Jan. 19, 2011 at 1:15pmTech Tip: Cold Starting Vintage Car

HARD STARTING COLD By Paul Kelly, President Gig Harbor Cruisers Automotive Club

CarbDifficulty starting a vehicle that has been allowed to sit for a number of days (that will then start well the rest of the day) is often caused by modern fuel.  Modern fuel begins to vaporize (evaporate) at a much lower temperature than fuel that was available before the 1970’s. So, once the engine is shut off, the fuel in the carburetor bowl begins to evaporate through the bowl vent. If there is no fuel in the carburetor, the engine will not start.

Pumping the foot-feed during this time simply prolongs the agony, as the accelerator pump will pump the fuel into the engine, but in amounts insufficient for starting.

If you have this problem, try priming the carburetor by using an eyedropper and filling the carburetor bowl through the bowl vent prior to cranking the engine. If you do not wish to prime the engine, crank the engine for 15 to 20 seconds WITHOUT PUMPING. Then stop cranking, pump the foot-feed 3 or 4 times, release it, and then reattempt to start the engine. Priming the carburetor eliminates excessive wear on the starter.

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