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1953 Buick Special Won’t start


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HELP 

 

I drive a 1953 Buick Special with a straight 8 engine. Woke up this morning to my car not being able to start, I’m thinking I may have drowned the carburetor. I cranked it a couple times but the engine stopped turning and the Started began to click on me. I’m not a mechanic but I’m trying my best to learn everything , if anyone knows what I could do that’s be great thanks! :)

Edited by oscarh53
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Make sure the battery is fully charged. By then, the carb should have dried out some. try to keep from flooding it after you get the battery charged. I've learned a lot from the guys on this forum. Post some pics of your car for all to see. Good luck !

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In my opinion, if you want to be sure the battery is fine and not the cause of any issues, then disconnect the cables, clean both posts, and put the battery on slow charge overnight. Then, since you probably don't have the equipment to draw down the battery under a load, and see how fast it recovers, just take it (fully charged) to your local auto parts store and have them test if for you. If your battery is in any condition less than perfect, you would be wise to replace it first thing. Then, as you begin to diagnose other potential issues, you'll know the battery is not the source of your problem. 

 

Sherlock Holmes was famous for using the deduction method of solving questions. In other words, by verifying what was NOT the problem (one issue at a time), he was eventually left with only the one thing which was the correct solution to the problem. That is exactly the way I like to solve hard-starting issues on old cars. 

 

Good luck to you, and keep us posted. 

Edited by lump (see edit history)
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I bought one of those things off a Homier Distribution travelling tool sale years ago. $19.95 and it has paid for itself many times over. It was what diagnosed the bad battery cable that was keeping the Gray Ghost station wagon from starting.

 

Rambling... I remember when Homie Tools (as we called them) coming to town was a big deal. Every gearhead around came. I bought a small oil-lube pancake air compressor to keep at my Mama's place and it did the job until the day it didn't. Took it back next time the circus came to town, showed them what it was doing (starting capacitor failed, I could have fixed it but wanted to see if they'd replace it after 2 years) and without a receipt I walked out with a brand new one. Used it for over ten years till a chinesium proprietary elbow failed and blew out, and there was nothing to be found that would fit.

 

I had a Craftsman hotdog compressor concurrently and the Homie Tools compressor would run circles around it. I miss that little blue compressor.

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I have several of the old load type testers from the last century but really like all the tests my BT-360 can do.

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41 minutes ago, John348 said:

 

Oscarh53, The Buick needs three things to run, spark, fuel, and air. keep it simple and it becomes much easier to solve the problem, keep us posted

Spark, Compression, and Gas. Yes. The hard part is having all of it in the right amounts, and at the right time. Dandy Dave.

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Nobody has said it yet, but confirm quality clean connections at both ends of the giant cables needed for 6 volts.

 

The clicking does indicate a weak battery, too.

 

And when I flooded my 39 Buick I had gas just pooled in the bottom of my manifold. Took forever to dry out.

 

Ratios, patience and good luck will get you going again.

Edited by JRHaelig (see edit history)
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Hint: if a cable or connector gets hot when you try to crank, it is bad.

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9 hours ago, JRHaelig said:

nd when I flooded my 39 Buick I had gas just pooled in the bottom of my manifold. Took forever to dry out.

One thing you can do with a Buick with the accelerator start is to remember not to take your foot off the pedal between starting attempts.  Just hold the accelerator steady and turn the key off and then on again to engage the starter.  Every time you press the accelerator you pump more gas into the manifold.

 

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, rocketraider said:

I never knew Buick used both 6 and 12 volt systems in 53.

 

Ah Ha! Not reading my posts I see. 🤣

 

On 2/26/2021 at 10:21 PM, Frank DuVal said:

The 53 Special is the last 6 volt Buick model. The V-8s that year were the first Buick 12 volt systems. 

 

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I recall that the '54 Buick I had years ago with that problem and found that the braded copper ground strap that ran from the block to the fire wall was broken.

I replaced it and the engine fired up normally. 

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I remember that automatics would work with a bad braid & ground through the shift cable. Manual trans wouldn't (rubber isolators).

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3 hours ago, padgett said:

I remember that automatics would work with a bad braid & ground through the shift cable. Manual trans wouldn't (rubber isolators).

 

Right up until the cable seizes up from internal welding! I've replaced one for a friend on a 71 Chevelle floor shift. I repaired the braided ground strap also.👍

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I have a Delco Remy Wire and Cable Catalog printed in 1978, and there is a separate listing for the battery cables for the Series 40 from the Series 50 and 60, I am presuming that the Series 40 is the Special? It is the only year that happens through 1963 and model designation.

 

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Ben I do believe the OP is gone.  Anyway, I am no longer working on cars but - when I had an issue like this non start I would take it as an opportunity to replace components so associated.  For instance, most of us agree the battery may be the core issue since the starter 'clicked.'  I may be in the minority here, but even if it is the battery, I would replace the battery, cables, reattach ground with solid metal and maybe look at a rebuilt starter.  I know, seems like over kill but I would use the opportunity to redo my starting components.  

 

I think old cars can use maintenance.  If I still had an old car like this, each fall when they got put away I would do a rebuild of something.  In fact I used to do that.  Pull the carb off and have it professionally rebuilt.  Water pump, that sort of thing, long before touring season.  

 

Now back to your bemusing comments. 

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1 hour ago, B Jake Moran said:

Ben I do believe the OP is gone.  Anyway, I am no longer working on cars but - when I had an issue like this non start I would take it as an opportunity to replace components so associated.  For instance, most of us agree the battery may be the core issue since the starter 'clicked.'  I may be in the minority here, but even if it is the battery, I would replace the battery, cables, reattach ground with solid metal and maybe look at a rebuilt starter.  I know, seems like over kill but I would use the opportunity to redo my starting components.  

 

I think old cars can use maintenance.  If I still had an old car like this, each fall when they got put away I would do a rebuild of something.  In fact I used to do that.  Pull the carb off and have it professionally rebuilt.  Water pump, that sort of thing, long before touring season.  

 

Now back to your bemusing comments. 

Also if it just randomly didn't start one morning and the battery was normally fine before, there could be something drawing current even with everything turned off. Just a thought.

Edited by AL1630 (see edit history)
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  • 2 months later...
On 2/26/2021 at 3:47 PM, oscarh53 said:

HELP 

 

I drive a 1953 Buick Special with a straight 8 engine. Woke up this morning to my car not being able to start, I’m thinking I may have drowned the carburetor. I cranked it a couple times but the engine stopped turning and the Started began to click on me. I’m not a mechanic but I’m trying my best to learn everything , if anyone knows what I could do that’s be great thanks! :)

I GOT THE SAME VEHICLE AND I STARTED IT LAST ON 2001 WHEN THE 6V BATT WAS DEAD AND JUMPED IT WITH A 12 V AND BLEW THE SOLENOID.

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Hi I had a 53 Buick special and as I kept it abroad in Cyprus it would have to stand for many weeks 

to get it going I used take off air filter and spray couple squirts of easystart into carb , worked  a treat few hours driving and she always started never let me down , great car loved her.

 

 

 

 

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