Jump to content

Starting Help - 37 special


jg_105
 Share

Recommended Posts

About 3 months ago I picked up a 37 special---- My First Vintage car!.  It had been driven into the barn (nice and dry) about 15 years ago.  When I got it I was told I should only need, Fuel, Carb rebuild, and a battery.....  we all know how that goes.

 

I decided to do a little extra work before trying to start it -   Took the oil pan off cleaned that,  Put Trans fluid down the Cylds for a couple days to make sure it was clear,  spun the motor by hand,  took the valve cover off cleaned in there,  had the carb(stromberg) and fuel tank rebuild.  Got a new 6v external fuel pump (other one was dead and had already been converted to electric pump), added a fuel pressure regulator,  New Cap, Rotors, Plugs and Wires.

 

I tried to fire it up this week -  Cranks over very slow -  did some digging-  Starter was drawing way to much -  Had it rebuilt

Put the starter back intoday,   Cranks way faster (not as fast as a modern car...) but doesnt seem to even try to catch.

 

Can you think of anything ive missed?

 

Anything else I can try

 

To be upfront,  I have not checked for spark today since the rebuilt starter was installed,  Thoughts if I have good spark?   Thoughts if I have no Spark?

 

THANKS

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As always, 3 things needed. Fuel, compression and spark.  You are probably ok with fuel and compression. Check for spark.

Did you remove the distributor to do the tune up? If you did there is a chance you might have gotten it back in in the wrong place. 

The flywheel timing marks on Buick straight 8's are often not in the right place - if the flywheel had been removed at some point in the cars life. They are often reinstalled in the wrong place. If that is so you'll have to "hunt" for #1 TDC.

Also, check plug wire positions, the distributor turns counterclockwise.

By doing all the work you have already done you are certainly heading in the right direction in firing it up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you confirmed that you are getting fuel to the carburetor? If you have fuel, then you should check for a spark. If no spark, then you need to retrace all of the wiring and make sure that everything is hooked up as it is supposed to be. Could be a bad coil, or condensor, or the rotor, or distributor cap or fouled plugs, or points or any thing else in the electrical system.

 

I would also invite you to join the 36-38 Buick Club. A membership form can be downloaded at this site: http://www.3638buickclub.org/membership.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would first pull the plugs and do a compression test. At the same time you can inspect the plugs for each cylinder, they will tell you how each cylinder was running when it last ran. If the compression is good and within 10% on all cylinders you will know for sure that the only things that can keep it from running are spark or fuel. Its easy to check for spark so that would be next. If the fuel is getting to the carb is the next thing to check. If fuel is getting in the carb and its getting spark it should start. If it doesn't then it is likely out of time by a long way. Let us know what happens next.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cars which have been unused for much less time than yours develop corrosion on the ignition points' contact surfaces. Shoot a bit of NON-flammable brake cleaner or contact cleaner on the point surfaces, and while they are in a closed position, draw a piece of uncoated paper between them with the spring providing some pressure.  An uncoated (non-shiny) business card is my preference.  BTW, have you checked point gap?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Guys

 

As mentioned it does have new plugs, wires, cap, rotor.....

I have not yet changed the points or checked the gap,   or new info to me tried to clean them.

 

Thanks

 

 

Does anyone know what the approx amp draw the starter should have?

Prior to rebuilding mine was pulling 300 amps,  which to me was way to high,  and very slow crank.   since rebuild turns over much faster  but Im not sure if it is the right speed  yet

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I go along with Los Vegas Dave and say, do the compression check suggestion. Those 15 years probably rusted the rings and valves a little. My 1940 wouldn't start, turns out the compression was bad and I had to take the head in for a valve job. Now it starts every time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been driving the car all around and have put probably 300 miles on it since Feb. when I finally got it started. Looks like driving it around caused the rings to seat. The first compression tests were done with the engine cold and it hadn't started in 30 years. The final test was done with the engine still warm.

 

Before rebuilding head:....................After.....................After driving it for 3 months

 

 

1................90....................................112.............................134

2................44....................................112.............................125

3................65....................................102.............................117

4................55......................................97.............................121

5................86....................................110.............................129

6................86....................................107.............................120

7................81....................................107.............................123

8................67....................................105.............................121

 

total.........574....................................852..............................990

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Ben I thought you already knew from the other board. This engine runs like a top now. You were part of the project, you are the one who pointed out it was a '53 engine.

 

Too much torque for the clutch though, I have to go easy on the gas or the clutch will slip up some hills. Maybe I'll replace the clutch soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If cleaning the points does not work, observe the wires from the distributor points through the distributor, to the coil.  Look for cracks in the insulation whereby the wires may be touching any metal on the engine and grounding your circuit.  Replace any questionable wires.

If that does not work, check the plug wires for correct position on the cap.  Here's my recommendation, and I apologize in advance if this is already old news to any readers:

Finding Top Dead Center can be done by removing the valve cover, and rotating the engine by hand while observing the valves. When the first cylinders valves are both closed, obviously the cylinder is in the cycle to be compressed. At that point rotate slowly till you notice the exhaust valve begin to open, then reverse the rotation a few degrees.  Using the longest plastic straw you can get ( I get mine at the local Wendys Restaurants)  place the straw in the spark plug hole and then rotate the engine backwards just a few more degrees. Stop and advance in the right direction, and when you see the exposed tip of the straw change directions, you will be as close to TCD as you can get. I am sure others have equally reliable methods to finding TDC.

At this point you want to make sure your points are open, and that the wire for the #1 cylinder aligns with the position on the distributor cap which will meet up with the rotor. 

PS, once you find TDC, you may want to paint a thin line on your flywheel to mark the position for future reference.  Yellow enamel paint with a thin brush is all you'll need.  That shows up well with a timing light.

 

Good Luck!

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John I think your method is good but I will give an easier one. To find TDC for cylinder 1, just watch the valves on cylinder 8. The exact point where cylinder 8 exhaust is fully closed and the intake valve starts opening is not even a degree, it basically happens at the same time, and if you find the exact spot it gives TDC for cylinder 1, without having to use a straw.

Edited by Morgan Wright
simplify (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Everyone.

 

I ran some tests,  had very weak spark out of the coil -    so Just waiting on the coil to show up.   I figured I also change the points and condenser -   Does anyone know what the point gap should be?

 

SInce we are on the subject -  I did change the plug and gapped them to the same gap as the old plugs -   does anyone know the exact spec?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for the input -  I got the car running -  and seems to run well -  may need to adjust the timinng slightly -  

 

Shes not a quite girl!

 

Still having issues with consistant starting -  sometimes it will fire right up,  other times it just cranks,  other times it sould like the starter(or something) is binding and it struggles to start -  usually after trying it a few times or after running it for a while.--- It has been converted to a push button start

 

Anything thoughts on that?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From your description, it is difficult to diagnose. My best guess is that it is fuel related. My 1937 Century will start right up well as long as it has not been sitting for several days. After sitting for several days, I use an auxiliary electric fuel pump for a few seconds to get some gas to the carburetor before I start it up. If not, it will take some time for the fuel pump to pump fuel to the carburetor so it will run.

 

If it seems to be turning over slow when the engine is warm, that might be a weak battery having trouble turning the engine when the compression is up from the warmed engine.

Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...