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Carter Carb and other woes in '84 GL Wagon


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5 replies to this topic

#1 Lil Red

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 10:44 AM

We bought a '84 GL 2WD wagon (EA81) last year, drove trouble free for a year and then put her in a garage for five months when we got a newer car. We just sold her to a good friend. Put in a new battery, she started right up. Our friend drove her 20 miles home with no problem.

The next time she went to drive, the wagon won't start. I went to look - I should make it clear at this point that I have next to no mechanical know-how. Everything I know about cars I know from lurking on this forum last year and reading "How to Keep Your Subaru Running." I did see that the choke plate was staying shut. I was unable to get it started, but then all I could figure to try was holding the choke plate open. She ended up getting towed to a garage.

Now the garage says the alternator is shot and the carburetor is "about to go." They want almost $1000 to fix it, which of course is impossible for a car we sold to our friend for less than the cost of the new tires we put on her. If the carb is indeed shot, what are the options for replacing or rebuilding it (other than paying through the nose) - it's a Carter, I'm fairly sure. Is this something that a newbie to car mechanics (though fairly mechanically inclined) can even think about attempting?

#2 ShawnW

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 11:24 AM

You can do the work. The alternator is easy, the carburator is a little harder but you have options that make it easier.

First,
I would try getting a hold of Moosens. See if he has a spare manifold and carburator around for you. If he does he is only a little ways away (up in Bridgeport CT?) and he is probably the most reasonable price you are going to find.
He probably has a spare alternator too-- I wouldn't be surprised if he has 20 of them. He's kindof like me in that he parts out a car fairly often and one day he has 20 and the next day he is out of them and asking people if they have one for him. Thats just how parting cars and tossing stuff works. You try to pick what you and your buddies online might need someday and somehow you always get rid of the part that you need a week later.

If he doesnt have an Alternator an auto parts store will have them for under 100 bucks with a lifetime warranty. You could also get an auto electric shop to rebuild it, these guys know their stuff and do a much better rebuild job than the corporate outfits supplying parts stores do (IMO). Personally I would get the alternator checked out by somebody else because mechanics see them as fast cash cuz they are so easy to replace.

The carter carbs are known for being kindof junk. You can send one to the guy Kerry at roobuilders which is found via http://www.ccrengines.com. A very reputable shop out in Denver that really knows how to rebuild Subaru carburators. Their site says they have done extensive testing on CW carbs to get rid of the known factory defects.

When I replace a carburator, I tend to just take one from a junkyard car and take the whole manifold. Its 6 bolts and an EGR pipe and a few hoses, etc to label but compared to trying to unbolt the carb from the top of the manifold when its in the car, this is a ton easier. Dealer technicians were known for making special wrenches to get the carburators off they are such a pain.

You can do it, especially if you are patient and have a good set of basic tools. Any questions just come back on here and ask. A lot of us have done what you are going to do.

Best of luck,
Shawn

#3 MilesFox

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 01:08 PM

go with simple trouble shppting procedures.
like check for fuel, then spark. and battery voltage.
first of all get it outof the shop before you have a bill, and then get back to the message board ! i'll bet its something stupid like the fuel pump is not working, or at least is not coming on. a simple 2 dollar switch and wire fix if thats the case!

get your car and holler back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#4 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 02:22 PM

Yeah - if it drove great for 20 miles, chances are that it's something very simple - that shop is trying to rip you off. If they say the alt is bad - simply pull it, and take it to Autozone, or Napa - they will test it for free for you. I think rebuilts are like $60 or so, but Shawn is right - find a good place to rebuild it - will probably last a lifetime after that. That's what I've taken to doing - especially since I have a digi-dash car, and it's generally a bad alt that takes them out. Also - since it drove fine, there's probably nothing wrong with that carb. Sounds like an electrical problem - maybe check to see if the fuel pump is running.

GD

#5 Lil Red

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 03:50 PM

Thanks to everyone for the info - I'll be working on this with the new owner, and also her brother who is more familiar with cars. We'll try everything that has been suggested, starting with getting the car home from the shop.

To me, this doesn't sound like an alternator issue, since the battery still had plenty of juice when I went to try to start it. It cranked vigorously, just didn't catch. If the alternator was shot, wouldn't the battery have depleted while driving? That's what has happened to me on other cars when the alt went. Or am I missing something?

I noticed, while feeling around (mostly in the dark, with no flashlight - duh) the levers that moved the choke plate - under the air filter on the passenger side - that I could feel a little wire spring which was moving quite freely, and not seemingly connected to anything. It was just sort of wiggling, not springing. Does any of this sound like the choke could be part of the problem?

Thanks again to everyone - I'll check back with what we find out.

#6 MilesFox

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Posted 04 September 2003 - 04:43 PM

if it was the choke, it wouls still start up, or at least fire.
if the motor is not firing at all, it could be the ignition system.
sometimes the ignitor module will go out on the distributor.
like i said, check for fuel and spark

the choke will stay partially closed, its never wide open. it should be about 1/3 open normally




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