Starting Issue

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Nov 8, 2022
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
I purchased this 40 a few months ago. I have been driving it since I purchased it with no issues. I typically pull into my driveway, the last time it ran, I backed into the driveway.

40 info: 1969, SBC 350, automatic, HEI distributor, aftermarket gauges. Plow removed just before I purchased. I removed the winch.

When the 40 was running, the gauges worked fine until you turned on the headlights, then the gauges stopped working. Now, when the key is turned, the gauges do nothing, but the engine is cranking but will not turn over when the key is turned all the way.

Here is what I have tested:

Battery: 12.22 volts
Battery: 10.5 volts while cranking
Distributor: 12.2 volts
Button on the underside of the distributor is not spring loaded, does not move. (I was told it is supposted to move in and out with a spring behind it)
Checked the fuses in the engine compartment and under the dash.
I cleaned the battery posts and checked the wires on the starter, all tight.
Push the throttle, gas is going in the carb.

I bought a spark tester which I will do tomorrow.

The wiring harness looks like swiss cheese.

Anyone have any ideas?

If it's cranking and gas is pumping, it's likely that you don't have spark. Verify that and report back. There are a lot of people here that understand HEI setups. I'm not one of them though, sorry. The rest of the stuff you mentioned may be a grounding issue or a fuse, perhaps. You're probably on the right track with troubleshooting the distributor. While you're waiting for that tester, you could check your ground connections ... which are all over. Start and the front and work your way back. Look for any wires that are bolted to the frame or attach to the bolts that are holding parts to metal. Make sure they're clean and secured to clean, bare metal.

i heard there were problems back in 1969, when it came to a SBC 350, automatic, HEI distributor ?

i found a tech article on this

I dont think GM HEI was available in 69. It would have a points distributor. It sounds like someone upgraded to HEI. Is it a GM HEI? If it is GM HEI and has spark, the starting problem probably isn't electrical. The gm dist would only have 1 wire going to it that's hot with the key on. The OP's description of the problem is vague at best.

Key turned. On or To start? Cranking but will not turn over? Do you mean will not start? Does the engine crank when the key is in the on position or turned to start? The gauge comments indicate the wiring is suspect. Are they mechanical gauges or are the electronic? Is there a volt or ammeter gauge?
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Yes, GM. I sprayed in starter fluid and she turned over for a second and died.

When turned to start, it cranked but would not start. With the starter fluid it started for a second.



Sounds like it's fuel related.
Crud somewhere from your gas tank to your carburetor, or maybe everywhere from your tank to carb. It’s also possible your fuel pump is less than great. If it happens when you park at a certain angle perhaps it’s just debris in the tank.

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