Help i can't get my car to start

ok i have a 1970 with triple carb set up i have rebuilt the carbs. I’m about 95% sure i have them all set up right and have checked all the adjustments several times. i can get it to pop off with starter fluid but that’s it. not sure where to go from here

“pop” means it’s getting spark and fuel, but the timing may be off. Did you mess with distributer?

“Abstainer” A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.
Writer Ambrose Bierce

If it pops only with starting fluid, have you checked it is getting gas into the float chambers?
Is the fuel pump working?

Hi Rick, you had a pop using starter fluid and a few things were suggested, but have you checked the fuel pump or is fuel getting to the carbs (fuel pressure) correct and have you checked the dizzy for inconsistent sparks?

Yes I have fuel pressure at the float bowl I have not done anything to the Distributor as it ran when I pulled the carburetors off

Definitely sounds like fuel. What did you set the float forks at? What do the plugs look like? (Wet? Dry? Grey? Black?)

I set them with a 7/16 drill bit

The correct setting. Now to pull the plugs and inspect.

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Check for vacume leaks …Steve

Should still fire up with a vacuum leak, then run rough.

I have pulled a plug and it looked good the plugs only have around a 100 miles on them

Are the plugs wet or dry? You need to pull and inspect at least three, one for each carb.

Edit: more specifically, if right after an attempted startup with nothing firing you pull the plugs and they’re wet, you have an ignition issue. If they’re dry you have a fuel delivery issue.

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Is your choke working? ie when you pull the choke lever fully on, do the jets in each of the three carbs visibly drop down?

Here is a suggestion.

  1. Take off each of the three dashpots and pistons.
    2)With choke off. Get calipers and measure the distance from the top of the carb bridge down to the actual jet in each carb.
  2. Then pull the choke lever fully on and measure the distances again.

Jets should be at least 55 thou below bridge in measurement 2) above and significantly lower in measurement 3)

69 OTS

Iv known small vacume leaks prevent an XK engine from starting…its something to check…Steve

Yes. Could be the choke. The choke restricts air flow at the same time increasing fuel flow, ie. making a very rich mixture. Too rich and the plugs will be wet and won’t fire. The choke not actuating and the carbs otherwise set up properly there should still be fuel entering the combustion chambers but possibly not rich enough to fire when the engine’s cold.

Agreed, but how do you check for vacuum leaks without getting the engine running?

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all good info i think i’m going to check the float Hight one more time i just so sure i’m not getting fuel and not sure why

One way to check for fuel is to remove dashpots and pistons and see if you can see fuel in the jets. The level in the jet might be a few millimetres below the top of the jet


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If you wish to know if you have fuel, remove the jets and blow air in each hole of the float bowls. The air pressure should blow back fuel through the hole which will be an indication of fuel in the bowls, If there’s no fuel blowing back you have NO fuel. Check the fuel line from the fuel filter to the carbs for fuel…

The choke mechanism on a 3 carb E type does not restrict air flow. It only lowers the jet tubes (allowing more fuel flow) and increases idle speed (depending on how far the lever is moved).

I would recommend a careful adjustment of the choke mechanism per the manual to ensure it is working correctly before tail chasing all the other possibilities.

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