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Old 12-07-2016, 09:57 PM   #1
ak_petey
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Default cold carbed chevy 350? cold temp starting issues

So i had to pull the white whale outta the shop last weekend (cclb chevy 350 carbed w/electric choke. There is a tag i pulled off the motor that showed a .040 or .4 bore. (Not sure... But its hard to read because its old) so i think the motor has been rebuilt at some point. Unknown miles.

Anyway, it had a hell of a time starting. I had a space heater blowing under it for about an hour and then spent about 5 minutes cranking the motor over (with jumper cables and my 2014 ram). It back fired a handfull of times as i was trying to start it. Probably me over fueling it

I do need to swap out the trans oil pan heater pad as it shorts out/ blows breaker when plugged in. The trans pan heater is on the same circuit as the engine block and oil pan heater. (basically none of these were getting any heat). I have a battery heater blanket and trickle charger on a seperate circuit.

When it finally ignited, it did not want to stay running, but eventually did after it warmed up with enging rev. spikes and eventually high idling (my foot on the pedal, held it at about 2000 -2500 rpm) . It eventually stayed running.

Its in the shop now where i can crank the air forced furnace up to warm it up before i start it. But... I am wondering ... What could cause it to not want it to start in the cold? Just the cold? If not... Where should i look first?

I understand that spark/heat, fuel and air make it go... But it just seemed to really struggle to start. Oh and its only been about -20 to -25 F out, with 5-10 mph winds.
Do i need to re adjust the carb for cold temps? if so, what is the vacuum i should be looking for? Compression test? Advanced timing? ( it sits pretty high as it requires about 15-20 degrees advance to idle smoothly. At warm temp it cranked over beautifully and didnt skip a beat.

Anyway. I am glad it in the shop but if there is something i need to adjust or do differently i am open to suggestions and direction
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: cold carbed chevy 350? cold temp starting issues

What weight oil? Battery condition? Carb condition? Good squirt volume in the carb. Electrical connections, including grounds, clean and tight? Choke functional and adjusted correctly? How long since it was last started? Lots of things can make an engine hard to start. These are the most common in my experience.
Your engine was bored .040 (forty thousandths of an inch), if bored .400 (four hundred thousandths of an inch) your pistons would be running in water, LOL. Good luck!
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Old 12-08-2016, 06:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: cold carbed chevy 350? cold temp starting issues

With my truck that is a built 350 with a 650 e del Brock.

4 presses of the peddle. After I pull the choke. This closes the choke flap and sets the high idle.

Usually cranks for 10 seconds or so and fires off. Won't usually stay running the first time runs for a minute and dies. One push of the peddle and it fires back up. Let it run for 10 minutes push the choke in and burp the throttle to kick off high idle.


With an electric choke make sure it's adjusted. When cold you want the flap closed all the way. Before you do that when warm make sure your idle speed and idle jets are set properly and timing is a big issue in the cold aswell.
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: cold carbed chevy 350? cold temp starting issues

Thanks guys!
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Old 12-08-2016, 06:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: cold carbed chevy 350? cold temp starting issues

Petey, I'd try one fix at a time, so you will know which fix cured the problem.
Something not mentioned is setting the fast idle speed, in conjunction with the choke setting. Keep us posted.
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: cold carbed chevy 350? cold temp starting issues

My brown truck runs like crap when cold. Usually loads up and stalls after a few mins if I don't jam the ice scraper on the pedal.
After it's warmed up its mostly fine. Lately has been acting up at low rpm, surging. Oh well, soon to be a backup backup truck.
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: cold carbed chevy 350? cold temp starting issues

Its a chevy!
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