starting engine in cold weather

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chevy art
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starting engine in cold weather

Postby chevy art » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:36 am

tried starting up my 377 engine the other day and had a hard time starting it. was 70 degrees but had been cold (high 40s) at night.always have this problem as cold weather creeps up. had to try many many times and i could hear it getting a little better each time. had a couple of little carb fires inbetween. finally got it started and i forgot to turn the fuel pump on. started all over and it was hard starting again. once it started it ran fine. cant keep going through this. any good suggestion for stareing my engine. its a 377, 14-1 comp, big cam and an 830 holley(no choke). thanks art

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby Dragsinger » Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:49 am

what fuel are you running?

can you pin point a time when this began?

what has changed since the problem began?

does the engine spin normal speed on the starter?

as an experiment, use a clean/new test spark plug with a very wide gap [1/4" or more gap] begin by removing the secondary coil wire from distributor cap, insert test plug, ground test plug, spin engine, spark should be strong and bright.

If spark looks good, reconnect coil wire to distributor and do same test at a spark plug wire. In both cases the spark should be strong, bright, consistent.

This may help determine which area is the problem.
Larry Woodfin, Flyn with the Race Bird

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby F-BIRD'88 » Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:02 pm

this is the race car right.... is the timing locked? if not, do that.. when it fires take it to 2500- 3000 for a bit, till heat builds.


add a small bit of pump gas to the straight race gas... (better drivability, starting blend.

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby JoePorting » Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:38 pm

Just get a small cheap electric heater and put it by the oil pan for about an hour before you start it and it'll start right up.
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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby cgarb » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:39 pm

I have block heaters in my racecar. Its methanol carbed which can be hard to start in the cold. I just plug it in for an hour or so before its time to start and it starts like normal even if its 35 outside. I use the bock heater when I race also. It keeps my oil warm so any condensation that collects in the oil gets cooked out plus all my oil temp stay more consistant throughout the day.

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby chevy art » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:12 pm

thanks guys its a mallory hyfire iggy system with a high output coili hate to admit it, but wires are very old moroso race wilre(car always garaged. i will try the coil wire test and then the spark plug wire test. plugs are a good year old. i had this problem with the other race engine, so its not a new problem use the c-12 race fuel. can i mix a little 93 octane with the race fuel in a small squirter and squirt this into carb to start engine. what is a block heater. like that idea of heating the block and oil for awhile before starting.. i have a generator to make some electric power. engine does spin a little slower after a few seconds of trying, and i have 2 new batteries(850 cc amps). thank you art

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby 4banger » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:47 pm

I think the " no choke" thing might be the cause of the back firing as it's too lean. I agree with the heat under the oil pan or block heater. If you don't have a small heater try a small halogen light set under oil pan for a short time. Those things can be used as a Bar B Q.
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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby cgarb » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:57 pm

Block heaters go into where the freeze plugs go. You can get them at napa. They use them up north for extreme cold temps. Plug into standard 110v outlet. They also make universal ones that go into the lower radiator hose and oil heaters that stick onto the bottom of the oil pan. My water temp stays at 180 all day. I just cool it before I run. Save me a bunch in warm up fuel too.

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby JoePorting » Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:49 am

If your spark plug wires are more than 5 years old, I'd replace them. That might be the source of what appears to be a weak ignition system also.
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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby chevy art » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:49 am

joe you are right. i said i was embarassed at how old my wires are. i will now fess up. they were new in 1995. guess that makes them 19 yrs old. plugs are also over a year old. shame on me. guess that could really be my problem. will fix all that right away. just never really paid attention to that stuff. art

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby engineguyBill » Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:33 am

In order to start without a choke, you will need to put some heat into the engine. I prefer the heater that goes into the lower radiator hose, as this will heat the entire engine - rather than just the pan area. Second choice would be to just put a halogen work light under the car, aimed at the oil pan, and turn the light on a few hours before starting the engine.
New plug wires will probably help the situation as well . . . . . . .
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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby cuslog » Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:41 am

Sounds like your idle circuit is lean. Back out your idle mix screws a half turn or so, maybe even go a bit smaller on your Idle air bleeds. Or maybe idle circuit is plugged ?
Give it 3 or 4 shots of accelerator pump before you even try to turn it over. When it catches, be ready to give it a few more light shots of accel. pump to richen it up to keep it running.
As you start getting some heat into it the need to nurse the accel. pump will diminish.
X3 on the block heater. I use one in the block (coolant) as well as an oil pan heater.

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby chevy art » Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:43 am

wuld idle circuit afferct the starting of the cold engine. can t even get ti to kick over and start for a long time, never mind the idle circuit. i dont get that part. does anyone make a heater rod that will slip in my radiator tank and heat the water. thanks art

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby peejay » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:59 pm

I've never had luck getting race fuel to light when it gets cold out. If you just need it to start so you can move it, putting 93 in it won't hurt a thing. Just remember to dump it out and put the race fuel back in before you lean on it.

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Re: starting engine in cold weather

Postby chevy art » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:51 pm

hey peejay. i wondered if i could just spray in some 93 octane into tjh carb to get it fired and then us my fuel system to keep it running. is that good idea. i really wouldnt be using the carbs internals at all, but just for the start, eliminating the race fuel for the startup. thanks art,


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