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Replaced engine with Holley carb no power out of the hole

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  • Replaced engine with Holley carb no power out of the hole

    We have a 98 Glastron that we replaced the engine in and it hasn't run great since. The new engine was installed by a relative who is an auto mechanic. The new engine is a 4.3GL PBYC (sn: 4110387550) came from Center State Engine with a 4 barrel Edelbrock 1409-3301 carb. When the mechanic dropped the boat in the water to start the break in, they had trouble keeping it running smooth enough and replaced it with the original 2 barrel carb from the original engine. We made it through the break in process and then at the mechanic's recommendation replaced it with a new Holley 3850284 4 barrel carb. With that setup it sometimes runs great once up to speed and sometimes is sluggish. It always drops out if you try to accelerate fast or are pulling anything (skier, tubes, etc.). I have to ease into it slowly and then can bring it up to speed.

    We bought it to one marine mechanic who messed with it for a while, charged us $850 and solved nothing. The auto mechanic brought out a large set of jets and we went through many different setups that he found as recommendations online but nothing solved the problem. He talked about replacing the metering plate (if I remember correctly) but said he wasn't able to find the one we needed. I talked to another marine mechanic in the area and he said we should have been able to bolt the Holley carb on and go without screwing around with it.

    We are talking about selling the boat so I don't want to put a bunch of money into it but I would like to get it running like it should to enjoy it while I can and be able to know I am not passing a problem on to someone else.

  • #2
    Looks like Center State Engine supplies marine engines, so the engine itself should have the right stuff in it.

    Tell us more about the engine replacement . . . did you buy a base engine (long block) and swap the fuel/intake/exhaust systems from the old engine? Maybe run a compression test and cylinder leak test on the new engine to see if there is anything unusual.


    Best regards, Ted . . . . Cape Cod, MA

    Current Boats: Formula 330 Sun Sport, O'Day Mariner Sail #3224, Sunfish
    Past Boats: Catalina 22 Sail #10531, Formula 242 Sun Sport
    Twin Mercruiser 7.4 LX MPI (0F802036, 039), Bravo 3's (0F806198, 199), Mercury 7.5 HP (1969), Johnson 4.5 HP (1980)

    My Boating Web Pages: http://www.tpenfield.com

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    • #3
      Why did you replace the 2 barrel? Was it giving you trouble? That 4.3 should be fine with a 2 barrel. My 5.0 Ford has a 2 barrel Holley (490 cfm I believe) with an electric choke and runs great and engine has plenty of power. I had to get the choke set right first but now it is very smooth.
      Sparky
      1995 Four Winns Horizon 190
      5.0 HO
      SX Drive

      http://community.webshots.com/user/sparkinatorST

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      • #4
        Thanks for the replies. I believe the new engine came with intake and exhaust. I believe both the mechanic tested the compression but I will confirm.

        I can't remember what the problem with the 2 barrel was. I think it was lack of power. I will be on vacation next week and may bolt it on just to see. Are there other concerns with running the 2 barrel on a 4 barrel setup?

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        • #5
          First.....welcome aboard

          whats wrong with the Edelbrock 1409 that came with the motor? it should have run great, just not hook up same as the holley

          the holley 2 barrel should have been torn apart and cleaned prior to bolting on to your new motor, and it would have been about correct without much fuss

          what holley 4 barrel? what are the numbers off the air horn? if you purchased a holley 80487 under the VP 3850284 part number then yes, it should have been a bolt-on and go thing with nothing more than an idle mix adjustment and idle speed adjustment

          fire both of your "mechanics", as the metering plate is same on the 2-barrel as the 4 barrel, and anyone who simply starts swapping jets without at least looking up the info for the carb on holley's website first is just guessing.


          What is your fuel pressure?
          what are your compression numbers?
          Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

          1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - https://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

          Past Boats
          1970 Wooster Hellion - Merc 9.8
          2002 SeaRay 190BR - 5.0 - A1G2 - "Cheeseheads in Paradise"
          1984 Avanti 170DLI -3.0 stringer- "Ship Happens"

          What’s behind you doesn’t matter.Enzo Ferrari

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          • #6
            Neither of the 2 numbers for the Holleys mentioned lines up with what they have in their catalog, what they list for the 4bbl 4.3 V6 application is the #80492
            https://www.holley.com/products/fuel.../parts/0-80492
            this one is different from most Holleys in that it does not use a power valve, not sure why but it maybe due to being tuned for the V6.
            1988 Four Winns 200 Horizon
            4.3 OMC Cobra

            98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 Selectrac
            07 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7 Quadradrive II

            "While air doesn't freeze....rust never sleeps"

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            • #7
              Thanks Scott. We have a long list of things we would like to do over with this boat. Bought it from a young man who was working on it with his dad. Engine was working fine but interior, floor, etc. was shot. I still have some of the wiring to take care of that he never got around to finishing. Biggest mistake is not getting all the water out and destroying the original motor.

              We tried saving money by having the mechanic in the family work on it but as we got into the the guts of it, his business took off and he didn't have the time available that he originally thought. It became a sore subject (not that we blamed him) and we hated to ask him to work on it the few times he was able to make it down to the lake. None of the rest of us are mechanics by any stretch of the imagination. I might be getting in over my head by trying to tackle this but I love learning how to do things myself as long as I don't make it worse.

              We also had a mechanic on our lake work on it but he passed away while our boat was in his shop and we don't know if he even looked at it.

              The Holley is the 80487. I know our family mechanic looked up the information on the Holley and talked to people running a similar setup, possibly on this forum. Since the recommended setup was lacking power out of the hole we tried adjusting it a couple steps with no results.

              In a week I will be down there on vacation and will get compression and pressure numbers. If I can figure out how to swap the carbs, I will try them each again since I don't remember the details of how each performed. Since theoretically all 3 should have worked, it is probably something else.
              Last edited by bbcandyman; July 22nd, 2019, 11:58 AM.

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              • #8
                A Holley 500cfm 2bbl is more than enough carb for a 4.3. It is actually about the perfect size for 5 litre spinning 5000 rpm. No gain from a 4bbl on the 4.3, except Bragging Rights.

                Perhaps it was just a poorly adjusted throttle cable preventing the 2 bbl from opening up. I have to move the cable anchor and adjust the cable length when I swap between the 2 bbl and 4 bbl on my engine.

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                • #9
                  Ran into some family problems on vacation and didn't get a chance to do much on this project. I couldn't find any local stores that would lend out compression and fuel pressure testers.

                  I did put the 2 bbl carb back on. Install went pretty well. I did have to move the cable anchor. Idle was quite high. I don't think it was cleaned during the engine swap. Seemed to be sticky. I was able to take it for a test run and had the same result as the 4 bbl. Lost power on acceleration and then seemed OK once up to speed.

                  I put the 4 bbl back on and now it starts and then dies right away, like it isn't getting enough gas. If I throttle up it will stay running but dies as soon as I throttle back. I am feeling way over my head and going to try to convince my family to take it to the other mechanic and see if we can get the problem resolved. Any ideas on fixing the dying problem would be appreciated so I don't get stuck in the middle of the lake.

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                  • #10
                    What kind of intake manifold makes a switch between a 2bbl and a 4bbl easy? Some kind of spacers or something. Air leaking at a gasket between the manifold and carb would cause what you describe for problems.

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                    • #11
                      Agreed start with the basics...does this have a 4bbl intake? If so VP may have supplied an adapter for the 2bbl even tho 2 bbl intakes were available. As noted if the adapter leaks vacuum it will run lean and never run right. Personally if your engine has a 4 bbl intake you should run a 4 bbl. It came with the Edelbrock and should have run fine with that. These engines also used Holley 4 bbls after the Quadrajet stopped production . The Holley used was a special model 4160 that does not have a power valve like all other Holleys. If you look on their site you will see it model # 80492. In your case the original Edelbrock might not have been properly jetted for the 4.3 and the Holley you had might not have been the right model. On mine I still have the original Quadrajet which to me is an excellent carb for this engine if you have a good core to start with.
                      1988 Four Winns 200 Horizon
                      4.3 OMC Cobra

                      98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 Selectrac
                      07 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7 Quadradrive II

                      "While air doesn't freeze....rust never sleeps"

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                      • #12
                        PS you can call Holley tech service if you have time to wait on the phone and tell them exactly which carb you have and they should be able to tell you what to do to make it work.
                        PPS...Holleys are very popular but in my experience their quality control is not great. At one point I assumed (incorrectly) my Quadrajet was getting too old to rebuild and I had heard they were hard to rebuild right, so I gathered up all the stuff to swap over the correct 4160. To my surprise it never ran right. I got sick of fooling around with it and pulled out the Quadrajet. I found they are not hard to take apart and all this one needed was a good cleaning and new gaskets. Ran 100% better!
                        tTen out of curiosity took apart the Holley. When I still had patience to fiddle with it I had taken off both float bowls to make sure they were adjusted right. Later on after I rebuilt the Quadrajet what I found on the Holley was all the clutch bolts holding on the secondary metering plate were loose and the secondary throttle valves were not adjusted right. My problem with it was it ran too rich no matter what I did, took off both float bowls and blew out every passage. If I ever need to go back to the Holley it should work right now...what I did not understand at first is that because of the 2 seperate fuel bowls fuel flows thru the secondary circuit on a Holley even at idle; hence the need for proper secondary throttle valve adjustment. On the Quadrajet you have one float bowl and the secondary system does not come into play till vacuum drops enough to open the air doors over the secondary throttle valves....
                        Last edited by Lou C; August 11th, 2019, 08:24 AM.
                        1988 Four Winns 200 Horizon
                        4.3 OMC Cobra

                        98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 Selectrac
                        07 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7 Quadradrive II

                        "While air doesn't freeze....rust never sleeps"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          https://www.holley.com/products/fuel.../parts/0-80492
                          What your engine should have and the one OMC and Volvo switched to about 1990 or so. The Holley number you listed does not match up to any of their model numbers.
                          1988 Four Winns 200 Horizon
                          4.3 OMC Cobra

                          98 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 Selectrac
                          07 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7 Quadradrive II

                          "While air doesn't freeze....rust never sleeps"

                          Comment


                          • #14
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                            Thanks for all the feedback. Everyone who said air leak was spot on. It is idling a little bit high but running about the same as when I started messing with it. I was able to get my son, who is 6'4" 220 lbs, up on a wakeboard and wakeskate. Lou I appreciate all the information but most of it is way over my head. As we are nearing the end of summer, I think I will hold off and have the local marine mechanic that has winterized it for us the last couple years take a look at the problem before winterizing. I have plenty more projects at the lake that are more in my comfort zone. Thanks again for all the assistance.

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