Cliff Ruggles' Quadrajet electric choke issues

Discussion in 'The Venerable Q-Jet' started by johnriv67, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    I am having a lot of trouble setting the correct adjustment for my carb to be able to go right to high idle when the engine is started in the cold. Of course, it always needs a few pumps and then the choke set, but it continually won't idle without a foot on the pedal and multiple restarts in 30* weather.

    If Cliff himself has a recommendation or procedure, that would be excellent to know, but I'm sure that many others on the board understand chokes and setting them up better than I do.

    Any help is appreciated, thank you
  2. Brandon Cocola

    Brandon Cocola Well-Known Member

    Do you have a pic of your choke. Some have rivets holding them in place others just have screws you can loosen and adjust a little ritcher for the colder months and maybe back if it's too much in the summer.
  3. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    Is the pull off working?
  4. Jesse Tackett

    Jesse Tackett Active Member

    There is a thing called a "choke pulloff" or "choke vacuum break" (mounted on the passenger side of the carb) that probably needs adjusted (or replaced) Read up on it. Basically it works like this..... you pump the throttle when you are first starting the car, the choke coil completely closes the choke flap, (of course the engine will not continue to run with the flap completely closed), the engine starts, immediately creating vacuum that works on the choke pulloff to open the choke flap a "specified" amount. If it's bad (likely) or misadjusted the engine will die right away. Very possible for it to start die start die, many times. You need to test the choke pulloff to see if it will hold vacuum, if it will, you will need to test the amount (usually measured with a drill bit) it pulls the choke flap open when vacuum is applied to it. Hope this helps.
    Jess T
    johnriv67 likes this.
  5. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    It appears the choke pull off is working, I realize that I should tighten the choke coil overall, and then the pull off will move it the rest of the way open
  6. Jesse Tackett

    Jesse Tackett Active Member

    John, there are many variables and specific adjustments to make a choke system work correctly (they can be accomplished though). Post a pic of the choke side of your carb and i will try to help.
  7. TORQUED455

    TORQUED455 Well-Known Member

    The scenario you are describing sounds more like the choke isn’t closing and subsequently putting the fast idle cam on the highest setting, creating a lean condition and not enough fast-idle speed.

    If the fast idle isn’t working (as is doesn’t appear to be by your description), make sure the choke is closing all the way.

    If the choke is closing all the way, may sure the fast-idle screw is on the highest part of the fast idle cam.

    The fact that you have to restart several times and provide high idle speed makes it seem like at least a choke closing issue.

    If the choke was closing properly and it stalls after a cold start, I would suspect the choke pull-off is pulling the choke open too far (doesn’t sound like the case).

    If the choke was closing properly and the engine was loading-up but at least somewhat running, the choke pull-off may be defective and/or misadjusted, not pulling the choke blade open enough (doesn’t sound like the case).

    So if this makes any sense, you know what to do. If not, remove the air cleaner asm and take a picture of the carburetor. Then pump the throttle 2 times and take another picture, and post-up.
    johnriv67 likes this.
  8. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    Sorry I’ve been so delayed with the responses. Had rugby practice and will be able to be more responsive in an hour. I now know for a fact that the choke isn’t closing all the way, i had actually inadvertently adjusted it to be slightly open, cause I thought if it were fully closed, it wouldn’t idle
  9. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    This picture is of almost no help, but it shows the custom detent linkage I made so the car 3-2 downshifts


    I’m away from the car until Friday, so I know I won’t be able to change much until then.

    It looks a lot like this, with 1 wire too
  10. Brandon Cocola

    Brandon Cocola Well-Known Member

    So the 3 screws around the piece with the one wire, loosen the screws and gently move it 1 or 2 notches rich or about a screw head towards rich and see if that helps. If yours has rivets holding it together then you will either need to dill them out and use screws or there may be another issue. Also when is the last time it's been rebuilt?
  11. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    I feel that I've really sold my mental faculties short, though I certainly appreciated the advice :D

    I have been adjusting choke with the three screws and never had the choke adjusted fully closed, cause I thought that would close off all airflow. I didn't know the vacuum break on the side of the carb actually opens it a little. This explains why it always opened a little more than where I set it on initial startup.
  12. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    The choke pull off needs the right adjustment too. That involves bending the tab/rod.

    If it's too tight and the choke doesn't open far enough the engine will load up and sputter out. Too loose and it'll counteract the choke and stall out. You'll get it figured out. I usually loosen the choke up in the summer too.
    johnriv67 likes this.
  13. Cliff R

    Cliff R Well-Known Member

    Set the choke to FULLY close the choke flap AND raise the fast idle cam to the highest position.

    As soon as the engine starts you will need to set the fast idle speed and choke pull-off to obtain the ideal idle speed on the high step of the cam AND choke flap open to the ideal angle so the engine doesn't "blubber" from being to rich or stall from being too lean.

    There are instructions listing the "basic" settings but they will only get you close. To nail down the exact settings your engine requires you are going to have to do several cold starts and work quickly to find the ideal settings.

    The choke itself will unload the flap as it heats up. Depending on exactly where you have it set this may take 2-3 minutes.

    So going over it again:

    Set the choke to fully close the choke flap when the engine is cold.

    It must also raise the fast idle cam to the highest position.

    Set the fast idle speed at start-up AND the choke pull-off to unload the choke to the most ideal angle.

    It will probably take several dead cold starts to nail down the best settings, but once you do it will be flawless in any weather.......Cliff
    BYoung, Brett Slater and johnriv67 like this.
  14. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all and Cliff too. This carb came from your hands at some point, I'm here hoping I don't need to send it back. I'll be beginning this testing this Friday and will hopefully have it dialed by Sunday.
    HotRodRivi likes this.
  15. Cliff R

    Cliff R Well-Known Member

    Don't send it back for choke adjustments, they need to be done on your engine not mine......
    HotRodRivi and johnriv67 like this.
  16. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    Damn that was quick. Turned it to the midway point in the settings range, cranked it for 2 seconds and it lit right off and began to high idle at 1500 rpm, dropped it 1300 and I was on my merry way. 30* was the temperature, and it didn’t really miss a beat

    Thanks all for all the help. I was only an idiot when I tried to restart it when I came back to the warm engine and pushed the gas in, promptly flooding it with two pumps.
    techg8 likes this.
  17. Bigpig455

    Bigpig455 Fastest of the slow....

    your headed toward that tough area with electric chokes - fact is, sitting up in that divorced position the coils cool too quickly and think the engine is colder than it is. so when it set perfectly for a cold engine, a lot of times its too rich for a warm engine. My 73 is like that, and while I could still play with it more and maybe get it better, for the meantime I had to settle for a high idle that kicks off too quickly, and the car wants to stall cold. the alternative was a choke that was re-setting on a warm engine and loading it up...washing down the plugs and cyls with raw fuel was a much worse alternative. tough to find that mid point on some cars, yet my Pontiac or my Nailhead Q-Jet can be driven in any kind of weather and perform perfectly...
    techg8 and johnriv67 like this.
  18. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    Very good point Rhett. I gave it one pump on a warm engine before cranking, and that sealed the deal. Luckily, if you get the engine hot enough, gas burns out of the oil.
  19. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    Guess I dont understand all these troubles. I have a 1050 dom on my car, no choke at all, when it 20* I can pump it twice it starts right up, yes u have to hold the rpms at 1200ish for a min or so but after that it settles right down.

    My 950 4150 just needed two pumps and no cover the gas........

    Makes me wonder if it's a carb issue or a timing issue........see I have mine locked out so it idles at 35.

    I did notice when I did this it idles tons smoother and my egts dropped 600*

    Wonder if you could set your timing so the vacuum advance ran from intake rather than ported if it would help????
  20. Bigpig455

    Bigpig455 Fastest of the slow....

    I cant speak for John, but my engines will do the same if I hold the idle for a minute or two. The idea is to jump in and go, no warm up, no screwing around.

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