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How to Start a Carburetted Engine

Contributed By: Dennis "Doc" Fariello

In these times of modern fuel injected engines, and seeing quite a few posts on the lists lately from folks wondering why their vehicles won't start now that the weather's getting cold, by popular request here's a quick primer for those of y'all who either have forgotten, or never have known, how to start a carburetted engine under various conditions.

  • Cold Engine
    1. Turn ignition key to ON position.
    2. Press accelerator pedal to floor ONCE and release.
    3. Turn ignition key to START until vehicle fires up.
    4. After 30 seconds or so, the idle may be decreased by bumping the gas pedal.
  • Cold Engine, REALLY cold (say way below freezing)
    1. Turn ignition key to ON position.
    2. Press accelerator to floor and release A COUPLE OF TIMES. The longer the vehicle's been sitting, and the colder it is, the more you'll have to pump the gas first.
    3. Turn ignition key to START until vehicle fires up.
    4. After 30 seconds or so, the idle may be decreased by bumping the gas pedal.
  • Warm Engine
    1. Press accelerator pedal 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down to the floor and hold there.
    2. Turn key to START position.
    3. When engine fires up, release key.
  • Flooded Engine (as in flooded with gas, NOT water... never, never try to start an engine that has water in it)
    1. Let vehicle sit for about 15 minutes or so, so most of the excess fuel will evaporate.
    2. Press accelerator pedal to floor and hold there.
    3. Turn key to START position.
    4. As engine begins to fire up, release key to ON position. Raise accelerator pedal up and engine speeds up, so as to not overspeed engine.

      NOTE: Do NOT crank engine for more than 15 seconds at a time. You WILL burn up the starter. Let starter rest for a few minutes between attempts.

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