First start Help?

Noob need some help guidance. trying to start 3.8 for first time in years. cranks fine, but just a few loud pops and nothing else. fuel also leaking from the suction chamber piston assembly (no air cleaner so that is visible. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Maybe a float stuck open. If the car has been sitting for a long tome (and with ethanol fuel) I would go thru the carbs and clean and rebuild them.

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thanks Marco, I already did that. floats are finally all three ok.

if fuel is spitting out the carbs while trying to start,it’s frequently wrong timing?
good luck

Does your fuel pump stop running before you start cranking the engine?

Original Poster states that the car is a 3.8. If it still has the original fuel pump, it will be the submerged type which runs continuously, unlike the out-of-tank SU pump that the 4.2s use.

Yep, makes sense.

When you reassembled the carbs, did you measure the distance from the float bowl rim, without the gasket? I don’t have SUs so won’t pretend to know the specs, but here’s a site that may help:
Float Height Setting | SU Carburetters.

thanks for all your responses. turns out the guy working on the car (me) never checked the distributor cap wiring which was incorrect. rewired in the proper order and it started right up.
New issue, oil pouring out the rear of the engine and/or gearbox. I think i overfilled both so that is next step to check and then RECHECK.


A few owners keep the level a little below the full mark from memory.

Check that the two banjo bolt fittings, one on the back of each cam part of the head aren’t leaking. When they leak the oil drips down and can be taken for a rear man seal leak.

Can you further define “pouring out”? Steady drip, stream, gusher?

unfortunately, appeared to be gusher pouring down and going to back as well.

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Sounds like under pressure which points to the oil feed pipe. It is on the rear face of the engine. Kind of hard to see and work on.

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It sounds like the two oil feed lines going to the rear of the cylinder head were not installed properly. The attached pictures of those feed lines, banjo bolts, and copper crush washers for my 1969 E-Type FHC with original 4.2L engine are attached.

Each banjo bolt/feed line gets two of the C4146 special crush washers, one between the head and the feed line and the other between the feed line and the banjo bolt. Using the wrong banjo bolts, wrong washers, or failure to tighten the banjo bolts properly can result in oil leaks in that area. I purchase the C4146 crush washers at my local Jaguar dealership for about $0.50 each. I purchase a dozen at a time since they are also used on our 1990 XJ-S convertible and 1990 V12 Vanden Plas. So it helps to have a few spares around since they are very thin and are not designed to be reused. Aftermarket washers are available but I prefer the OEM ones, especially since they are readily available through the dealerships.


I also want to emphasize that Jaguar designed those special, thin copper crush washers, very specifically, and if you use the stock banjo, bolts and line – – both of which are completely and totally adequate to the task – – make sure to use only those special crush washers. Many people think regular flat copper washers will work better? They don’t.


thanks for those replies. I will check tonight when I get home.

A little above the empty mark. Less than half.

If it comes out in volume when running and ran before it’s the discussed feed line, if it was just assembled it could also be the rear plug for the main gallery.

thank you all again. I guess I have a lot to learn about this car. I have taken most everything apart and rebuilt, however, never the engine which I have hoped would be good. In regard to the engine I didnot know everthing to check and unfortunately made some assumptions. we all know what happens when you assume. In any event, I believe the oil hemorrhage problem is clearly related to the oil feed time pipe…try as hard as I could, i couldnot find it…because it was not there, never installed.
New one on order from one of the usuals and hopefully problem solved without creating another.
thanks again.

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Well, that would explain the gusher.

How long did you run the engine without the cam feed line?

fortunately only about 30 seconds.

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