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Awakening the Beastie...trying to!

MCNX_BFF

Senior Member
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Hello, Everyone! :savewave:
Well, I have had Beastie for just over a month and have been itchin' to start the resurrection process. I am not sure what "wait awhile" means in Husbandese, but I figured that enough time had passed that I could/should get started on this 7. I began trying my best to figure it out which is difficult for me as I don't know my you-know-what from a solenoid, air pump, etc.
I know it probably sounds really dumb, but I just needed to hear Beastie make some kind of sound. I mentioned to some Spiderpals that I would be okay with not having a full conversation with the car; just a grumble to indicate and reassure me that Beastie had a will to live after all those years of dormancy!! I drained and refilled the oil (it was hideously dark and quite sludgey). Put oil in the carb dashpots (dampers?) as they were bone dry. After 2 wasted days of trying to charge a flat battery with a battery charger from the Cretaceous period, I finally figured out that the battery was a goner or the charger itself chuped. Hey, I never said I was quick! LOL. :blush: Since patience is not one of my greatest assets (add that to my ever-growing list of things to improve on),I moved DH's Silverado as close as I could and hooked up the jumper cables! After a bit, I turned the key in the 7 and the radiator fan gave a twirl and the clock started ticking! Wow! Waited a bit longer, and the warning lights in the pod--ignition, oil, brake,fuel, etc--were glowing. I think I was, too!
grin.gif
Waited some more and tried it again...end result is that the engine cranks, but won't kick over and start. It sounds like it REALLY wanted to, but just wasn't making it. I even tried the starting fluid (ether) with no notable difference. :frown:
I've just returned with a new battery, spark plug sockets, and spark plugs. I am wanting to go out and check for spark, but there's dinner to be made and mundane preparations for the week to hassle with. FYI, things that can arc, spark, ignite, or explode freak me out as getting zapped is a big fear of mine. I think I am on the right track. Am I ?!? So if I have sparks and the car still doesn't start, what is next on the flow chart? If no spark, then what do you recommend? Puhleease, don't say to take it to my mechanic--this car is my "learnermobile". I am heck-bent on trying it myself although, at some point....okay, umm, like I was saying,I want to struggle with it myself :crazy: and in the process hopefully learn a thing or two that I can apply to my first love, Spidey. Don't worry, DH already knows this! Hahaha. Apologies on how long this is and on my total lack of car knowledge. Thanks for reading and for any and all information and tips you can give me.
As always,
Your enthusiastic and eager student enrolled in the Remediation School for Wedges, --Monica.
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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Sounds like you are on the right track to me, Monica. Good for you!

The stuff they sell for starting fluid these days doesn't work worth beans, so I would try some spray carb cleaner (eg "Jet Spray Gumout") instead. Bad/no fuel is a very likely problem at this point, especially after you've changed the plugs and checked for spark at all cylinders.

Hard to say where to go after that without knowing more history; but I would try to double-check that the spark is happening at the right time for each cylinder, and that each cylinder has good compression (which will require a tool similar to https://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=92697 )

BTW, getting zapped is unpleasant, but not likely to do any damage in itself. After a somewhat mis-spent youth, I learned to move slowly rather than jump, as I was doing more damage hitting my hands and/or head on the hood than from the actual shock.
 

tdskip

Yoda
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Hey Monica!

Fuel, air, spark is what it is all about.

Checking for spark is a good way to start as indicated. Is she a carb or fuel injected car?

(does she have fresh oil in her belly yet)
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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Tom, you really need to read these more carefully ... fuel injected cars don't have dashpots ... :laugh:
 

dklawson

Yoda
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I understand both your desire to hear something happen and your fear of getting zapped.

I have not had problems with the current generation of starting fluid but I agree with Randall that it's not what it once was. Something is different. You can always tip a thimble of gas down the carb throats and try starting again. If it fires up and quickly dies, you know you have a fuel delivery problem and/or gummed up carbs. If the car has been sitting for a long time you can count on needing to at least clean the carb jet, needle, and float valve to remove varnish and gum.

Time for my spark story. As a teenager I was helping a friend troubleshoot his MGB's running problem. Following the Bentley manual I was pulling off the spark plug wires one at a time to see if we could identify which cylinder was not firing right. I was sitting on the fender when I found the offending spark plug wire. The electricity went up my arm looking for the shortest path to ground. This happened to be my neck which was touching the bonnet. It felt like a big bee sting. I jerked my head away from the bonnet and immediately realized I should have released the plug wire instead because the next shortest path to ground was through my rear end resting on the fender. This time I dropped the wire and leapt away from the car. My friend laughed so hard I thought he'd wet his pants.

What's important to remember is that on these old cars the spark voltage isn't lethal though it is painful. Be careful and make sure your hands aren't going to be near rotating parts. That jerking away thing is really hard to control!
 

ekamm

Jedi Warrior
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That's what there is the three things that make the engine go round.
 

bgbassplyr

Darth Vader
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I had , in my early days twistin wrenches, a friend who's father owned a repair shop. Bill was required to help his dad in the summers and on week-ends. His biggest problem was that he was lazy and always managed to ride a creeper under a car, wrap his arms around the drive shaft, and fall asleep.

To cure this problem with his son, the dad waited until his son was well and truly asleep, and then installed a length of spark plug cable from the car and into the boy's shoe. Then he started the car.

Problem solved.
 

tdskip

Yoda
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Remind me not to doze off at your friend's place Jim - LOL.

I got zapped a couple times while trying to figure out the Bugeye DPO wiring. I now wear a hat whule going that since there are some sharp edges on that bonnet :smile:
 

bgbassplyr

Darth Vader
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Maybe even a hard hat. 50,000 volts WILL get your attention!
 

philman

Jedi Knight
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if the fan goes round you know the timing chain is intact. maybe check that the distributor is timed to cylinder #1 (in case the jackshaft jumped out of time).
 

Twosheds

Darth Vader
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I like your new Avatar, Jim.
 

bgbassplyr

Darth Vader
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Twosheds said:
I like your new Avatar, Jim.

Thanks. Me @ VIR, 1965.
 
OP
MCNX_BFF

MCNX_BFF

Senior Member
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Yikes, Guys! :eeek: Randall, Tom, and Doug if <span style="font-weight: bold">you</span> have been zapped, what chance do I possibly have of escaping the same fate?! Wow, 50,000 Volts? (gulp). I guess it is just a matter of time before it happens. I will try to be careful as I prefer not to have body parts that glow in the dark!!LOL :devilgrin:
I finally had an hour to kill today. Since I noticed that the #3 spark plug wire(3rd from the front) was basically severed in two, I went to the corner auto store to pick up new wires. No such luck as they didn't have them in stock, but I did order a new set (Bosch)that will be ready in a few days. Are these okay?
Arrived home empty handed with my purse about $30 lighter. Installed new battery, pulled the old plug, repaced with a new one into the wire, secured the little sleeve snuggly over the plug and gingerly placed it on the engine making sure the metal was making contact. Had my lovely 4-year-old assistant--yes, I am starting her young-- turn the key as I intently watched for a spark. Zilch. Moved the plug to other positions on the engine--no spark. In a desperate final attempt, I held the wire with insulated pliers and tried one last time(aside: as I did this, I hear a little voice in my head say, "Dead gal walking!" and I braced for the worst) No spark, and perhaps more importantly no zap, either :laugh:
Questions: If #1 has no spark, is it safe to assume #2-#4 do not,too? What next? Do you suspect the original Lucas coil needs replacing? Distributor and rotor? They are pretty inexpensive, so it may be a good idea to do that anyway. What do my Triumph Teachers think? Thanks in advance. --Monica
PS: Clay, Ssssshhhh! Don't tell, there could be swift and harsh punishment!
grin.gif
 

dklawson

Yoda
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Don't worry too much about the voltage and/or getting shocked. If you work on ignition systems at some time it is going to happen. In the same way that you knew when learning to drive a clutch that you would stall the car, except that getting bit once in a while will happen. Practice curse words under your breath for that day and use them appropriately when it happens.

I would not assume that you need a new coil just yet. You are working on a wedge and I know nothing about their ignition systems so others more familiar will have to walk you through TR7 specifics. However, this would be a very good time to invest in an inexpensive multimeter. If there is a Harbor Freight near you, their inexpensive (less than $10) ones are more than adequate. With the ignition on, you should start by setting the voltmeter to measure DC volts and with the car's ignition system turned on (key in run position) check for voltage between the coil low-tension terminals (the small wires) and the engine block. One low-tension wire will go off to the ignition switch, the other will go to the distributor. If you don't find voltage on either coil terminal... you have a voltage supply issue (broken or disconnected wire, bad switch, etc).
 

poolboy

Yoda
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If you've ever hit your "crazy bone" you have an idea what high voltage, low amps feels like. No glowing body parts. However, if you have a pacemaker..hire someone to work on the electrics
 

TR3driver

Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
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I agree with Doug; wouldn't even call the coil the most likely suspect at this point. Checking for juice to the coil is good, but if you have time before you get a meter (or test light), another test is to remove the high tension coil wire from the distributor and hold it near ground (like 1/16") while your assistant cranks the engine. If you get a spark now, the problem is most likely inside the distributor cap (bad rotor or cap).

If you've got power to the coil & no spark at the coil; my next guess would be whatever drives the coil. Unfortunately, on a 80 TR7, that is probably some flavor of Lucas electronic ignition; and I'm not much help there. One test though is to crank the engine with the distributor cap off, to be sure the rotor goes around. If not, you've got a mechanical problem.

(I once spent several hours trying to figure out why the wife's car wouldn't run, even tried replacing the ignition pickup per the trouble codes, before I finally thought to check : the timing belt had snapped.)
 

jclay

Senior Member
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OK, MM,

I want you to try something. If it works then I know what the problem is.

Get a jumper wire, long wire with alligator clips at both ends. Connect one end to the POS (+) side of the coil and the other end to the POS (+) side of the battery. Try to start the car. If you have the air cleaners off you can spray some starting fluid into the carbs first.

If it starts, then the Ballast wire in the wiring harness is ca-put!

Easy to fix, long to type. Let me know if it starts and we will go from there.
 

Andrew Mace

Moderator
Staff member
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TR3driver said:
Sounds like you are on the right track to me, Monica. Good for you!

The stuff they sell for starting fluid these days doesn't work worth beans, so I would try some spray carb cleaner (eg "Jet Spray Gumout") instead.
In re-reading this thread, I noticed the above line and had to comment. I've used "Gumout" or other brands for years for its intended purpose; I learned over 20 years ago, for example, that some carbureted Subarus pretty much NEED the Gumout treatment every so often. :wink:

In all the years I've used it -- most recently yesterday late afternoon (on my son's '81 Subaru!) -- I've never considered it as a starting fluid. In fact, it seems to have pretty much the opposite effect for me: it takes a good bit of cranking after using Gumout before the engine will start again (at which time I assume it's managed to "blow out" the Gumout and get some real gas again).

Thoughts?
 
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