Sign in to follow this  
Mit Erhym

Have spark to plugs but won't start. Help!

Recommended Posts

I was out cruising around in my '58 Super and everything was just fine. Got home, backed it into the garage and closed shop. The next day I needed to move it and when I tried to start it it fired up then began to idle rough and finally died. Next try nothing. Just turned over and over. Next day I tried it again and same result, except it would not run at all, just tried for a few seconds and died once. Then nothing. Sprayed starting fluid into the carb and tried again, but no response when I tried to start it again. Checked spark at coil output, fair. Checked for spark at plugs, one short spark upon turning over, then nothing. So, replaced Coil, points and condenser. Good spark to distributor, and good spark to plugs. But she still won't start. Just turns over and acts like there is no spark to the plugs, but there is. Tried starting fluid again, still nothing.

Anyone out there have any suggestions? I can't figure out what to test/check/replace next. Help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You need spark, fuel and compression.

spark: you got that...still could be intermittent due to grounding issues. As a test run a jumper wire from the (-) terminal of the battery to the body of the distributor; if no joy run another jumper from the (+) terminal of the battery to the (+) terminal of the coil.

fuel: be sure there is fuel to the carb and should see squirts as you open the throttle (I have been mislead by failure to fire using starting fluid)

compression: easy enough to check.

spark, fuel and compression: all has to happen in the right order. With the timing mark on TDC, be sure the rotor is pointing to the #1 spark plug wire.

Check back

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have been using modern tune up parts, due to the description, try a different condenser for the points. The new stuff losses something on the boat ride. You might even find that the wire came out of it.

Bernie

Oops, just scrolled back up and saw you put one in. Rummage around and see if you have one that is 20 years old or older.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spark *at the right time*. The rotor in my 57 roadmaster "skips". I haven't pulled the distributor to diagnose why. However, I went through all the same steps you did before pulling the distributor cap and watching the rotor while cranking the engine.

**under edit- Mit, I only mention what I found as a spark issue for MY nailhead in an attempt to give you something else to check. Not to bogart your thread..**

Edited by High Desert (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the distributor bolted down properly? Inside the distributor, make sure none of the wires are grounding out on metal, no worn insulation on the wires.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact that the car "died" while "sleeping" at night when not running eliminates anything mechanical.

Once I had a Buick that did just what you describe. All regular checks showed nothing wrong.

The car had spark (and everything else), but wouldn't run.

Turned out to be the coil in my case. Wouldn't fire under compression but the spark looked OK when checked with a plug just laying on the engine.

You might try a different coil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end of the day it turns out like this: The new condenser was bad from the store. Replaced with an old one found in my Grandpas parts bins. The wire coming from the coil to the distributor was worn where it passes through the underside of the base and was grounding. Replaced wire. Engine was severely flooded from all the attempts to start the car, hence the starting fluid had no chance to work. Let sit for 2 days to evaporate.

And now, she purrs like the car she is supposed to be. I'm off for a drive. Thanks for the advice everyone!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this