Desperately Need Help

I am trying to desperately get to Maryland for the Regional Qualifier in June. The only way we can go is if we have our RV running. There is a problem with it and I cannot figure it out. The RV is a 1989 John Deere, Pace Arrow Class A. The engine is a Ford 460 with a Holley 4bbl. It has an external (in front of the tank) fuel pump. The problem is when I try to drive at highway speeds the engine will start to stumble and “Pop” out the exhaust. Driving around town up and down hills it runs fine. Once on the highway it starts acting up. It doesn’t take long, about a ¼ mile. If I pull over and take off again it goes fine until it gets to highway speed then the same thing. I have changed the following. Cap, rotor, Distributor base cap, wires, plugs, fuel filter, rubber fuel lines. I have checked the following: vacuum at the distributor is 18” at idle. The vacuum advance will hold a vacuum and pulling a vacuum on it with a pump it will change the timing (you can hear and feel it) while its idling. I don’t know what to do next. PLEASE HELP!!!!! I cannot afford to put it into the shop, so this is not an option!!!! If I cannot get this running we will not be able to go and Spaz will be Heart Broken.
Re: Desperately Need Help

Who in the heck is "Spaz?"

Sounds like your engine is starving for fuel at speed. Doesn't sound like an ignition problem primarily.

Could be anything from the fuel pickup in the tank, the pump, a filter or even a collapsed fuel line.

However, remember that the fuel is being forced to the front, so if enough isn't or too much is forced up there at some speed you will have problems at the carburetor.

It sounds like the engine isn't getting enough fuel. JMHAO (Just My Humble Amateur Opinion)
Re: Desperately Need Help

Spaz is my 12 year old daughter Alexis. She races moto-cross. The name really fits her. She is a nut and will make you laugh your but off. Her goal is to go pro racing in the boys class. This race is a VERY VERY important step in getting to Lorretta Lynn's (yes the singer) Ranch in August. It is the Super Bowl and World Series of Ameuter motor-cross in the world.
So you can see the pressure I am under we go to Maryland in 2 weeks if this thing will get running right. I can't afford to have this break down either because I will have all 5 kids and my wife with me.
(I should been born rich instead of so darn good looking!! Then I would just rent or buy a new one) LOL



Senior Member
Re: Desperately Need Help

Well Bob, I AM NOT HELP TO U . but there are a few guys on the FORUM that CAN help u out. But as Tex has stated it does sound like it is staving for fuel. GOOD LUCK in getting this fixed, and tell Spaz good luck also if and when she gets there.
RE: Desperately Need Help

Hi Bob,

Just a suggestion, you might want to pull your fuel filter again and see if you can blow through it. I had exactly the same symptoms with a Chev 454 a few years ago and it was caused by water in the fuel tank. I had filled up with gas at the local Shell station (haven't used them since) and took off down the road heading for South Dakota. After about 10 miles or so I started to get a bit of engine stumble when I stepped down on the throttle for the low hills but on level ground at 60 mph it would run fine. When I stopped for the night in Spokane I checked the fuel filter and it was nearly plugged. I replaced it and started out the next morning. I in not much time I started up over the mountains in Idaho and the problem started in again. I was not able to go over 20-25 mph up the passes. I had to stay in low gear with minimal application of the gas pedal. Every time I pressed the accelerator down over 1/2 way it would pop and buck. I stopped at a campground early that afternoon and when I pulled the fuel filter again it was plugged with rusty looking gunk. I ended up pulling it out and running without it until I got to Missoula. I knew I was taking a chance of plugging the jets in the carb, but I was lucky and they were fine. By the time I got to Missoula I was running on fumes but wanted to run out as much of the bad gas as possible. I filled the tank and added a couple cans of a gasoline additive for water in fuel removal and repalced the fuel filter again and bought a spare. I did not have a problem after that.

Hope this helps,


Triple E

Senior Member
Re: Desperately Need Help

I also had a problem like yours long ago. I cannot remember all of the details. But I do remember the fix. Inside the fuel tank, on the suction line I had what they call a SOCK. This sock looks like a "sock" that slips over the fuel line and acts like a pre-filter to the final filter. The worst part of this was removing the fuel tank to get to it.

Replaced the sock and all went well.

My best to you and you daughter. I will watch for her on ESPN.


Senior Member
Re: Desperately Need Help

hey Jim that is an interesting story about Shell Gas. I was heading up to GRAND VIEW TRAILER SALES open house to visit Ken. I stooped at a shell station to fill the MH up. About 100 miles from Bedford VA (GVTS) MY SERVICE ENGINE light came on. WE camp for 2 days and left to come home. I stopped in TN or north GA and filled up again, this time I was really low. Shortly there after the service engine light went out and I have not had any more lights coming on. I thought this is interesting since you used Shell and so did I, and both had problem. I am not saying Shell is bad gas, but I will not use it again.
Re: Desperately Need Help

I changed the second filter the one in the carb. no change.

I changed the ign. module. No change.

I checked the egr valve it is working when I applied a vac. to it.

No light show under the hood.

I did run it down the highway toady with the air cleaner open so I could watch the carb spray fuel. It did look ok (like 4 shower heads running full blast).

---Note--- When this was brought to my house it had the same problem. I then changed everything and it is still the same.

I am soooooooooooo discouraged. I have never had a problem with a vehicle I couldn't fix.........I don't know what to do...



Re: Desperately Need Help

the way it sounds to me ,, since u said ,, the carb looked like a shower head ,, u are getting too ,, much fuel ,, and the holleys are good for that ,, they have to be adjusted conatantly ,,, i would say that u need to ck the float level on both bowls ,, but then also ,, if u said it back fired ,, then u'r power valve is blown ,, which will cause the same issue ,, ,, but if u have to have the carb overhauled ,, i would have them put the power valve block off in it ,,, i use a holley 1150 on my race car ,, and i know i have to tune it after every pass ,, but let us know back ,, :)
Re: Desperately Need Help

here are some answers that have been ask'd:
Yes it has no catalytic converts on it. It does have a flow master muffler.
No I didn't change the pick-up in the dist.
Nice 15" of mercury at Idle.
The engine has been replaced and looks like it has about 10K on it.
The camper was brought to my house in 07 on the ride here out on 384 it had the same issue.
The camper was at a place in Bolton and I don't know how long it sat there for. I was told it wouldn't start and that the condition of it being bought was that they needed to replace the fuel pump. So supposedly that was done in 07.
The fuel filter in the frame looked new, but I replaced it.
The carb. has vac. secondaries.
The smog pump is intact but has no belt on it.
I have not changed the coil.
The plugs are new. same problem as with the old plugs.
Yes plug gap is per the sticker on the engine (never install straight from the box....ever)
There is a fuel pressure regulator inline it looks factory.
The Fuel bowl levels are correct. just a slight (very little) at idle.

Runs great from idle or stop pin it and it goes pulls really strong I am surpised pulling that much weight. It starts to stumble on its self as it comes up to highway speed after a few moments. then from 1/2 to wot it makes no difference while its stumbling. Once you go less than 1/2 throttle and hold it there it gets worse and starts to pop out the exhaust

I tried it with the vac. adv. unplugged and plugged the linewith a vac. gauge. The vac. acted normal. Same thing.

I put it in gear and loaded the motor. No light show.

I am going to check the wire routing and verify that it is good.

I am going to try and out a gage in the fuel line.

The old plugs I took out where NOT tan but NOT gummed up. They where more of a charcoal color, but dry. I have seen ALOT worse. I will pull a plug once it cools and see what color it is.

RE: Desperately Need Help

I'm with 730, I think you have a heavy float in the carb. I had the same problem on a 77' Surban and my brother said to change the float. It was not that hard to do and the truck ran like a dream. M2c


RE: Desperately Need Help

hey CAC ..look back a few post ,, this is a carburated vehicle ,, and by no means would it have a mass air flow sensor,,, and don't need a crank sensor either ,, it has a distributer ,,, :eek:
Re: Desperately Need Help

I want to say THANK-YOU to everyone for helping me!!!!! I have finally got this thing running at highway speeds for a length of time, and was even able to pass other cars on the road.
Here is what was changed:
Dist. cap, Dist. rotor, Dist. base cap, spark plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filters (1 in the frame- 1 in the carb.), The Distr. itself, the pickup in the dist., the vac. advance, The Ign. module, All Rubber fuel lines, Oil and filter, both solenoids, and the last part that was replaced was the cause of the problem:
It was the FUEL PUMP!!!!!!!
I am so mad at myself for letting this happen. I know better than taking some one’s word for what they have done or not done. He did change the pump and it is new. The problem is that the fuel pressure drops off to 1psi. The new pump runs around 2.5-3.5 still on the low side but that might be in the way the regulator is set. I found out that Napa where the pump came from sells 2 versions a 1-4psi and a 5-7 psi model. I think that this is a 1-4psi model.
The next step is to see if it will pull the trailer if so I think we will make it there!!

Thank-you all SOOOOOOO MUCH;
Re: Desperately Need Help

730.............whats a carburater and distributer?????

LOL, I obviously didn't read all the posts.

Glad you got it worked out there Bob
Re: Desperately Need Help

Nanna nanna boo boo! The amateur stikes again and beats the pros! :approve: :clown: HeHeHeHeHe! Hoodoggies!

TexasClodhopper - 5/12/2009 6:49 AM ... Sounds like your engine is starving for fuel at speed. Doesn't sound like an ignition problem primarily. Could be anything from the fuel pickup in the tank, the pump, a filter or even a collapsed fuel line. However, remember that the fuel is being forced to the front, so if enough isn't or too much is forced up there at some speed you will have problems at the carburetor. It sounds like the engine isn't getting enough fuel. JMHAO (Just My Humble Amateur Opinion)