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  • Engine: Car wont start! Please Help

    Hello,
    I went out to start my 1957 Commander, and it won't start. Instead of a continuous sound when attempting to start, it is like a wave sound, it has peaks where it sounds normal and then dies back down and so forth. There is fuel in the fuel filter and it is a new filter, so it isn't plugged up. The spark plugs are also new. I am considering that this could be the carburator. Any suggestions?
    Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    So let make sure we are understanding correctly. When you turn the key and attempt to crank the motor over, instead of the normal steady whaw whaw whaw whaw rapid cranking, you get a slower- whaw {slight pause} whaw {sp} whaw {sp}....?

    That could be a few things. Simplest to check would be a low battery. Even if the battery if quite new, there could be a drain some how on it, like a light left on or a small short somewhere. To remedy this, you caould start with a simple battery cahrger for a bit then try again, or even a simple jump from another vehichle.

    Second possibilty could be a bad starter. Any bushing wear or shaft corrosion etc.. will cause the armature to pull over closer to the magnets and draw much more amperage from the battery and it will crank slowly and with much less torque.

    There are other much worse possiblities like a tight bearing in the bottom end a seizure of a piston cause too much drag in the motor draining down the torque of the starter...but that would be a very extreme situation and not likely.

    I would start with the jump, then have the starter load tested at a parts store and go from there.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for the reply.
      The battery is literally brand new, so there should be no drain. Also, when cranking, the overall sound is good, it just has peaks. It tried to start a few times, but when i released on the key, it stopped, even when giving it some gas in an attempt to keep it going. The starter could be a possibility. What would point to that it is for sure the starter? Is there any possibility of it being the carburerator? Or does this not sound like the problem at all.
      Thanks again!

      Comment


      • #4
        If it's flooded, put the gas pedal to the floor and crank a few tmes more. Don't hold the starter on too long. Give it a rest every 10 seconds or so. If it will run, but not without holding the key on the start position, it could be just an ignition switch. They are readily available. Spark, fuel, air and timing are the usual culprits. Check one system at a time. Good luck.
        Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

        Comment


        • #5
          Sounds like it's flooded. If it's equipped with an automatic choke, the choke unloader might not be working or might not be adjusted properly. Don't monkey around with starter fluids. Make sure the battery has a full charge, block the choke open, put the gas pedal to the floor and hold it there. Do not pump the gas! Turn it till it catches and, keeping the pedal on the floor. Once it starts, blow all that fuel out of the cylinders to dry the plugs. You'll notice that it won't be firing on all cylinders but will know when the plugs are all firing when that "wave" sound has completely dissipated. Throttle it back and warm it up a little bit until you don't have to worry about the choke snapping shut and the choke unloader is no longer an issue. Get it looked at to ensure the carb is set up properly.

          If it's got a manual choke, don't monkey around with starter fluids, make sure the battery has a full charge, push the choke handle in far enough to open the choke butterfly about a quarter to half an inch, put the gas pedal to the floor and hold it there. Do not pump the gas! Turn it till it catches and, keeping the pedal on the floor. Once it starts, ease the choke open a little bit more and allow the rotating engine to blow all that fuel out of the cylinders to dry the plugs. You'll notice that it won't be firing on all cylinders but will know when the plugs are all firing when that "wave" sound has completely dissipated. Throttle it back and warm it up a little bit until she'll idle on her own. Get your choke and unloader settings looked at.

          Mike O'Handley
          Kenmore, Washington
          hausdok@msn.com
          Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
          Kenmore, Washington
          hausdok@msn.com

          '58 Packard Hawk
          '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
          '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
          '69 Pontiac Firebird
          (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

          Comment


          • #6
            Im pretty sure that it isn't flooded. I have tried to start it a couple days in a row, and have given ot plenty of time in between for the gas to dissapate. I just tried to start it again and it will turn over, so i think it isn't the starter either. Does it sound like the carb to anybody? Thanks for the help!

            Comment


            • #7
              Spark: Can you throw another coil on it? Can you pull a plug and set it on a manifold to look for spark (you'll need a friend to help)? Check the condition of the plug when you pull it. Wet? Black and carbonned up? Can you pop the distributor cap and check for burnt points? Can you throw another condenser on it? Fuel: Do you smell gas? When you pump the throttle does gas spray into the carb? Have you taken off the aircleaner and looked in there? Timing: Do you have a timmg light? Can you find top dead centre on #1? Can you find the timing marks on the crank pulley? Do one system at a time.
              Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

              Comment


              • #8
                The gas won't dissipate on it's own in just a few days if you've saturated the plugs. If it's trying but can't catch your plugs are probably wet and one or two are barely firing and the wet one's are not. With the pedal to the floor and the choke blocked open and without pumping the gas you'll get a whole lot more air in there and those few plugs that are trying will be able to catch. Once it starts, the compression in the non-firing cylinders will quickly create enough heat to dry the plugs until they can fire on thier own.

                The carb? You could have a stuck float or a float with a hole in it that's fuellogged. You could be picking up water from the tank, especially if you've allowed it to sit around for a long time with only a little bit of fuel in the tank, thus encouraging condensation. As I said above, you could have a maladjusted choke or choke unloader.

                Lots of things it could be. I'm just focusing on what the most likely thing your description of the symptoms tells me it could be.
                Mike O'Handley
                Kenmore, Washington
                hausdok@msn.com
                Last edited by hausdok; 11-23-2011, 11:51 AM.
                Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
                Kenmore, Washington
                hausdok@msn.com

                '58 Packard Hawk
                '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
                '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
                '69 Pontiac Firebird
                (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

                Comment


                • #9
                  its the ballast resistor (sorry dont know how to spell resisitor) If it starts but stops when you release the key check the ballast resistor and or the coil....they work together..joedipipi@msn.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think Dave Warren had a good suggestion. Check those points. They can fail without warning. Failure of those little boogers can be in several forms, such as a tiny speck of trash getting trapped between them to burning or a simple change in opening clearance due to the rubbing block wearing and causing them to go out of adjustment. Cleaning and adjusting points is more of an art than just a simple exercise of loosening a screw and reading a feeler gauge. You loosen the screw just enough to allow for the adjustment. If you loosen the locking screw too much, the adjustment will change when you lock them down. It is a tiny part of the ignition system, but getting it right could be the difference in "almost" running and running good.

                    This is but one of several problems that could cause the difficulty you are experiencing. However, it is a good place to check before you start ripping at other things. Good luck. These are simple machines. One thing at a time and you will solve the problem.
                    John Clary
                    Greer, SC

                    SDC member since 1975

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just went back to re-read the OP. Did it start okay before you replaced the plugs or has this happened since the plugs were replaced. If just since the plugs were replaced, when you put those new plugs in were you careful to make absolutely certain that you got the right wires on the right plugs 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 ?

                      Mike O'Handley
                      Kenmore, Washington
                      hausdok@msn.com
                      Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
                      Kenmore, Washington
                      hausdok@msn.com

                      '58 Packard Hawk
                      '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
                      '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
                      '69 Pontiac Firebird
                      (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If the motor does in deed fire off and then suddenly die when you let off of the key, then my first thought would be ballast resistor.

                        If the motor cranks over at a normal rpm for starting, then it is obviously not a battery or starter motor. Then I would think electrical.

                        To elimnate the "carburetor" possibility, you can try to use some ether, aka starting fluid spray. This actually helps dry out fuel that is sitting in the cylinders. You will need someone to crank the motor over while you have the carb cover/air cleaner top off. DO NOT actuate the accelerator for now. Spray then crank over. Repeat a couple of times if neccesary. Once it fires and the person operating the key lets off of the key, give the spray a quick shot again. If it continues to run on the spray, then you have a carb issue. If it still dies, then you have an electrical issue, likely a ballast resistor.

                        Hasdok has a possibilty too.
                        Last edited by kmac530; 11-23-2011, 12:21 PM. Reason: add

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Did a 57 have a ballast resistor? The first one I encountered was on a 63 Fargo. Learned to keep a spare in the glove box
                          Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Harbor Freight sells a cheap little light that you put between the spark plug wire and plug to check for spark.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "Harbor Freight sells a cheap little light that you put between the spark plug wire and plug to check for spark. "

                              ya, they are great, get one and use often. Be sure to test it on a known good car so you can see what it is supposed to do.

                              Percentage wise, most no-start situations are electrical/ignition
                              1947 M5 under restoration
                              a bunch of non-Stude stuff

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