Why wont my 1970 skylark drive once put in gear?

Asked by Apr 02, 2017 at 09:08 PM about the 1970 Buick Skylark

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 70 buick skylark wont drive.. it starts good and
idles sketchy.. once i put it into gear it moves but
barely and as soon as i push the throttle it dies... in
neutral it revs up but sputters and kicks out a lot of
black smoke.. ive replaced the carburetor,  most of
the wiring, the starter, all its filters and fluids,
checked the torque converter and trans, both seem
ok, fuel pump is new. I dont know what else to do
besides rebuild the engine and im trying to avoid
that. Any ideas

15 Answers


Lots of black smoke is a fuel issue. You say you replaced the carb, but was it rebuilt? Is the choke opening up all the way? It sounds like its flooding out. Have the engine warmed up, then shut if off an look inside the carburetor throat and see if you see steam or wet spots down by the buttery flies.

No its a new carb. And it does sounds like is flooding.. but the choke wont close. How do i fix that?

Once the car is off theres no wetness inside the carb just a bit of white smoke


Ok, sounds like a piece of dirt in the needle and seat. First off the choke should be open when the engine is warmed up. The choke only closes when the engine is cold. That is adjusted by the electric choke spring on the side of the carb. So to get this to run smoothly, have the engine running, and take a hammer and tap on the carb lightly where the fuel line goes into the carb. When your doing this work the throttle revving the engine up. This should get the needle to seat, and work the piece of dirt out.


Tapping on the top of the carb by the fuel line.

Ok I just did That and didnt change anything ... is the carb wired wrong possibly? And its a 4 barrel carb and the two butterflies in the back arent doing anything just staying closed.


Those are vacuum operated, don't worry about that at the moment. The wire to the carb are just for the electric choke unless you have something else going on, is this a quadrajet carburator? And have you adjusted the idle mixture screws?

Is there something missing here


Yes i adjusted the idle screws.. it idles ok but once i rev it up or put it into gear its starts dying out even if i put it back in park or neutral


Those are nice carbs. Looks like it has manual secondaries, Looks like they should open up with the throttle cable. So are the idle mixture screws adjusted? and all you need is a power line running to the choke. Also can you explain where the vacuum lines run to? There should be a metered vacuum running to the distributor.

Yes theres a line running to the distributor i think.. but the distributor is old .. could that be the issue?


Yes it could, whens the last time this engine ran and how did it run. Has the dwell ben checked on the points? and the mechanical advance weights under the rotor are they move, and the vacuum advance on the distributor is it working? The dwell should be 28, 29°.


The steam may have ben blow by from the engine. Probably should check the compression of the engine. There should be 120 lbs min. Check the distributor to see if it is worn by taking the cap off, get the points to open on a lobe, and try and move the distributor shaft to see if you see the points opening or closing noticeably. Also move the crankshaft back and forth to see how far it takes to move the rotor, timing chain may be stretched. Snug up the intake manifold bolts also. Check back tomorrow.


Your Buick did not originally have an electric choke. This definitely sounds like a carburetor issue. Hopefully you still have the old one?? Send it out to be rebuilt. When was the last tune up done (spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap, distributor rotor, points, and condenser). Dwell should be 30° with engine idling at about 600 RPMs, transmission in drive, parking brake on, and vacuum advance hose disconnected and plugged. HTH. -Jim

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