Login  /  Register  
  Home  -  Forum  -  Classifieds  -  Photos  -  Links     

  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Return to Index  

Hard cold starting this winter

December 11 2011 at 8:59 PM
dane v  (Login danev2)

I suspect the fuel. Up here in the Pac NW, it's a winter blend of who knows what kind of horse piss they use up here as gas. It's all 10% ethanol. and 90% trash
The truck just really struggles to start up cold after it been sitting for a few days.
66F250 4x4, 78 F250 chassis. 70's era 460. RV cam D3heads, edel. 750 cfm manual choke. ford duraspark ign, blue grommet box.
It's all been running terrific for 4+ yrs since I put it all together.

It'll crank and crank, chokes in, and nothing. choke in choke out, it'll eventually flood. choke open, pedal down it'll eventually catch and splutter a bit and fire up.
Then it's fine. It'll run smooth, no stalls.
for the rest of the day, it'll start right up.
Runs and drives terrific. throttle response great fuel mileage as good as a 460 gets.

Park it. sits for a few days or heaven forbid a week. and it's all I can do to restart it.

I suspected it was the ign box. It was original Motorcraft of likely 20 + yrs old. replaced the box. no change.

so I'm back to fuel. Bad winter blend? I trade off between a 76, costco, and a shell. truck just doesn't like it.
Note: I did NOT have this problem when I was in Rockford IL last winter. truck would sit for a week at a stretch and would start up fine,

Weather here is cold and damp, foggy lows of low 30's high in the 40's cold and damp



 Respond to this message   
(Login hotrodfeguy2)

My guess

December 11 2011, 9:11 PM 

You have a 460 with maybe 8:1 CR factory then you go up the mountain in elevation. Plus add on some miles to the engines life. Yea I wouldn't want to start when cold with ethonal added in. I made a 2V 390 for my PU to run the 10% 87 octane gas witch is 89 actual with the 10% added BTW.

 Respond to this message   

Keep a can of....

December 11 2011, 9:53 PM 

starting ether handy and plan to use it when winter starting. You can't be doing your cylinders much good by washing them down every time you start!


 Respond to this message   
(Login mdkallas)

Re: Hard cold starting this winter

December 12 2011, 1:16 AM 

My 389 Pontiac would do the same thing. If i pulled the choke all the way closed, it would flood.

If I pumped it twice, then pull the choke only 1/2 to 3/4 closed and it would fire every time.

Try to pump it 4 or 5 times with no choke and see if that helps.

 Respond to this message   
(Login 391locker)

Re: Hard cold starting this winter

December 12 2011, 5:13 AM 

I had a 351W with the same kind of symptoms; it had a 600 edelbrock and a duraspark setup. I never did identify the problem but when it had an old OEM holley on it there were no problems. It seems strange that the carb might have been the problem since an engine will usually light off if just a little gas is trickled down the intake so I don't know what the problem was.

 Respond to this message   

(Login Scott66gta)

is it new gas?

December 12 2011, 5:25 AM 

gas looses its high votality component first, which helps cars start in the cold.. are you running a plastic fuel tank? Older plastic tanks can weep the high votality vapors right through the side of the tank, because the plastic used was a lower grade without proper crosslinking of the polymers... we have E-10 here in ny and we start OK in the cold, but during changeover, cars really ping a LOT when you tip into the throttle...

 Respond to this message   
dane v
(Login danev2)

Hard cold starts

December 12 2011, 7:38 PM 

Thank you all, I will add a little to the info pool.
The cap and rotor are about 8 months old. I did pull the cap off after a long drive. and left it open on the warm engine for an hour.
I've looked at it first thing on a cold morning and it looked OK , dry. inside.
One of the original reasons I had suspected the box. was that even with a shot of ether it wouldn't react. , no try, no splutter.
Twice when the battery had run down after alot of cranking, a jump start got it running. running voltage from the jumper car was 13+ V.
Spark plugs were checked 8 months ago. and are 2 yrs old. autolite platinums. looked great 8 months ago. timing checked 8 month ago. 8 deg initial just like when I set it 3 + years ago.
BUT I'll check it again.

on wednesday morning, first thing, check to see if any fuel for accel squirters.
no choke pump 4-5 times. (I normally pump twice and pull choke all in to start)
Well we'll see what happens.

Last tidbit. I bothered to ask bout 2 months ago when this problem started.
at the 76 station if they changed fuel blends. he confirmed that they did. Said most all stations here change over toward end of october.

lastly: duraspark and distributor is set up to the factory wiring scheme, with one exception. the two power source wires, run power and start power.
I do not have the start wire hooked up. It starts and runs on the run circuit only.
NOW this has been this way since day one. and like I said it worked last winter in IL and for years on cold winters in utah.
I've done the same setup on a small block galaxie and 2 other trucks. So I know it works this way.

and tank is all steel.

hope that helps. thank for all the suggestions.

I'll post update wed. night

 Respond to this message   
Paul Lovett
(Login Paul_Lovett)

This may sound stupid.

December 12 2011, 5:22 AM 

And it may actually BE stupid. happy.gif

But, can you run more initial ignition timing? I think it might help if it doesn't make your total timing too high.


 Respond to this message   

(Login Bad427stang)

I'd start with ignition

December 12 2011, 5:28 AM 

Cold and damp, hard starting, good after it warms up? Sounds like a bad cap to me. Look close at it for arcing.

However, I think I'd probably pull the coil wire too and look for a fat blue spark too before I went any deeper.

Also, old used car mechanic trick, never crank and pump at the same time. One or the other, you'll be amazed at how many old bones start right up if you use that trick.

[linked image]
- 70 Fastback Mustang, 489 cid FE, Victor, SEFI, TKO-600 5 speed, 4.11 9 inch.
- 71 F100 shortbed 4x4, 397 cid FE, headers, Street Dominator, 280H, 4 speed

This message has been edited by Bad427stang on Dec 12, 2011 5:29 AM

 Respond to this message   

(Login werbyford)

I'm with Ross, wet ignition?

December 12 2011, 5:57 AM 

We used to keep cars in the woods in the wet Pac NW.
Would try to start em all up now and then.
Everything wet, wet, wet as you know.
So first step, we'd pull the cap&wires and set em on top of the hot truck engine to let em dry out. Meanwhile fill the carbs with gas since they hadnt run in months/years. Then snap the dry warm cap&wires back on the wet car, zing, fires right up.

See if it looks wet under the hood, then see if it is wet under the cap (tell-tale), you can try to seal the cap/distrib with grease, that helps a little but heat em up/dry em out works best. Very wet up there whether it rains or not.

I find they start better too if the carb is "right" to start with, full of gas, choke plate just closed, couple of squirts and go.

I agree the gas is crappier though, pretty sooon we will all be like Road Warrior, hunting for the precious juice.

 Respond to this message   
(Login johannarich.)

possible combination of things?

December 12 2011, 7:04 AM 

i agree with paul, maybe try a bit of more initial timing as well. over the course of a few miles the timing chain will stretch causing a timing issue. also, i've had several friends who have had the same cold start problems and all 3 of them found the edelbrock carb to be at fault. i don't know if the float bowls were emptying out overnight causing a flooding issue, or what but when they swapped carbs the issues went away.....

 Respond to this message   

Bob Hasty
(Login hastyb1)

if you have

December 12 2011, 7:15 AM 

a torpedo heater try shooting some hot air at it for 10 minutes or so. At a resonable distance of coarse.

 Respond to this message   
(Login Blowbye)

Barring a malfunction...

December 12 2011, 7:21 AM 

...or bad part, an effective solution is a Holley red electric pump (7 psi) at the tank. I live in the NE with worse weather swings than you.

Either a switch on the dash or 'ignition on' and run the pump for 5 seconds first. Pump the throttle two or three shots and crank. If timing is right it will go right over-without the battery-killing cranking / flood routine. No matter how long it's been sitting unused.

Has worked for me for 2 decades.

 Respond to this message   
(Login cleandan)

Another for initial timing.

December 12 2011, 8:08 AM 

Dane, I have a 1977 F-250 Ranger, XLT, Camper Special, Super Cab running a slightly modded 460 that has much of the same set up as yours, except I am running a Holley 750. During the inital tuning after the rebuild, may years ago, I was told the factory timing set up was basically crap. Now I run 17* initial with 36* total and my truch starts all the time no matter what, runs better and makes better power. Living in MN I do not drive my truck in the winter unless I really have to so it sits for long periods during the winter. Heck I really use my truck as a utility toy so it sits a lot no matter what. With the proper ignition set up the motor cranks a little and then POP! Try checking your initial timing and go from there. Good luck.

 Respond to this message   

Jason Engle
(Login jakengle)

gas in carb?

December 12 2011, 8:32 AM 

The 2100 on my old 390 truck used to leak just barely so that after a day or so it would be dry. when starting it I would let it crank til the carb filled up (5 seconds of cranking), then I would pump it twice and hit the key and it would start. Take the air cleaner off and see if the accelerator pump has gas before you crank it next time.

[img][linked image][/img]

 Respond to this message   

(Login BattlestarGalactic)

Some thoughts....

December 12 2011, 9:22 AM 

before trying to start, check to see if gas in carb(pump throttle and look). If getting gas then that is not the issue. Pull cap and check for moisture. If dry, then it is not that.

I hate choke plates, I ALWAYS remove them from any Holley I have ever owned. I just use the high idle feature. Pump a couple shots, crank and fire. Yes, might be finicky for a minute, but once running I set the idle high enough to warm it up. Sub zero or 40 degrees, it always worked for me for 20 yrs of driving early stuff. I've never flooded an engine doing it this way.

What is your timing set at?? Maybe a touch weak for cold weather starting.


[IMG][linked image][/IMG]
2006/2009 UMTR Points Champion
1964 Galaxie 2dr 390/6-71/4spd
1964 Country Sedan Wagon 428/5spd
1969 F100 428CJ/4spd
1989 F100 302/AOD
1959 B Model Mack

 Respond to this message   

(Login olschoolsteel)

Back to the box for some diagnoses...

December 12 2011, 10:11 AM 

I am typing this from memory so bear with me.

The duraspark box has a spark advance. I think it's a white wire. Supposed to be for spark advance only during cranking. I did a quick look but the work comp is blocking me. Do some online research on the spark advance wire. I am betting its not hooked up on yours and by the sound of things you might need it. My money is on this...try it.

Someone correct me if i'm wrong on the color code of the wire and what it actually wires too...crunched for time and i cant find the sites i was looking for.

I dont think its moisture in the cap. I had a moisture problem on damp mornings but that was with points. The duraspark shouldnt have an issue.

I am glad the hair dryer in the dist cap every morning days are behind me. Total PIA.

On edit, i would suggest against using ether...if you've never run an ether dependant engine, it's like crack or heroine. Once it starts using, it will never get off of it. Just my experience. Even on warm sunny days.

This message has been edited by olschoolsteel on Dec 12, 2011 10:14 AM

 Respond to this message   
Randy Millard
(Login Henrysnephew)

If memory serves...

December 12 2011, 5:12 PM 

I believe that the white wire (on a "blue grommet" box) RETARDS the ignition during cranking - to assist in hot starts. I've never used it when retrofitting Duraspark systems to FEs. Randy Millard (Henrysnephew)


 Respond to this message   

(Login olschoolsteel)

Yes Randy, you are correct

December 12 2011, 8:21 PM 

I found the sites i was looking for. I am thinking if he tried to hook it up, it may help his situation. Like you, including myself, dont usually use the whit wire. But for a few quick connections and a jumper wire, it may be something for him to try to see if it helps his situation. I was wrong on the advance/retard recanting from memory, but i was right on the color of the wire!

OP, if you dont have the white wire hooked up, it MAY help. But i hope i dont waste your time if it doesnt.



 Respond to this message   
e. philpott
(Login pooreric)

how old are the spark plugs ??

December 12 2011, 6:26 PM 

just a thought

 Respond to this message   
  << Previous Topic | Next Topic >>Return to Index