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MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 06:57 AM
Two days of starting fine, now my Lark is flooding out again.

58 degrees this morning, but the engine is not that cold; it's garaged. If I put my hand on the head or the carb, it is noticably warmer than outside.

So, I pump the accelerator once, and turn the key: fires up, but dies within a second.

Turn it over again: same

Turn it over again: starter runs and runs

Unload the choke and turn over: "surging starter" sound, but does not kick over.

And now I can smell raw fuel.

This is truly driving me insane. The choke isn't stuck. The carburetor is rebuilt and adjusted properly. No vacuum leaks. Everything in the ignition system has been replaced and all my cables are new. Battery is new. Ground resistance from every component to the frame is less than 1 ohm.

Engine runs PERFECTLY when it's running, and with the new battery and other components, the starter is smooth and doesn't drag.

So what the hell?

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 07:13 AM
The only part I haven't addressed is that damned choke spring. I'll bet that if I wait to start my car this afternoon when it's warmer, it starts up fine. It hasn't been this cold the last few days and with all the new parts and everything testing nominal, the outside temperature is the only variable I can think of that's mucking things up, especially since this all started when the weather began turning a couple weeks ago

TWChamp
11-16-2017, 07:27 AM
You need to isolate the problem, mechanical, electrical, or fuel.
If cranking sounds normal, like you have compression, then assume it's OK.
Hold the coil wire 1/4" from a good ground and see if you have a hot blue spark while cranking.
If the spark is good, then prime the carb with a squirt of gas and see if it runs.

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 07:40 AM
You need to isolate the problem, mechanical, electrical, or fuel.
If cranking sounds normal, like you have compression, then assume it's OK.
Hold the coil wire 1/4" from a good ground and see if you have a hot blue spark while cranking.
If the spark is good, then prime the carb with a squirt of gas and see if it runs.

I'll test the spark this afternoon when I get home. It was definitely electrical a week ago, but at this point, I am doubting it is anymore; my money is on a fuel issue. As I said, the cooler outside temperature can't be ruled out because it's been starting fine for the last couple of days, but this morning I went to work two hours earlier, and it's less than 60 degrees outside. It sounded like it was going to start fine, and indeed it kicked over immediately, but died as quickly, and then refused to start again. The raw fuel smell is certainly indicative of flooding.

Still, my 3-year battery went bad after six months, so I suppose something else could have gone with it.

345 DeSoto
11-16-2017, 08:35 AM
If it's "flooding out", then you definitely have an intermittent electrical problem...

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 08:59 AM
If it's "flooding out", then you definitely have an intermittent electrical problem...

I'm at a loss where it is. I've replaced:

Battery
Battery cables (6 gauge)
Starter cable (6 gauge)
Engine ground cable (6 gauge)
Solenoid
Ballast resistor
Regulator
Spark plugs
Spark plug cables
Coil
Coil cable
Condenser

Battery voltage is 12.6v with the engine off, and 14.5v idling. Alternator was tested good. Ground resistance less than one ohm all around. Distributor cap in good order, rotor button clean, and advance mechanisms functioning normally when the engine is running. Smooth idle when running, no hesitation on acceleration, and only a slight dip in idle when headlights are brought on. No fluctuation from lights between idle and acceleration or vice versa.

dpson
11-16-2017, 09:05 AM
Years ago I worked with a retired state police officer and he said back around 1958 the state police bought a bunch of new Studebakers (likely a low bid process), he didn't recall the specific models, but they were probably V8's. He said the biggest complaint he heard from the troopers that used them was that they were hard to start in the winter. The new fuels today certainly haven't helped the problem. My starting recommendation for an older car that is cold and has set for a few days is to get in the car and press the accelerator to the floor (gently) to set the choke, remove the air cleaner cover and manually open the choke plate (assuming it's closed) and squirt some starting fluid into the carburetor. Get back in the car press the accelerator to the floor (gently) and release, then turn the key to start (or press the starter button depending on year, etc.). The car will usually start and run for a short while and then quit. Don't keep cranking the starter. Go through the above process a second time. Now when you turn the key the car should start and run, but will run rough as it's cold and you will need to "feather" the accelerator until it starts to smooth out (its more of an art than a science). You may need to give it more accelerator to keep it running until its warmed up. Once it's starting to run more smoothly (warmed up) you should be able to let off the gas and it will run on high idle for a while and then when warmed up move to low idle. Don't forget to put the air cleaner cover back on, staying clear of the fan and other moving parts. Anyway give this a try before you lose any more hair.

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 10:08 AM
. My starting recommendation for an older car that is cold and has set for a few days

This is my daily driver... Started fine yesterday, wouldn't start today. I'll give that procedure a try next time. In the meantime, I'm going to replace the cap and rotor and choke spring anyway. For $40 worth of parts, I may as well try it.

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 12:49 PM
Got home and tried to start the car: wouldn't start. Replaced cap and rotor: started and ran smooth once the excess fuel cleared. The carbon button was much more recessed on my old cap. Could be that the spring was contracting enough when cold that the connection was lost.

tsenecal
11-16-2017, 01:03 PM
Glad you got it figured out. At least all of the other work you did will make it more dependable.

jnormanh
11-16-2017, 04:33 PM
Got home and tried to start the car: wouldn't start. Replaced cap and rotor: started and ran smooth once the excess fuel cleared. The carbon button was much more recessed on my old cap. Could be that the spring was contracting enough when cold that the connection was lost.

The old rule is that if an engine has spark and fuel it will always start and run...not necessarily well, but it will start and run.

So you had a no-spark problem.

Basics, basics.

Ron Dame
11-16-2017, 06:52 PM
Most carburetors problems are ignition.

Dan Timberlake
11-16-2017, 07:35 PM
A tool like this is a pretty good test for a host of ignition system condition questions. Most everything except spark plug condition.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Adjustable-HIGH-ENERGY-Ignition-Spark-Tester-Plug-Wire-Coil-Switch-Tool-Auto-NEW-By-Generic/113571247

Removing and inspecting and cleaning and adjusting the spark plugs used to be one part of a real tune up, which needed to be done routinely about 10,000 miles or less.

If the choke snaps close when the throttle is opened once on a cool morning, and starts to open relatively quick as the car runs and warms up, and is fully open when the car is warm, it probably is adjusted pretty well and functionally OK.

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 08:15 PM
Most carburetors problems are ignition.

Which is why I started by replacing every ignition component I could think of. Getting a positive result, and two days later, getting the opposite in spite of all the replacement parts is why I kept coming back to the carburetor.

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 08:22 PM
Removing and inspecting and cleaning and adjusting the spark plugs used to be one part of a real tune up, which needed to be done routinely about 10,000 miles or less.

This car is my daily driver, so I'm pretty meticulous about my maintenance. Lube chassis fittings once a month, oil change every 3k, lube distributor each oil change. Replace spark plugs every other oil change--a habit I got into riding old thumpers--and clean oil bath air filter and oil breather filters, and lube u-joints. Flush and fill transmission and rear end one a year, flush and fill cooling system once a year... Etc, etc.

Basically, I go by the maintenance schedule outlined in the Studebaker shop manual.

jackb
11-16-2017, 09:19 PM
I'm waiting with baited breath..........

altair
11-16-2017, 09:26 PM
I am a firm believer in a block heater it pays great dividends with starting. They only need to be on 1/2 - 3/4 hour before starting, a simple domestic timer works great. I have used one for years and wouldn't be with out it.

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 09:44 PM
I am a firm believer in a block heater it pays great dividends with starting. They only need to be on 1/2 - 3/4 hour before starting, a simple domestic timer works great. I have used one for years and wouldn't be with out it.

I considered that actually. If it doesn't start in the morning, I'm going to try heating the carb bowl and manifold with a heat gun and see what happens.

gordr
11-16-2017, 10:12 PM
You are in Arizona, right? It's fifty degrees in the morning. That is nowhere near "cold" as perceived by automobile engines. Below freezing is "cold". Sub-zero is "very cold".

MrBulldops
11-16-2017, 10:53 PM
You are in Arizona, right? It's fifty degrees in the morning. That is nowhere near "cold" as perceived by automobile engines. Below freezing is "cold". Sub-zero is "very cold".

Yes, I know. Now you understand some of my frustration, haha!

MrBulldops
11-17-2017, 07:59 AM
Heywhadayaknow...car started fine today. Fast idle seems a little high though. I set the throttle plate gap per the manual. How high is fast idle supposed to be on these cars?

345 DeSoto
11-17-2017, 09:26 AM
I'm GLAD you found your Gremlin...

tbredehoft
11-17-2017, 02:57 PM
How high is fast idle supposed to be on these cars?


Just fast enough to keep it running until it gets warm.

My '53 has a series of steps on the choke setting, slowing down the idle as the engine warms up.