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Old 02-08-2017, 8:30am   #1
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Default Need Help: Vette won't Start.

Allright, I'll admit that I don't drive this thing as much as I should, but this has me a bit mystified. Car is a '73 small block, 4 speed.

Quick background, everything drivetrain wise is pretty much new including components like the fuel pump, water pump etc. HEI Distributor, Fresh Plug Wires etc, Holley Double Pumper (AED).

In the past, when the car failed to start, It was usually because I didn't have enough fuel in the tank, and adding a few gallons of fresh gas, it fired.

This weekend, I replaced the fuel sending unit, which required me to drain the tank completely of old gas. So with the new unit in, I put in 4 gallons of fresh premium gasoline. The only other thing I did, was return the idle circuit screws to baseline (4 corner, bottom out the screws, turn and a half out)

The carb is getting fuel, as I can see the proper level in the sight plugs. Also, fuel is squirting into the primaries and secondaries (mechanical) - I cleaned out the inline filter (Summit AN with reusable mesh). I verified the plug wires are good. Distributor cap is solid, Distributor is locked down. Car was set to 33degrees Total. Battery with a fresh and full charge. Wires good to go.

Car turns over, but won't fire. I managed to get it to barely, and I mean barely, sputter with Starting Fluid, and white smoke came out of the carb, but I won't qualify that as any sort of victory.

I am miffed. I usually have this thing on a battery tender, is it possible that somehow the Ignition module got fried in the Distributor? I suppose I should verify spark, but this is totally weird.

Help!
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Old 02-08-2017, 8:58am   #2
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wish I could help
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:11am   #3
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Takes 3 things to make it run.....spark, gas, and air. I'd check the spark at the plug. Pull one out leave it connected to the wire and turn over the motor.....should be a nice blue spark. White or yellow is weak and may not be enough. Also smell the plug and check if it's wet with gas. Maybe you flooded it?

Check the firing order as well. If you mixed a couple up it won't run worth a crap. Everyone has made that simple mistake over the years.
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:17am   #4
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I'll verify spark. Also, I verified that I have 12 volts to the battery wire at the distributor. I don't see how this could be a broken timing chain or something like that, the engine is basically new. I haven't messed with the spark plug wires since I installed the distributor, so that would be surprising if something was off there, unless a fuggin ghost did something.
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:20am   #5
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You mention fuel site bowls on the carb....I ASSume that means it's a HOLLEY double pumper, and so do you have chokes on all 4 bbls??? another thing 33* on the ignition....what is the initial?? I would back that off a tad, turn the dizzy clockwise just a hair also.....goose hell outta the accelerator to make damn sure the acc pump is feeding gas to all 4 bbls.....

I would ditch that Holly crap for a Qjet ASAP, there is a fellow named LARS on CF C3 groups....do a search there, he is a retired GM engineer, and so knows those Qj's pretty good, they not much issue for ME, but I not there to help you any further LARS is out on your side of the nation anyway.....

PM me if I miss this thread on reply.....

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Old 02-08-2017, 9:23am   #6
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Hop in the car and have someone push you down a hill. Pop the clutch and away you go!



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Old 02-08-2017, 9:24am   #7
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Quote:
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You mention fuel site bowls on the carb....I ASSume that means it's a HOLLEY double pumper, and so do you have chokes on all 4 bbls??? another thing 33* on the ignition....what is the initial?? I would back that off a tad, turn the dizzy clockwise just a hair also.....goose hell outta the accelerator to make damn sure the acc pump is feeding gas to all 4 bbls.....

I would ditch that Holly crap for a Qjet ASAP, there is a fellow named LARS on CF C3 groups....do a search there, he is a retired GM engineer, and so knows those Qj's pretty good, they not much issue for ME, but I not there to help you any further LARS is out on your side of the nation anyway.....

PM me if I miss this thread on reply.....

Yeah, it's a Holley 4150 DP. I'll retard the distributor a tad after I verify spark. Thx Gene
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:26am   #8
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OH, the HEI, make sure that BATT/+ wire which is normally PINK and is on my '72, goes to a hard switched 12 volts, and you are NOT USING ANY OF THE OLD POINTS WIRING TO THAT HEI....that old wiring is scrap with an HEI.....you need make sure 12 volts is actually a full 12 volts when you let go the starter to run engine, IF it is not,....there is your issue.....

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Old 02-08-2017, 9:44am   #9
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The fact that it sputtered makes me believe you have spark. It also sounds like you have fuel. You most likely have compression, so my guess is its flooded. Prop choke open and hold throttle to the floor, crank until if starts. If not, pull plugs, if they are shiny and black, you will never get it started without replacing them. Good luck
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:51am   #10
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Odd, I pulled the number one plug, plugged it in to the wire and had it sitting to where I could see if it was sparking as I tried to fire the car, and the damn thing nearly started.

I didn't see a spark off the plug tho. Saga continues.
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:56am   #11
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Sounds like it is flooded.If you jumped a tooth or broke the chain it will be misfiring and popping through the carb or exhaust.
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:59am   #12
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Ok, Spark Verified. Looks blue and stuff.

I'm gonna try Gene's advice, maybe too much advance?

So, Fuel Check. Spark, Check.
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:01am   #13
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Island14 would know the answer to this..
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:09am   #14
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Island14 would know the answer to this..
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Old 02-08-2017, 2:21pm   #15
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Why Holley 4150 double-pumper? That usually provides way too much gas. Did you reduce the jets?
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Old 02-08-2017, 2:29pm   #16
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Have you bumped it to TDC on #1 and see if the rotor is pointing to the correct wire?
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Old 02-08-2017, 8:25pm   #17
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New spark plugs, fired right up.


I don't have a lot of miles on the old one, and they were fouled. Horribly fouled. Not oil, but carbon type stuff. They are sitting in a bucket in the garage, I can take pics later, but I'm assuming a rich condition.

What do I need to do?
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Old 02-08-2017, 8:32pm   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowvet View Post
The fact that it sputtered makes me believe you have spark. It also sounds like you have fuel. You most likely have compression, so my guess is its flooded. Prop choke open and hold throttle to the floor, crank until if starts. If not, pull plugs, if they are shiny and black, you will never get it started without replacing them. Good luck

This was the answer to my problem, so Thank You.
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Old 02-08-2017, 9:05pm   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaski View Post
New spark plugs, fired right up.


I don't have a lot of miles on the old one, and they were fouled. Horribly fouled. Not oil, but carbon type stuff. They are sitting in a bucket in the garage, I can take pics later, but I'm assuming a rich condition.

What do I need to do?
Bottoming out your idle mixture screws and backing them out one and a half turns was a good starting point, but it may not be the best position in all applications. If it was they would not make them adjustable.

At idle speed, connect a vacuum gauge and a tachometer to the engine. Turn the screws until you get the highest reading on both gauges. This may take a bit of playing around. It is best to do this while friends or at least your wife is watching because if you keep a serious look on your face you will really appear to know what you are doing. Also, if you bottom them out, do it gently because the needle and seat are fragile and the slightest damage to them can make a big difference. You may also want to reduce jet size, or try a plug with a hotter heat range. You are burning rich and cold.

I don't remember what I had for lunch on Monday, but I remember all of the above from auto shop in the 60s.
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:19pm   #20
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Contrary to popular belief spark plugs do get OLD, and I mean that even if they aren't being used. Black indicates a rich condition but you can't say it's running rich until you take it for a long drive with the new plugs in it, then see what they look like. Black THEN means yes....too rich. Gray or beige is good, white is lean. I think your main problem is a lack of use. Drive the thing more and it'll run like a top!

To me...you shouldn't have messed with the carb or the timing to figure this out. Those are set and don't change from the last time it ran well. Now you may have more problems from doing so.
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