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Andrew Havens

Why Does My 2002 Take So Long To Start In The Morning?

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(edited)

I've got a '74 2002 that starts and runs, but not great. I've noticed that in the morning (when it's a little colder), I turn the key, and wait up to 10 seconds for the car to start, then once it's started, I need to feather the gas a little to keep it from dying. Once it warms up, it stays running, but my drive to work starts off by driving down a hill which ends in a stop sign. I shift from 2nd to 1st gear when I get to the stop sign and that kills the car. I don't think I'd have this problem in the afternoon and/or once the car warmed up a little bit.

 

What could be the cause of this issue?

Edited by andrewhavens

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Play with the choke. It needs a carb rebuild though probably. My car does it sometimes too even with a clean carb. You may also check your float height. Side story, my family had an old Datsun pickup with a reverse 32/36 and it stalled out on hard stops (rich stall), it needed the float adjusted. Never did, sold the truck before that...

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What kind of carb?  Solex 1 bbl (manual choke), Solex 2 bbl (automatic choke) (OEM carbs) or Weber?  And if Weber, manual or automatic choke, and if the latter, water or electric?  If it's a manual choke carb, you're either not manipulating the choke control correctly, or it's not connected correctly.  

 

If it's an automatic choke, it may not be "resetting" as the engine cools down, you're not "setting" the choke by flooring the accelerator once or twice before hitting the starter, or the choke may not be functioning at all.

 

Tell us more...

 

mike

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I don't know much about these yet. I haven't touched anything in here since I bought it a few weeks ago. I took some pictures. Maybe you can help identify.

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Looks like a 32/36 Weber to me but I'll let the experts tell you exactly what it is. You have only had the car a few weeks? First step is to change all the fluids and do a full tune up.  Buy the recommended books and find a good BMW mechanic or grab your automotive tools and we are all happy to point you in the right direction(s) to get it running smoothly.  TR

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you have a water choke 2 bbl weber.  It looks like your choke is wide open in the picture.  Is it like that when its ice cold?  The butterflies should be closed when cold.  loosen three screws that hold the round thing with two hoses connected to it clockwise to close the flaps when cold.  Yours looks like it is in roughly the right place though.  Make sure the little linkage arm is attached the right way and moving freely.  Sometimes the little clip holding the linkage arm on disappear, it comes off and the choke butterflies are wide open all the time.

 Have you checked the points to see if they're adjusted right.  Make sure the dwell is set at 60 degrees. Set the timing.

 

 forum wisdom from Mike Pugh   "most of your carb problems are in the ignition"  No truer words ever spoken

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What are your expectations? Have you owned carbureted cars before? If not, there is a vast gulf, in my experience, between a cold carbureted engine and a cold modern fuel-injected engine. A cold carbureted engine, even when perfectly tuned, requires the driver to "understand" it, making certain the choke is actuated and you don't starve it or flood it. So even when you have your car perfectly tuned, the first couple miles with a cold engine on a cold day may remain "interesting"!

Good luck and regards,

Steve

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Nope, never owned a car with a carburetor before, plus I don't have much experience with working on cars, so this is an adventure. However, it's something I want to do and I want to learn as much as I possibly can so I can get my car running in the best condition that it can be. I'm not complaining about my cars current quirks. I just want to understand how everything works, rather than simply paying a mechanic to fix it for me. I bought the Haynes manual but it doesn't cover enough of the basics. Is there another resource you can recommend for understanding more of the basics of car maintenance (and anatomy), including carburetor and points?

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Andrew, if you haven't already pick up a copy of the "02 Restoration Guide".  I know your already familiar that most of us are more prone to help those who first help themselves.  There are quite a few 02er's in Portland (shoot even the GM at Ron Tonkin GT) look for shows or when they might meet.

 

One more thing to check out but not super likely to be your issue.  Look at your ground wires in the engine bay.  Learn how to check wire resistance with a voltmeter (great beginner electrical project) and check your grounds (specifically alternator-to-valvecover and chassis-to-block).  If these grounds are bad it'll take longer for the engine to start and it'll try using your regulator to alternator power wire as a ground (have someone carefully touch the alternator-regulator wire bundle as your trying to start the car, if the wires get really hot then wah-la!)

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 Carburated cars are actually a LOT easier to work on. It's ALL mechanical.

 

The very first step is to understand HOW and WHY the engine works. Here is a quick video. (sorry if you already know this stuff).

 

 

 

 That's basically it. Fuel and fire goes BOOM. 

 

When you start in the morning... the fuel is liquid and cold. The engine is ice cold and raw liquid fuel dumps into the intake manifold (a fine spray) and gets sucked into the cylinder when the piston draws down. 

 

The trick is to get just the right amount of fuel into the cylinder with a strong spark at just the right moment...over and over.... as the engine warms up..the fuel turns to "Vapor"

 

Choke does just that. It limits air... or "Chokes" the engine of oxygen (a flap covers the top of the carb). Too much oxygen is bad for a cold engine. You need lots of "Fumes" to ignite and a strong spark to ignite it.

 

The distributor with points (OEM) sends electricity to the spark plugs to ignite the fuel in each cylinder. (again I apologize if you already know this):

 

 

 

 

 A properly tuned engine sends just the right spray of fuel into a cylinder which ignites the fuel at the exact moment... where you touch the key and Vrooom.......

 

 

 Isolate the two seperate systems.....

 

Fuel.

 

Spark.

 

In the fuel system you have the gas tank, fuel lines deliver fuel pumped by the fuel pump up to the Carburator. The carb holds fuel in a "bowl" and regulates with a float and needle. When the float drops "low", the needle opens and allows more gas to flow in. When you stab the gas pedal.... liquid gas is squeezed through a tiny hole ("Jets") into the intake manifold. The quality of fuel, quantity and "atomization" (squeezing) all matters. Oxygen is also "sucked" into the carburator (controlled by butterfly valves). The air/fuel mixture has to be pretty precise. Too much fuel and the mixture doesn't burn as well...

 

On the other end.. Electricity comes from the Coil (battery, charging system, etc), into the distributer (as seen in the video). The coil, wires from the ignition to the coil, battery, etc... all must be in good shape and able to carry current with the least amount of resistance. The Points make contact (gap must be precise) and contacts in good condition. The condensor must be in good working order to prevent "burning" of the contact points. THEN..... electricity is sent to the contacts inside the distributor cap...down the HT leads (spark plug wires) to the spark plug. Again with good conductivity and little resistance. The spark plug must have a proper gap and good conductivity. All of this leads up to combustion in a cylinder with a good sealing chamber (valves not leaking).  On top of that....the TIMING of all of these components is critical. 

 

 

So.... make sure your gasoline is good. Make sure the fuel pump is pumping. Make sure the carb is getting and mixing fuel and air properly. 

 

 Make sure the distributor (and the cam, crank and timing chain in the engine that drives it all) are good and within specs. Check the Coil, points, condensor, distributor cap, rotor, plug wires, spark plugs... are all in good shape and operating correctly, gapped properly and adjusted. 

 

Check the ignition timing, vaccum at the manifold and that you are getting AT LEAST 12 volts at the coil.

 

You should own a "timing light" and a "vacuum gauge" at least.

 

 

All basic tune up stuff. Read a Bentley, Chilton's, Haynes or any other "Tune Up" guide made in the last 80 years! (Make sure it's at least 25 years old though...to cover "Points". 

 

 In a nutshell:

 

Check your spark plugs first. Pull each one and look at it. It is BLACK? Oily or just dirty? Oil happens (valve guides, rings, etc. Compression tests will evaluate further). Dirty dusty grime (dark black) is too much gasoline in mixture..too rich. That indicates carb problems. 

 

Look at the spark plug wires. If they are dry looking or old looking.. replace them. $25 bucks maybe?

 

Throw in a PERTRONIX electronic ignition conversion. It's easy to install... costs about $75 bucks. This eliminates the contact points. 

 

 While you are at it..... install a new distributor cap and rotor. ($20 bucks?)

 

 And OVERALL... learn how your machine WORKS! Like an instructor told me in the Air Force while I was learning how to maintain Fighter Jets: "What it is....and What it does... gentleman".

 

 

 Of course...something else he said still cracks me up and will never leave me.... but that's a story for another day.........

 

 

Good luck with your mission...........

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A.D.D.'s write-up is a wonderfully concise "how cars work" 101.  At the risk of being pedantic, I'd just add to his statemet:

 

Choke does just that. It limits air... or "Chokes" the engine of oxygen (a flap covers the top of the carb). Too much oxygen is bad for a cold engine. You need lots of "Fumes" to ignite and a strong spark to ignite it.

 

The overall effect of the choke is certainly to decrease the amount of oxygen.  But the way it works is to restrict the air passage, resulting in a faster moving air stream, not less air.  This results in an area of relative low pressure, which "pulls" in fuel droplets from the jets (Bernoulli's principle).  So it increases the ratio of fuel to air, and thus lowering the proportion of oxygen.  Bernoulli's principle not only explains the choke action, but how carbs work in general.  The little hourglass shaped tube you can see when peer into the carb, called a venturi, functions to narrow the air flow and thus draw in fuel droplets, to create fuel vapor.

 

By the way, carb. tuning and repair is the one part of the Haynes manual that is basically useless.  That's because the carbs you and most of have, Webers, were not the original carbs for our cars. 

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Nobody has mentioned this but what the heck, I might as well. You should probably do yourself a favor and get rid of the 32/36 and get a 38/38 2 barrel.  I played with my 32/36 ad nauseum with quick links, rebuilding, float levels, new jetting with lots of time spent and frustrating fuel leaks and puddles on my manifold.  The 32/36 is an economy carb and not what most of us want on our cars to begin with.  I can tell you that my car starts almost instantaneously now with barely a couple of revolutions turned before the engine fires. Also, runs (read accelerates) much better then the 32/36 and idles smoother.   Good by and good riddance to that troublesome 32/36.  Have a couple sitting on the shelf if anybody is interested. 

You still need to get the ignition settings right, but this carb went a long way towards getting my Inka car running and starting like it should.

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