View Full Version : TR2/3/3A TR3A Won't Start

07-13-2014, 06:40 PM
I just restarted my resto project. The car has run a few blocks (erraticly) 2-3 years ago. Can't start the engine now. Changed the coil, points and condensator. Spark is erratic (Not straight and sharp but allover the metal tip). What can cause this? Could this be enough for the engine not to start?

Any hint would help.

Yvan houle

07-13-2014, 07:07 PM
Hi Yvan - this could be many problems, electrical, air, and/or fuel.

Put the gear in neutral and turn on the ignition. Wear an insulated glove. Remove a cable from one spark plug and hold the cable about 1cm from the block. Hold in the cranking button at the solenoid for a few seconds.

Do you get a rapid, regular sparking at the end of the cable?


Geo Hahn
07-13-2014, 08:23 PM
Spark, air, fuel & timing -- that's pretty much the formula to get it to run.

That spark you see sounds okay for starting (and you're still breathing) so I'd move on to seeing if you are getting fuel. One approach is to try starting fluid and see if the engine fires on that.

Since it sat a long time some carb parts may be 'glued' in place, especially if the old fuel was not cleared from the system. One suspect here are the valves inn the carb bowls, pretty easy to remove the top of the bowls (one nut) and see if they are half full of gas and if the valve (in the lid) works freely.

07-13-2014, 09:00 PM
If you have a primer on your fuel pump, pump the heck out of it. You may have an air lock in fuel line. BTW, a car may fire with starting fluid even without spark simply on the compression alone. You need to make sure it's getting gas through the carbs.

Don Elliott
07-13-2014, 10:42 PM
Yvan - Good to hear that you're working on the TR3A again. I suggest that 2-year old gasoline with ethanol in it is the cause of your problem. If you only have a few litres in the tank, fill the tank with fresh fuel. If you have a lot of fuel in the tank that's two years old, siphon it out and put in fresh fuel.

Or you could set up a can of fresh gasoline higher than your fender on a bench on the side of the TR above the fuel pump and let fresh fuel get into the fuel line between the pump and the carbs. This should help it to start.

07-14-2014, 10:56 AM
I would change the rotor also, but I would go back to basics. I would pull the plugs and valve cover and reset the valves make sure the dizzy is on number 1 @ tdc check the carbon thing in the cap and firing order, spin it over good with coil undone to get oil pressure and it should go.

07-18-2014, 06:53 PM
I could not believe what happened today.

After 2-3 years of storage, This fully rebuilt tr3a could not start at all. I cranked it unsuccessfully for about 1 hour each day in the last 3 days.

I had initially removed a suspicious petronix and went back to points. Looked at the timing over an over, as far as doubting of my crank and timing shaft alignment. Everything was fine and the car would not start at all.

After reading a tread from Nigel about spark plugs, I decided to switch from Champion to NGK. When I was testing the fire with plug 1 removed and looking for a ground, at the first crank.....the engine started turning. Without any carb ajustment or further timing fine tuning, the car was running fine on 3 cylinders only.

I've put the 4th plug in place and went for an inaugural ride in the parking lot.

I am anxious to go again tomorow and proceed to final adjustments. I will fine tune the timing and do some color tune...

I am so happy and ready for toomorow

Thanks for those who helped


Geo Hahn
07-18-2014, 07:47 PM
Do you know what the problem was?

If it would not start then suddenly would start - I wonder what comes next.

07-18-2014, 08:20 PM
I suspect the problem is still there and it is an intermittent connection affected by handling parts of the primary circuit.

Don Elliott
07-18-2014, 08:25 PM
Champion changed most of their plugs to have radio suppression built into the ceramic part of their spark plugs. About 5 years ago, I had a similar problem so I bought new 4 plugs (Autolite No. 275 with no noise suppression resistance) from Rock Auto and have never had a starting problem since. They have worked fine for over 10,000 miles with no re-adjustment. It always starts on the first "zap" of the starter button and I have the crank that I use at car shows. It always starts with the crank - much to the amazement of the younger teenagers who don't even know what a hand crank is for.

Geo Hahn
07-18-2014, 09:12 PM
I always do a few hand cranks at car shows -- the crowd that has never seen that done seems to be getting a lot older.

I heard a theory on why the car starts so easily with the crank -- the thought was that in normal cranking the ignition is only seeing 10 volts or so from the battery as the starter is cranking. But with the hand crank it gets the full 12 volts all to itself. No idea if this is true though it sounds credible.

Plug choice probably makes a difference (I always use Champions) but if an engine goes from not starting in a hour of cranking every day for three days to suddenly running fine I would be looking (as hinted and suggested above) for some other cause.

07-18-2014, 10:39 PM
What I will do toomorow is put back the Champion plugs and see if it still works!

08-13-2014, 07:37 PM
Plug choice probably makes a difference (I always use Champions)

What's the part number for the Champion plugs that you prefer?


Geo Hahn
08-13-2014, 09:48 PM
I'm using L87YC which is listed as '312' in the newest numbering scheme.

Don Elliott
08-13-2014, 11:10 PM
Yvan - I checked my records and the Autolite plugs I bought from Rock Auto (with no internal resistor) are #275. I put them in 9000 miles ago and just last week I checked the gap and cleaned them for the first time since they went in - in November 2010. They run like a charm with no problems. I cleaned them, because I couldn't get it to start a few times on the first blip of the starter button. Now it's like new again.

Geo Hahn
08-14-2014, 09:32 AM
I probably use Champions out of brand loyalty more than any real performance advantage. I don't think I've ever got into a situation where the choice of plug brand caused a problem or solved one (though others may have been there).

Hopefully Yvan has his TR stilling running well. When last he posted it seemed to have miraculously fixed itself, a happy outcome but one that sometimes does not last.