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~~ HELP ~~ Problems starting 425 Buick Nailhead

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tall Paul, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. I recently purchased a 64 Riviera with a 425 and a carter afb carb. Was having a heap of trouble starting and could only get it to start by spraying starter fluid down the carb 2 or 3 times. Once it started it ran and idled but kinda crappy. So i had the carb rebuilt, and today replaced plugs, points and condenser and put rebuilt carb back on. Threw gas and starter fluid down the carb got it running, adjusted idle screws, set timing and it runs real sweet. idled it for 5 minutes and bought the revs up real high and held em there and it is nice and sweet.

    turned it off and let it sit for approx 2 hours. Went to start it and it STILL has starting problems. It just cranks until the battery almost dies. Only seems to start by spraying starter fluid down the carb?? But once it is started, it runs fine.

    Anyone have any ideas???? I'm not a carby guy or engine guy, and I can't seem to figure out what I'm missing here??

    Any help is mucho appreciated.

    Thanks, Paul.
     
  2. 51 mercules
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,152

    51 mercules
    Member

    Do you have a mechanical fuel pump?I had that problem with my chevy,it had a hole in the diapragm and if it sat for awhile the fuel would drain back from the carb and fuel line and wouldn't start.I changed it a few years ago and haven't had a problem since.
     
  3. 32ratsass
    Joined: Dec 14, 2007
    Posts: 258

    32ratsass
    Member

    Did you pump it? Accelerator pump working? Auto choke working? Did you adjust idle/air or just idle speed?:confused:
     
  4. Yeah it does have the mech fuel pump. Funny i thought it might be "draining back" past the diaphragm but didnt think it might have a hole in it. good call, thanks. Out of curiosity did you replace it with another mech fuel pump or an electric one?

    Anyone else think of anything else?
     

  5. 51 mercules
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 3,152

    51 mercules
    Member

    I replaced it with another mechanical fuel pump.
     
  6. As i try and starty it, i just give it a couple pumps on the accelerator pedal like i would on other cars. With the carter is there a different way to start it? Do i have to puch the pedal all the way to the floor to activate anything first?? accelerator pump working ? umm..i guess? dunno? had the carb rebuilt so i'm guessing the guy serviced it? it's in the carb itself right? Like i said i'm not a carb guy so not too sure? :( Auto choke may be set too far open. Do i set this at running / idle temp or at cold temp.
     
  7. Yeah cool.

    Another quick question, in this pic (not my engine) what is the little soleniod looking thing attached to the linkage of the carb. My engine has the solenoid thing mounted, but isn't connected to the carb linkage. mine looks like the rod joining the two has snapped off. Do i need it connected ??

    [​IMG]
     
  8. 32ratsass
    Joined: Dec 14, 2007
    Posts: 258

    32ratsass
    Member

    Couple of pumps should give you plenty of fuel to start. You'll be able to see the fuel squirting into the primary throats when you pump it. The choke should be set closed, cold, and them make sure it opens partially when it starts, and is opened fully at operating temp. One pump to floor when cold should squirt an initial shot of fuel, and set the auto choke, for starting. The solonoid thing in the picture, looks lke a solonoid used to drop the butterflies closed when the ignition is shut off, to prevent "dieseling" when the engine is hot.. Hope some of this helps.:)
     
  9. Great info, thank you very much :) I'm a go mess with the auto choke tomorrow, and prob replace the fuel pump too.

    Cheers :)
     
  10. The man to talk to regarding your Nailhead problems is Mike May of Mike May Performance Engines. He is in Fillmore CA. He was recommended to me by a lot of Nailhead guy's I spoke with. Mike just rebuilt my 63 Rivi. engine and it couldn't run any better. Mike is a good dude to ear pick and he is way cool old school! (805) 990-4152. Mike has been building proven Hot Rod engines for over 50 years.
     
  11. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,280

    mj40's
    Member

    It's the factory kickdown switch for the SP 400 tranny. Its hooked to a fused 12 volt source and supplies power to the switch pitch terminal on the tranny when the accelerator is wide open. <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
     
  12. My Nailhead tends to flood very easily, will fire on starting fluid just as you describe, then run rough and die. My tendency is to want to pump the throttle when it's running like this, but what I really need to do is back off the gas. Try less gas...
     
  13. CRYOMAN
    Joined: Feb 27, 2008
    Posts: 43

    CRYOMAN
    Member
    from so cal

    Make sure your coil is not hooked up backwards.
     
  14. 32ratsass
    Joined: Dec 14, 2007
    Posts: 258

    32ratsass
    Member

    Sounds more reasonable than my thought. Never even considered kickdown.:)
     
  15. telriv
    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
    Posts: 67

    telriv
    Member
    from Conn.

    DO NOT, REPEAT!!!!!! DO NOT free rev the "Nail" like you would a SBC or else you will be picking pieces up off the ground. For some reason the #6 or #8 cylinder pistons like to disintegrate.
     
  16. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    Yes it needs to be connected... mj40 got most of it correct.

    it was worth a shot right?

    On mine it at wide open throttle it only seems to pass voltage to the kickdown solenoid and not the switch pitch. And power to the switch pitch at closed. Though I have set it to use the brake switch for the switch pitch.
     
  17. OK so update...

    Installed a new mech fuel pump and new fuel filter (the factory type that has one input and two outputs - one to the carb, adn the other the return line to the tank) and it STILL won't fire first shot. Once i have it running for five minutes or so i can turn it off, and it will start straight back up, first spin of the starter, no touching the throttle. I left it for about 1.5 hours, then tried again. It just sits and cranks over the engine about twenty times, no coughs, no nothin, not even trying to fire or get going. i gave a little tap on the throttle and it splutters, a little tap, another couple fires. stopped cranking, tried again and through some random combination got it running. This is really starting to bug me now! :(

    I checked the coil, -ve side to the distributor, +ve side to the ballast resistor.

    carb was rebuilt by a friend of my father in law's who said he has rebuilt a tonne of carbs in his time. He didnt say there was much crud inside of it. Could there be somehting on the carb not working properly, or not setup correctly??

    So the solenoid thing needs to be hooked up eh? Would this affect my starting issues any? If it is not hooked up (as mine is not right now) how will this affect the cars drivability?

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks for the help guys! I need to get this sorted so I can attend Bad Bob's HAMB BBQ this saturday and not have to start it with a can of ether in the carpark when i leave :)

    Cheers,Paul
     
  18. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC


    Won't affect the starting issues. But it will affect drivability. No passing gear or holding it in gear longer when you are accelerating hard.
     
  19. Chris Casny
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,870

    Chris Casny
    Member

    Call me crazy, but when I first started driving my hot rod with a 322 Nailhead, I had issues starting the car in the morning, it turns out, I didnt pump the gas enough to get it going. Nailheads loooooooooove gas.
    But when the engine is warm it should start right up, thou.
    I don't know, Zman is usually the go to guy when it comes to nailheads, I'm no expert, listen to what he has to say.
     
  20. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    LOL, they do love gas.... I have to pump mine pretty good in the morning to get her going... One day I'll get around to finishing tuning the carb... It sounds like the carb is drying up a bit while it sits, now wether this is through the pump or a plug in the bottom of the car, I do not know. SOrry I haven't been more on top of this Paul, I've been swamped the last couple days with some stuff, hell I'm working on something right now... I'm trying to remember the guys name that's on here that is the Carter guru, Carb King or something I think... I'll look in a bit if I get a chance
     
  21. Yeah i havent really been pumping the throttle much at all whilst trying to start it. I'll have a play round with pumping different amounts of gas through it tomorrow :) Thats propbably all it is. Might see if one of the guys at Bad Bob's HAMB BBQ can tune it up for me a bit better on saturday. I'm no carb or engine guy so i just "tuned" it (and i use that term loosely) as best i could.
     
  22. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 6,929

    thunderbirdesq
    Member

    One more thing to check, make sure the wire that supplies 12v directly to the coil from the starter solenoid while cranking is intact. If it's not there/unhooked, it'll hard start.
     
  23. This is the one that goes through the ballast resistor? If so, yep, it's there, but it has had a dodgy addition to it at one point in it's life where another wire has been tapped into it and ran inside the car, onto the ignition switch for some reason. I'm guessin at one stage someone thought it wasnt gettin 12v.

    One other thing i noticed when changing the points. There is one condenser inside the distributor, and another one mounted outside the dizzy next to the coil. Do i need the two there? is having two likely to cause any issues? Might take the outside one off and leave the new one inside the distributor. thoughts?
     
  24. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 6,929

    thunderbirdesq
    Member

    There should be a resistance wire or balast resistor that goes from the ignition switch to the + side of the coil. There should also be a wire coming from the starter solenoid that goes directly to the + terminal on the coil as well. It supplies 12V directly to the coil to make a hotter sprk to ease starting when you're cranking the engine only. As soon as the engine starts and you release the key from the start position, it shuts off and power is supplied to the coil through the balast resistor or resistor wire.

    The outside condensor is a cap that reduces radio interference from the ignition system.



     
  25. Yeah right. I get it. Interesting. Well i know that wire dfinately ain't there. there's only one wire attached to the + side of the coil and that goes directly to one side of the ballast resistor mounted on the firewall. I'll have to have a hunt around for this wire. Is this something that would have been factory fitted for Buick in 64 or is it a common practice technique user installed to aid in starting.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  26. Black Panther
    Joined: Jan 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,665

    Black Panther
    Member
    from SoCal

    Tall Paul... a couple of things you might want to look at....the small rubber line in the back off of the car from the sending unit to the metal line might have a crack...so the mechanical pump cant overcome the leak at cranking speeds to get enough gas in the carb to get it started. Once its running the small crack in the line if there, could be overcome by the fuel pump which fills the carb. Weird but it has happened to me...this fault doesnt explain the hard starting when warm though....because you should have gas in your carb...

    The second thing is that either the carb is boiling the gas out, or maybe leaking into the engine after you shut it off. That would explain why it will start right away after you shut it off after a minute or so, but is really hard to start after its been sitting for a while. If the carb is dripping gas into the engine it will be flooded...once you get it started does it blow black smoke and struggle to start like it was flooded?

    My 2 cents....good luck...
     
  27. claymore
    Joined: Feb 21, 2009
    Posts: 896

    claymore
    BANNED

    The condenser outside the distributor is probably for radio noise suppression ignore it for now. Connect it later if you have problems with engine noise in your radio.
     
  28. So i went out this morning, adjusted the black dial auto choke unit to a position that looked a bit more normal than where it was. It may be broke, i'm not sure. I loosened the three screws, adn rotated it until the choke plate closed. As i rotate the black plastic dial bit i can feel the spring under/inside it pinging and resisting me trying to move it, anyway, i dunno what it's meant to be like, so i just rotated it until closed. Hopefully once it's warmed up, the choke plate should open up right?

    Once that was adjusted i got in, and thought right, don't be a pu$$y, get on the gas! HAHA So i gave it two good pumps on the gas and cranked it, and ....nothing. Stopped, gave it two good pumps again, and this time held the throttle half open, gave it a crank and it roared into life! This was the easiest time it's started (besides spraying starting fluid down the carb) from cold so it could have been a combination of all things mentioned, or just could have been that i wasnt giving it enough gas to start? i dunno. I'm a leave it sit for the whole day, then try later this evening to start it the same, or maybe a different way. I guess i just have to experiment until i find a way that works well to start it.

    Suppose it's like any old car, I guess i just gotta learn all the little quirks of this particular ol girl :)

    Thanks for all those who have helped with advice.
     
  29. So i checked things out a bit more and someone has removed the resistance wire at some point in its life and dodgied it in with a ballast resistor. Going from the coil it reads like this:

    Coil +ve (one factory lead) to ballast resistor (one factory lead to starter solenoid, one aftermarket lead to back of ignition switch, one factory lead to inside the cabin i think the same part of the ignition switch as the aftermarket lead that has been added).

    I had a bit of a look at a wiring diagram i downloaded off the old car manual website, and going by that and what you said above, i should move the wire coming fromt the starter solenoid to AFTER the ballast resistor, and not before it as I have it.
     
  30. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 6,929

    thunderbirdesq
    Member

    Yes, it's a factory provision for easier starting. And yes, it should be hooked up so that it's on the secondary side of the balast resistor, the one that's attached to the coil + terminal. That way it supplies 12v to the coil unadulterated by the balast resistor. Make sure someone has definitely removed/replaced the resistance wire if there's a balast resistor there too. The combination of those two loads in series will DEFINITELY make it hard to start. Good to hear you're making some progress!

     

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