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1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Parts stores say Autolite or NGK or Champion or Motorcraft (among others)
I want to know from someone that uses/prefers a brand based on your good experience -
My car is a daily driver, 200CID / 3.3L inline 6. It recently passed 114K miles and seems to have lost some power. Will go 65/70 but keep her at 55/60 on Freeways/Highways. Struggles up long low inclines barely doing 40mph... Does NOT like stop & go traffic & will idle low then die but start right up & drive ok on longer stretches. Battery new, Alternator new. Also, someone adjusted the connection at the exhaust to the pipe, but said a ring gasket is missing there. There was a 1/2 gap now reduced to 1/4" but still not flush to the downward exhaust pipe (pardon me that I don't know parts' proper names ; ) My plugs (Motorcraft) were changed less than 1000 miles ago but on checking them after the exhaust pipe adjustment, several spark plugs had noticable burnt spots and others didnt; will be changing those but what other things should I have checked? Recent Rear Main Seal & trans main seals replaced, regular (sorta frequent) oil changes, filters, etc. but what would you car enthusiasts do/check? I know little about mechanical things but I'm always learning and can't bring myself to get a new/er car, I love this old thing! So I'm advised that it needs headers/bored out, engine compression check, stop rebuilding Carb & get new one (which??) - or... scrap all the above and find another 200CID & Rebuild (but why not THIS one?) as that engine seems really hard to find...
I'd really appreciate any feedback and advice. Thank you!
 

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Phoenix, AZ 85008
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I agree with the above.

You said - "(Motorcraft) were changed less than 1000 miles ago but on checking them after the exhaust pipe adjustment, several spark plugs had noticable burnt spots and others didnt; will be changing those but what other things should I have checked?"

If that is the case post pictures of those plugs.

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"So I'm advised that it needs headers/bored out, engine compression check, stop rebuilding Carb & get new one (which??) - or... scrap all the above and find another 200CID & Rebuild "
Beware of too much advice ( including mine!). The hobby has become infected with "experts" who confidently spew advice that is absolutely wrong.
These cars ran quite well as they were originally designed and built. The 200 Six is reliable but not very powerful.
Your car will never do 0-60mph in under 10 seconds. Accept that. I was designed when very few cars were that quick.
Get a copy of the Factory Service Manual, often abbreviated as FSM. Read it. Read it again. Read especially the sections on ignition system and fuel system. The first part of each section describes exactly what that system is designed to do and how it does it. Get a good basic understanding from the people who designed the car and you will be far ahead of the "experts"
Make one change at a time.
Go thru the ignition system "By the Book" , meaning by the FSM--follow each step and make sure you get the correct values at each step. Do not skip a step. The points style of ignition that was factory installed is simple and will rarely suffer a catastrophic failure that will leave you stranded on the side of the road. Old hot rodders say " Points will always get you home". Yes, there are new and improved ignition systems, but those "black boxes" can fail and leave you stranded. Do a conversion to a solid state system if you wish, but later. Stay with the original points system until you thoroughly understand it.
After the ignition system is
perfect", go on to the fuel system. Read the FSM again and look at each part of the fuel system. Again--change only one thing at a time.
You don't need headers---they might help exhaust flow a little, but you car ran perfectly well with the original exhaust system.
You don't need the engine to be bored out. Sure, we all would like a little more power--or a lot more power, but learn first what you have and what it will do when it is adjusted the way the designers designed it to be.
From my experience, I can say that you will get good advice on this forum. I can't speak for others, but be very cautious with people who recommend drastic changes.
Good luck.
 

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Lonsdale, AR 72087
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do you have a shop manual or a basic manual from autozone/advance/ect..
 

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1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
"So I'm advised that it needs headers/bored out, engine compression check, stop rebuilding Carb & get new one (which??) - or... scrap all the above and find another 200CID & Rebuild "
Beware of too much advice ( including mine!). The hobby has become infected with "experts" who confidently spew advice that is absolutely wrong.
These cars ran quite well as they were originally designed and built. The 200 Six is reliable but not very powerful.
Your car will never do 0-60mph in under 10 seconds. Accept that. I was designed when very few cars were that quick.
Get a copy of the Factory Service Manual, often abbreviated as FSM. Read it. Read it again. Read especially the sections on ignition system and fuel system. The first part of each section describes exactly what that system is designed to do and how it does it. Get a good basic understanding from the people who designed the car and you will be far ahead of the "experts"
Make one change at a time.
Go thru the ignition system "By the Book" , meaning by the FSM--follow each step and make sure you get the correct values at each step. Do not skip a step. The points style of ignition that was factory installed is simple and will rarely suffer a catastrophic failure that will leave you stranded on the side of the road. Old hot rodders say " Points will always get you home". Yes, there are new and improved ignition systems, but those "black boxes" can fail and leave you stranded. Do a conversion to a solid state system if you wish, but later. Stay with the original points system until you thoroughly understand it.
After the ignition system is
perfect", go on to the fuel system. Read the FSM again and look at each part of the fuel system. Again--change only one thing at a time.
You don't need headers---they might help exhaust flow a little, but you car ran perfectly well with the original exhaust system.
You don't need the engine to be bored out. Sure, we all would like a little more power--or a lot more power, but learn first what you have and what it will do when it is adjusted the way the designers designed it to be.
From my experience, I can say that you will get good advice on this forum. I can't speak for others, but be very cautious with people who recommend drastic changes.
Good luck.
ms fowler Thanks so much; that was all really helpful. I often get the advice for the 'drastic changes' from mechanics, so I'm hesitant but being able to access this forum is great resource of useful info
 

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Phoenix, AZ 85008
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Many times it is not the dramatic chnages that are needed. The smaller adjustments are necessary.
And not as many people have the skill set for making adjustments. So assembly replacement is what they jump to in an effort to make a fix.

A 1960s Ford engine is incredibly simple thing compare to today's engine systems.
One of the best pieces of diagnostic equipment you can invest in is a vacuum gauge.
It is cheap and effective. It will tell you a lot (just not everything) about how an engine is running both in the mechanical and how the carburetor is adjusted and ignition is set.

Can be purchased for $10 to $30. Get one with a rubber hose. Amazon, Harbor Freight, Ebay or local Southern Cal fast moving parts store. Even if YOU do not know what the reading means you can post it here and we will do that for you.

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ms fowler Thanks so much; that was all really helpful. I often get the advice for the 'drastic changes' from mechanics, so I'm hesitant but being able to access this forum is great resource of useful info
Let me second that vacuum gauge.
A dwell meter would be nice, but you can do about as well with a good feeler gauge set. If you are just getting started--get a flat feeler gauge. Add a round wire spark plug gauge at a later date. A digital ohm meter is also a good investment---Harbor Freight has one that is good enough for under $10 ( unless inflation has hit it) A good bright timing light would be a nice addition. It doesn't need to have the advance meter built in--just a timing light would be good, but if it had the timing meter, that might come in handy, eventually.
Factory Service manual looks like this:

Not necessarily recommending that vendor, but his link was handy.
You can also find a digital version of it. The advantage is that you can print out the pages you need and not worry if they get all greasy. You will be shocked at the information in the FSM. First thing it will make you an expert at decoding your Warranty Plate--you will know what date it was made, and in what factory and what original equipment came with it . Amaze you friends!!
 

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Coming from a Falcon (2 '69s - a 170 and 200) and Fairlane (67 with 200) - all three manual on tree ... I agree with vacuum guage. Every time, EVERY time I had any issues like you describe it was 90 to 100 percent resolved finding a vacuum leak somewhere. The little OEM 2 barrel carb is just fine for the 200 cu. inch motor and no; you don't need headers. But, I DID carry two sets of spark plugs - a hotter set for most of my local driving, and a cooler set for highway, long hauls I'd put in when traveling. I would get 24 mpg on road - at times 26 mpg; 19-20 mpg around town. Almost always my problems were at the carburetor with leaking gaskets. The 200, while not a tire shredder, was adequate to move the '69 Falcon I had without embarassment. Good luck. Great engine; great car.
 

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BTW - my spark plug of choice, whether a hotter or cooler heat range, was NGK. I just didn't have any problems with them fowling like I did with ones from Autocraft. I always kept 3 sets of plugs: 2 sets of the hotter plug for around town driving (one set installed, the other cleaned and gapped at the ready during oil changes) and the other cooler set for interstate driving when going on a trip, usually Florida to NC (where I now live - yes, a halfback). The NGKs just always came out with that dusty taupe to gray color with very little deposits; the Autocraft plugs always seemed wet and corroded, black in color regardless of heat range. I ran 89 octane regular (leaded). May I suggest using (I like Lucas) injector cleaner anytime you are going to drive open road for an hour or more? It will help keep ethanol deposits down on the valves which weren't of the metallurgy to prevent deposits in today's gasolines. I like Lucas 104 additive but make sure it is the one WITH lead substitute ... it will help with octane rating as well so you can run the 87 octane modern regular and protect your valvetrain as well. My proof of product came when my 1999 Silverado had fuel/rough start and running issues - was not a flex fuel engine. Mechanic called with good/bad news ... I was expecting new injectors ($900 parts, maybe $400 more in labor/cleaning) ... said truck was ready, but bill quite a bit off; he had ONE question before he'd answer any of mine - what fuel additive did I use? Told him Lucas ... he said KEEP USING IT. Ethanol had eaten through my fuel rail and the pin hole wasn't big enough to allow pooling of gas (evaporation), but valves and injectors were incredibly clean ... @ 232,000 miles. Heads never touched. I have used that product a VERY long time - and on my 1965 Galaxie (352 FE 4v). I use the 104+ on it AND my 2011 z4 35i every tank, on my Venza for road trips. Old cars like yours and mine need that protection, but with 104+ I'd advance my timing a bit. I think your 200 c.i. might like that change once your vacuum issues are solved. More than once, I replace all my vacuum hoses - cheap and quick method to eliminate a potentially hard to locate problem. Then I would turn to my carb gaskets. Low/no tech approach, I know - but it worked and saved me countless hours of chasing a crack or swollen fitting leak. I don't know about carb replacement; not sure what is available ... but a simple rebuild kit (still available?) was an afternoon garage project that worked for me in past.
 
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