house which was about 2 hours away. It had some trouble getting moving from a stopped position. It would sputter until I got above 2000 RPMs and eventually backfire and bog out, or if I really gave her hell on the throttle then it would atleast get moving. (Stop lights were not fun) It shifted really smooth and did not sputter as much once I was actually moving forward going into 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear. Although if I stayed at 2K RPMs regardless of the gear then it would sputter.

I am wondering what I should start with to solve this problem. Should I start with plugs, wires, filters etc. or- should I start with the carb / vacuum. I am eventually going to replace or at least clean everything, but would like to get it to my home which is about a 7 hour drive before doing everything. For all I know it could be a simple adjustment, I am kind of a rookie subie owner.

Any advice would be great.

Details
Original motor
Original carb
Egr light on
Starts first turn and idles really well
Do not smell any burning or gas really
Has premium fuel in it (from owner before me)


*Also looking for topper and backseats.

Thanks in advance,
Millhouse

#2 naru

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 07:17 PM

Start by checking the fuel level in the carb sight glass(I love those).

Free and fairly easy.

Sounds like it might be too low because of a pump/filter problem.

Change both fuel filters regardless.

 

Check that the carb accelerator pump squirts.

 

Looking at the plugs is free and easy too.

Ditto for checking the plug wires.



#3 aba4430

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:05 AM

At least change the fuel filters (as advised above).  There is one under the rear left wheel (two line) mounted into a spring loaded bracket, and one (3 line) in the engine compartment.  These are most likely clogged, causing you the drivability issues.  The EGR lamp is simple, but can wait until after you get home.  It is swapping two connectors under the dash.  You should also check the air filter visually, and all fluid levels.  Prior to the 7 hour drive, I would recommend changing the oil and filter as well.  Looks like you have found a gem of a Brat.  Good luck.



#4 millhouse

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 03:32 PM

Hey Guys, 

       Thanks for all the input. I have changed the plugs, fuel and air filters and also replaced many vac hoses that were dry rotting. After careful cigar testing, I cannot seem to find any more vac leaks. 

 

The issues remain the same. (starts and idles great! just does not excelerate well, but once I am moving and above about 2500RPMs she runs like a beast) I am beginning to think this could be related to timing. Does anyone have an experience with this? I have been doing some research on how to fix the timing, but I feel it may be beyond my skill level.

 

Is it worth brining to a mechanic, or could this be another issue other than timing?

 

 

Again, thanks so much for your feedback.

 

Cheers,

Andrew



#5 ferox

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 04:44 PM

Hey Guys, 

       Thanks for all the input. I have changed the plugs, fuel and air filters and also replaced many vac hoses that were dry rotting. After careful cigar testing, I cannot seem to find any more vac leaks. 

 

The issues remain the same. (starts and idles great! just does not excelerate well, but once I am moving and above about 2500RPMs she runs like a beast) I am beginning to think this could be related to timing. Does anyone have an experience with this? I have been doing some research on how to fix the timing, but I feel it may be beyond my skill level.

 

Is it worth brining to a mechanic, or could this be another issue other than timing?

 

 

Again, thanks so much for your feedback.

 

Cheers,

Andrew

 

Absolutely you should at least verify the timing.  Checking and setting the timing is super easy.  Save your money on a mechanic at this point and spend some of that money on an inductive timing light that ideally comes with a tach readout.  You can read rpms other ways so if you can only afford a timing light without tach (which are substantially cheaper) then go for it.  

 

You will definitely want to make sure timing is correct before trying to adjust other parts of the engine.  

 

I also recommend checking and setting the valve lash unless your have a hydraulic lifter engine.  

 

What year is your Brat?



#6 millhouse

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 06:01 PM

Absolutely you should at least verify the timing.  Checking and setting the timing is super easy.  Save your money on a mechanic at this point and spend some of that money on an inductive timing light that ideally comes with a tach readout.  You can read rpms other ways so if you can only afford a timing light without tach (which are substantially cheaper) then go for it.  

 

You will definitely want to make sure timing is correct before trying to adjust other parts of the engine.  

 

I also recommend checking and setting the valve lash unless your have a hydraulic lifter engine.  

 

What year is your Brat?

 It is an 85'



#7 ferox

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 06:04 PM

Are there any gold stickers on the valve covers?



#8 millhouse

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:17 PM

Are there any gold stickers on the valve covers?

I am not sure if it has gold stickers on it or not. I will check on that next time I see it. The timing has been set to 8 and it still runs the same. I am thinking it may be time to pull the carb off there and take a look at it.

 

Any other ideas before I do this? Just to review here is what I have done and still no progress:

 

New fuel filters

New Air filter

Sealed Vacuum lines

New Spark Plugs

Set the timing to 8 

 

 

I am thinking of completely draining the gas from it and putting new fuel in it. If thats a no go, then I guess I take the carb off and see what she looks like. Unless, that is- anyone has any other ideas.

 

Again, thank you gus so much for your help!

 

-Andrew



#9 naru

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:39 PM

Check that the carb accelerator pump squirts.



#10 ferox

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 11:42 PM

Sounds like you have a good plan.  Pretty much any of these cars that haven't had regular carb maintenance need the carb gone through, even if it's just a clean and reseal.  Carb rebuild kits are around $30, so I always recommend a carb rebuild, but I realize it's easy for me to say that since I have rebuilt many carbs.  Most people dance around carb issues because they are intimidated, but it's really the most important part on the engine to get right, second only to timing.  

 

The Haynes brand manual basically copied the factory service manual carb rebuild section, so if you want to dive in, that's an accessible resource.  If you really want to do it up, you can get a Weber carb to replace the stock Hitachi.  The Weber still takes some dialing in, but it's a nice upgrade.  If you have never rebuilt a carb before, just follow the instructions, it's really not very hard if your systematic about it.

 

Many if not most EA81s from the latter half of the 80's came with hydraulic lifters that do not require periodic valve lash adjustments.  The hydro-lifter engines had little gold stickers on the valve covers.  An '85 brat could have either version.  I am not saying this is your problem, but it is probably something that should be checked and adjusted to spec anyway.


Edited by ferox, 04 December 2013 - 11:43 PM.


#11 Dinky26

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 12:14 AM

+1 on the Weber Carb. If you can afford it, it is totally worth the money. Shawn on here can get you set up with one for about $325.

Sounds like your issue could be in the carb, maybe not though hard to say for sure.

#12 rjgreen

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 12:54 PM

sounds like you probably shoudl just sell it to me



#13 millhouse

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:09 PM

I am not sure if it has gold stickers on it or not. I will check on that next time I see it. The timing has been set to 8 and it still runs the same. I am thinking it may be time to pull the carb off there and take a look at it.

 

Any other ideas before I do this? Just to review here is what I have done and still no progress:

 

New fuel filters

New Air filter

Sealed Vacuum lines

New Spark Plugs

Set the timing to 8 

 

 

I am thinking of completely draining the gas from it and putting new fuel in it. If thats a no go, then I guess I take the carb off and see what she looks like. Unless, that is- anyone has any other ideas.

 

Again, thank you gus so much for your help!

 

-Andrew

 

No gold stickers on valve cover- just stating not to adjust valve clearance.



#14 TomRhere

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 05:42 PM

'85 EA81 would have the hydraulic lifters. No adjustment needed on those unless heads have been milled or swapped from another engine.

 

Thinking I would get a can of carb cleaner and one by one, spray all of the vacuum lines including the one going to the vac can behind the PS strut tower. Any change in engine speed indicates a vac leak.

Might save you from pulling the carb.

 

I've had that vac line to the vac can split on one of the BRATs.



#15 ferox

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:15 PM

'85 EA81 would have the hydraulic lifters. No adjustment needed on those unless heads have been milled or swapped from another engine.

 

Thinking I would get a can of carb cleaner and one by one, spray all of the vacuum lines including the one going to the vac can behind the PS strut tower. Any change in engine speed indicates a vac leak.

Might save you from pulling the carb.

 

I've had that vac line to the vac can split on one of the BRATs.

Yeah good point Tom.  Another tricky vacuum leak can be at the charcoal canister.  Over time the vacuum valve degrades creating a vacuum leak that is difficult to detect with the traditional methods, but you can cap the hose and see if anything changes.






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