1972 41 Commander with 427s

I'm looking for a sanity check as I'm a bit baffled with my port engines miss at idle, and pop through the carburetor when I stab it in neutral.  I can usually avoid the pop if I ease the throttle forward, let the hesitation happen, then once on the main metering circuit she runs beautifully.  Up to this point I've just dealt with it.  Its a pain when docking because the throttle response is delayed, but I've gotten used to it.

This past weekend after a 2 hour cruise we approached our slip and as I always do, I bumped the gears in reverse (at idle) to slow down and prep for my stern-in spin maneuver.  This time the port engine stalled as soon as I bumped into reverse.  I had to pump the throttle to get her to light again, and long story short, I could not keep her running for more than 5 seconds in reverse/idle.  If I cracked the throttle she responded just fine - like always.

New this season was plugs, cap, rotor, wires and carburetor rebuild on both engines.  Other engine runs absolutely perfect.

My suspicion is a vacuum leak.  Earlier in the season I attempted to diagnose the off-idle stumble/pop by plugging the PCV port on the rear of the carburetor as I think we can all agree this sounds like a textbook vacuum leak.  I sprayed carb cleaner around the carb and intake and heard no change in idle speed or quality.

I haven't checked timing because it involves removing my air conditioner (don't ask - long story) to gain line of sight to the timing mark.  I plan to do this anyways, but could timing be causing this whole mess?

I'm open to suggestions - I've been working on engines my whole adult life and this one is eating my lunch :(

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If it's a major pain to check the timing, I'd swap the carbs side to side first and see if the problem follows. 

For future reference,  spray some paint on the vibration damper and when you have your timing marks from the flywheel, mark the damper and a reference point. 

Being the lazy geezer I am I would probably just adjust by ear then have a friend drive and adjust below knock while running about 3000rpm.

Great idea Tim - access to the gear on the port side is miserable in the 41/410 hulls. 

Tim Miller said:

For future reference,  spray some paint on the vibration damper and when you have your timing marks from the flywheel, mark the damper and a reference point. 

Being the lazy geezer I am I would probably just adjust by ear then have a friend drive and adjust below knock while running about 3000rpm.

I'd double and then triple check the plug wires to make sure two didn't get crossed. I'm not saying I ever did anything so silly, but I did experience the symptoms you describe and eventually, on the third time staring at the wires, realized a gremlin had gotten in there and swapped two on me!

#7 &#8 are the ones that you can reverse on the port engine and for it to run almost normal. Don't ask how I know.

try another cap and it might correct your problem

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