Thread: Newly acquired 1980 230g won't run/idle

  1. #1

    Default Newly acquired 1980 230g won't run/idle

    Recently acquired a 1980 230g that had been sitting in a yard for 9 months. Couldn't get it to fire up when I looked at it but because the price was right, I bought it anyway as I want to eventually swap the engine. The guy said he had it running before storing it but who knows. I had it towed out of there and brought it home.

    IMG_0060.jpg

    After charging the battery and trying to start it a bit more, it eventually fired up but ran pretty rough, although enough that I was able to move it a block. I had real trouble driving it up about a 200m hill and had to put it in 4lo or it didn't have enough power to do it. Parked it and assumed it just needed a good tuneup so started by taking the carb apart and cleaned everything. After putting it back together, I didn't have much of a change, in fact it probably ran a bit worse now. Took the carb apart again to make sure I didn't screw anything up when I had it apart. Put everything back together again and same issue although even worse (seems like I make it worse every time I touch this thing) and now it doesn't really want to idle/run at all.

    Someone suggested checking the ignition system and as I was working on this, I took out the distributor to clean the contacts in it and while doing so I dropped it and it shattered... So I went to buy a new distributor cap, rotor and spark plug wires. These appear to impossible to find but by cross matching my old parts with other brands plus lots of reading, I thought I had found replacement. They just got here, two weeks later and the only part that is correct is the distributor cap… so at least I’m back to square one but with a new distributor cap. Unfortunately that had nothing to do with my issue. Installed the new cap and same issue as before. I’m not very mechanically inclined when it comes to engines so hoping someone can listen to this and have some idea what’s going on:

    Video in 2 parts:





    When cold, it'll start with no throttle but after it has started and died once, I have to use a lot of throttle to get it started again. Then it'll run for maybe 10-15 seconds and die again, regardless of how much throttle I give it.

    Obviously I have some kind of exhaust leak and some belt squeal but I hadn't bothered to look at these yet unless it could affect this issue which I didn't think it would.

    I have done the following:

    1. Cleaned carb
    2. Lightly sanded spark plugs to remove carbon deposits (would replace but can't find a replacement spark plug around here)
    3. Set spark plug gaps properly
    4. Replaced distributor cap
    5. Lightly sanded distributor rotor contacts to remove dirt
    6. Replaced fuel filter (it's clear and I can see fuel in it so it doesn't seem to be a fuel delivery issue?)
    7. Added about 20L of good fuel in case the 9 month old fuel was bad (worth draining tank?)

    Any help or ideas would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    316
    Does the ignition have points in the distributor or is it electronic (either magnetic or optical). If it's points, start here and make sure they are clean and adjusted correctly. Then order an electronic ignition and throw out your points when you receive it. If that doesn't help, then I'd drain the tank and flush the lines. Then I'd open up and rebuild the carb.
    Also, triple check that you aren't overlooking an add on fuel filter somewhere.
    Just some ideas.....

    Looks like a beauty BTW! Where are you located?
    Last edited by burquedoka; 12-06-2017 at 12:22 AM.
    Geländewagen, UNIMOG U1550L37 DoKa

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by burquedoka View Post
    Does the ignition have points in the distributor or is it electronic (either magnetic or optical). If it's points, start here and make sure they are clean and adjusted correctly. Then order an electronic ignition and throw out your points when you receive it. If that doesn't help, then I'd drain the tank and flush the lines. Then I'd open up and rebuild the carb.
    Also, triple check that you aren't overlooking an add on fuel filter somewhere.
    Just some ideas.....

    Looks like a beauty BTW! Where are you located?
    Thanks for the reply. It has points in the distributor which I just learned how it works after you just mentioned it now. Looks like I can clean and adjust them as a quick potential fix. I looked into an electronic conversion as well and it's not as expensive as I imagined it would be so I will probably go that route. The issue Is, I want to swap this engine for an older mercedes turbo diesel anyway in the next year so I'm trying to avoid spending much money on it. It would just be nice to be able to at least drive it for now.

    I'm located near Vancouver, BC

  4. #4
    Forgot to mention, as a test, I removed one spark plug wire and started the engine like that and it "runs" exactly the same. I even tried disconnecting two spark plug wire and started it with only 2 cylinders connected and it still ran almost the same (a bit worse). Does this mean it's not firing on all cylinders even with all 4 connected?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    1,648
    Drip some fuel carefully down the carb as it is running. If that doesn’t smooth it out then it is a fair bet you have spark issues or compression problems.

    Take the spark plugs out and either buy/borrow a compression tester or at a minimum get someone to crank it over while you put your finger over the hole (make sure the spark plugs are earthed somewhere in case you have a high discharge ignition system.

    If compression is OK with the spark plugs pulled and earthed to the engine somewhere watch to see if they are sparking.

    Also check for broken or missing hoses such as vacuum lines as they will cause rough running as well.

    Now a word of warning. All those things are inherently dangerous so do them at your own risk and be bloody careful.
    2007 Freightliner Dualcab Ambulance conversion. Check it out here
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    316
    Quote Originally Posted by jlager View Post
    Thanks for the reply. It has points in the distributor which I just learned how it works after you just mentioned it now. Looks like I can clean and adjust them as a quick potential fix. I looked into an electronic conversion as well and it's not as expensive as I imagined it would be so I will probably go that route. The issue Is, I want to swap this engine for an older mercedes turbo diesel anyway in the next year so I'm trying to avoid spending much money on it. It would just be nice to be able to at least drive it for now.

    I'm located near Vancouver, BC
    Listen, I say throw them out, but in reality if they are clean and adjusted correctly, they will work great. You don't need to replace them with electronic ignition right away. So start simple and verify that, it's easy to do and can make a HUGE difference in how the engine runs. You either have a fuel or spark issue, most likely. Start with all the simple things first.
    The University of YouTube must have a lesson on ignition points adjustment. It should be the same or very similar process for most engines, though you will need to find the proper point gap for this engine. BTW you'll need a set of feeler gauges which can be bought at any autopart store.
    I had to adjust the points on my old Porsche 914 every couple months. I was alway amazed at how much better the engine ran after I did it. Finally I got sick of doing it and went with an optical ignition and that was the last I ever dealt with it.

    P.S. You would be wise to join the other G forums like P3 and ClubG. That is where the technical gurus hang out.
    Last edited by burquedoka; 12-06-2017 at 04:22 AM.
    Geländewagen, UNIMOG U1550L37 DoKa

    https://www.facebook.com/Gelandeventures/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    316
    BTW, I have a 230GE engine and 5 speed getrag transmission complete with the brain and all components of the electronic injection system foe sale. I know you want to go diesel, but if you change your mind and just want to go away from the carbourator or if you find something more serious wrong with your block. Just food for thought.
    Geländewagen, UNIMOG U1550L37 DoKa

    https://www.facebook.com/Gelandeventures/

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