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Very Difficult cold weather starting problems!

Roberte

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My BJ7 is EXTREMELY difficult to start during the winter (in Iowa)or, as now, with the temperature in the morning in the 40s-50s. My car is parked outside as,unfortunately, I have no access to appropriate indoor parking.

Normally what results from my attempts to start is that I drain my battery and go begging for a jump start. Recently I had my carburetors repaired and the car tuned correctly. When I attempt to start I pull out the choke, pump the pedal approximately 10 times and, after that don't use the pedal.
us.

Aid would be greatly appreciated as I use my Healey as my primary (and only) means of transportation other than taking the bus.

Robert
 

johnea

Jedi Hopeful
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Robert, Pumping the pedal on SU carbs doesn't do enything in terms of pumping patrol into the manifold. What I would suggest is to make sure wheather the jets in the carbs are approx. 1/4" below the bridge when the choke is pulled. Remove the dashpots to verify that.
 

RAC68

Darth Vader
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Hi Robert,

Johnea is correct as the SU does not have an accelerator pump as most American downdraft carburetors have. Since you had your carburetors set up by an expert, I would suggest you pull your choke as far as it goes, turn the ignition key and wait for the pump to stop ticking, and then turn the key further to start cranking the starter. If your carburetors are set properly, as you indicate, your car should start before the battery dies.

All the best,
Ray(64BJ8P1)
 

Brinkerhoff

Jedi Knight
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The condenser is what helps amp up the spark to the plugs . Sometime they fail completely with different symptoms like : backfiring when the engine is warmed up etc. they can also lose their strength and produce a weaker , and weaker spark giving you your symptom of hard starting in colder weather. Of course the carbs need to give full choke but changing out with a fresh set of points and a new condenser might be the trick.
 
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How well your starter functions can affect starting, cold or hot. You're in a cold winter climate, so I'd expect the starter to turn slower in winter than in summer, but not that much slower. If your starter labors you either need a starter rebuild, or a new battery, or both. I had my starter rebuilt and was amazed at the difference; the first time I cranked the new starter it started the engine so quickly I over-revved the engine (not a nice thing to do to a cold engine).

Presumably, you're using a multi-viscosity motor oil. You could use a 'lighter' oil, say, 10W-30, in winter.
 

dancrim

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I fought this same problem for a long time. I discovered the choke linkage wasn't pulling
the Carb. choke levers completely closed. Pulled the cables, lubed the wires and made
sure the Carb. levers were being pulled completely closed when I pulled the choke knob.
This was a major help. I also just installed a Gear reduction starter. Now my car starts
like a new car, even cold. It was unbelievable, even for an old time mechanic like me.
 
Last edited:

RAC68

Darth Vader
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Again, we are trying to determine a solution to an issue with a general description and little definitives to go on. Additionally, it is not uncommon for feedback from the requester to be non-existent, although I can't fault Robert for this until we hear nothing from him tomorrow as well. Until we have his response, we are talking to ourselves and will get no ware.

Ray(64BJ8P1)
 

Keoke

Great Pumpkin
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Johnea is correct as the SU does not have an accelerator pump as most American downdraft carburetors have.

However, this same function can be emulated by pulling the choke out multiple times.
 

red57

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Keoke is right, when the jet drops it displaces fuel and a few drops usually squirt up - the faster (and further) you move the jet, the more fuel squirts up.

At least the HDs I have do this but I haven't been around any H or HS carbs in years and I'm not sure if they will, it may be the diaphragm that causes the squirt???
 
Last edited:

Keoke

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EV2239

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Points closed up retarding ignition?

Weak mixture after carb rebuild. They generally need to be 10% richer through range to compensate for modern fuel.
 

Bob Hughes

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I have been in the same boat with my BJ7, have a good look at your dizzy, I renewed the thin low tension wire from the outside of the dizzy to the points, I also replaced the earth lead between the condenser and the fixed plate - found that the wire moved out of the connector as the plate moved around. The vacuum connection to the moving plate has a hinged link in it and the hole for the pin was elongated and the pin was almost cut in half due to ware, so there was inconsistencies there, I bought a replacement vacuum unit but later repaired the old one with a slightly larger pin so now I have a spare. Last but not least I removed the fixed plate from the body and discovered that my three legged spring holding the two plates together was only two legged, the third had dropped off into the bottom of the dizzy. Managed to locate a complete top and bottom plate set up for ÂŁ20 and later bought a spare three legged spring for ÂŁ10. These springs are not made anymore so you have to get pre-loved ones. Ever since then the car starts very well, in our winters.

:cheers:

Bob
 

glemon

Yoda
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Make sure the choke is engaging completely and you have the idle speed set up right as well, by that I mean the properly adjusted choke on SU carbs enrichens the mixture AND raises the idle speed for easier starting and cold running. The choke should turn a cam that moves the throttle shaft and opens the butterflies a bit. As stated if your battery or starter is up to a good healthy crank speed the it will be harder to start.

When I used to run year round I would also enrichen the mixture on the carbs a flat two inn the winter.
 
OP
R

Roberte

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I am extremely grateful to all who have generously contributed suggestions re. my starting problem.

As a result of pondering Bob Hughes description of the effort involved in dealing with the original equipment and the fact that I am attempting to use my Healey as my means of daily transportation I realized that I am not as concerned with maintaining originality as I am with effective functionality. Thus I decided to install an electronic distributor and coil with hope that it might aid with the starting problem and also assist in keeping the car relatively trouble free.

However. I find myself reaching the end of the string. For example, 1 month ago I had the carbs repaired, heater, etc small issues and went on from there.

3 weeks ago I was again in the shop where I was informed that the entire left front end was wobbly and that bolts had been sheared. One week ago it was again in the shop as it wouldn't start. The day before yesterday it was again in the shop to install the distributor. Yesterday, it functioned with no problems, but...after it sat for 2 hours, when I pressed the starter button nothing happened! the lights work, the horn works, the gauges work, the cd player etc works but not even a peep as I attempted to start it.

So...again Monday it goes into the shop

At this point after 20 years of working on the body and replacing /overhauling nearly everything I thought might add to the functionality of the car and the fact that I have driven it a total of approximately 6,500 miles since finally being able to use it I would expect that I might do so with relatively minor problems.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

Due to an extremely low income the costs are becoming more than I can bear. I am reaching the end of the string with the alternatives being either to keeping in garaged full time as a hobby to tinker with with no attempt to use it, or ( sadly) giving up completely, selling it, and attempting to go on, having failed to achieve what I have consistently looked forward to. That is to enjoy the successful and eminently satisfying reward for my diligent efforts.

So it goes. Not that having shared this makes me feel any better but...well.........................

Robert
 
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I am extremely grateful to all who have generously contributed suggestions re. my starting problem.

As a result of pondering Bob Hughes description of the effort involved in dealing with the original equipment and the fact that I am attempting to use my Healey as my means of daily transportation I realized that I am not as concerned with maintaining originality as I am with effective functionality. Thus I decided to install an electronic distributor and coil with hope that it might aid with the starting problem and also assist in keeping the car relatively trouble free.

However. I find myself reaching the end of the string. For example, 1 month ago I had the carbs repaired, heater, etc small issues and went on from there.

3 weeks ago I was again in the shop where I was informed that the entire left front end was wobbly and that bolts had been sheared. One week ago it was again in the shop as it wouldn't start. The day before yesterday it was again in the shop to install the distributor. Yesterday, it functioned with no problems, but...after it sat for 2 hours, when I pressed the starter button nothing happened! the lights work, the horn works, the gauges work, the cd player etc works but not even a peep as I attempted to start it.

So...again Monday it goes into the shop

At this point after 20 years of working on the body and replacing /overhauling nearly everything I thought might add to the functionality of the car and the fact that I have driven it a total of approximately 6,500 miles since finally being able to use it I would expect that I might do so with relatively minor problems.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

Due to an extremely low income the costs are becoming more than I can bear. I am reaching the end of the string with the alternatives being either to keeping in garaged full time as a hobby to tinker with with no attempt to use it, or ( sadly) giving up completely, selling it, and attempting to go on, having failed to achieve what I have consistently looked forward to. That is to enjoy the successful and eminently satisfying reward for my diligent efforts.

So it goes. Not that having shared this makes me feel any better but...well.........................

Robert

re: "when I pressed the starter button nothing happened! the lights work, the horn works, the gauges work, the cd player etc works but not even a peep as I attempted to start it."

Most likely the starter solenoid is defunct. Do you at least hear a 'click' when you hit the starter button?

I understand your frustration. I've just spent a bundle on an overhauled engine that meets or exceeds all my expectations. However, now my gearbox is acting up--jumping out of 4th during deceleration or coasting downhill in gear--whereas it was performing beautifully before the new engine. I also bought new tires and, as usual, a couple were leaky (sealed wire wheels). Then, just for yucks, I took a steep driveway too quick and cracked my pan. After a few days of welding up one leak after another--oil-saturated pans are a challenge to weld--I finally got it sealed up (and improved my welding in the process). In the meantime, I got a pan in excellent condition off eBay--a project for another day. I urge you to hang in there--you acquired your car for a reason--at least, keep it 'in the family' and tinker with it as you suggest (and buy an old Toyota for a daily driver).

I was cashiered into 'retirement' before I had planned, but I have some income and enough cash to last for a few years, at least. The prudent thing for me to do would be to unload my Healeys and hunker down financially; but I'll be 64 in a week and, although there's some longevity in my family some of my contemporaries are no longer answering the bell. So, I'll keep driving and fixing the brute.

Bob
 

DerekJ

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Roberte,

Don't give up. Healeys are actually very basic cars and it sounds like you have restored most things on yours so it should not be that difficult to get it working. When set up correctly they are very reliable. Are you sure the shop you take it to knows what it is doing? Do they have experience with SUs, they have variable venturis which are totally different from American carbs. It all sounds very haphazard. Install the distributer? What does that mean? Surely you already had a distributor installed. The problems have to be worked through methodically, the fuelling system, the ignition system, the timing, etc. In cold weather these cars never just fired up like a modern car but its important that the choke is enriching the mixture as designed. You don't mention whether this has been properly checked or not as was advised by other posters. When you now say your electrical devices work but there is not a peep from the car, what does that actually mean. Is the starter motor turning the engine? Is there any sign of trying to fire up, if so problem could be lack of enrichment, or is it turning over but with absolutely no sign of it catching, if so you have an electrical problem.

You need to join the AH Club and find some members close by with technical experience. MG guys would be fine as well, the cars aren't much different. Can you be more specific about the 'sheared' bolts. Are these in the shock mounts? That needs checking properly as it could be dangerous to drive.

In summary, if you can find someone with proper experience of Healeys I'm sure the problems could be quickly sorted out.
 
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