UPDATE: First off, sorry for the confusing title. When I confirmed that
the alternator was good, I moved on to it being a possible fuel problem
but I couldnt change the thread title.
So first the problem: The car started as usual and was idling perfect, I
put it in reverse and started backing up when the engine begin to sputter
and finally died. It wouldn't restart, so I pushed it back forward. The first
thing that I checked was for was fuel, there was plenty getting to the carbs.
Next I checked for spark, there was spark on all plugs, but it looked a little
weak to me. I started to adjust the timing on the distributor, to see if
I could get a the engine to somewhat fire up. I was able to get it to start,
but it was sputtering and full throttle would not get the engine over 500
rpm. As the engine is running, the red generator light is not going out, so
now I'm thinking that the alternator could be bad, and not enough power in
the battery to give a nice hot spark. After confirming that the alternator
was good, I moved on to possibly bad fuel or diesel fuel because it seemed
a bit oily to me. I pulled some fuel out of the tank and confirmed that the
fuel was good. Now, I am looking at the distributor. I am running the HOT-
SPARK electronic ignition system. After confirming with my meter that the
hotspark is good, and also that the coil is good. I mess with the timing again
and the car fires right up and idles perfect and smooth, as soon as I tighten
the bolt on the distributor shaft, the car goes to a rough dying out sutter, I
loosen the bolt and it goes back to full idle. Now I am just stumped, but at
least I now know where the problem lies. I get away from it for a day which
gives me some time to think about it.
Now for the update:
Today, I pull out the meter again, and check for continuity on the ignition rotor
from the center (the part that touches the wire that comes from the coil) to
the tip and, Bingo!, theres the problem. Somehow the ignition rotor had failed
and there was no current running between the two. Because it is under the
epoxy, you cannot see any breaks in the metal. Keep in mind, this was a new
rotor with less than 2000 miles. So a quick phone call to the parts store and
six bucks later, I install it on the car and she fires up on the first crank. I will
have to run her and re-time with my light.