Am I doomed to die at some God-forsaken intersection?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1968 Plymouth Satellite 318 V-8 with 92,000 miles on the engine. I can't seem to fix the accelerator pump. When the engine is cold, the car will die when I attempt to accelerate, like when I start up from a stop sign and try to cross traffic. There have been several incidents in which I was sure I was going to die because the car died and I was in front of oncoming traffic. I have rebuilt the carburetor twice and replaced it once. Does this mean I'm stuck with the problem and doomed to die in some God-forsaken intersection? What can I do?

RAY: When you floor the gas pedal, plenty of air flows in right away, but it takes time for the flow of gasoline to catch up. The accelerator pump in the carburetor makes up for that delay by shooting in a liquid stream of gas. It works like a water pistol. When you accelerate hard, it squirts, and when you accelerate softly, it dribbles.

TOM: If you've rebuilt the carburetor twice and replaced it once, I'd say your problem is not the accelerator pump. There are plenty of other things that could cause hesitation; incorrect ignition timing, a faulty vacuum or centrifugal advance, a plugged heat riser, a worn timing chain, a choke set incorrectly. Start by having these checked. Don't become fixated on the accelerator pump.

RAY: And here's another thing to consider. If hesitation is going to be your official cause of death, why not trade up to a nice '76 Volare. That car had the same problem, but at least in a Volare, you'd drive up to the pearly gates in more up-to-date sheet metal.

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