My 1987 chevy nova started to stumble
You really wanna resurrect a 1987 Nova?? Jokes, my kind of guy!
Just be careful of spending a lot of money on parts (like on fuel pump, or ignition parts, or new catalytic converter) that the engine won't support. In other words, check the engine's condition carefully and make a judgement as to its worthiness before proceeding. The oil light may have come on because of the stumbling and trying to die act-maybe the rpm's by then were so low it couldn't build up oil pressure. How is the car's previous performance? Are you satisfied with the engine's power and good fuel economy? Does it use any oil, and have you done regular maintenance to keep it running good with clean oil? Any strange noises ( rumblings or ticks or rattles) or vibrations from under the hood in the past, that may have a bearing on your judgement of the engine?
Have you made a judgement now? If it were me, I would want to do a compression test of the engine to help determine its condition. I know, I know, for accuracy the engine needs to be at normal operating temp. for a compression test. But that is impossible in your case. A test will tell you how good each cylinder is. The readings will be somewhat lower than if the engine were warm, but at least you will know if the cylinders are balanced good. I mean if the readings are fairly close to each other, then power ouput from all cylinders is close, or balanced. But that's just me. If you have to pay for an invalid compression test-maybe not so good idea.
On to the problem at hand: to run, a healthy, properly timed engine needs spark, fuel, and compression. You would lose all compression only if you heard the timing belt snap in two, so rule that out. That leaves spark or fuel. This is a carbureted engine, right? Does it have a mechanical fuel pump on the engine, or an electric fuel pump? If it's electric pump, check if it works. You could also operate the throttle with your hand and look down the carburetor throat to see if gas squirts down when you go from idle to wide open. A little gas should dribble out or squirt downard as you move the throttle back and forth. If you aren't sure, take a little gas (1/8 or 1/4 of a cup, a little) and dribble it into the carb. while someone cranks the car over. If it fires now and nearly starts, you know you have a fuel problem (bad filter or pump or kinked or leaking gas line, or the carburetor itself may need service).
If not a fuel problem, begin ignition check by testing for spark at a plug wire. Take a wire off a plug, pull the plug out, and re-attach the plug wire to it. Lay the metal part of the plug (the hex is metal and so are the threads of the plug) on a metal part of the engine, so it's grounded. Don't hold it, just lay it on the engine metal. Have someone crank the car while you watch for spark at the plug end. You must see a good blue spark to know the ignition is working...sorry, gonna stop here, got interrupted...no spark from plugs or coil wire, could be bad coil or ignition module...check it step by step, you'll find the problem. Cheers.
Jun 03, 2012 |
1987 Chevrolet Nova