Has full gas tank, started chugging and losing power, then engine stopped. All fluids looked normal (oil and water).
Suspect fuel filter but do not have manual to know where it is located.
Any suggestions on troubleshooting?
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Without seeing it and witnessing the problem or being able to look at an ECU diagnostic code, my first thought and this is only a guess, would be to suspect water in the fuel line or somehow getting into the combustion chamber. Has the engine ever overheated on you? If it has, then one possibility would be a blown head gasket, but if so then I would also suspect and look for additional symptoms, such as the engine oil appearing milky-looking or looking at the radiator fluid/engine coolant and seeing droplets of oil floating on the water. Are you periodically having to add either oil or water but otherwise see no apparent leaks? Either symptom is indicative of a blown head gasket (or a cracked cylinder head) and both symptoms equate to a major repair expense (over $1000). I would first check for water in the fuel line and if that can be 100% ruled out then I would pull all the spark plugs out and run a compression check on each cylinder. How many miles are on it? Per your owner's manual the car was due to have the spark plugs replaced at 90,000 miles. Was this done? (If you bought it used with over 90k on it, it's pretty safe to assume that the plugs were not changed). Sorry I can't be more specific, but your problem could be due to several possibilities, Hopefully you know an honest mechanic who can help you. (avoid the ones who advertise). Good luck!
it could still be a head gasket it could be losing fluid on the inside in the water jacket around the motorwhen you change your oil did it look milkylike coffee with too much milk in italso look at your antifreeze and see if its got a oil in it
Can\'t really help you with the no start problem without more information, but would advise you to stop using starting fluid right away. Starting fluid is hard on Diesel engines but they are made for much higher compression so will usually survive intermittent use of starting fluid. Gas engines just plain can\'t handle the much higher than normal compression that starting fluid produces which will destroy valves, piston rings, connecting rods, starters, ring gears on the transmission and head gaskets in short order. If you don\'t want to have to completely rebuild your gas engine don\'t use starting fluid on it ever!
If you also get a chugging sound, I'd suspect a blown head gasket. Look around the base of the cylinder head for exhaust blowing out while the engine is running. Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area, and have an oil and electrical rated fire extinguisher handy just in case it's something worse. Another possibility is the EGR valve gasket, but you would be more likely to lose power on a bad head gasket. You may not see the exhaust right at the leak unless the weather is sufficiently cool and humid to condense the water vapor in it, so you may want to run a compression test.
The key is how much smoke? Does the smoke have a smell to it. Are you consuming any fluids, like coolant, or oil?
Tons White smoke that is sweet smelling is usually coolant getting into the combustion chamber.
Less white smoke, especially if other cars are doing it, is normal. For every gallon of gas that you burn, you generate a gallon (GALLON) of water. so this water usually evaporates, but sometimes not. It has little or no smell.
If the smoke is bluish white, that is oil, but usually your converter would fill with oil, and cause error codes, or loss of power. This smell is distinct, but not necessarily sweet.... After the converter heats up, it may be able to burn off the oil and the smoke stops.
What are you consuming, fluid wise, will direct where you go next.
Check all of the fuel lines very carefully for breaks or cracks in the fuel lines, especially between the fuel tank and the fuel pump.
If the fuel lines are all in good condition then you can safely assume that the problem is in the fuel pump and you will need to replace it. (If the fuel pump is in really bad shape the engine oil on the end of the engine oil dip-stick will smell like fuel)
1.) put aside about $50 that you are ging to spend... period
2.) drain the oil and remove the old oil filter
3.) install a new oil filter, add new 30W oil
4.) remove all 8 spark plug wire from the 8 spark plugs
5.) remove the 8 spark plugs
6.) spray about 5 seconds of WD40 into each of 8 spark plug holes
7.) spray the remainder of the can into each of the 2 valve covers thru the EGR holes (pull out the EGR valve first)
8.) making certain that you have a full battery charge, turn the starter switch to START for about 5 seconds... if your engine turns then your internals are not frozen... that's good
9.) open another can of WD40 and spray equal amounts into ecah of 8 spark plug holes a second time
10.) turn the start switch on for another 5 seconds and listen for strange sounds... by the way without the spark plugs the engine will rotate more quickly than you normally expect... not a problem because as it turns it is lubricating your internal parts
11.) wait a minute and then turn it on for for about 10-20 seconds while listening for scraping or knocking sounds... if none heard then you are all lubed up and ready to reinstall the spark plugs.
Install new plugs or sandpaper the old with the correct gap ( I believe .035")
12.) if you didn't mark the plug wires not a problem... Google '78 Chevy Distributor Firing Order to find terminal #1 on the distributor cap... usually about the 1 o'clock position
13.) install #1 wire to #1 sparkplug... the driver's side front closest to the radiator
14.) the distributor rotates like a clock (clockwise) and the numbers on the clock starting at #1 is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2.... this is the firing order in a clockwise direction
15.) take the next plug wire #8 and connect it to #8 spark plug
Note: the spark plug numbers are cast into the top of the intake manifold for easier identification
16.) conect the remaining wires to their respective plugs
17.) make certain that you have a full battery charge, some gas in the tank (gas evaporates over 3 years) and a full radiator.
18.) Turn the starter switch and listen for the engine to start
19.) If it doesn't start the first time, try again and wait for the gas to reach the carburetor.... try again
20.) if it still doesn't start spray some engine strating fluid into the carbuetor throat and try again... it should start
21.) if it starts but doesn't keep running then repeat step 20. unitl the gas reaches the carburetor and continues to run on its own...!
This problem can be several things. When your engine is cold, your computer is in a "closed loop" and just pretty much keeps the engine running until warmed up. After reaching operation temperature, the computer starts reading all the sensors. If one sensor is not connected or is defective, you will experience performance problems. Most of the time this will turn on the check engine light, but not always. Second is the fuel pump. This too will cause erratic engine problems.