it won't start?!

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Jan 4, 2003
Oxnard, CA
My '73 fj40 won't start...all the time, that is. It will always turn over, but sometimes it won't even sputter. I thought at first that it was flooding out, but the window on the carb is only half full (does this mean it's not flooding?), and my spark plugs are less than a year old and are in good shape. If anyone has any other ideas on what else could be wrong, I'd appreciate it, thanks.
I had this problem a little while ago. I'm not real sure what it was that made it run i think a combination of things made it run but I'll just describe what happened in my case and maybe it will help you a little it was a kind of long ordeal so here goes.

Ok first thing my uncle (who was helping me) told me was "there are three things (basically) that a car needs to run power, fuel, air. check to make sure you have all three" you probably don't need to do this but in my case i replaced the points, dist. cap, plugs, plug wires, among other things.

Pull one plug wire at a time off a spark plug and hold it near a bolt or something metal ( in our case my uncle held it near a bolt on the valve cover - don't know if any of this is the smart way to do this my uncle's a real shadetree mechanic) crank the engine to see how much spark you are getting. check the points, check to see if the ignition coil is good, also, if you rotated the dist. at all that might have affected it, I know my uncle ended up turning the dist and that eventually started it. I honestly don't know what he did except just that he told me never to fiddle with turning the dist. unless I was real sure of what I was doing. I think that is good advice.

I am by no means an expert, but this is what we did to get it running and it was doing what you were describing before we fixed it. Sorry about the novel i wrote you, I hope some of this helps.
Really could be a whole lot of stuff. Check to see if you have spark first. Pull a plug wire, then pull a plug. If the plug is wet, it's flooded. If it's black, it's running too rich. If it's a nice tan or no color, mixture is good. Put the plug in the wire and lay it on top of the valve cover. Have someone crank the engine while you stand off to the side. You should see a nice blue spark. This isn't a perfect test as the plug isn't under compression loads, but it helps eliminate some things.
If you have good consistant spark, put the plug back in and try a squirt of starting fluid. If it starts every time on the fluid, we're getting closer.

Let us know what you find and that'll help get you a lot closer.
Thanks for the input- i replaced the distributor stuff and the spark plugs and wires, and now I get a better spark. I also put some carb cleaner in the gas tank and that may have helped too, i don't know exactly. Anyways... it seems to be doing much better! Thanks again.

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