Stock ‘78 C20 454 engine stalling


Junior Member
Feb 24, 2022
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C20 silverado
Engine Size
I have an all stock 1978 C20 with the 454 engine. I live in a northern state, so naturally it gets cold, and carb engines don’t like to start this time of year. Well she turns over fine in the cold, takes her a couple seconds but she starts beautifully. She hasn’t given me any issues in temps higher than 20F. However this particular morning it was 16F, even colder if you count windchill, she started as usual, let her warm up for awhile as one does. She drove off fine until…went to go through an intersection from a stop, on a slight hill, and she stalled. Turned her over again, went to drive off, stalled. She wouldn’t move an inch. Finally just threw her in reverse down the hill and into a parking lot, took her for a couple spins to try and get her to run a bit warmer. And off I went with no other issues. I have my fair share of knowledge from research and my own experiences, however I’m still new, as this is only my second ever carb vehicle. Both of which were in great condition so I haven’t been able to mess around with these engines much. I’m assuming the issue I experienced here is that the cold air, being more dense, was just causing her to run really lean, so even with a proper idle warm up, she still just wasn’t running hot enough. With that being said, I park her in a covered lot, however it’s not a garage, and I know of the old cardboard in the grill trick as well. So the basis of my post is, should I invest in a block heater? Would that even help, considering she starts fine, but just doesn’t warm up enough to drive? Could there be underlying issues causing this, such as the choke? Or am I just stuck with the typical cold weather dilema we all have, and my only fix is to drive her around my parking lot a couple times before hitting the main roads? Because no matter how long I let her idle, she’s never quite warm enough at this low of a temp. This is the first time she’s given me any issues. If it’s 20F or higher, she runs just fine after a good warm up. She’ll occasionally hesitate when it’s cold, but no where near the point of stalling like she did this time. Once she gets going she’s golden, but she definitely needs a warm up as all these vehicles do. She’s stalled on me once before and thats because I sat in a parking lot for an hour, and her temp dropped. But this is the first time she’s stalled while driving, after I warmed her up to the best of my ability with what I have. Again, I’m pretty sure I know exactly why it happened, but just curious if anyone has any other input or any tips and tricks to have a better drive in these cold temps.

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