Do I have a vaccuum leak?


Asked by Jul 29, 2013 at 01:45 PM about the 1965 Ford Galaxie

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 289 has an Edelbrock Performer, Holley 390 4 bbl. It will not idle below 1800 rpms, stalls right out. When idling, I can put my hand over the carb and the rpms increase drastically. I plugged all the vaccuum ports, tried flowing oil along the manifold gasket while running, cannot find a leak anywhere. Swapped out the carb, same performance with the alternate carb. I'm out of ideas.

22 Answers

I'd wave an unlit propane torch over things 'round the suspected culprit, then switch all vacuum hoses with silicone ones (like BMW and cop cars have)~

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

First hook up the vacuum line from the intake manifold to the carb and the PCV port to the PCV valve on the valve cover. Manifold vacuum to the carb is 3/16 and 5/16 to the PCV on the valve cover or oil fill cover. When you install either carb, is the bottom butterflies open ? Sounds like your linkage or cable wont let the butterflies close all the way when your foot is not on the throttle. Make sure you timing is set correctly at ? (Chevy is 8) before top dead center or whatever the 289 requires using the correct spark plug wire for the timing gun.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

you've got a vacuum line going to the vacuum advance? no. this might be the source of the leaker~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

check the integrity of the bellows mechanism after all this time is probably dust~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

not sure a '65 even HAS a pcv valve~


Judge_Roy, I understand your last answer but, but the "asker" did not specify the engine was in the original vehicle so I made mention of the PCV in case he has installed it into something that has a PCV. You are correct, the Vacuum advance should be connected to the carburetor at the lower right carb vacuum port, but there again he did not say if he "was or was not" using a vacuum operated mechanical advance distributor similar to a Mallory.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

cool...Fordtudor37...had my ass kicked a zillion times because my head was stuck in the olde time stuff~ probably the 65 has a PCV seriously would have to investigate least it does not have a crank angle sensor an ECM or coil packs....whew~!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

there is....there is a PCV in 1965....hooray~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

could try to seek out a Ford Rotunda New OLD stock PCV valve...that'd be a challenge~


OK Judge_Roy, now that you have showed the world you are a human (gasp) and can get stuck in the present or past, Ain't it fun ! Remember the days of the Vortex Magneto on the Mopar 440 six pack and Chevy's first Fuel Injected Corvette or Shelby's IDA carburetor's on the '65 "R" model ?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

my '61 olds just had a pipe with a screen that fell off because the old rubber could no longer hang onto it...that was the crank case ventilation in 1961....just puff it out into the air....stinky~

even though fitted with hardened valve seats they painted the motor the wrong color, and every single rubber piece including the body to chassis mounts were crumbling and needed replacement...very frightening over 70 mph when this old car finally would smooth out...a person would take their lives in their own hands...alas a VERY expensive restoration tale of woe~

Wife says "enough with the old cars" and had bought me a newish MINI for my birthday...had to have the damned CVT automatic though~ so here I sit with four boxes of mechanics tools and no chance of ever being a mechanic ever again....due to the MS condition~....unemploy a helpful person today~


The previous owner apparently deleted the PCV valve, currently there are K&N breathable caps on the valve covers. The ony vacuum is the distributor advance, all else is plugged off. Still the same symptom...idles very high, will die at any reasonable idle speed...RPMs go way up when I restrict the air intake.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

MS sucks, a friends wife has it - feel bad for you. I had my second back surgery in May 2013 after having a "hit and run" motorcycle accident in 1989 (guy got away, never caught) and having a 2800 pound tractor roll over me in July 2008. Now I just "assist" (watch over and teach) others while they use my tools in my garage.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Vacuum must come from the carb to the distributor for proper advance if you are running a vacuum advance distributor. Did you plug the vacuum line from the manifold to the distributor when you set the timing and then reconnect after setting the timing ? Did you check to see if the vacuum diaphragm in the Holley and the distributor are both good ? When the car is idling, are the lower butterflies (not the choke plates on top) open slightly or wide open ? Restricting air = better operation, Did you buy this carb new or from another source ? If it was previously on a different motor, the metering rods/fuel jets could have been changed to make a higher HP motor run good and that would cause yours to run badly.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

this is 1965 technology...not too many of us can speak with authority on these...your expert knowledge is appreciated here Fordtudor37...could you put a picture of a '37 Ford Tudor as your avatar...please~?


Basic vacuum lines are - #1 - Carb to distributor vacuum advance (3/16 size). TIMING - Disconnect from distributor and plug vacuum port on carb (put a golf tee in the vacuum line at distributor end), set timing baseline, reconnect to distributor. #2 - Carb to PCV (5/16 size). #3 - Intake manifold to Power Bake booster (5/16 size) rubber or metal line with rubber connectors.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

clearly you are running in a "Lean" condition, because restricting the intake air enriches the mix...bit like toying with the butterfly door~...could you simply turn a few screws on the carb to make it better?

from experience, a vacuum leak would make the idle speed increase...and the lean condition would have no power~


Thanks for your help but the only thing I haven't tried was reinstalling the PCV. The carb was rebuilt professionally, in fact it's his demon carb that we swapped and it's still the same symptom. Same thing with or without the distributor advance, no effect.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

there are some centrifugal weights inside the distributor for the "centrifugal advance", my 79 pontiac had these...perhaps the centrifugal advance exists (or is failing) on your 65 galaxie....pop open the distributor cap and look for the swingin; advance weights~

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