Using Starting Fluid To Start A Car

Posted in Ignition Systems | Asked on May 30, 2010

On my 1972 Chevelle 350, my friends and I rebuilt part of the motor. Got new parts (distributor, wires, plugs, alternator, battery, starter, cables, battery, water pump, carb, etc…) and we tried to start it. It would get REALLY close to starting but won’t go all the way. So, we sprayed a lil’ bit of starting fluid in the carb and it started right up and then died. All new fuel, new fuel filter, air filter, vacuum hoses and all new things. So, seeing as how the car won’t start but gets really close without starting fluid, what can it be? It’s getting good compression, good spark on each cylinder, timing is correct, good power and it is getting fuel to the carb. Do you think I have to adjust something on the carb? It won’t go without starting fluid. So since it will with that, I believe the problem is fuel. Like, no enough. And when it is sprayed, it will go but then stall right away. What do you think I might have to adjust to get it going? All other parts are working; but just won’t start all the way and stay idling.
Timing has been messed with. New HEI distributor. Set it to TDC and tried. Not all the way. Retard it, way too off. Advanced it, got close. Too far advance, not getting as close as it was. Checked fuel filter, brand new. New fuel pump (working – disconnected line at carb and a steady amount is coming out). All new fuel (cleaned out tank and installed fresh gas), used a timing light. Done. All new vacuum hoses that are connected correctly. I imagine something is wrong with the carb or needs to be adjusted. Choke is working and all that. Thanks though

There are 7 Answers for "Using Starting Fluid To Start A Car"

  1. eyecue_two says:

    You should be able to just fit an 1/8 inch drill bit in between the throttle body and the throttle plate with the engine cold. Also make sure that the choke plate is open the correct amount. The other things that you need to check are the float level and the vacuum hoses.

  2. Juan C says:

    Two things I would suggest to check is if the distributor is properly timed (with that said is it delivering spark to the first cylinder in respect to top dead center). Also is the carburetor’s float out of adjustment (maybe dumping too little or too much fuel). Are the carburetor base gaskets good, there, and bolts properly tightened down? When an engine is rebuilt, as a result of common human error things can get overlooked. I have made simple common mistakes and then waste hours on end trying to figure them out. At least looking on the bright side it didn’t throw a rod or crack a head as soon as you fired it up.

  3. MIKEnJAPAN says:

    It could be old fuel. Try getting some fresh fuel in the tank and drain as much of the old fuel as possible out first.

  4. D2 says:

    OK DUDE,WHEN YOU REBLT ALL THIS STUFF,DID YOU DO ANYTHING W/THE CAM,OR LIFTERS?WHAT TYPE CARB.ARE YOU RUNNING&MANIFOLD?WHAT TYPE OF FUEL DELIVERY SYSTEM ARE YOU USING?
    YOU MAY NOT BE GETTING ENOUGH TO THE CARB TO FIRE THE CYL.TAKE THE FUEL LINE LOOSE FROM THE CARB AND TURN IT OVER MAKE SURE THE COIL WIRE IS NOT CONNECTED.TURN IT OVER FOR TEN OR FIFTEEN SEC. OR UNTIL YOU HAVE A STEADY STREAM OF FUEL RUNNING OUT.
    IF YOU GET THIS FAR, THEN CK THE FUEL FILTER,SOME ARE DESIGNED TO GO ONE WAY,MAKE SURE ITS THE RIGHT WAY.MAKE SURE YOUR GETTING ENOUGH SPARK TO THE PLUGS AND THEY ARE NOT FLOODED FROM TRYING TO FIRE IT UP.
    ALSO,CK THE TIMING,YOU MAY HAVE IT ADVANCED TO FAR, YOUR CLOSE,,JUST KEEP STABBING AWAY,YOU’LL GET IT.

  5. BUSTER BENDEM says:

    take your air cleaner off and look down the bore of the carb, manually stroke the throttle linkage, assuming your accelerator pump is working you should see a squirt if fuel, if not your float level is set too low or your needle and seat is stuck, also make sure your air mixture adj,s are set at 1 and 1/2 turns out, but if new should be factory set but it never hurts to check, if that checks out it’s not a fuel issue

  6. Dano says:

    I would make sure the distributor is in correctly. If you installed it it as it should be, it sounds like the float in the carb may not be adjusted properly.

  7. Dana says:

    How do you know you are getting fuel to the carb? The only way I know to check is to take the air filter off and look down in the carb and work the throttle. If it is getting gas you will see the gas squirting in the carb. If it starts on starting fluid it should start on gasoline. Pour a small amout in the carb and try it. If that works you’re not getting gas. You didn’t say you changed the fluel pump so it is bad or the needle valve in the carb is stuck, but you say it is new so I think the fuel pump is bad. You can check it by disconnecting the fuel line at the carb and crank the engine over. It should start pumping gas when the engine rolls over. Don’t let it pump much gas out on the engine you don’t want a fire. I recently tried to start a 350 that had set about 9 months and it wouldn’t start. I had gas to the carb. I figured the needle valve was stuck closed so I tapped the carb bowl with a wrench and tried it and it started. Jarring it broke it loose. Good luck.