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Old 04-04-2018, 08:25 PM   #1
dolphans1
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My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Hello Folks, my first post on here. I have an original 1956 Chevy Dump Truck, its a slant or straight 6 cylinders and I have owned her for 2 years. I never drive it much, but started her every 2 weeks. 1 barrel carburetor.

2 weeks ago I started the truck with the choke on and let her run for about 5 minutes with the choke on and it quit while it was running.

I made several attempts to start her again and had no success starting her. Several times it sounded like she wanted to start, but no success.

Today I removed the oil air-breather and cleaned it, removed the inline fuel filter and replaced it with a plastic see through one.

At times it sounded like she wanted to start but then I could tell she did not want to start.

I sprayed starter fluid at times in the carb (alone) but had no success either.

I noticed the carburetor had a small leak (ooze) of fuel from the front bottom, buttery fly front bottom, I'm, guessing.

I have read on other forums, it could be anything from the carburetor to the fuel pump, fuel line clogged, vapor lock, coil. condenser distributor cap, etc.

So my question is - what would you attempt next? Should I rebuild the carburetor next?

Its hard trying to diagnose without a little helper.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.




Last edited by dolphans1; 04-04-2018 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:48 PM   #2
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

If you left it running with the choke on that long till it died I would clean or replace the spark plugs.
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:56 PM   #3
dolphans1
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Thanks, I will try that then. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:27 AM   #4
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

try cranking it for a few rounds, then pull the plugs and see what you have. if wet then it is flooding. maybe because of a float/inlet valve in the carb bowl that allows too much fuel in so it overflows and runs down the throat. it could also be a bad spark due to carboned plugs that don't really spark across the electrodes but rather trickle down the carbon trail.
if the plugs are dry then you may have a no fuel issue and may need to check out why.
check:
plugs
cap
rotor
points, condensor
plug wires
carb float level
compression
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Old 04-05-2018, 11:16 AM   #5
dolphans1
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Thanks guys, I have to work on the truck on my days off , I'll get back to you all when I get to her again, next days off.

Just a FYI - I always had to use the choke to start her up, once she warmed up, I could push the choke in and she would idle nicely.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:45 PM   #6
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

You need 3 things to make it run, compression, fuel and ignition. Since it didn't pop off with starting fluid, I would start with the ignition system. Pull the coil wire from the distributor cap and place it in close proximity to a ground. Have someone crank it over and see what you have for spark. If it has a good hot spark then check the cap, rotor and plugs. If no spark check for voltage at the coil + terminal while cranking. If no or low voltage is present while cranking you have a wiring issue. If voltage is present, I would suspect points and condenser or coil. You can bench check the coil with an Ohm meter, there are videos on you tube
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:28 PM   #7
dolphans1
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Originally Posted by Black_Sheep View Post
You need 3 things to make it run, compression, fuel and ignition. Since it didn't pop off with starting fluid, I would start with the ignition system. Pull the coil wire from the distributor cap and place it in close proximity to a ground. Have someone crank it over and see what you have for spark. If it has a good hot spark then check the cap, rotor and plugs. If no spark check for voltage at the coil + terminal while cranking. If no or low voltage is present while cranking you have a wiring issue. If voltage is present, I would suspect points and condenser or coil. You can bench check the coil with an Ohm meter, there are videos on you tube
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:30 PM   #8
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Thanks Black Sheep - I will check all that on next set of days off and report back.
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:31 PM   #9
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Ditto, It will probably just start right up with new plugs.
I would add a ground wire to the outside of the distributor to ground, since it rotates with advance.
I would also add a large ground wire from the engine to the frame, or if it is already there, clean the attach points. They should be near the starter
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:45 PM   #10
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Ditto, It will probably just start right up with new plugs.
I would add a ground wire to the outside of the distributor to ground, since it rotates with advance.
I would also add a large ground wire from the engine to the frame, or if it is already there, clean the attach points. They should be near the starter
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:47 PM   #11
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Thanks CoupeGuy - will try that.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:23 PM   #12
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

The guys pretty well have it down.

It takes compression, ignition and fuel for the engine to run and they all have to be there at the right time.

I'd go along with checking for spark, either from the cool wire (end that goes in the distributor cap) to metal or one of the spark plug wires. to metal on the engine. You should get a good spark here holding the metal end slightly off the block or head.

Since you ran the engine for several minutes with the choke on and then it stalled that would suggest you fouled the plugs in the process as several said. Too much fuel to the amount of air and finally the plugs foul. You might be able to clean them but most of the time it calls for new plugs.

As far as the fuel side, if the carb is flooded there is a good chance that a bit of fuel might show up on the shaft for the throttle plates. That might also indicate that the shaft or holes it goes through are worn a bit.

Fuel filter not all the way full of gas, I have seen that on my own rigs while they sit there and run and have never known why it happens. I think the air taking up that space allows the pump to push fuel through to the carb. Kind of like a pressure tank on a pump on a home water system. Even if the bladder leaks the air at the top will stay in place and let the liquid flow.

One thing that I want you to do and that is only make ONE change at a time while trouble shooting it. Do not make more than one change at a time. I've seen too many no start conditions where guys went down and bought a stack of parts at one time and changed them all and they still haven't cured the problem. You have to know what the problem actually is to fix it right.

Since the pump is pumping some fuel you can check that off. Later if the truck starves for fuel at speed it might be an issue.

In order I'd
Check for spark
No spark, find out why
Good spark
pull the plugs and check them. Do what you feel you need to do on them

If you run into an issue don't be afraid to ask. Most of us have been there done that on these rigs and a few of us have 40 or 50 years of experience at it.
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:40 PM   #13
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Sorry, one last thing

If the spark plug wires are old, I would try taking them out of the distributor cap before you pull them off of the spark plugs. That way, they will experience less trauma when the wire is pulled off the spark plug.

Older spark plug wires have a delicate core, and tend to have breaks in the core when manipulated after being in one position in heat for years.
Try not to bend or straighten them too much.
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:30 AM   #14
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

once you get it running it may be a good idea to do a good tune up on it. including a valve adjustment, leak down test, compression test, swap out the tune up stuff and check/clean/rebuild the carb, ensure the accel pump nozzle is aimed properly, check fuel pump output and flow rate and look at all the vac hoses. one hose in particular looks a bit suspect so any others may also be in the same condition. that way you know what you have and don't need to worry about if it will start up when you need it.
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Old 04-09-2018, 01:14 PM   #15
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

I recently had a similar problem with my truck. I start it and let it run every few weeks. Awhile back it just would not start. I had fuel, so this is how I found the fault. I started with a test light connected between ground and the + on the coil, with key on the light was on. I then moved the light to the – on the coil, with key on the light was on. I placed the light in a position that was visible from inside the cab. I have a push button starter, I pushed the button and the light remained on, it should have flashed with the points making and breaking. I then disconnected the + wire on the coil and connected an Ohm-meter between coil – and ground, the reading was open, pushed the start button and the reading remained open, it should be switching open/short. I moved the Ohm-meter – lead to the ground terminal on the distributor, pushed the start button and the reading switched open/short, this shows the points are good. I then moved the Ohm-meter to ground and the ground terminal on the distributor, it read open. That special screw in the distributor was rusty, so I sprayed it with penetrating oil and let it soak for a few days. I used the tips of needle nose plyers to go in the two holes in the end of the screw and needle nose vice grips to turn the nut inside the distributor. The screw had to come all the way out to get the ring terminal off. I took fine sandpaper to the ground wire terminal and the screw, put it back together and it fired right up. I hope this helps.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:45 PM   #16
dolphans1
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

I worked on her today finally and re-tired starting her, and sorry for getting back so late, just no free time. I changed the coil and replaced all the spark plugs.

The old plugs I removed were black and did not look that bad. The #1 plug was a bit wet and smelled like gasoline and I am not sure why because I did not even try to start up until today.

I sprayed ether through the carb throat and she fired and ran for 35-45 seconds, but idled rough and quickly quit running when I pumped the accelerator pedal.

Tried several more times until the battery started to drain and I could not get her to fire up and run.

I removed the battery and am charging it.

Any more ideas or suggestions?
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:47 AM   #17
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

with the air filter off and you looking down the throat of the carb, key off, do you see fuel squirt when the accell linkage is moved by hand? if not, check to see if you have fuel to the carb, and enough volume.if it fired on ether but quickly stalled it sounds like you are fuel starved or have old fuel. also, the accel squirt should be aimed to land on the edge of the throttle plate.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:59 AM   #18
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

I don't think fuel delivery to your carb is an issue but you can check it by taking the fuel line loose from the carb, sticking an empty plastic pop or water bottle over the end of the line and have someone crank the engine.

I do think that you either need to rebuild the carb or have someone rebuild it. It sounds like a lot of your problems are in the carb. You shouldn't have to keep the choke on more than about 45 seconds most of the time unless it is seriously cold out and the engine needs more time to warm up.

I'm not a fan of a wholesale change of things like plugs, points, condenser cap, rotor, wires and a carb rebuild unless it it is a part of the full tune up or conditions require it. I am not a fan of by guess and by golly changing items in hope that you cure the problem.

The problem here seems to be fuel delivery but part of it may be if you are just starting it letting it run for a few minutes and not actually driving it down the road for ten miles or better to fully get the engine up to operating temp and then run a few miles to let it clean it's self out.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:18 AM   #19
dolphans1
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

I'm working on her by myself so its hard to do both.

I will attempt again tomorrow, charging the battery up tonight.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:12 AM   #20
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

I'm not being smart here, but I will mention something simple. You didn't run out of gas, right? If you're not driving the truck and just idling in the driveway you may not have checked the gauge - or it may not be working correctly. That sending unit has probably been in that tank for 60+ years...
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:05 AM   #21
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I'm not being smart here, but I will mention something simple. You didn't run out of gas, right? If you're not driving the truck and just idling in the driveway you may not have checked the gauge - or it may not be working correctly. That sending unit has probably been in that tank for 60+ years...
I’ve owned the truck for about 2 years, though never drove her much, would just start and would let her run for about 5 minutes or so. The day she quit she was idling with choke on for about 5 minutes and then she started sputtering and stopped like she ran out of fuel. I added two gallons of extra gas and retried starting and nothing. Buddy of mine said it had to be the coil, replaced the coil ($25.00) and the spark plugs.95 cents each (6 of them) and tried again yesterday and she fired with starting fluid for like 35 seconds, but rough idle and could not get her to start again. The fuel filter has a viewable clear window to see there is fuel there. Charging up the battery and going to try again today.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:36 AM   #22
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Black plugs = too rich. Running with choke on for too long can do this. If the carb is leaking fuel into the manifold you can also get too rich mixture. Pull and check new plugs before trying to start. If they are already black then the fuel mixture was too rich when you tried to start it yesterday. Clean all the black off the plugs before trying to restart (DON'T use a wire wheel!). The carbon that built up can short electricity to ground creating "no spark" plugs.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:55 PM   #23
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

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Black plugs = too rich. Running with choke on for too long can do this. If the carb is leaking fuel into the manifold you can also get too rich mixture. Pull and check new plugs before trying to start. If they are already black then the fuel mixture was too rich when you tried to start it yesterday. Clean all the black off the plugs before trying to restart (DON'T use a wire wheel!). The carbon that built up can short electricity to ground creating "no spark" plugs.
I pulled all the new plugs out and they looked normal and good or okay, I fired her up on the first crank and she sounded like she might go, but the longer I tried I just knew she wasn't going to.

I'm depressed and bummed out about it, because I cannot see what is actually going on.

When I throttle the accelerate linkage I can see fuel dumping into the throat of the manifold, but I have no luck at all starting.

I am so upset and tired messing with this truck, if anyone wants to buy this truck let me know. I'm throwing in the towel.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:44 AM   #24
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

This could be something simple. In case you've got a little more fight in you, here's an idea that should take about 5 minutes: From your description, it sounds like your truck might have fire until you release the key. If so, your ballast resistor might have given up the ghost. Here's the test:

1) Using a voltmeter, select a DC volts scale on the meter that is greater than 12 volts.

2) Put the red lead of your voltmeter on the "+" terminal on the coil, and put the black lead of the voltmeter on any good ground (e.g., a carburetor stud, the "-" terminal of the battery, or any kind of ground).

3) Turn the key on. If you get about 8 volts your ballast resistor is OK. If you get zero volts, your ballast resistor either is dead or somehow the circuit is broken.

4) To verify that your voltmeter is hooked up correctly, try to start the truck. The meter should read about 12 volts while the engine is cranking.

5) Report back to us.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:15 AM   #25
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Re: My 1956 Chevy Truck won't start

Quote:
I am so upset and tired messing with this truck, if anyone wants to buy this truck let me know. I'm throwing in the towel.
I've been there before. One of the hardest parts of doing this by yourself is getting a handle on what's happening.

There are a few things you can do that will help.

1) Try to come up with a method to crank the engine from under the hood. I'm guessing you have the foot pedal start so a lever, a rope on the starter rod, maybe grabbing the linkage It's a helluva lot easier than trying to run back and forth from the driver's seat.

2) Check for spark starting with the coil wire. You can buy or make a simple spark tester but they're different for points and for electronic ignition. If you buy a tester like this one it will make a nice "snap" noise each time it sparks so you can hear it from the cab. In order to make a tester for points you need a clean plug with the gap opened up to about .045". Connect your new tester to the coil wire and ground the body to the block. Crank the engine and watch for steadily repeating blue-yellow sparks. If you don't get steady spark then you need to find out why.

Note: If you are still running points there's a chance that when the engine stalled and sat with the key on the points got burned. If so then you may be able to sand them and reset the gap and get it to run again.

If you do get steady spark then reconnect the coil to the distributor and move the tester to the first plug wire. Do the same check at each plug wire. If you have one or more wires that don't spark correctly you need to find out why. It could be wires, or the cap, or both.

Once you're sure you have steady spark you can move on to checking for fuel.

Good luck.
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