Car Dies and Runs Bad

Reader Question

Dear Austin

I hope you can help me out. I’m a female I know a little about cars but not much. I know enough to know when someones pulling my leg a bit.

I have a Mazda 323  model automatic transmission. A few weeks ago my car was having problems the motor was shaking and spluttering badly. I took it to several mechanics who wanted 560 or there bout’s to clean up what they said was the carburetor.

I though hmm that seems a bit high. So I rang a carburetor specialist who did my carburetor a long time ago (I didn’t think he was still in business) he checked out the car and said love there is nothing wrong with your carburetor its clean and I would only be charging you for something that doesn’t even need fixing.

He then said let me do a couple of things for you after he finished he said love take it to a mechanic I think your car is only running on two cylinders.

I took it to a guy he fixed up the car it was the cylinders pistons the car is now running fine. The problem is that when i put the car into drive or reverse the car stalls.

I basically have to put my foot on the brake and the accelerator to say reverse or get going once the car is running after that if i get to an intersection its fine and does not stall. Sorry yes it does if i have the aircon on.

This last mechanic who fixed the cylinders he showed me all the spark plugs where black and the gasket wasn’t good and there was a leak. When I took the car back to him and said to him the problem with it when I put it in drive or reverse he said that there was some wire disconnected from the
transmission but he cant fix it hes not an auto electrician.

Can you help me shed some light on what you might think it could be so that I know what I’m talking about when i take it to someone else.


Angi, Thanks for the email

I would look and listen for a vacuum leak under the hood somewhere. You might have a vacuum hose that has come loose, or there might be a hole in the fresh air hose leading to the carburetor….you might have to take it off and inspect the underside.

I have seen cars with broken motor mounts allow too much engine movement when the car is placed in reverse the engine moves and the vacuum leak becomes present with the engine moves so much that the hose with the hole in it is now creating a large vacuum leak. So inspect all vacuum hoses and connections carefully.

Second thing I would look at would be the base idle speed itself. If the carburetor idle is set too low, it will die when you select a gear or turn on the a/c or something that will place a “load” on the engine. If you have a tachometer (shows how fast the engine is turning) you probably want the idle speed to register about 650 minimum on the rpm gauge.

Let me know what you find out.

Please share this with your friends,
Austin Davis

Reader follow up

If you were here in West Australia I would kiss ya LOL

Sure enough I found the leak it was so sneaky. I got down really close and I could hear a hissing noise like you said. You are the best thanks ever so much. I got a couple new hoses and its perfect now it purrrrrrrrrrrs like a kitten.

Thanks again!!!

You are welcome….I am blushing

Posted in: Running Problems

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