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1953 V8 Only Turns Over With Plugs Out.


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Hi,

It has been a while since I last posted here. Here's a very quick history of my car:

1953 Buick Super, all original. 42,616 miles. Bought by my grandfather in 1970 and maintained/driven by him until 1985. 1985-1992: Seldom started and driven by my father. 2007-Present: Rebuilt carb, fuel pump, new hoses, belts, plugs, wires, distributor cap, coil, points, cleaned out gas tank and lines, new battery and cables, cleaned starting system contact points.

I did have the engine running several times and it would run as long as I would let it. I tried to start it tonight (its been a while, at least 6 months, maybe more) on a fully charged battery. I would just get a few slow clicks from the engine compartment. With the battery charger on the "engine boost" setting, the engine would not crank, and there were no clicks. I took all of the spark plugs out. They were all completely fouled. The engine turns over with the spark plugs out. Does this mean that there is water/antifreeze in the cylinders? What else would not allow the engine to turn?

Thanks,

Justin

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I would check the easy things first. Could be a loose/corroded electrical connection, possibly ground wire. Those old 6-volt starters took a lot of current. Could be a connection just good enough to turn the engine without the plugs but not to overcome the compression with the plugs in place.

I hope that's it -- a cheap problem to fix.

Don

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I would start with first things first.

Pull the battery cables and clean. Using a wire brush will work. Clean the battery posts. Check voltage of battery with cables removed. Reassemble and try again.

Any coolant in the cylinders should have blown out the spark plug holes.

Good luck

Ben

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More than once, I've seen battery cables that looked ok on the outside....have

a lot of resistance due to creeping corrosion and electrolysis traveling up the cable...

If they are old and connected most of the time while the car is stored, they may need replacing.

I suspect Don is correct in assuming that the weak cranking was due to

compression fighting back at you. Keep us posted...

Mike

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How about the battery itself.

How old is it; and what condition is it in ?

Take it to a parts store or repair shop that has a battery load tester and have them load test it for you !

This test puts heavy resistors on the battery to load it down. Then the voltage is checked .

Good Luck !

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I would check to see if the battery is good, as most have said; also check to make sure the cable is clean and well connected to the post on the starter too! Dumb things happen, and never take anything for granted when your car won't start: EVER! You'll probably figure it and and exclaim, "Doh!" as it was a very simple fix. Also, if you get frustrated, walk away and cool off, it's only a car, not a person, you can't reason with it!

Jaybird

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That all sounds good. Nothing wet came out of the cylinders! The battery is a few years old by now and has just sat most of its life. The battery cables are new. I did go through the starting system and cleaned the contact points as well as the engine ground, however, I know those things can corrode quickly, as you all have said. I will take another look at it tomorrow and also get the battery load tested.

I will keep you updated.

Thanks!

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To have a battery sit for most of it's life will kill it for sure. Batteries are like a racehorse , they need to be worked. That is----- discharged > charged > discharged > charged on a regular basis to prevent a build-up of sulphate on the plates which will render it useless. Buy a low cost trickle charger and leave it connected all the time while not in use.

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Hi. Definitely start with the cables, especially the negative / ground. I had a similar problem on my 1957 with intermittent starting and lo and behold, found that the NOS negative cable (which I thought was good) had corrosion creep under the covering. Replaced it with a new one, and bingo, the car started right up. Also, as Rooster indicated, the battery does need to be worked. If you have a new one, or access to one, you might want to try that as well. If you had coolant in the cylinders / heads, it should show up on the dipstick or in the oil if you change it. Really make sure that all the connections are really, really clean as well. Hope this helps. Keep us posted on the condition. Jim

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Justin,

Couple of thoughts if double checking all connections does not help. Remove the starter and clean up the commutator to be certain you are getting good current flow to the brushes. And, while apart, replace the brushes if worn. Do both before getting a new starter as they are tough and should last and last. Similarly the generator may be a bit corroded and in need of the same attention. Good luck!

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I agree with Gene. If the starter is typical GM for that era try looking at the solenoid they were repairable back then and had a contact washer that would some times get so pitted that it wouldn't make strong contact. The entire starter was user friendly to rebuild once off the car and a whole lot less than a new or rebuilt unit. Mark

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