Wont start

Tiny
AUBREY OUTSIDER SOMMER
  • MEMBER
  • 1973 PLYMOUTH ACCLAIM
  • 5.2L
  • V8
  • RWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 123,000 MILES
My car is having a hard time starting. It is cranking and I am getting ignition it feels like. I am getting smoke but right when it sounds like it is about to finally turn over it wont actually pass that point.
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Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 AT 7:21 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
So it is cranking but it is not turning over? Those are the same thing. Is it or is not? Where is the smoke coming from and what color is it? You have to understand I cannot see the car or hear what it is doing. I do not know what "getting ignition feels like" is. Have you checked for spark and fuel? Does the engine start at times and run okay?
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Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 AT 7:37 PM
Tiny
AUBREY OUTSIDER SOMMER
  • MEMBER
It is cranking and it is turning and wants to fire, but all I am getting is smoke out the tail pipe. Sorry. It was worded so weird.
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Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 AT 8:50 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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There are a number of different things that come to mind related to that smoke, but nothing common. In that era, (I have owned a real lot of early 1970's Chrysler products), one common problem was an exhaust passage under the carburetor got plugged with carbon, then the thermostatic spring for the automatic choke wouldn't heat up to open it. You'd get real heavy black smoke out of the tail pipe and the engine would have very low power. The clue was it would start right up and run fine for a few minutes.

White smoke from the tail pipe is an indication of burning engine coolant but that was never common on the 318 engines, especially in the 1970's. You still did not verify your car's year and model. The Acclaim never came with a 318, (5.2L) that you listed, but their engines could develop a leaking cylinder head gasket that would cause the white smoke.

For a 1973 model, I would start by removing the air filter cover and looking down through the center of the carburetor to see if raw fuel is pouring in when a helper is cranking the engine. If it is, the float is sticking. Fix that, then change the oil immediately once the engine is running because it will be full of that raw gas.

While looking down into the carburetor, watch for two small streams of gas squirting in when you move the throttle by hand. If you do not see any gas, a good suspect is a plugged pickup sock in the gas tank. I replaced that on two of my cars. Cost was around four bucks.

Check for steady spark too, first at the coil wire, then at one of the spark plug wires. If that is missing, there are a few common suspects. If there is no spark while cranking, watch for a single spark from the coil wire when the ignition switch is turned off. If you see that, the suspects are a failed ignition module and an open pickup coil inside the distributor.
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Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 AT 9:38 PM
Tiny
AUBREY OUTSIDER SOMMER
  • MEMBER
It's a 1973 Plymouth fury. I just jumped in it and it turned right over. This has happened before. Is there something that would cause engine flooding besides operator error?
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Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 AT 12:44 PM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Ya it's a Chrysler product from the 70's lol. Seriously it may be the carb needs an overhaul. Most of them had a ball&ball carb and were tricky to start especially hot and with todays' fuel having alcohol in it adds to the problem.
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Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 AT 3:39 PM
Tiny
AUBREY OUTSIDER SOMMER
  • MEMBER
So rebuild the carb myself or send it to a specialty place that does the full rebuild
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Friday, July 15th, 2016 AT 1:02 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
I would send this to a specialty place or try auto parts they can get it as well. Also if it wants to fire when on start but shuts off when it goes to run by the key check the ballast resistor they would fail like that they used to be $2 to replace but sure they are more now. It's a white rectangular piece on firewall it will either have 2 or 4 plugs on it I forget it s' been so darn long.
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Friday, July 15th, 2016 AT 7:12 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Another clue related to that is the ballast resistor is bypassed during cranking so the engine will run as long as the ignition switch is held in the "crank" position. On the first couple of model years, the resistor was bypassed by an extra terminal on the ignition switch so you could hold the switch in "crank" with your right hand while you shift from "neutral" to "drive" with your left hand. In "drive" the neutral safety switch would turn off the starter relay and starter, then you could drive the car as long as you held the ignition switch.

On later models, starting somewhere around 1975 or 1976, the ballast resistor was bypassed during cranking by a tap on the starter relay so that had to be engaged. That meant it would turn off from the neutral safety switch when you shifted into "drive". You couldn't move those cars, but the engine would continue to run as long as you held the starter engaged.
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Saturday, July 16th, 2016 AT 12:11 PM

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