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Old 02-23-2012, 07:57 PM
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Default Hard to start '59

I have a '59 convertible that has been completely restored. The past few weeks it has become very difficult to start. It has a new battery, fuel pump etc. It will just not turn over. No gas smell. It will eventually start after a good five minutes or more of holding down gas pedal and cranking it. Any advice??
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:22 PM
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jopizz jopizz is offline
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You didn't mention whether the carburetor has been rebuilt. When you can't start it have you looked down it and pumped it by hand to see if gas is shooting from the jets. It could be a bad accelerator pump or clogged fuel passages. That's where I would start.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:23 PM
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Have you checked to see if it is getting gas,could be the tank are a fuel line clogged.Next time you try to start it before you do pour a little gas down the carb just a little and then try to start it .If it does then it got to be tank or line I would think.I know if they sit for a week or so the gas will drain out of the line making it hard to start after setting.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:23 PM
lawyercalif lawyercalif is offline
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When was it restored? Did they put in a new gas tank at the time? Many of us have had fuel problems because of crud in our old gas tanks. I had this problem and went through a lot of parts before I discovered the real problem.

Not saying this is your problem, but it is common in cars that sit a lot. Also I agree with tp bird, when my car sits for a week or so I have to prime the carb with raw gas to get it to start.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:24 PM
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Hang on a sec . . . it will not turn over but then you say it starts after cranking it for 5 minutes . . . . Those are at odds with each other.

Since it sounds like it does turn over, let's go back to basics. Any engine needs 3 things to get going: gas, spark and compression. Ferrari or lawn mower. Let's assume you have compression (head gaskets did not vanish while parked). We're down to gas and spark.

* spark: get an old plug, remove one plug wire, put the old plug in the end of the wire and lay it on the block. Have someone crank the engine. See if you have a good, fat spark. (if you have points, they can get moisture on them while sitting and kill the chance of spark. A business card between them can do wonders in a second)

* gas: a couple approaches. One would be to disconnect the fuel line to the car and put it in a container. Have someone crank it over and see what comes out.
OR pour some gas in the carb and see if the engine has immediate signs of life. While we are in that ball park, see if your choke is working. An open choke on a cold motor will allow too much air in . . Fuel filter last changed . . . ?
Fuel pump last changed . . . . ?

See what you find and we can go from there.

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Old 02-23-2012, 08:43 PM
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Could be the choke has come loose on the carb and not closing. Take the air cleaner off and make sure the choke is closing all the way when the car is cold. My Dad used to say "twice to the floor and touch it no more" when starting the car cold. Meaning press the gas pedal to the floor twice. That should set the choke closed and put 2 squirts of fuel in the carb throat - plenty to start it. When cold the choke should look like mine in the picture below which is closed (well almost closed - it's a tiny bit open) then slowly open as the car warms up. That's assuming you have the 352 with the Ford 4100 carb - others should look similar.

As a further check you can operate the gas pedal linkage from under the hood and make sure the accelerator pump in the carb is squirting fuel when the pedal is pressed. That will tell there is gas in the carb.

Are you using premium gas? These cars are really hard to start using regular gas.

Otherwise - use some starting fluid (only a TINY bit of starting fluid - one or two small squirts). Spray it down the carb then try to start the car. If it fires up immediately then it's a fuel delivery problem.

Could be as simple as a clogged fuel filter, or as bad as the fuel tank pick-up or line clogged. Sounds like a delivery problem since you don't smell gas when trying to start it. I've run in to some rubber products that are not made of rubber that can stand the ethanol in today's fuel and disintegrates so even though the carb and pump have been rebuilt they could still be suspect but I'd put those last on the list.

I'm guessing it runs fine after it starts?

registry 5347
(I'm originally from East Asheville)

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Old 02-23-2012, 09:12 PM
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I once had a 55 Chevy ,went on a trip and all of sudden it stopped and I had to crank it for awhile and it started ran about a 1/2 mile and died again same thing cranked for awhile started ran aways and died.Got it to a shop and the guy worked on it for a long time new fuel pump then a fuel pump rod ,messed with the carburetor and so on.Come to find out it had a screen at the gas inlet on the carburetor and it was plugged-up with like lent that aloud just enough gas in to run it at idle but not going down the road at normal speed.
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:51 PM
63-4drpost 63-4drpost is offline
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Wink fuel problem

Do like I did, install an elecric fuel pump back by the tank.Then put a GOOD fuel filter, like a filter for a 1990 Ford Taurus, and at least have good clean fuel to the carb right away. We tend to forget what a crock of **** those old fuel pumps and carbs were now that we are used to cars with fuel injection that start and run right away. Good Old Days!!
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:29 PM
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Anders Anders is offline
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I always use the clear filters, so I can see if there is any dirt ( or fuel.. ) in there. After not using the car for a long time, I use to crank it for a a few minutes. Never realy liked that, so now I disconnect the fuel line next to the carburator, and suck until the fuel reach the filter. The rest I let over to the start motor to pump. I "only" need to do this once a year, after the winter season. Works fine for me.
..."Lil darling Ruth"

Last edited by Anders : 03-01-2012 at 05:34 PM.
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