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Help! My 71 has arrived but it won't start!

 
Old 06-12-2019, 01:28 PM
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Dazaa Rafae Aman
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Default Help! My 71 has arrived but it won't start!

After a very long 5 month wait my 71 project car finally arrived in the UK. Before I begin my full build thread with lots of videos and pictures I need to figure out why on earth she isn't starting. I paid the seller 500 dollars for a full engine service which has thrown me a little as he sent me a video of her running fine right before it was shipped. It turns over and started for a second but the idle seemed really high and would die unless I pressed the gas pedal down in which case it kept going for a few seconds and eventually backfires with a huge cloud of white smoke pouring out of the air cleaner and splutter to nothing. The gas pedal is also low on the floor and has about 2 inches of travel. I get the feeling the sellers so called mechanic has bubba'd this up pretty bad. It's a 350 with a holley carb and edelbrock intake if that helps!

Edit, could a low battery cause the fuel pump to not run properly and this be a fuel starvation issue? I'm young and eager to learn, so sorry if this seems like a really basic question.

Last edited by Dazaa Rafae Aman; 06-12-2019 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dazaa Rafae Aman View Post
After a very long 5 month wait my 71 project car finally arrived in the UK. Before I begin my full build thread with lots of videos and pictures I need to figure out why on earth she isn't starting. I paid the seller 500 dollars for a full engine service which has thrown me a little as he sent me a video of her running fine right before it was shipped. It turns over and started for a second but the idle seemed really high and would die unless I pressed the gas pedal down in which case it kept going for a few seconds and eventually backfires with a huge cloud of white smoke pouring out of the air cleaner and splutter to nothing. The gas pedal is also low on the floor and has about 2 inches of travel. I get the feeling the sellers so called mechanic has bubba'd this up pretty bad. It's a 350 with a holley carb and edelbrock intake if that helps!
Daz, they will never work right straight off the bat so don't get disheartened already. Has it got a working choke installed ? If not you'll have to pump the accelerator maybe 6 times then start it and then keep the revs up for maybe 5 minutes before it'll idle on its own. The seller may have done this to get it running for the video. Post pics of the carb if you're not sure. When cold they do go into high rev initially (1400 / 1500) and then after a short time blip the accelerator to knock it down.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:21 PM
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Is this your engine?

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Old 06-12-2019, 03:54 PM
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I just had a proper look under the hood. I was in such a rush to hear it running that I totally missed the plug leads touching the headers! Also found a spark tester attached to one of the plugs, could this be part of the reason it wouldnít idle? Bubba definitely got to this one, how anyone could consider plug wires touching headers acceptable is beyond me. Iím really glad it didnít run earlier. The engine code is TJA which makes it a 73 or 78 160Hp I believe. Seems to have a Holley performer carb and intake. I have doubts about the 400HP claims the seller made.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:58 PM
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Yes thatís my engine bay. Here are some better pictures I just took.

Last edited by Dazaa Rafae Aman; 06-12-2019 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by brit vet View Post
Daz, they will never work right straight off the bat so don't get disheartened already. Has it got a working choke installed ? If not you'll have to pump the accelerator maybe 6 times then start it and then keep the revs up for maybe 5 minutes before it'll idle on its own. The seller may have done this to get it running for the video. Post pics of the carb if you're not sure. When cold they do go into high rev initially (1400 / 1500) and then after a short time blip the accelerator to knock it down.

Don't worry not disheartened at all, it's all part of the learning curve right? I think it has an electronic choke, theres 2 wires coming out of the side of the carb, but I don't know if it works....
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:07 PM
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A few more pics. There are 2 metal wires coming off the valve covers which go nowhere, some kind of ground perhaps? The distributor and plug leads look new as does the starter motor, although it's a chinese made one. There is a slight smell of gas from the engine bay, could be from the air cleaner top being loose tho, all the fuel lines look good and the filter looks clean, no leaks that I can see. Tank looks clean but the fuel is a bit yellow....seller was meant to drain it


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Old 06-12-2019, 04:40 PM
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Perhaps I should add, the key is stuck in the ignition, the column has been changed for a 77 one and the whole ignition switch is quite loose, could it be a switch issue causing it to cut out?
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:53 PM
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Take the air cleaner off so we can see the top. Then pump the gas 3 times.

The choke should close. Start there.

I'm going to guess the timing or a crossed/incorrect sparkplug wire in the wrong spot.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:17 AM
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Ok heres a pic. Can see fuel squirted everytime the pedal is pushed. I realised the distributor cap was totally loose, the plastic notches hadnt been seated in the base. and that atleast one plug wire wasn't properly seated on the cap....waiting for the battery to charge to crank it again.
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:52 AM
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So your getting fuel but no spark? Check that coil wire. It looks like it is pulled out of the dist cap and make sure it is a good wire.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Gordonm View Post
So your getting fuel but no spark? Check that coil wire. It looks like it is pulled out of the dist cap and make sure it is a good wire.
And it looks like it isn't connected to the coil very well either?
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:16 AM
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Ok a bit of progress. I change the coil wire and reseated all the plug leads now she starts up and idles for a few seconds till i touch the gas and then dies again. Could this be an idle screw issue?
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:18 AM
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Oops....posted a few minutes too late.

Originally Posted by Gordonm View Post
So your getting fuel but no spark? Check that coil wire. It looks like it is pulled out of the dist cap and make sure it is a good wire.
Originally Posted by bradleyb66 View Post
And it looks like it isn't connected to the coil very well either?
It looks like the previous owner didn't use the coil wire that came with the new spark plug wire set.


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Old 06-13-2019, 10:27 AM
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Dazaa Rafae Aman
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No he didnt because it had the wrong boot on and wouldnt fit, total hack job. When she ran for a second the oil pressure and water temp guages came to life for the first time. However i think the battery is knackered as after a few cranks its died again, could a dead battery cause it to start and cut out?
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:31 AM
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ALso I pulled a spark plug and it was pretty fouled, I'm going to give them all a clean and have ordered a new set....however since the car has side pipes the headers are blocking access to some of the plugs, do I have to remove the headers to get the plugs out?

One thing i've realised in my 24 hours of Corvette ownership is that absolutely EVERYONE wants to stop and ask about it, and it hasn't even left my apartment carpark yet!
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:33 AM
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Does it have an electric pump or the stock mechanical pump mounted on the engine? Sounds like it might be a choke issue - does the electric choke close when you start it?

BTW - you should replace that air cleaner - they are known to catch fire if you have any backfiring thru the carb.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Dazaa Rafae Aman View Post
ALso I pulled a spark plug and it was pretty fouled, I'm going to give them all a clean and have ordered a new set....however since the car has side pipes the headers are blocking access to some of the plugs, do I have to remove the headers to get the plugs out?

One thing i've realised in my 24 hours of Corvette ownership is that absolutely EVERYONE wants to stop and ask about it, and it hasn't even left my apartment carpark yet!
For those plugs that you can’t get to, try removing them from below. Just make sure that you support the car securely. Axle stands are good! Don’t use just a jack.

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Old 06-13-2019, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bradleyb66 View Post
Does it have an electric pump or the stock mechanical pump mounted on the engine? Sounds like it might be a choke issue - does the electric choke close when you start it?

BTW - you should replace that air cleaner - they are known to catch fire if you have any backfiring thru the carb.
I believe it has an electric choke, 2 wires going in to a black cylindrical thingy on the side of the carb...thats the choke right? How can I tell if it's opening/closing properly?
Air cleaner is going straight in the bin as soon as I mount the hood and figure out which size round chrome type will fit, I was a little worried about it catching fire!
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:13 AM
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Another thing I noticed is that it barely needs to crank for it to fire up, literally a blip of the ignition switch and shes roaring....for a second lol
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