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Old 12-15-2008, 05:56 PM
78ford351m 78ford351m is offline
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390FE hard to start in cold weater

My 390fe with manual choke seems a little hard to start when it's cold out. I'm running 10w40 oil, new plugs, wires, DUI dizzy. Any ideas on what I can do to improve this?

Jason
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:08 PM
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Pull the air cleaner off and verify that when you are pulling the choke cable, the choke plate is actually closing.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:35 PM
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How cold? Maybe a coolant heater or a dipstick heater.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:02 PM
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Is it trying to fire at all? In other words are you at least getting gas up to it and not icing somewhere?

I just fired my '73 390 in 27 degree weather, (manual choke/stock ignition set at 12* inital timing) sat for about a week in this weather. The 15w40 rotella didn't seem to be much of an issue. And my battery is only about 12.38 volts too. The only thing I had to wait on was gas getting up to the carb from the typical percolation issue, the last time it shut down. Which is normal for me when it sits.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:04 PM
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What carb?

The Autolite 2 barrel (in my experience) is horrendous for cold weather whether it was electric, heat or manual.

JOsh
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:18 PM
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I have to respectfully disagree with general complaints against Autolite\Motorcraft 2-barrel carburetors for cold weather use because when set up properly they are wonderful carburetors. I lived in Missouri for several years, and while it's nowhere near the coldest state in the US, sub-freezing nights are very common in the winter and it's not rare at all for the wind chill to go negative. None of the motors I've ran with a stock 2 barrel carburetor ever failed to start or run well while warming up.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:05 PM
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I have an electric fuel pump in series with both tanks (just after the
electrically operated valve) that I fill my junky ol' 2100 with gasoline
before turning on the starter.

I use the momentary-on button that used to operate the window washer. :)

My fuel pump is nothing special, heck it's a old 6 volt Bendix but it works
to help start my 2100 carb-ed engine. Even just sitting a few minutes
sometimes, the fuel pump runs quite a bit as if the fuel line pressure has
dropped or something.

Many times it fires up quicker than my '91 5.8 EFI.

I've modified a bunch of stuff on my pickup over 33+ years and that's been
one of the most useful. No kidding.

Alvin in AZ
ps- it's sat well over a month and still fired right up because of being able
to fill the carburetor up first and the 360FE isn't sensitive to old gasoline
either, like my old air cooled VW dune buggies etc were
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:54 AM
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I'm with the "check the choke butterfly valve is closing all the way" suggestion.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:33 AM
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It's an edlebrock 600 with manual choke. It's about 30 degrees or was. It will sit for a few days some times due to the gas prices. The PO told me it was a pain at times in the winter to start. It actually has to get warm to even run well at all. If I get it started, and then try to take off, it just spits and misses. Once it's warmed up, she runs perfect.
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390 FE
Long tube headers
Mild cam
Edlebrock 600 CFM carb
Edlebrock performer intake
4 speed T-18
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4 Core Radiator
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:56 AM
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Never cared for Ebok style carbs, but that's besides the issue.

How high is the high idle set? Do they even have a high idle?(can't remember) Do you pump the throttle a few times before cranking? Depending on the camshaft, they will be rough to start in colder weather as overlap won't allow enough cylinder pressure to fire it and run good dead cold. The carb could be set pretty lean, thus making it really difficult to get running in the winter.


One thing you have to remember, these vehicles were never "jump in and drive off", especially when cold out. Have to remind myself sometimes in mine that you have to give it a minute to get the juices flowing, unlike my little Escort.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freightrain View Post
Never cared for Ebok style carbs, but that's besides the issue.

How high is the high idle set? Do they even have a high idle?(can't remember) Do you pump the throttle a few times before cranking? Depending on the camshaft, they will be rough to start in colder weather as overlap won't allow enough cylinder pressure to fire it and run good dead cold. The carb could be set pretty lean, thus making it really difficult to get running in the winter.


One thing you have to remember, these vehicles were never "jump in and drive off", especially when cold out. Have to remind myself sometimes in mine that you have to give it a minute to get the juices flowing, unlike my little Escort.
I've only owned the truck a month or so. It idles around 1,000RPMS. I push the gas to the floor to start. I know with some carbs you pump, but not on this one.
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390 FE
Long tube headers
Mild cam
Edlebrock 600 CFM carb
Edlebrock performer intake
4 speed T-18
33" Tires
4 Core Radiator
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:47 PM
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It sounds like it is way too lean. Warm idle of 1000 rpm is too high, 600 to 700 is more normal. Fast idle should be at least 1500, I prefer 1800 myself. Check the choke butterfly and make sure it closes all the way.
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear 45/70
It sounds like it is way too lean. Warm idle of 1000 rpm is too high, 600 to
700 is more normal. Fast idle should be at least 1500, I prefer 1800 myself.
x2

~1800 slings oil all over the inside like when you first start a rebuilt engine.
-A must for them- gotta be good for one that's broke in already too? ;)

It's been working for me anyway. :)

Alvin in AZ
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:23 PM
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Look closely at the choke and see IF it does even have a high idle? Seems my old Carter versions didn't have a cam for high idle, only choke plate. On my Holleys, I remove the plate and only use the hi idle cam. 20yrs and works fine. Pump the throttle couple times and she fires up.

You shouldn't have to hold it to the floor to start. That's just wrong and means the carb is not set up properly. It's kinda counter productive to have the choke plate fully closed and the throttle wide open to start? You're still restricting the air and it won't draw enough to start.

Give it about 2-3 solid pumps, no choke and see what happens. It should at least "cough" and try to start. If it does actually fire, then pull your choke to hold the rpm up enough to stay running(if it does have a hi idle cam).

I still think it has alot to do with camshaft that's in the motor. Unless it's a stocker, it won't just fire off with ease when freezing outside. That's just my opinion from the pictue I have in my mind. Best guess over the internet.
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:33 PM
78ford351m 78ford351m is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freightrain View Post
Look closely at the choke and see IF it does even have a high idle? Seems my old Carter versions didn't have a cam for high idle, only choke plate. On my Holleys, I remove the plate and only use the hi idle cam. 20yrs and works fine. Pump the throttle couple times and she fires up.

You shouldn't have to hold it to the floor to start. That's just wrong and means the carb is not set up properly. It's kinda counter productive to have the choke plate fully closed and the throttle wide open to start? You're still restricting the air and it won't draw enough to start.

Give it about 2-3 solid pumps, no choke and see what happens. It should at least "cough" and try to start. If it does actually fire, then pull your choke to hold the rpm up enough to stay running(if it does have a hi idle cam).

I still think it has alot to do with camshaft that's in the motor. Unless it's a stocker, it won't just fire off with ease when freezing outside. That's just my opinion from the pictue I have in my mind. Best guess over the internet.
I'll try pumping it instead. I just went off what the orginial PO told me. It's a mild cam of somekind ( not sure what). It will change in the future with something is more lope.
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390 FE
Long tube headers
Mild cam
Edlebrock 600 CFM carb
Edlebrock performer intake
4 speed T-18
33" Tires
4 Core Radiator
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:33 PM
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