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  1. #1
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    Will not start

    (picks up from: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...33#post1081333)

    I'm at my wits end trying to get this car to run correctly...

    So NOW, my hot starting, high-idle issue is corrected. In its place, I can now not start my car cold without 25 minutes to spare. If I set the choke to the manual--on the center notch--the car makes what I can only describe as a "revving starter" sound; like it sorta vaguely ignites every couple of cycles, but not enough to kick over. If I set the choke one notch rich, the starter just runs and runs. If I set the choke lean, the result is the same as on the center notch, unless I set it so lean that it's off the scale, and then it will fire up enough to disengage the starter and immediately die. One pump, fifteen pumps, and everywhere in-between yeilds the same result: nothing. Eventually, after a lot of grinding away at my starter and unloading and fiddling with the choke settings, I can get it to run enough--extremely roughly, by the way--that if I keep the accelerator floored, the idle will clear up and the engine will run. Once it's warm enough to run on its own, it runs like a top; smooth, pulls well, restarts perfectly fine. But once it cools off, I'm back to square one.

    Now, when I replaced my manifold gasket, I re-rebuilt the carb. What I mean to say is that I took all the brand new components of the rebuild and inspected and cleaned them, put them carefully back together, step by step, according to the shop manual, and made every adjustment, in order, precisely according to the book. I triple-checked every single one with feeler gauges and verified free movement of each and every moving part before I put that thing back on my car. I cannot stress this enough: the carb is set EXACTLY per the Studebaker shop manual... Except the choke, which currently has no correct setting that I can determine.

    In case you missed the previous thread, I've replace the following:

    Complete carb rebuild
    Manifold gasket
    Exhaust flange gasket
    Battery
    Spark plugs and cables
    Coil
    Condenser

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    New condenser?
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Eddie View Post
    New condenser?
    In the distributor

  4. #4
    President Member 63 R2 Hawk's Avatar
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    Most of the new ignition parts come from overseas manufacturers who have minimal quality control and make generic parts to fit a wide variety of vintage cars, so just because something is new doesn't mean it's going to work as good as the original OEM spec'd part, or even work at all. New repro condensers are often bad out of the box. You might try to find an "old school" repair shop that has the equipment and knowledge to test components like condensers, coils, distributors etc. Something to check (assuming it's a 12 volt system), are you getting a full 12 volts to the coil when the starter is engaged and does it switch to the lower ballasted voltage in the "run" position? Is coil polarity correct?

  5. #5
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    Try this test, solder up a light bulb with alligator clips and attach it to the coil and crank the starter, the light bulb should not go out while cranking, if it goes out or very dim there is a ground problem with the starter.

  6. #6
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    Any chance you have had moisture (condensation) gravitate into the fuel tank? I just had a similar problem in my son's boat (454 CID FI Gas). H2O removed and runs like a top. Just a thought....
    Bill

  7. #7
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzard View Post
    Any chance you have had moisture (condensation) gravitate into the fuel tank? I just had a similar problem in my son's boat (454 CID FI Gas). H2O removed and runs like a top. Just a thought....
    Bill
    I had the same thought. If you are using the 10% crap gas, then it attracts moisture and has a short shelf life. It made the valves stick on my 49 Chevy truck and bent the push rods 2 different times. Now I only buy the gas without the ethanol crap, and I add 4 ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil to each 10 gallons, and have no problems.

  8. #8
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    Can I suggest that you have another club member who has mechanical skills take a look at it? Sometimes another set of eyes/ears will see/hear things that you don't. I'm back in Alberta; otherwise I'd happily volunteer.

    Will it start if you prime the carb?
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  9. #9
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    Quite a gremlin you're trying to exorcise. First it starts but won't run; then it runs but won't start cold.
    Will it start if you prime the carb?
    One pump, fifteen pumps, and everywhere in-between yeilds the same result: nothing. Eventually, after a lot of grinding away at my starter and unloading and fiddling with the choke settings, I can get it to run enough--extremely roughly, by the way--that if I keep the accelerator floored,
    We're assuming the accelerator pump is producing a full squirt with each pump?

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordr View Post
    Can I suggest that you have another club member who has mechanical skills take a look at it? Sometimes another set of eyes/ears will see/hear things that you don't. I'm back in Alberta; otherwise I'd happily volunteer.

    Will it start if you prime the carb?
    If by prime you mean pump the accelerator, no. It will sound more apt to at first try, but floods out (I can smell raw fuel under the hood). I've tried one, two, three pumps, no pumps before turning over. I've tried flooring the accelerator to unload the choke, I've tried every choke notch.

    I don't have anywhere local that I know of to get non-alcoholic gas, but I do put 8 ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil in when I fill up. It's a non pressurized system with a two way vented cap, so it's possible I've got moisture in my tank, but I live in AZ and it hasn't rained recently, so I doubt it's that. I also drive it every day, so the fuel is used up regularly.

    Could it be the idle mixture screw is set too rich? I bottom it out and back off two turns to start, then, when it's up to operating temp, set the idle speed screw and smooth out the idle with the mixture screw. Same procedure I use on Amals. Should I be increasing the idle speed to lean the mixture to a point of equilibrium? Basically, turn the screw clockwise to the point of stumbling and increase the speed screw to compensate. As I understand, clockwise is lean, counter is rich.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    Quite a gremlin you're trying to exorcise. First it starts but won't run; then it runs but won't start cold.


    We're assuming the accelerator pump is producing a full squirt with each pump?

    jack vines
    It is. I verified visually, and it is a new pump.

  12. #12
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    McBulldops;
    To me it sounds like the engine is flooded with fuel. Try this. With the air cleaner off stick something into the carburetor.
    What happens?
    If the engine tries to start after clearing out the excess fuel; the question becomes; where is the excess fuel coming from.
    You might also try starting the engine with the fuel line to the fuel pump disconnected.
    Ron

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    read #8 & #12 ...again

  14. #14
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    If i try to turn the engine over normally, with the choke partially engaged, I can see droplets of fuel coming from the center port of the air horn, and if I open the throttle, there is visible liquid fuel in the manifold. So, I decided that the idle mixture would be a good place to start: I bottomed the mixture screw out, and backed off two turns--by the way, when I say 'two turns', I mean one 360 degree rotation of the screw--and managed to get the engine started after it sucked all the liquid out. After running it up to operating temp and verifying the choke was disengaged, I turned the screw in roughly half a turn and smoothed out the throttle with the speed screw, then made a slight tweak counter clockwise on the mixture screw to balance it out; maybe an 8th of a turn or less. So, that means I'm roughly 1-1/2 turns (270 degrees) out from the seat on the mixture screw. I also set the choke to the second to last notch (when it was cold) on the lean side; roughly where the spring just starts to engage the valve. I'll update you in the morning as to whether it starts cold or not.

  15. #15
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    One 360 degree rotation of the mixture screw = one turn. No way that "one turn" = 180 degrees. Normal setting for mixture screws is typically 1 1/2 turns, which is 540 degrees, or 3 pi radians in metric.

    But it sounds to me like there might be a problem with the carb float or the float valve, making it run excessively rich. I once saw a '50 Champion, with the Carter WE carb, in which the float valve body had come loose inside the carb, and unscrewed several full turns, forcing the float right to the bottom of the bowl. Enough fuel seeped in around the threaded body of the valve to make it flood out at idle, but put it in Drive and go, and it would starve out and stall. Your AS carb isn't built the same way, so that particular problem cannot occur, but floats can sink, or their pivots get in a bind, or a piece of debris, like a shred of rubber from a flex hose, can become lodged in the valve seat, and cause a similar condition.

    Because modern fuel is less dense than what was sold when our cars were new, the floats do not float quite as high in the bowl as they used to do, so the fuel level rises higher before the float valve gets closed. For that reason, I like to set the float level about 1/16" lower than the factory figure. Seems to work better that way.

    Oh, priming. By "priming", I mean squirting a shot of gasoline into the carb air horn from a squirt bottle. A very useful trick when trying to start an engine that has had all its fuel evaporate from the carb.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  16. #16
    President Member Ron Dame's Avatar
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    It sounds like there may be dirt is the bleed air or emulsion air, if it is not float level.
    Ron Dame
    '63 Champ

  17. #17
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    It was the idle mixture/idle speed. One pump to set the choke this morning, and it fired up immediately. I think it's possible that I set their relationship backwards and was pulling fuel from two circuits when I was trying to start the engine.
    Last edited by MrBulldops; 11-09-2017 at 03:41 PM.

  18. #18
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    One of the best ways to adjust the choke valve is to get the engine up to operating temps. Loosen the 3 screws and rotate the valve to "just" movement of the valve in the rich setting. Forget the notches on the choke cover. That spring, or any spring may have lost its sprung...

  19. #19
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    Well, as it turned out--and as expected--my fortune was temporary. I ended up running a high idle when hot again, so I adjusted it, and then I flooded out cold starting again. Tug of war continues...

    I decided to replace my carburetor body with one that has a larger bore than the one that came with my car. Starting was easier, though not perfect--still the choke, I think. I started out on the center notch, but the spring holds the choke plate firmly shut, so I tried it on the leanest setting--though getting a nice, smooth low idle required significantly less adjustment; I'm only about a turn (360 degrees) out, and the throttle has no play in it (the one that came with my car is a little sloppy, though I didn't realize by how much till I got this one to compare it to). Acceleration feels smoother also.

    I'll follow up once the engine is cold again and see how the starting goes.

  20. #20
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    Still working on this one. Getting closer I think. Replaced the ballast resistor, starter solenoid and voltage regulator. Also replaced the fuel filter. We'll see what happens in the morning...

  21. #21
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    Well, I'm at a total fucking loss. Been grinding away at my starter now for twenty minutes trying to get this car started, and it's impossible. Same symptoms as before: choke/no choke, nothing; one pump or more, nothing; air filter on or off, nothing. Every time, it sounds like it's trying, but it never seems to get there. If by some miracle I get it started, I know it'll run perfectly after it's warmed up; it always does.

    The list of replacement parts is now:
    -Battery
    -Coil
    -Condenser
    -Solenoid
    -Regulator
    -Ballast resistor
    -Plug and coil wires
    -Plugs
    -Carburetor re-re-rechecked and body replaced
    -Fuel filter
    -Fresh tank of gas

    I'm starting to think the problem is inside the engine now.

  22. #22
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    And by the way, whenever I do manage to get the car started, my garage is engulfed in white smoke, and a slight but steady stream of smoke comes from the tailpipe until the engine warms up. After that, it doesn't smoke at all.

  23. #23
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    Have you checked your valve clearances? Why not try a compression test?
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordr View Post
    Have you checked your valve clearances? Why not try a compression test?
    That's the next thing I'm checking. I'm also going to get the battery tested. It's only 6 months old, but who knows. I might get the starter off and have that checked too

  25. #25
    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Wishing you the best. There's something 'bout these cars to make even the most educated, and experienced feel dumber than a box of hammers! It keeps us from becoming too "high minded" to try to assist and help others with their problems.

    My Business Coupe has kicked me in the shin several times. The latest, is that the last rotor button I bought seems to slide down on the distributor shaft and lose contact with the carbon conductor inside the distributor cap. The usually reliable little engine refused to hit a lick. After a very frustrating exercise in checking/re-checking all the wrong things...I finally walked away in disgust, and didn't touch the car for weeks. After (too long) a period, feeling guilty for allowing a couple inches if pollen, bee crap, bird droppings, to accumulate, I tried again to resolve the issue.

    After an overnight battery charging, I hit the start switch and it still wouldn't fire. This time, I took my cheap in line spark tester and replaced the coil wire with it. Sure 'nuff, there was no spark! I removed the distributor cap, pulled off the rotor button, and barely placed it on the distributor shaft. Then, I put the distributor cap on, letting it push the rotor button down. This way, it stayed in contact with the cap. When I pressed the start switch the champion fired before making a full rotation!

    This has happened before, but I had forgotten. I have not really cured the problem, and it will probably happen again. The first time it happened, I tried to shim the rotor, but, in that attempt, I discovered how easy it is to crack the brittle Bakelite plastic of the rotor buttons. We've all heard the expression..."Live & Learn," but many of us have lived long enough to ''LIVE & RE-LEARN," only to forget and repeat the process.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclary View Post
    When I pressed the start switch the champion fired before making a full rotation!
    This is how mine used to start... Before I fixed the vacuum leak at the manifold, a crispy ballast resistor, and plug wires that were falling apart. That's what's so frustrating: before I replaced all these old parts, I couldn't NOT start my car. Now it refuses.

  27. #27
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    White smoke is common with a bad head gasket. As the engine warms up, The leak may seal itself. Pulling the spark plugs after cranking it over cold might show a wet, coolant fouled plug.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsenecal View Post
    White smoke is common with a bad head gasket. As the engine warms up, The leak may seal itself. Pulling the spark plugs after cranking it over cold might show a wet, coolant fouled plug.
    Replaced the battery cables and replaced the battery with a new one since it tested bad at O'Reilly. Hard to tell coolant from fuel when flooding is a symptom. The smoke smells pretty strongly of unburned fuel though, and there's no cross contamination with oil that I can see. The stream of smoke cleared up almost as soon as the engine fired up tonight... Still took effort to get the engine going though, but easier than it has been. After I warmed up the engine, I rechecked for exhaust leaks with carb cleaner, but nothing affected the idle. When I check the battery with my meter though, I'm only getting 12.5v even when revving up the motor. Possibly the alternator is bad.

    Incidentally, when I replaced my voltage regulator the other day, I got flickering lights and a slight idle drop which cleared up if I isolate the regulator from the frame. When I hooked the old one back up, same issue. Strange, since it was mounted to the frame when I bought the car, and I never had an issue before.

  29. #29
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    While troubleshooting, I noticed that the ground reading between the motor and frame ran between 1 and 15 ohms. An inspection revealed that the ground strap on the passenger side was missing. The bolt and a connector were there, but no wire. I used a 6 gauge 12" switch cable and mounted it to the frame point and then to the motor mount bracket above it. Readings are now less than 1 ohm measured anywhere along the frame. The battery is grounded directly to the motor near the oil filler. Not sure what effect this will have on my starting issues, but I've been surprised by less.

  30. #30
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    Well, she fired up perfectly this morning. High idle is a little too high though, so that'll need to be addressed. No white smoke either, so it's pretty clear that smoke was fuel related and not a head leak.

    But it's not over yet...

    If I ground my new regulator, the voltage measured at battery is 15.5v; a little high. If I isolate it, 12.7v. Obviously the battery doesn't get charged when the regulator isn't ground, but if it is grounded, all of my lights pulsate, and my idle is affected. When it is isolated, they remain steady. Is it possible my new regulator is a dud, or could I have a problem elsewhere?

    To review:
    Replaced battery
    Replaced battery cables
    Replaced coil
    Replaced ballast resistor
    Replaced solenoid
    Replaced distributor cables
    Replaced spark plugs
    Replaced condenser
    Grounded engine to frame (0.1-0.5 ohms, head bolt to frame)

    I'll omit the fuel system work since it's pretty clear this has been an electrical issue all along

  31. #31
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    Iv'e had the flickering light problem also. i switched to an electronic reg. and it needs grounding. you could have a draggy starter sucking all the current when cranking. check for fire out of coil when cranking. Luck Doofus

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by doofus View Post
    Iv'e had the flickering light problem also. i switched to an electronic reg. and it needs grounding. you could have a draggy starter sucking all the current when cranking. check for fire out of coil when cranking. Luck Doofus
    Oh, it's a sealed regulator. There's just a plug from the alternator that attaches to it. The pulsating lights are at idle.

  33. #33
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Sounds like a bad regulator, and when you replace it be sure the new one is always grounded. Sounds like a 2 wire MoPar regulator with a triangular plug.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWChamp View Post
    Sounds like a bad regulator, and when you replace it be sure the new one is always grounded. Sounds like a 2 wire MoPar regulator with a triangular plug.
    That's exactly what it is. It's just not labeled anywhere, but it was listed as Chrysler when I bought it. Must have been a dud out of the box. I'm going to take the alternator in and have it tested too though. My six month old battery tested bad--unable to hold charge--yesterday and I had to replace it. I'm wondering if the regulator or alternator (or both) ruined it. I'm not sure how sensitive batteries are to bad charging components, but I hope I didn't fry the new one checking my readings. That would be my luck...

  35. #35
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    Clearly, the alternator and regulator are not original to the car. A '60 Lark was equipped with a generator. Alternator swaps are neither uncommon nor bad, but do raise the possibility of something having been omitted or done incorrectly.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordr View Post
    Clearly, the alternator and regulator are not original to the car. A '60 Lark was equipped with a generator. Alternator swaps are neither uncommon nor bad, but do raise the possibility of something having been omitted or done incorrectly.
    Welcome to my world, sir. Haha!

    I'm going to have the alternator tested and swap the regulator under warranty this afternoon

  37. #37
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    Everything seems to be in order now. Alternator tested good at AutoZone.

    I installed a new regulator and I tested for the following:

    Engine to frame: <1ohm
    Alternator to engine: <1ohm
    Alternator to frame: <1ohm
    Regulator to frame: <1ohm
    Voltage at battery at idle: 14.5v

    Lights no longer fluctuate, and there was no smoke at startup. Choke was set to center notch and the engine kicked over with one pump and almost as soon as I turned the key; just like it used to.

    The high idle is a bit too high, but I'll make that adjustment when the engine cools. For now, everything seems to be fine. Gonna have to keep an eye on the battery though. It's a 3-year battery from O'Reilly, but it lasted only about six months. Could be the old regulator killed it, but I'm now suspicious.

  38. #38
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    This sounds like Ceci's Champion and that too short sparkplug spark sequestration issue. Might try a longer plug in the same heat range. (Not too much Longer!!)

  39. #39
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I replaced a number of those regulators during the 80's when I worked at a MoPar dealership. One customer's regulator went bad and was charging much too high, when he was 50 miles from home. Instead of unplugging the regulator, he kept driving, and after about 25 miles, his battery exploded.

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