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GL hard to start when cold


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51 replies to this topic

#1 CornerHard

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 08:30 PM

I've had this problem on and off for a long time, which has kept me from driving my 83 GL as much as I'd like :( Whenever the engine is warm, the car will start right up, but when the engine is cold, I'll have to crank the car over and over several times before it will slowly sputter to life. Sometimes the process will take 5 minutes or more. I've tried setting the choke, not setting the choke, pumping the gas while cranking, flooring the gas while cranking, etc, but nothing seems to have an effect. The parts I've added relatively recently that haven't really had any effect are:

- Weber 32/36 (Adjusted the idle fuel and idle already)
- New spark plugs
- New spark plug wires
- New distributor cap
- New fuel filter

The spark plugs are sparking when I pull them out and watch, and I can see the fuel filter fill up with fuel as soon as I start cranking, so I'm a bit at a loss as to why my car is so hard to start. Any other ideas?

Thanks

#2 beataru

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 08:32 PM

How hard is it to start? like a 5-15 seconds of cranking or like you have 5 minutes to get it to start... its carbed, carbs dont like cold weather... give us more info and we will tell you whats up.

#3 CornerHard

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 11:57 PM

This is crank it 10 sec, wait, crank it for 10 sec, wait, crank it for 10 sec, wait... Maybe on the fourth or fifth try it will sputter a bit. It's been doing this all summer long, even when it's hot out, so I don't think it's (just) the cold. I would almost think it wasn't getting fuel, but I can see the fuel filter fill up and I can smell the gas after cranking it a couple times. I'm pretty much at a loss, and I'm willing to try almost anything, so shoot me some ideas.

Also:

- Bought a timing light, and tried setting timing advanced and retarded in addition to factory settings, but no change in ease of starting.

#4 eponodyne

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:02 AM

Could it be that the cooler weather in the autumn has moved the carb out of its jet range? I used to race a Datsun 240Z with triple Weber DCOEs and I'd used to consider changing the jets if the temp was much more than 12-15 degrees off from the jetting I'd installed for the previous race.

#5 daeron

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 04:14 AM

I used to race a Datsun 240Z with triple Weber DCOEs



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On topic, you might have a bad accelerator pump? fuel filters? Can you check the level of fuel in the bolw of these carburetors at all? I am a carb novice, I just had to post about datsuns :grin:

#6 CornerHard

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 11:31 AM

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On topic, you might have a bad accelerator pump? fuel filters? Can you check the level of fuel in the bolw of these carburetors at all? I am a carb novice, I just had to post about datsuns :grin:


I don't know what an accelerator pump is, I'll have to look that one up. I'm not sure how easy it is to check the fuel bowl, but I'll try it.

#7 CornerHard

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 11:32 AM

Could it be that the cooler weather in the autumn has moved the carb out of its jet range? I used to race a Datsun 240Z with triple Weber DCOEs and I'd used to consider changing the jets if the temp was much more than 12-15 degrees off from the jetting I'd installed for the previous race.


It's been doing this in any temperature from 90 degrees to 40 degrees, and the car ran fine with the new carb when I first got it, so I don't think it's bad jetting :-\

#8 beataru

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 12:20 AM

zeees shmeees :rolleyes: .... 510s are where its at... oh back on topic um.... hmmm... I still think that is a carbed car so... it doenst likedy the cold weather!

#9 bluebaru

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 12:51 AM

my ea81 is like that now that its starting to get cold. i have a weber carb. i noticed though that when you crank it if you just hold down the gas it will go even on the first crank. also you have to rev it up some if its a completely cold start as it wont idle until warm. try just giving it some more gas i guess and see if it wants to go then...

#10 CornerHard

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 03:38 AM

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On topic, you might have a bad accelerator pump? fuel filters? Can you check the level of fuel in the bolw of these carburetors at all? I am a carb novice, I just had to post about datsuns :grin:


K, I opened it up and poked around a bit. The accelerator pump works fine for the primary barrel, but the one for the secondary barrel doesn't squirt at all when I open the throttle. Is this normal?

I don't see anything wrong with the float bowl, and everything looks clean and new. Of course I'm a carb newb, so my knowledge is limited to what I've found searching around on the internet.

#11 ivantruckman

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 07:34 AM

1) double check the plug gap, 2)if the car is running rich and dumping raw gas down the engine it can foul the plugs too, even if their new , 3) you can also check the intensity of the spark, you can tape the plug wire to a screw driver have somone crank the engine and see how long you can get the spark to bridge , you should be able to get atleast a 1/4 inch spark gap. 4) i purchased a new cap once and it had a small hairline crak it acted just like that. *** is it harder to start when its humid out***? good luck

#12 ScottG

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 07:45 AM

Don't know if this is a 'no-no', but try removing the air cleaner top and squirting a couple shots of starting fluid (ether) into the carb. Replace the air cleaner top before you crank....this stuff is very volatile!

This won't fix anything, but it will indicate if it might be a fuel delivery problem. If it starts right up, at least you will know there is a fuel problem of some sort.

#13 CornerHard

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 11:57 AM

1) double check the plug gap, 2)if the car is running rich and dumping raw gas down the engine it can foul the plugs too, even if their new , 3) you can also check the intensity of the spark, you can tape the plug wire to a screw driver have somone crank the engine and see how long you can get the spark to bridge , you should be able to get atleast a 1/4 inch spark gap. 4) i purchased a new cap once and it had a small hairline crak it acted just like that. *** is it harder to start when its humid out***? good luck


1) The spark plug gap is good, but the spark seemed a little faint to me, so I think I'll pick up a new ignition coil today.

2) The last time this happened 4 months ago, new plugs solved things. However, I tried new plugs again, and it still doesn't like to start.

3) Hadn't heard of this test before - I'll go try it now :)

4) Humidity doesn't seem to affect things, and I can't find anything wrong with the cap. I've checked the orientation of the distributor rotor and the spark plug wiring as well. Tried replacing all the spark plug wires, but no effect.

#14 CornerHard

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 11:59 AM

Don't know if this is a 'no-no', but try removing the air cleaner top and squirting a couple shots of starting fluid (ether) into the carb. Replace the air cleaner top before you crank....this stuff is very volatile!

This won't fix anything, but it will indicate if it might be a fuel delivery problem. If it starts right up, at least you will know there is a fuel problem of some sort.


I tried that, and it didn't help :(

#15 Towel Rail

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 10:04 PM

Could be the battery. Have you tried starting it with a charger hooked up?

Also, what weight of oil do you have in the sump?

#16 beataru

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 10:56 PM

the weight of oil should no longer be a problem, hard starting was caused by single viscosity oils back in the past, but todays multiviscosity oils should help that out just fine, although if your using a heavy weight, say 20 or 30w (which means winter, not weight) there could be some trouble...

#17 CornerHard

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 03:06 AM

Could be the battery. Have you tried starting it with a charger hooked up?

Also, what weight of oil do you have in the sump?


Yep, I've charged it fully while it's been sitting in my garage, and the car will crank nicely and quickly, but it won't start. I have 10w30 oil, but it shouldn't be an issue, as it's the same oil weight that was in the car back when it was running fine. Also, the car is in my fairly warm garage right now.


So I replaced the ignition coil with a brand new one today, and it still won't start :banghead: After trying for a good 15 minutes with different throttle/choke positions and strange things such as removing one spark plug while cranking, I was eventually able to get it to start. This gave me a chance to warm the car up to operating temperature for the first time in a while and reset the timing back to 8 degrees. Once the car is running, it's running perfectly.

However, after I let it cool down and tried again, it's back to not starting :( What else can I try here? I'll probably buy another set of spark plugs tomorrow because some of my existing ones are rather fouled-looking. Is there any way to tell if I'm getting too much or too little fuel into the cylinders?

#18 CornerHard

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 03:38 AM

There's one other interesting thing I noticed when I had it running. I could pull the spark plug wire for any cylinder and it would start running horribly - except cylinder 1. If I took away the spark from cylinder 1, there was no change at all. I guess it's time for a compression test :eek: Anything more benign that would cause cyl 1 to make no difference?

#19 daeron

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:38 AM

There's one other interesting thing I noticed when I had it running. I could pull the spark plug wire for any cylinder and it would start running horribly - except cylinder 1. If I took away the spark from cylinder 1, there was no change at all. I guess it's time for a compression test :eek: Anything more benign that would cause cyl 1 to make no difference?


I am a little confused.. you said above that it ran "fine" once it was warm. Are you saying that it sounds fine, despite this discovery that cylinder 1 is apparently not firing, ever? What I mean is, would it seem like cylinder 1 has not been working since you started troubleshooting this problem, or does it come and go?

Well, lets ignore all the previous posts about whats new or "good" just to avoid overlooking any possiblities.

Carb'ed vehicle, so no on fuel; cyl. 1 gets the same fuel as everyone else.

You mentioned compression, obviously must check.

The only thing particular to that cylinder is the valvetrain, spark plug, spark plug wire, and rotor terminal. Try swapping spark plugs and see if your problem follows a bad plug, try swapping wires for the same reason, and try (IF you can) to flip the distributor cap 180* and see if the problem follows that "button" on the cap.

So it looks like ignition parts, or possibly compression issue from a bad headgasket or MAYBE something wrong with the valvetrain..

#20 beataru

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:18 AM

There's one other interesting thing I noticed when I had it running. I could pull the spark plug wire for any cylinder and it would start running horribly - except cylinder 1. If I took away the spark from cylinder 1, there was no change at all. I guess it's time for a compression test :eek: Anything more benign that would cause cyl 1 to make no difference?

So Cylinder #1 Fires when it gets warm? Thats a tough one but anything is possible.

#21 CornerHard

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 09:41 PM

So Cylinder #1 Fires when it gets warm? Thats a tough one but anything is possible.


Cylinder #1 just seems to be sort of weak in general, regardless of whether the car is warm, which I'm guessing is due to poor compression.

So I was able to get the car to start somewhat easier by backing the idle mixture screw on the Weber out a whole bunch. The car is still hard to start and runs idles horribly once it's up to temp, but at least I was able to get it started without doing a rolling compression start. According to this tuning guide: http://www.carbureti...eber/adjust.htm there is a problem with the idle jet if the screw needs to be more than 2 turns out. Maybe my idle jet is clogged or malfunctioning somehow?

#22 beataru

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 02:20 PM

I doubt this will work, but when a car sits for a long time, sometimes the rings stop sealing, the solution to this is to squirt oil into the cylinder. I dont know if this will solve the issue, but that should give you some compression for a little bit. Have you ran a compression test?

#23 CornerHard

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 02:42 PM

I doubt this will work, but when a car sits for a long time, sometimes the rings stop sealing, the solution to this is to squirt oil into the cylinder. I dont know if this will solve the issue, but that should give you some compression for a little bit. Have you ran a compression test?


No compression test yet - I was busy playing around with the carb and electricals. I followed the Redline Weber tuning guide and set my carb back to normal settings, since it was running terribly. Now the car drives great once the engine is started and idles just fine. However, I pretty much always have to roll it down a hill or push it to get it started when the engine hasn't been run in the past hour.

I was thinking about it, and the main difference between cranking the car witih the starter and bump starting it is how fast the engine is turning over. If only I could get my starter to turn the engine as fast as rolling the car down a hill at 5mph, I could get it started every time. I noticed that the stock battery gauge reads about 9v when the engine is off, so I did some investigation of the battery to see if it's weak. However, my multimeter shows that the battery still has 12v when the engine is off, and hooking up extra grounding wires didn't change anything.

I think my next stab in the dark is going to be new spark plugs, since the last time I added new ones, the car ran better for a while.

#24 88RxTuner

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 03:26 PM

Firstly, put your carb back where it was, where the tuning guide says it should be.. If it ran fine like that 6 months ago, it should still run fine like that. Webers dont just 'stop working' unless something major goes wrong or they clog up...
The fact that starting fluid (ether) doesnt make it fire right away leads me to believe it's not a fueling problem, unless perhaps too much fuel? Does it smell like raw fuel when you are cranking it?
My FIRST step would be to check compression. If the engine is old and worn, low compression will prevent proper starting. Cranking for extended periods heats up the cylinder due to friction and compression. This little bit of heat may be all your engine needs to fire, leading to your long cranking time. CHECK YOUR COMPRESSION! Before you throw plugs, coil, etc. at it.

#25 beataru

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 08:27 PM

is the charge at 12.0 volts? because nominal battery voltage is 12.65




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