Sounds and feels like it is miss firing, ongong problem..
This started about 2-3 yrs ago, checked wires and found burnt marks, replaced wires & plugs, then and the following year. It seemed to be a temp fix. Last yr it occurred again, lean mix; vac leak in the upper intake, which was replaced, along with plug and wires again. Now it is worse than ever.........I'm stuck...business is bad, not too much money, broken arm!!! not my year. I would have given up by now, but I cannot afford another $500-800 bill to replace a part, then only to have problem come up again...frustrated. Any help would be great.....Guy in South FL.
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It sounds like your firing order is out or your timing is out or you have fuel starvation.
I believe the firing order is 1-3-4-2 on your car. Only English Fords had a firing order of 1-2-4-3 and VW beetles are 1-4-3-2.
Next. check the timing. You should have a spark on no 1 cylinder when the timing mark on the front pulley is about 16 degrees from top dead center - there is a mark on the pulley to show these positions. If you don't know how to check it, take it to a service agent.
Make sure your fuel filter is clean - replace it, they are cheap - and then make sure you have good fuel flow to the carburetor.
Finally, you could have burnt valves. This will mean taking off the cylinder head and reseating or even replacing burnt valves. This could be a costly job and should be done by a qualified technician.
Sounds like your timing chain has jumped out of time, if the timing chain is old, the chain jump a few teeth putting it out of time having it fire at the wrong time when the exhaust valve is open. Check timing by pulling #1 plug - bring #1 piston to the top and line up timing mark , Ifind it easy to put thumb over spark plug hole and have someone bump the engine over and feel the pressure relief stop before you feel vacumm - timing mark should line up if the timing hasn't jumped
sounds like cross fire or overheating, check and see if your spark plug wires are touching, also check them for cracks in the wires, next run the engine to the point of where the problem starts, listen. you might just figure the problem out from there. In my experience though i've noticed that those engines will miss and sputter when they start to overheat
I was wrong about the distributor being round (I was thinking about my other car). I found variations about the firing order but after troubbleshooting, varified the plug wiring order from the front of the car is 1 - 4 - 5 - 2 - 3 - 6 not 1 - 4 - 5 - 2 - 6 - 3 found on several web sites. From the front of the car looking at the engine, the back three cylinders by the firewall going from left to right are 1, 3, 5. The front three are 2, 4 & 6.
If the oil is on the outside of the plug it's likely to be a leaky valve cover gasket. Oily on the tip means its not firing. Take the plug wire for the oily plug off and reinstall it on both ends, it's likely not making proper connection on one end. Also check that wire closely for swelling, cracks, burnt marks, etc. If any of that is present that could stop it from firing and a new set of wires will probably fix you up. Hope this helps.