1978 Chrysler New Yorker 440 Lean Burn System

bbqrat
10

Asked by bbqrat May 02, 2011 at 05:52 PM about the 1978 Chrysler New Yorker

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My nefew's  440 ci  New Yorker has 25,000 miles on her, inherited from his Grandfather. The car stopped running. The motor spins over, there is spark at the plug boot ends. The distributor has the  single electronic pick up and reluctor system..replaced rotor , cap and ignition coil and still no fire. 0.060 air gap on pickup sensor..
The manual says 12 degrees advance on the timming, there  are two marks on the harmonic balancer, which one do I use to set #1 TDC and should the pick up and reluctor be in line at this point? This is not clear in the Haynes Manual..What else should I be looking for??
Chevy Man

22 Answers

Peter Nichols
2,045

I love big block chevys , now what you need is a MOTOR manual or a CHILTONS Domestic manual from about 1977 or 78 . The last time I used a Haynes manual was to start a FIRE in my STOVE .My Cut ; Absolutely the most worthless compileation of printed material posing as a tech manual ever produced ! You can convert your LBS to the traditional factory electronic setup but you will need an RB motor vacuum advance distributor ,(72or newer to 74 . A pre LBS ignition harness ( you can fill in the wires that are missing and make your own harness (5) wires I think ). A new (nonLBS air cleaner ) to get rid of that obnoxious looking appendage on the housing and replace it with a 440 TNT dual snorkle unit from 71 thru 73. (yea baby ) older units may not clear all accessories with out spacer magic . Make sure all is well before slammin da hood . OK back to new york . A factory electronic control module ; 5 pin variety or Napa TP 50 ( I thnk ) and the hardest part , Hit the junk yard to get the fire wall 5 pin plug and cut the harness liberally so as to have plenty of options as to WHERE to splice. (thats hidden so no one will see them) .( if you buy a new kit from mopar the five pin firewall plug and all associated parts are all included . ( pricing escapes me last time I did this was in '92) . anyway if your a chevy guy with half your lugs for nuts you won't have ANY problemo's with the changeover , firstime under the mopar hood ? couple of beer's and a few friends to offer chevy advice while workin on mopars ( 3.5 Hours ). (cell phone ,dinner ole lady too many beers,? couple of days . Just remember , It's not a chevy and you will do fine !!! OH my , one more critical component , the all mysterious missunderstood and misstaken for junk even when it's futioning perfectly , The Jewel of the mopar firewall ; the BALLAST RESISTOR. (sounds like an unwilling boat passenger) With the 5 pin ECU, you will need the 4 pin ballast resistor and the asscociated loom da loops ( you can make this but the special one way fitting spade connections will most likely have to come from a donor with a simmilar set up . Or buy the whole kit and get (yes THE whole kit ). The ballast resistor provides 12 volts to the ecu while cranking over to start , then upon releasing the ign. key to (run) Oh crap Iforgot , 8.5 to 9 ) not sure been twenty years . anyway the lower voltage keeps the ecu and the ign. coil from melting .Remember to mount the ECU and the Ballast resistor on the fire wall in such a way that they both recieve cool air or at least a cold spot . (like under the cowl vents at base of windshield on pass side likewise with ballast but keep it DRY and COOL . PIECE of cake not piece of crap !! Good luck . , you should be ready for a hemi by mid summer eyh .. PBN

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Peter Nichols
2,045

Hey me again , had to own up to mother mopar (been a while ) your problem could be the Ballast resistor ! If it's got spark on crank and not on (ign on) it will not start but acts like it wants to till the battery is dead .. Yea might take a look at that miss diagnosed but often elusive so and so ballast resistor unit .... +-=yea bayby, pbn

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Peter Nichols
2,045

PS- allways carry a spare ballast resistor unit in the glove box and don't ever let your mopar buddies know it's there or you won't have it long . why ? no self respecting MOPAR MAN would ever DENY his fello mopes a ballast resistor in time to save the wife and a dime !! yea it's a mopar thing man . like the sixties ..........!!!!1111!!!1!!11!1!1whew .. PBN and they (mopar buddies ) will test you on this . if you don't put it up then offer your expert tips on replacing the unit they will think less of you and you'll find your self invited to less and then fewer mopar only events (is there any other kind ) OH yea , chevy yesa.. as they migrate away from you (the failed ballast donnor and tip /advice while I put it on for you so I will at least rate with theother mopes out there and I will be invited out with all of you to play next time you go somewhere , there'sa ballast resistor just waiting to go out on you ... will you pass the test ???? I had 3 in my glove box once but that was a LONG time ago !!!!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Peter Nichols
2,045

The original factory part ballast resistor Forgot # and the napa ECHlLIN part were both superior to most other suppliers i think they still sell 'em C-YA LET ME KNOW HOW YA DID AND HOW LONG IT TOOK BEFORE SOMEBODY ASKED YOU ,"HEY MAN ,yOU GOT A SPARE BALLAST I COULD USE TILL I GET HOME ? Timming the beast ; don't go over twelve BTDC to start or 15-17 to run . It's pretty low compression so with decent gas and a semi jacked spark It'll light 'em up , just don't stand on the gas pedal for ten minutes straight trying to out run my big block chevy !! Peace !! if it's hard to start after a good long run backer down till it will crank over and lite right up (start engine ) . If it pings slightly uphill at 50 or so mph , either mix in some premo unl. or throw in a bottle of ... ZERO TO sixty octane booster , at wall mart for 4.00 a bottle and it works damn good too, OR back the timming up a couple of deg. and RETIGHTEN THE dist. do not leave a mopar dist . left loose it will wobble the bushings out and be impossible to hold a spec. setting . I know lots of left loose dist guys from that chevy camp . But hey what else they gonna do ? they aint' got a ballast resistor !! Cheers

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Peter Nichols
2,045

I must be gettin old or somethin . Initilal advance is best set at whatever the motor combo likes . somewhere around twelve will work good . TOTAL advance you will haver with your new mechanical advance equiped distributor ,and thats with vac/advance unhooked , at about 2700 to 3000 engine RPM you should be seeing the last few degrees of mechanical comming in to bring total to 35 or six deg. with the factory LBS damper on the crankshaft , either remark it with timming tape from zero to about 40 deg. BTDC or you can leave the Factory LBS system in tact , Then I will know all there is to know about the mopar man in you (not much) with the LBS system in tact and functional factory marks are about it . don't worry , I've ridden in plenty of LBS cars that will run over one fifty MPH . (they just don't stay factory LBS for long) It will run good no matter what damn it , it's a 440 period , TIP # whatever ,, -- mopars don't respond as well to cranked up timming IE;; over 40 DEG BTDC like chevys do so don't waste your rings , take care of your springs (Valve) and avoid parkin lot dings . KEEP a hammer in the trunk for fixin the door dings on the chevys that dinged you lasty week .. soon them guys will be resisting ballast as well ..

bbqrat
10

Thanks Peter for your thoughts, I went out today and bought a new ballast resistor, I tried one off my old "65 Corvette but I am not sure of it's condition..I will keep up with any progress.. Thanks for your time and effort. don

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Peter Nichols
2,045

If the ballast doesn't make any diff. it could be the reluctor to pick up coil air gap in the dist. (.008 to .010) with a NON magnetic feeler (brass ) See if there's 12volts to the +and - side of the coil with the key (on) and then recheck while cranking it over . while its cranking over it will pulse on and off . DO NOT disconnect the coil wire to the dist cap when doing this test !!! Good luck PBN

bbqrat
10

With all the Hockey playoffs on the tube it is difficult to get out to the garage...I am attempting to do some work on her tonight though..I will let you know how she goes.. don

bbqrat
10

You are right Peter about the Haynes Guide.., it is not much help.. nowhere in the book does it tell you how to align the timing marks on the harmonic balancer to the tab.. they do not even have a picture or discuss the balancer.. on this 1978, there are two marks probably 15 degrees apart..Which one is correct to use?? They do tell you that you can determine TDC with the old finger in the spark plug hole trick but that degree of timing is almost a whole spark plug location difference on the distributor cap... I have replaced the single magnetic pick up in the distributor and found the small drive pin on the reluctor was bad. I did get some action on firing, I am very close ...

Peter Nichols
2,045

I don't remember what the other mark was for , I think it was to check timming after the engine was at operating temp . Initially you could hook up a timming light and crank the engine over with every thing hooked up (light connected to #1 cyl plug wire ) and see if either of the marks on the dampner align . If the retarded mark is whats linning up I think this would be correct for starting . When the engine gets up to operating temp . ,about 180deg. the computer advances the timming to the run position (I think thats what the other marks are for , like a baseline and then a normal RUN mode . ) But like I said I'm not certain It's been twenty some years . The chilton manual or a Motor service manual will tell you exactly how to do a self check with a timming light . Hope this helps GOOD LUCK ... PBN

bbqrat
10

I took Peters advice and found an aftermarket kit from PROFORM that came with an ignition module, a 5 pin connector, a new electronic distributor and ballast resistor..it is quite obvious the kit is produced in Tiwan and so are the instructions..the two enclosed wiring diagrams relate to a full blown race car set up and a hot rod set up..it does not cover what I originally bought it for, to bypass the lean burn computer.. if any one has done this change over, I am i need of a wiring diagram to hook into the existing harness. Do I still retain the wiring from the original ballast resistor?? do I still need to use the air cleaner mounted computer to manage other duties other than the ignition??? When I installed a Pertronix ignition on my old 65 Corvette, I had to get rid of the original ballast resistor to maintain proper voltage to the coil and distributor..I went thru two electronic ignitions on the Vette before this problem went away.. Anyone out there that has done this swap over?

Peter Nichols
2,045

THE ONLY acceptable conversion kit would be from mopar performance .... forgive me if I didn't specify . Yes I have a wiring diagram somewhwere in my 30 year archive of mighty mopar , I will try to did it up this weekend . I suppose I can draw it out using paint shop ... PBN ( Don't worry we will get your sled running .)

bbqrat
10

A diagram would be most helpful...should I be on the lookout for a pre 1978 donor wiring harness at the auto wreckers?? I relize the engine harness that is hooked up to the existing computer also handles a lot of other motor functions as well...I am sure I would have to retain some of those functions... don

Peter Nichols
2,045

yea I went out to my old house and dug aroud in the twenty odd years of my life ,, well what a mess . the roof leaked on my storage drawer cabinet and made positive ID of complete diagram difficult . but I am drying it out slowly so maybe it will unfold and be readable (yikes ) Never fear however there are several alternatives ,most all mopar magazines at one time or another ran an article on how to DE - LEAN your burn !! I will keep looking . The M/P engine performance book has yet to surface ,but I know for sure there's a diagram in it ... keep me posted PBN

papa
Not Active

bad fuel pump,cloged up fuel filter going into carb,floats in carb could be stuck,also the jets in carb could be stoped up.this sounds like a fuel flow problem,all the above mentioned is a easy fix.

Peter Nichols
2,045

has this car been sittin around for a while ? If you pump the throttle linkage do you get a squirt of fuel on the primary side of the big T_Q ? if so whats it smell like ? Have you tried priming the carb with a little splash of fuel ? lastly are you sure the plug wires are clocked correctly on the cap ? Where are you located ? PBn

bbqrat
10

Yes there is gas to the TQ primary side and I have numbered the plug wires and installed them correctly to the cap position...I do have the wiring diagrams supplied by the Haynes book that show the 10 pin connector to the spark control module on the air cleaner.. seems to be a very weak spark at the plug end though when I insert a spark plug into the #1 boot and turn over the motor.. I will test the gas , car has been sitting for about 6 months...

bbqrat
10

The easy answer to this problem was a HEI distributor..a fellow that was buying my old 396 Chevy block suggested that route...one wire hookup..very simple and reliable.. I took the old boat out for a ride yesterday and she floats along very smoothly..new wires and plugs were done at the same time.. I was able to trim out all the wiring and control box associated with the lean burn computer... anyone need an electronic covertion kit for a 440??? Thanks Peter for your help on this...

moonpassey1andonly
45

depending on where you are elevation may change your timing specs for instance i live in wyoming ppl come here from california and there cars use more gas and even stop running because the air is thinner here and theres a 6,000 ft difference in altitude a slight adjustment on timing fixes the problem

Peter Nichols
2,045

well good , and your welcome . I wasn't aware there was a conversion to HEI for the RB motor . sounds like your in business !! By the way , even though it's low compression your 440 will ALLWAYS run better on premium fuel ... PBN

mrmoony
2,120

Get rid of the lean burn. Use distributor shaft and a non lean burn distributor and build yourself a good one from the two.

bbqrat
10

I did get rid of the lean burn control system when I installed the HEI distributor along with 10 miles of unneccesary wires..

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