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Cruiser no start - end of story

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  • Cruiser no start - end of story

    I've been out of town for the weekend and decided to wash the Cruiser this afternoon. I started it and backed it out of the garage. It was a bit harder to start than usual, but sometimes when it sits for a few days that happens. Anyway, she did fire up and I backed her out of the garage.

    Later, she wouldn't start at all. I could smell gas, so I figured she was flooded. I mashed the gas all the way to the floor and tried to get her started, but nothing. I let her sit for a few hours and tried again. She'd try to hit every once in a while, but wouldn't fire. I've not done much troubleshooting so far, but ideas are welcome.

    It has gas. I have a nice steady stream coming out of the fuel line. I checked the points, and they looked good. I have spark at the spark plugs, but it does look a little weak. It has a little red spark instead of the blue I'm used to seeing--but then again I've never checked it on this car before (or maybe I didn't have the wire grounded good enough). I pulled a few of the plugs and they looked normal, not wet or fouled. I buttoned it all up and shot some ether down the carb and tried again. Still nothing (other than an occasional cough). I got tired of messing with her and came in the house.

    Ideas? What should I check next? It was just running, so I know it's not something really bad.

    ________________________
    Mark Anderson
    1965 Cruiser
    http://home.alltel.net/anderm


  • #2
    One other thing you might check is if the fuel is actually getting into the carburator bowl. Just because you have a fuel supply at the line into the carb does not necessarily mean it is getting past the needle and seat and into the carb. Take the air cleaner off and see if you can see a squirt of gas in the carb.when pumping the foot feed.
    Frank van Doorn
    Omaha, Ne.
    1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
    1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
    1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with Frank, I have a Dodge truck in which the float sticks, shutting off the flow of fuel sometimes after it has set for some time. Unscrew the gas line, poke a piece of wire in the hole and then it's set to go.

      Did you get your car washed and did the plug wires get wet? I had a high mileage Tempo once that got to where it wouldn't start on foggy mornings but would start later in the day. Even though it was in a shed, there was enough humidity to allow the old plug wires to leak juice even though they looked fine. After putting on new ones that was the end of the problem no matter how foggy or wet it was.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with Frank in that just because you have a fuel supply, doesn't mean it is getting into the carb. In my case, it was a piece of rust about 1/16th of an inch long that had lodged in the intake. It prevented any gas from getting into the carb. Old gas tanks, what can I say...[:I]

        Lotsa Larks!
        K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
        Ron Smith
        Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
        K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
        Ron Smith
        Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't think it's going to be that easy. I've got a nice stream of gas in the carb throat when I work the throttle. Also, it won't start with starting fluid either.

          quote:Originally posted by studeclunker

          I agree with Frank in that just because you have a fuel supply, doesn't mean it is getting into the carb. In my case, it was a piece of rust about 1/16th of an inch long that had lodged in the intake. It prevented any gas from getting into the carb. Old gas tanks, what can I say...[:I]

          Lotsa Larks!
          K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
          Ron Smith

          ________________________
          Mark Anderson
          1965 Cruiser
          http://home.alltel.net/anderm

          Comment


          • #6
            You know what they say, a lot of carburation problems are solved by working on the electrical system. The stronger the spark, the better able it is to get an out of whack fuel mixture going. Old motorcycles used to have notoriously weak ignitions. Get the fuel/air mix off jsut a bit and they wouldn't run, spark plugs would last maybe 5,000 miles tops. They'd look fine but would miss on acceleration.

            You mentioned a reddish looking spark. It should be bright blue and rather energetic, not just a puny little jump. Try dragging a piece of heavy paper like a business card through the points to remove any crud that may have accumulated. If the points have some funky looking white crud on them, it's time for a filing. One way to weed out components is to energize the system (turn the key on) and with the distributor cap off, open and close the points with your thumbnail. The engine will need to be rotated to where the points will close completely. Hold the end of the wire that did go into the top of the distributor cap a short didtance from the block and work the points with your thumb. You should get a spark and you can then see the quality of it. If the points are clean (use the card trick after filing) and you still have the puny spark, it's probably the coil. Check the coil terminal for corrosion before replacing it. I've had coil that leaked oil and that was a good sign they were on their way out, but not all bad coils exhibit that. If the spark looks good, check the terminals on the distributor cap inside and out for corrosion, plug wires and anything past the coil (such as the metal plug wire holders on the valve cover, etc). If you put a new/different coil on, be reminded most new coils have a different resistance value and if you can't get an old style one, you'll need to wire in a ballast resistor on the hot side. Chrysler used lots of them and they're cheap. Run one of those coils without one and in short order they've left the land of the living.

            Comment


            • #7
              Okay, so it's pointing to the coil. I checked again for gas at the carb. Nice healthy squirt when I work the throttle. I pulled a spark plug and clamped it to the engine. Weak spark if at all. I removed the distributor cap and it's nice and clean (nearly new). Checked the points with a business card. No gunk--in fact they look really good. So, I turned the key on, removed the coil wire from the distributor and worked the points while I held the coil wire near the block. SOMETIMES I'll get a spark, and when I do, it's weak.

              I'm going to assume the coil went south. Sound logical? My local Flaps has the coil I need for $16.00. I think I'll try replacing that and see what happens.

              ________________________
              Mark Anderson
              1965 Cruiser
              http://home.alltel.net/anderm

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like it, you should easily get a 1/4 inch spark.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The saga continues. Based on the earlier diagnosis, I felt like the coil was weak. I replaced the coil. I checked all the connections and filed and reset the points. Then, I checked to make sure I had a good strong spark at the coil--it did. I wondered why it would not start. I pulled a spark plug wire and checked for spark there. It had a good spark, in fact the car started running on 5 cylinders. I turned it off, reattached the spark plug wire and restarted the car. It ran very roughly for maybe 45 seconds or so, then seemed to run slower and slower and finally died. Now, when I try to restart it kinds stumble, stumble, stumble, then just cranking. It's like it's trying to start, but just can't quite fire. I again checked for fuel flow, and even removed the top from the carb to check the bowl to make sure it was full of gas and the float wasn't stuck. All looked okay there. Put it all back together and tried again. Still no start.

                  I've done the following:

                  Replaced rotor and button
                  Refiled and reset the points
                  Replaced the coil
                  Checked for fuel flow
                  Checked for good spark at coil (good)
                  Checked for spark at plugs (good)
                  Checked firing order (don't know why, but it seemed like a good idea)

                  I'm running out of things to try. I've run the battery so low it's on a charger now.

                  Help[}]!

                  quote:Originally posted by John Kirchhoff

                  Sounds like it, you should easily get a 1/4 inch spark.
                  ________________________
                  Mark Anderson
                  1965 Cruiser
                  http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mark,
                    Check the rotor in the distributor. Some of those older style rotors have a small piece of carbon that makes the connection between the outer tab (toward the plug wire terminal) and the center tab that contacts the coil wire terminal. That piece of carbon can become loose and will start to arch...no run[xx(]. Also check the coil wire terminal inside the dist. cap...sometimes they loosen also. Hope this helps.
                    Dan Miller

                    [img=left]http://static.flickr.com/57/228744729_7aff5f0118_m.jpg[/img=left]
                    Road Racers turn left AND right.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If like you say you have a strong spark and plenty of fuel now, possibly the spark is not coming at the proper time. Could the timing adjustment have moved because of a possible loose distributor and it is now retarded a whole bunch.
                      Frank van Doorn
                      Omaha, Ne.
                      1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
                      1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
                      1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I replaced the rotor and distributor cap. Is that what you're talking about or something else?

                        quote:Originally posted by ROADRACELARK

                        Mark,
                        Check the rotor in the distributor. Some of those older style rotors have a small piece of carbon that makes the connection between the outer tab (toward the plug wire terminal) and the center tab that contacts the coil wire terminal. That piece of carbon can become loose and will start to arch...no run[xx(]. Also check the coil wire terminal inside the dist. cap...sometimes they loosen also. Hope this helps.
                        Dan Miller

                        [img=left]http://static.flickr.com/57/228744729_7aff5f0118_m.jpg[/img=left]
                        Road Racers turn left AND right.
                        ________________________
                        Mark Anderson
                        1965 Cruiser
                        http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I wondered that and haven't checked it--althought the dist is tight. One thing about this is something suddenly "happened". It wasn't something that came on gradually. Also, when it DID start tonight, other than running a bit rough, it was running. I would think if the timing were that far off, it wouldn't have started at all.

                          quote:Originally posted by 41 Frank

                          If like you say you have a strong spark and plenty of fuel now, possibly the spark is not coming at the proper time. Could the timing adjustment have moved because of a possible loose distributor and it is now retarded a whole bunch.
                          ________________________
                          Mark Anderson
                          1965 Cruiser
                          http://home.alltel.net/anderm

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The only failure I have ever had in a Stude was when the centrifugal weights came off the vacuum advance and jammed the distributor, breaking shear pin at bottom of distributor. See if the rotor spins with the engine.

                            Other: reseat/ perhaps replace the coil distributor wire.
                            re-arch rotor spring. Check for proper opening/closing of points.

                            Good Luck,

                            Paul

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                            • #15
                              sigpic
                              Ross.
                              Riverside, Ca.
                              1957 Provincial X2
                              1958 Transtar

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