Well I just got my newly rebuilt motor up and running. It is a 1983 roller block with .40 over pistons. I am using a newly rebuilt Edelbrock#1405 600cfm carb along with a new distributor. Plain Autolight plugs that are recommended for TF aluminum heads. All cylinders are firing as all 8 headers are all fire hot. Engine is approx 9 to 1 compression. The cylinder heads: Twisted Wedge 170, FAC 61cc chambers. Cam is a TFS Stage 1 because I wanted a decent idle and daily driver abilities. TF Stage 1 specs: Duration at 050 inch lift: 221 int./225 exh. lift .499/.510, Lobe Sep-112. Ignition timing with dist vac advance plugged is 10 deg btdc. Exhaust is all new, BBK headers dumping into dual 2.5" H pipe.
When I first cranked her up, I had much trouble keeping the motor running. Had the two mixture screws on the carb at 2 turns out, had to adjust both to 2.5 turns. Got the idle adjust screw in enough to keep the throttle slightly open which was what keeps it running when I let go now. I also installed an A/F meter and the reading is about 12 or 13 "green" once the motor warms up and at a steady 1200 rpms or higher. If the idle goes below 800rpms, the A/F meter starts dancing all over the lean board reading 14 "yellow" up to 18 "red". I put a vacuum gauge on the manifold and am now clearly concerned. The vacuum only holds at 11 to 12hg if the idle stays above 1100. Even up to 15hg at 2500. Let off the throttle from 2500 rpms it will burst up to 18-19hg. But if the idle goes below 800, like the A/F readings, the vacuum starts to go erratic, bouncing from 11 hgs down to 8. Any less, she stalls.
The stalling typically happens when the motor is not quite up to full temp. I have made ABSOLUTELY sure there are no vac leaks, I have unplugged the brakes, pcv ect just to test and results are the same. I made positively sure that the cam was lined up correctly, no dial though.
Carburetor has new gaskets and the intake gaskets are premium. I even sprayed carb cleaner on all typical "leak" areas that are prone to leaks, nothing. Another thing is the manual choke I installed, it has not helped one bit with the starting or erratic running of the motor at low rpms. If I start to pull the choke while it is idling at 1100, I see the A/F meter start to go rich, but engine speed does not change. If I keep closing the choke she will just start to sputter and die.
I set the valves(stud type) zero lash at 1/2 turn past after the push-rod feels first bit of resistance.(fyi this was done before engine was cranked up months ago).
I have read so many posts on what Vacuum should be, but it appears to be a stock motor should be a min of 18hg. My 12hg seems terribly low, and the idle quality is terrible below 1000. I just can't fathom that a TF stage 1 cam could make the motor "lope" that much. So much that it wants to sputter and die just putting it into reverse. Auto trans with stock tranny.