Question about stock air cleaner system, 1979 Cordoba

Engine, Transmission & Driveline

Should I remove the lean burn system entirely?

  1. Yes

    9 vote(s)
    64.3%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    35.7%
  1. James Watkins

    James Watkins New Member

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    Ive been looking at doing some relatively cheap power modifications recently and I have been thinking about changing out my air cleaner. The car is the 1979 Chrysler Cordoba, with the 360 4 Barrel. It has the lean burn system in place, as well as all factory emissions equipment. Would putting a new cleaner on be an easy process or does the emissions setup give me some hoops to jump through? I have only ever worked on simple two strokes and older v8s so I dont really understand how lean burn works, and if it would apply here. Also any suggestions on what air cleaner/filter to use? Thanks guys.
     
  2. 71Polara383

    71Polara383 Kid with ballcap

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    Ditch the Leanburn. Get a regular points distributor or standard chrysler electronic ignition distributor and ECU.

    LeanBurn Conversion or Thrash those Points!

    I've had several leanburn cars. Only one worked well...until it didnt work well then it got electronic ignition as well. Its really simple and can be sourced pretty easily. I have some of the stuff. Should only take about 2 hours max to eliminate it all together.
     
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  3. Newport 66

    Newport 66 Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    If it was mine, I would remove the lean burn components, but retain them. A Edelbrock Performer intake and 1406 carb with electric choke would be a good option. Assuming it's a "summertime driver" there are a number of good options for air cleaners. I'd also switch out the stock ignition components. But that's just me.
     
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  4. Lefty71

    Lefty71 Active Member

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    .....here's my 2 cents... in 1979, the concensus was pretty much get that Lean Burn off and throw it away. But, if it works and is what you are used to, at this point I would keep it intact, as it can only serve to preserve the value of your classic car at this point in time.
     
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  5. 71Polara383

    71Polara383 Kid with ballcap

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    If I recall the carburetors are calibrated a little differently for the leanburn cars too. I'd change the carb at the same time of ditching the leanburn.

    Theres a standard 360 hiding under all that emissions crap. None of it really worked right when it was new. Some did, some didnt...I mean MOST didnt.
     
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  6. James Watkins

    James Watkins New Member

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    I have considered removing the lean burn countless times over the past 2 years I have owned this car. Whenever I research it I always find mixed opinions about removing lean burn vs keeping it. Some people claim things like "it never ran right after that" while others claim it only improved performance with no negative impact. In your personal experience does removing lean burn help the engine run better? My 360 runs really good at the moment so I am just a bit hesitant to make big changes like this to such a crucial system.
     
  7. James Watkins

    James Watkins New Member

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    At the moment this is a summer driver, but once summer actually comes around I will be selling my other car. At that point this will be my daily again. What would you recommend I go with if this is driven year round? I live in Dallas, the lowest we ever get is like 30 degrees, and around 100 in the summers.
     
  8. 71Polara383

    71Polara383 Kid with ballcap

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    What the leanburn system was supposed to do was have that ECU on the air cleaner control the spark advance vs having it be a vacuum controlled by the pot on the distributor connected to the carb. The engine heat greatly effected the control box on the air cleaner, and caused them to fail... by the mid 80s I think they caught on and moved it further from the engine on the 5th aves/Diplomats.

    Regardless. Bad design. Poor execution. Switch it over you wont regret it.
     
  9. marko

    marko Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    if it runs good then dont touch it until it needs touching.
    i had an 81 new yorker until last year, it was still leanburn and it ran flawlessly.
    i seem to recall that the date stamp on the computer box was from the 1990s tho
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
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  10. James Watkins

    James Watkins New Member

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    The only issue I have with the car is that is is extremely underpowered. Its runs fine and starts up easy. I know it didnt make a lot of power from the factory, like 190bhp, but I cant imagine its making even that much now. Im embarrassed to say it but it noticeably struggles more on the hills. Do you think swapping to a more traditional non-leanburn system would help me get some power back? The engine still has some life in it with only around 70xxx miles. As for preserving value, thats not a big concern to me but i understand where youre coming from.
     
  11. James Watkins

    James Watkins New Member

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    So if I swap out the air cleaner, would I need to swap out the lean burn system and carburetor for a regular one?
     
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  12. Newport 66

    Newport 66 Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    I think the stock air cleaner should fit the 1406. Then you have the the cold air door and heat stove. Keep in mind the electric choke will eliminate the vacuum pull off and intake manifold bi-metal choke spring. don't drive my cars in the cold weather months here in Wisconsin, about late October, early November and then get them out in mid April. I've had good luck with the 1406 with electric choke. You're in Texas, typically warmer than the great north I would imagine.
     
  13. James Watkins

    James Watkins New Member

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    For the most part I agree with this mindset, and the car has run well for the past two years. Essentially no issues and I used to daily it. That said I find myself struggling to keep up with modern traffic, and I really would like to get a little more power out of it if I can. Do you think I should just live with it since the car is running so well?
     
  14. Newport 66

    Newport 66 Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    If you're only complaint is performance and not driveability (stumbling, starting etc) issues, then a carb/intake swap and dual exhaust will help it breath. That 360 is a good engine but choked up by the emissions system, including the lean burn.
     
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  15. 71Polara383

    71Polara383 Kid with ballcap

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    If it works now...leave it be...just collect the parts you'll need when it craps out. My 78 Lebaron ran great and got pretty good milage with the leanburn. But then it started becoming unpredictable and unreliable. I'd be driving along 65-70MPH and all of a sudden lose spark...then it would come back and KAPOW backfire from the few seconds of pumping fuel into the exhaust with no spark. It would even cut out and leave me wondering why it wont start. I then learned knocking on the computer would bring it back to life.

    Leanburn is a nightmare when it fails.
     
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  16. Wollfen

    Wollfen Old Man with a Hat

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    If the car is running well and slowly losing power, I would imagine it could be something like a timing chain stretching or something more. How many miles are on the car?
     
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  17. 71Polara383

    71Polara383 Kid with ballcap

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    When it comes to performance...ditch it all. Lean burn was designed with fuel economy and emissions in mind, not performance. Get a nice dual plane intake, 600cfm edelbrock, electronic ignition, ditch the catalytic converters and some free flowing dual exhaust and that will help ALOT...then if you want more seat of the pants feel, a ring and pinion will help greatly. Most of them cordobas had 2.71 gears, I've even seen 2.45! A 3.23 (maybe 3.21 in the c clip rears I cant recall) gear set would give you a good compromise of performance and cruisability.
     
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  18. 71Polara383

    71Polara383 Kid with ballcap

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    Also a good idea!
     
  19. Newport 66

    Newport 66 Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    That's a good point. I believe the car has only around 70,000 miles. Always confirm the mechanical condition, timing. Compression etc. Good call.
     
  20. cbarge

    cbarge World Famous Barge in a Budget FCBO Gold Member

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    On my 1987 Diplomat I ditched the LeanBurn with a Summit Electronic ignition kit complete with Distributor,ECU and wiring.
    I left the computer on the air cleaner and tied the unused wires out of the way.

    The distributor in the Summit kit has a really good curve for a heavy car like your 79.
    To cheap out you can do some tuning on your existing carb,or get a 1974 or older TQ or as mentioned go with the intake and carb combo.
    I did some tweaking on my original carb and ran it for 8 years no problem. (different metering rods and jets,adjusted accelerator pump for an extra shot of gas,etc)
    Hope this helps.
     
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