After replacing the head gaskets engine will not idle

Tiny
LWPMCE
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
  • 3.4L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 100,500 MILES
My car listed above has the 3.4L SFI. I did a head gasket job because it blew the previous ones, put it back together without touching timing. I did the right things with zero lash and setting the push rods right, and now when I go to start it, it starts just fine, but it won't idle. When I give it gas it seems fine, but it just won't idle. I'm hoping it's because of the 10 month old gas (bought from previous owner who had it setting for 8 months, I bought it but didn't fix it for 2) that's still in the fuel lines, I put new gas in as well as octane booster. So I'm hoping it's just the old gas, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has to deal with the timing. It doesn't have a distributor, it just has ignition coils that the spark plugs plug into. Any ideas will help, this is my first project car ever and I want to see her on the road eventually. Thanks
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Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 AT 4:48 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Could very well be the old gas, especially if you are in a place the has ethanol in the gas. I would probably disconnect the fuel line and connect an extension to it and use the pump to remove as much of the old gas into a couple portable cans as you can. Then once it stops pumping dump in some ethanol free gas and run the pump a few seconds to get that into the lines. Reconnect the line to the engine and let it run a bit.
To use the pump that way you connect battery power to the pumps prime connection, It is a Gray wire that is usually right around the fuse box or PCM on the GMs. Battery power there will turn the pump on full time. If new fresh fuel works then I would add some stabilizer to the next 5 gallons, especially if it will be a while until you will be driving it a lot. Most of the gas sold in the past few years with ethanol added is garbage and really only stays close to usable for about 90 days. If you have another vehicle you can slowly add the stuff you pumped out to it's tank, like a gallon into the tank and top with new gas. That way you can use it up instead of trying to dispose of it. I would probably dump some into a clear glass and let it set a couple hours and see what settles out first though.
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Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 AT 5:06 PM
Tiny
LWPMCE
  • MEMBER
Okay, I'll be sure to try that this weekend, hopefully that works because I really don't want to tear it back down for a while. Thank you!
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Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 AT 5:27 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
I would start with fresh fuel to eliminate it first. If this was a daily driver that hadn't sat around we would start elsewhere but bad fuel can toss you for a loop.
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Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 AT 5:53 PM
Tiny
LWPMCE
  • MEMBER
Yeah, it was the guy's daily whenever there wasn't snow, but then he blew the head gasket and had it sit for 8 months before I bought it. I'll try the new fuel and see how that goes. If it is the timing, I'll probably just buy an aggressive cam, pull the motor, and redo timing completely. I wouldn't mind that excuse to start building the motor into a beast. Lol
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Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 AT 6:00 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
In that case good luck and please keep us in the loop. What is it doing when it won't idle? Just shutting down or runs real rough?
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Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 AT 7:24 PM

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