Idle settings


Oh Heather Oh yeah... I want your pink taco
Jun 13, 2003
Okay, as most of you know I got a diff cam now. Well we adjusted the idle on it, but I still think its too low. It idles at like a little below 1,000 rpm's and sometimes it will drop lower and just kinda sounds like its going to die, this is when I'm stopped. Also when I take a turn really hard it drops really low and has died on me before. This was when my foot was on the clutch too. Which is pretty embarressing when your trying to show off your car. :rolleyes: lol Anyway, I told my dad that we should set the idle up a bit and he says "it's working just fine" SO what do you guys think?
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Welcome to the life of a performance cam... :D
Well.... you're gonna have to play with the timing and carb richness settings since you altered the engine's vacuum level. First off I'd give 'er a little more advance. The stock 8 or 10 degree setting may not be optimal anymore and would probably need more (not much) initial advance. Check you cam card, there should also be a recommended "total advance" range (may be 30-35 degrees) you'll have to get the distributor re-curved to achieve this adjustment, or try an Accel performance advance spring kit for the stock distributors. It just consists of a couple of lighter weight springs to replace on the counterweights underneath the advance plate in the distributor.
Make sure you have the idle mixture setting even and correct. It's real easy to get the screws uneven when running a single plane intake, but IIRC you're running a dual plane, so it shouldn't be a problem. And you'll have to check the Idle mixture EACH time you adjust the timing!!!

There are a couple of ways to set the timing to get you in the 'ballpark'. One is with a vacuum gauge and the other is what i call 'loaded'. The vacuum method, I'd recommend for you as it is real simple and only really requires one person. Get a vacuum gauge and plug it into manifold vacuum (constant vacuum at idle) adjust the timing until you get a maxium reading then retard the timing an equivelient of one in/lb. of vacuum. Depending on how close to sea level you are is how well this will work. Take 'er for a few hard runs at full temp and if it pings, back it off a degree. Retest and pull back more if necessary.

The other method 'loaded' is a little more dangerous and will require another person to sit in the car and anchor on the brakes and will really only work well with an automatic and much more difficult with a stick.

This particular cam will require headers to really perform well and would really benefit from better flowing heads (minor port job and larger valves) so keep that in mind. You might have to wind it up a bit further aswell to get the tires to shake loose as the power band on this cam is a bit later in comparison to a stock cam. :nice:
Yeah, you'll think headers are your friends... till you have to change the starter or drop the tranny :owned:

That's kinda why I was suggesting the other cam, because it runs just as strong if not stronger without adding headers, distributor work, etc..

IF you did add headers, larger dual exh. and a nice set of heads to either cam, you'd break the 300hp threshold. Add a set of hot heads and the .484 cam will pull away on the top end and most likely make a little more HP. The difference being that the .484 cam will require a 2200 stall to run it's best because it lacks a good botom end on the torque band. But in your case, you'll just need a little more RPM and clutch. Annnnnddd it all depends on what gear ratio you're running too. If you've got 3.00:1 cogs or higher (numerically lower), it will be even more sluggish, not to mention, kinda hard on a stall converter, or in your case, the clutch itself. Nothing I'd seriously worry about unless you're racing it all the time. :D
A stall converter? Whats that? I have a manual. hehe Anyway the heads I want, if I ever get the money are going to be 2.02 intake and 1.60 exaust. I think I might go with edelbrock. I have planned on doing headers since I dyno'd it. After that I'll probably do an intake manifold.
Let me get something out of the way here: You really don't want to make it a hadit of coasting around corners. It's bad form. You want to keep power to the wheels, lends itself to better controll. Of course this doesn't apply to every situation. ... Lots of people coast, drives me up the wall. Your a youngster and now is the wrong time to be making bad habits standard pratice (like theres ever a good time). Now that that's said ...

Since you state it crapped out during hard cornering I would suspect fuel sloshing in the bowel is the culprit. IIRC the Edelbrock is based on the QuadraJunk, a problematic carb. I hear people have had success with both carbs but I suspect there is little Trans Am cornering involved, specially at idle.

Not really a slam on the Q-Junk and it's derivitives, all carbs suffer from fuel slosh. Just some more than others.
Actually, Mark, the common Edel-puke is a Carter AFB. Edelbrock, like Pepsi, seems to have to 'buy out' everything to call it's own. I still call them Carters, and you should see the scrunched up looks on peoples faces... "uhh, no man it's an Edelbrock, not a Carter." Then I think in refereance to Bill Engval.... -Here's your 'Sign'...

I do think Edel-puke makes their line of Quadra-dumps aswell. Just like the AFB's, nothing more than a cute Edelbrock sticker and a higher price on most models. Beware! The Edelbrock AFB's ford kickdown is a freaking joke and mockery at that. The Carter has a 120% better kickdown setup and worth every penny.
As much as people shun the Carter Thermoquads, I love them. Just keep an eye on that plastic centerbody and they'll work great. And as I've noticed Edel-puke has released their "COPY" of the older Carter AVS, which was a hot carb in the 50's and early 60's on alot of GM's and Mopars.