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Well here we go again

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  • Engine: Well here we go again

    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?

  • #2
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TWChamp View Post
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          If it's "flooding out", then you definitely have an intermittent electrical problem...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 345 DeSoto View Post
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.
              Last edited by dpson; 11-16-2017, 06:12 AM.
              Dan Peterson
              Montpelier, VT
              1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
              1960 Lark V-8 Convertible (parts car)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dpson View Post
                . 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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Glad you got it figured out. At least all of the other work you did will make it more dependable.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MrBulldops View Post
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Most carburetors problems are ignition.
                        Ron Dame
                        '63 Champ

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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/Adjustabl...eric/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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ron Dame View Post
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dan Timberlake View Post
                              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.

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