Engine Problems on my Hudson Continue

BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
I've been fighting for two years trying to get this bleeping engine running right and I’m so freaking frustrated with it I’m about ready to pull it out and drop a V8 in it.  

Times running out for me to make some memories with my youngest daughter’s & get this old coupe working properly before they graduate high school and are gone off to college.  

If anyone can offer up ideas, I’d be grateful.  Here’s a video link of it running this morning & in the latter half you can see the engine shake & jolt & hear it cutting out at higher RPM.  

-1937 Hudson 212ci 6cyl Engine 



  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,906Administrator
    edited March 6
    Was this a sudden change, or has it been slowly building up? (That is: did it once run perfectly, then two years ago did it suddenly go south?  Or, did it run well and then gradually get worse over a two year period?  Or did it never run well?)

    Have the points and condenser been replaced?

    Is the fuel pump running okay?  Is there sediment in the glass bowl, indicating crud may be coming through the lines from the gas tank?  Indeed, is there an inline fuel filter and if so, have you tried replacing that?

    Have you checked for a vacuum leak anywhere?

    What's the vertical brass tube to the left of the carb - does that go to the vacuum clutch or Electric Hand?

    What's the square plate with 4 bolts, visible just the the lower left of the carburetor tag?

  • Jay GJay G Posts: 366Expert Adviser

    Well not sure if it is the video and the light or not.  But when you watch the glass filter bowl it get cloudy and darker at higher RPMs.  To me I think you have small rust particles clogging the filter and or large ones plugging the fuel line.  I have had the same trouble on my 37 when I let it sit then try and run it.  When the filter gets really bad it will hardly start because it is starving for fuel even though the glass fuel filter is full looking.

    I would start by cleaning and blowing the fuel lines out and cleaning the carb bowl.  Then see if you have an improvement.  Little bits of crap in the carb jets will cause your problem.  I know I just replaced the filter which was plugged and it is much better for me.  Still have some bad gas but it will at least move around the block now.


  • onerare39onerare39 Posts: 1,011Expert Adviser, Moderator
    There always seems to be someone in the local chapter that is a good mechanic.  See if you can get that person from your chapter to come and put some fresh eyes on it.
  • MikeSheridanMikeSheridan Posts: 83Member
    There is a screen at the top of that inline filter. Make sure it is not plugged up with rust. It seemed like one of you acceleration times in the video, that it hit on all cyls as you were opening the throttle. This would be due to getting a shot of gas from the accelerator pump. That would indicate that fuel delivery is a problem. (carb, fuel filter, fuel pump, gas tank feed). I've know of people who have a pinhole rust hole in the fuel line drawing out of the tank. This puts air in the line and causes missing. There are many possible causes. At this point, maybe you need fresh eyes. I don't know where you live. Can you take it to one of the Hudson experts, and let them work on it? Save you time and frustration. 
  • MikeSheridanMikeSheridan Posts: 83Member
    Certainly paying an expert to troubleshoot and repair would be cheaper than replacing the engine with a more modern engine.
  • Nevada HudsonNevada Hudson Posts: 1,247Senior Contributor
    If you are in Montana, call Charlie Nau as he is in the roster and WTN. He might know of a local shop near you, that can straighten this out. Doesn't seem like that difficult of a project.
  • ValVal Posts: 758Member
    I had that happen in my 39, it was my fuel pump that was the culprit. It would idle fine but when I gave it throttle she would stumble. It was weak and pushing minimal fuel up to the carb.  But I can agree with the other statements about cleaning and blowing out the lines as your fuel filter bowl does seem to get very cloudy at higher rpms. 
  • syddthekiddsyddthekidd Posts: 224Expert Adviser
    Had a similar situation with my '46 pickup when I fired it up.  Turned out to be a vacuum leak.  It definitely sounds like it's starving for gas when you rev it.  I think Jon B and Val are all over it.  Check out the fuel delivery, lines etc... and look for vacuum leaks. 
  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 1,779Senior Contributor
    If you are using an original pump it may be the rubber is shot due to alcohol in today's fuel.  That happened to my C8 pump and had to get a new one with modern rubber.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    Unfortunately it’s never run right since getting it started again 2 years ago.  Yet I can tell you something is really wrong because it shakes the car even at low rpm.  My 37 8 cylinder which hasn’t run since 2006 was very smooth.  You could literally stand a nickel on its edge & it wouldn’t tip over as she idled.  

    I have definitely tapped the local Hudson expert who’s also a retired ASE master mechanic.  He finally came out last week & we repeated checks on tons of stuff plus he adjusted the valves on the engine.   The plate on the side of the carb was put there after the removal of the one year only plunger thing.  Can’t think of the name right now (anti percolater?) but it was to prevent an abrupt decrease in engine rpm after letting off the gas so it wouldn’t die.  It wasn’t needed & was leaking some so it was removed & plated.  I have read it was a one year only thing which caused quite a few car fires to 37’s. 

    Let me me see if I can remember all that’s been done:
    - rebuilt the carb & rebuilt the fuel pump 2 years ago (Hudson mechanic friend did this).  It ran this way then & thinking it was the carb my Hudson mechanic friend went through the carb again.  
    Also did completely new fuel line from fuel pump to carb & made a new screen in sediment bowl at that time.  Not a drop of sediment in bowl or filter before fuel pump to date. 
    - replaced spark plugs, plug wires, points, coil, condenser, rotor & cap. Re-replaced condenser & double checked points a week ago.
    - reset timing again, set valves & adjusted carb a week ago (Hudson mechanic friend) 
    - confirmed spark plug wires to correct plugs & cap at least 6 times. 
    - originally thought there was an intake manifold leak so both intake & exhaust removed, surfaced & new gaskets at re-install.  The exhaust bypass to divert exhaust gas to circulate around the intake manifold was frozen shut so the bypass plate was removed altogether & a bolt put in its place so no blockage could occur.  
    - exhaust was disconnected at the manifold & ran to see if it maybe plugged but it had no effect so no plugged exhaust.  
    - Currently all vacuum lines are capped off.  No wipers, no electric hand vacuum as all are capped at the manifold. 
    - gas tank is a custom built tank & was cleaned out, so no rust or crud from that.  New sending unit, Cleaned & checked the pick up tube too.  New gas lines from tank to engine & new fuel filter before the fuel pump in the last two weeks.
    - rebuilt starter & generator with cooling system completely gone through including radiator rebuilt.  
    - compression checked a week ago:
    #1-65; 2-89; 3-85; 4-80; 5-78; 6-78.  Added some oil to #1 cyl & compression went to 110. Looks like rings stuck in #1. 

    The ignition coil was the last thing replaced because at high rpm we were getting the stumbling, which my Hudson mechanic friend said it lead him to believe was an ignition issue.  
    Thats all I can think of right now.....
  • hudsonsplasher1hudsonsplasher1 Posts: 726Senior Contributor
    Sound like it's starving for gas at high rpms. Check to make sure the correct metering rod is in place in the carb. 
  • ValVal Posts: 758Member
    I agree with hudsonspalsher 1 on that. Also remove the fuel line at the carb. or in your case the sediment bowl and try and start the car. Put that line in a container of some sort (in my case it was a empty 2 liter bottle) and see how much fuel is coming out. It should be a good steady flow. I had little in the way of fuel coming out much less a steady flow.  And it looks like the dash pot was removed from your carb.  
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,906Administrator
    You've done a very thorough job of checking and re-checking every possible cause.  At this point, I guess it's time to look for the ''weird stuff'', then!  That is: bad conditions that only happen once in a thousand times.

    When you checked the timing, did you use a strobe light and accelerate the engine as you watched the relation of the pointer to the timing marks on the flywheel?  What you DON'T want to see is the pointer "jumping around", which could mean a problem somewhere in the distributor.  Like, the centrifugal weights are not working correctly.

    There is another "weird condition" with these 3x5s and that's the fiber timing gear.  (Possibly you've changed over to an aluminum one, which would be good.)  This is where the center part of the gear (which is bolted to the camshaft) actually breaks away from the outer part (with the gears) in such a way that the inner part and outer part are sometimes synchronized, other times aren't.  One minute everything's hunky-dory, then everything is out of time.  I don't sense that this is your problem but thought I'd mention it.  I'm not sure how to test for that unless you drop the pan and try to rotate the camshaft with your hand.  

    I guess the only other sort of weird problem would be an electrical timing issue due to some intermittent short circuiting, which might cause rough running.  Maybe an internal short somewhere, or possibly that little insulator on the side of the distributor (where the terminal is) has gone bad and is shorting on the distributor body.

    I'm really clutching at straws, at this point...

  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    I asked my buddy who’s the Hudson Mechanic & he said he wondered about fuel starvation as well.  While we were running it & it was sputtering like in the video at high RPM he would partially cover the carb to block some air intake. He said if it was fuel starvation then it would have stopped the sputtering, but it didn’t.   Thus he didn’t believe it is fuel starvation. 

    I also checked the resistance through the points tonight & it was correct.  However my buddy the mechanic said the points spring could be weak & then not keeping the points together correctly at higher RPM.  He said it’s rare but could be occurring so I’m gonna replace the points with another set to see what it does. 

    If that doesn’t do it then I’m still at a loss, either way I’ll report back.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    I think my coupe hates me, really I do.  During the changing of the points I discovered the spring for the points wasn’t in the correct spot so it couldn’t provide the pressure against the points and thus it possibly was doing some “floating” at the high rpm.  Left yellow side was how it was in the coupe vs right red side properly replaced in the coupe now.  

    Trying to get the points in place Place was a real sob!  After at least a 1/2 hour of just trying to get the two end pieces in place on the bolt end I finally got it done.  After it was all back together, the coupe wouldn’t start.... Here we go again!  
    Pulled the cap took lots of resistance readings & could not get a reading across the points.  It was as if they weren’t closing all the way but they were closing.  I went ahead & screwed the points end out more to be sure it made contact and still no reading across the points.  Sure the body of the points would give me the zero I needed but only an OL across the points.   No grease got in there so I was pulling my hair out!  

    I decided to set points again and set them to 18 thousands just to be sure they would be closing.  Still no zero ohms of resistance with points closed.  In a last ditch effort, I slipped a file in the points and gave them a cleaning.  Mind you these are brand new points.... however now my resistance readings were correct.  I gave her a test run & while I think she did run better, she still wasn’t smooth & the engine shake still is there & shakes the car.   Gotta have my Hudson Mechanic friend over to listen to it again & see what he thinks.  

    I wonder what effect the variance in compression is doing to the smoothness of it running?

  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,588Senior Contributor
    Get a can of Easy-start or similar ether spray can and  squirt it in the intake when holding the throttle open.  If it speeds up you have a fuel supply problem.  have you put new plugs in?
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    Yes, new plug are in it.  Agreed, adding starter fuel just like leaning the air coming in would cause the engine to speed up & smooth out.  

    Honestly the littlest things have thus far been the things which have given me the biggest headaches with this car.  Last night I found the points spring wasn’t attached correctly & a little oxidation on the points prevented them from working until filed.  When checking timing a few months ago, the square headed bolt that the coil wire goes to on the distributor became turned. Thus one corner was touching metal below & grounding out the distributor.  Before that when she wouldn’t stay running because of an intake leak, the drain plug was missing on the bottom of the intake & sucking air.  

    All little and easily overlooked things to my untrained eyes but but hugely important things none the less!  I’ll try running her again this morning & see how she does, but man she’s a little witch to me thus far....
  • BeforemytimeBeforemytime Posts: 111Member
    Regarding fuel system....higher RPM/LOAD stumble could be something as stupid-simple as the float level. That's all I can come up with as you have already checked everything else I might have suggested.  At this point all I can add is, "Good luck". (!)
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,906Administrator
    edited March 7
    Random thoughts:

    1) You're not working on the distributor when it's attached to the engine, are you?  I always take mine out (carefully noting the rotor position when I do so, of course).

    2) Always clean off new points with emery cloth before installing.  NOS points sometimes come with a sort of glaze (not sure if that's "over time" or "factory applied").

    3) Have you checked for an intake manifold leak?  When the engine's running you spray something (I want to say starter fluid, but ask around, first!) all around the joint between engine and manifold.  If there's a leak, the fluid will be sucked into the engine and it will suddenly speed up.  Yes, you resurfaced the mating surfaces, and installed a new gasket -- I know.  But this test only takes a couple minutes.  So many times one installs a "new" component only to discover later that it was flawed.

    4) Buck up!  I've been happily driving my '37 for 45 years, most of that time being fairly ignorant of what was happening under the hood. And I've encountered plenty of problems, though never all at once (as you seem to be experiencing).  My engine has run dependably over tens of thousands of miles' worth of trips.  You're going through a lot of frustration now (I've been there) but you will discover the source of your woes and will someday laugh about all of this.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    BUCKED OFF!!  She just threw me off & im not getting back on that *%}\€•~^+*+¥~!!!!

    A few minutes ago after I was done shooting some more video of how she’s running & shaking, one of the bolts holding the water pump to the block came loose or unscrewed with all the shaking & came out altogether.  Antifreeze blasted out at the fan blades splashing antifreeze everywhere, including all over me.  Naturally my 1st reaction was to get out of the spray, then 1/2 a second later to turn the engine off.  Now that the floor was sprayed with antifreeze as I grabbed the door handle to open it, I slipped, ramming my shin into the running board & fell on my ass.  Hurt like a mother!  Get to my feet, open the door & turn it off!  

    Next was the mad mad scramble to find a pan, crap it’s in the house because the wife borrowed it to catch dirt from the plants she repotted.  Grab it & rush back into the garage, “don’t fall again”.... throw it under the coupe to catch the rest of the antifreeze pouring out of the block!

    Assessing the damage.... Holy Hell its everywhere!  All over the car body because there’s no hood on it, naturally all over the engine compartment, the floor in a 20+ foot radius.  All over my tool box my bench & every thing on my bench and did I mention the ceiling?  Yep there too.  Thank God my daughter had her guns cased & her $2,000+ Shooting suit still cases/bagged from practice the night before or they’d be covered.  

    Did I mention this car hates me? 


    Video of its last run & I’m & I mean LAST RUN!  I’m so pissed, I’m not sure what direction I’m going next but yanking this thing out of the car is definitely on the table.  What goes in is up for debate.  Well off to spend the day cleaning this crap up.... Any suggestions on best way to clean it up?  And it’s 7 degrees outside so I can’t just hose it all off & outside!    This car is the devil!

  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    Photo of my shin where she bit me...

  • Jay GJay G Posts: 366Expert Adviser

    At this point I would recommend you set it aside for awhile or take it to someone to fix.  Honestly you are not going to do yourself any favors if you try and push through.  Time to have a drink or two and let it sit until you can see straight.  My 53 gave me fits for almost 5 years on and off.  I finally took to the Vintage Coach and they had it line out in a few weeks.  Just my two cents.  Sometime you can just get to wrapped around the axle.  I know this may not be what you want to hear but next time you could really hurt yourself just because you are so blinded by rage you may miss something simple and very critical.  We have all been there believe me.  


  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,906Administrator
    edited March 7
    Holy mackerel!  You have had an incredible run of bad luck!  More in a few weeks than most guys have in years!   I'm sorry to hear of the water pump episode and sorrier to see your injury.

    I think Jay has the right idea.  Just walk away from the car for a few days.  Clear the car stuff off the floor, put away the tools, and maybe just take your wife to dinner and have an enjoyable evening out.  I think many of us have been in your shoes before: we concentrate on getting one thing done to our Hudsons and then every possible thing goes wrong, which only stokes our anger.  Then, what is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby turns into a nightmare.

    I remember the time in 1978 I got an overdrive to stuff into my Terraplane.  I rented a corner of a body shop and then for a couple weeks I carefully installed the transmission, working toward the day when I'd have the car ready to drive on my yearly trip up to the mountains.  Finally, with only a few days to spare, the transmission was installed and I was ready for my test drive.  I had driven about 100 feet when there was a "bang" from the inside of the transmission, and I lost first gear.  Something had broken and I now had to remove the transmission and engine, take apart the transmission, find out what was wrong and then repeat the installation.  And I wouldn't be able to drive the car on my vacation.  I was just livid!  Frustrated and disappointed.  I had put my "all" into that project and it just kicked me in the face!  I just closed up shop, went home, and had a drink.  A few weeks later, with the transmission fixed and back in the car, everything worked perfectly, as it has ever since.  But I have never forgotten my anger and frustration that day.

  • 48Sed48Sed Posts: 336Senior Contributor
    Could your gas tank cap be a non breathing type starving the engine of fuel?
    I have heard of this happing allowing the engine to idle but run poorly at higher RPM.
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    Advice we’ll said.  I will definitely take a brake from forging ahead until my mechanic buddy can come over & lend an objective eye.   It wouldn’t surprise me if it was something as simple as a gas cap but I’m still going to take the brake I need from it.  

    I gotta say my floor’s never been cleaner after scrubbing every inch of it this morning!
  • Jay GJay G Posts: 366Expert Adviser

    I have had the cap issue with a metropolitan I was working on.  I got it running finally took the cap off to fill it up.  Drove down the road and never saw the cap again.  Purchased a new on that should have been "correct".  Car would not run and keep running.  Unscrewed the cap, problem fixed.  Got out a drill bit and fixed that problem.


  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,588Senior Contributor
    Pity you didn't have it on film!   Would have made a good comedy show!
  • 52hudsonman52hudsonman Posts: 30Member
    I had a problem with my 52 I too a plastic lawn mower gas tank run a line into the carb and pluged the line from the gas tank and ran it found out proulem was with gas tank
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 343Senior Contributor
    Funny you mention that because I was thinking the same thing later as I was cleaning up.... would have been dang funny to watch that thing blow & me running, falling, etc... 

    Both bolts on the water pump & there’s only two were not where they should have been.  I think it’s a sign that my engine isn’t smooth when it can shake out those bolts with lock washer on them.  I think I’d better check the fan too, I maybe getting some vibration from it & not know it. 
  • allanallan Posts: 194Member

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but that piece of dangling linkage on the carb linkage is supposed to be connected to an external accelerator pump.  Having said that, I suspect your entire trouble is the carb.  I always change out the cast iron intake manifold on my early 212 engines and put the later aluminum manifold on with a 501s carb.  Makes all the difference in the world.  Do that and you will be pleased as punch.  And those later manifolds are plentiful as are the 501s carbs that go with it.


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