frozen and stranded last night - thinking through next steps
Had problems again last night, and this time I ended up stuck. ('65 200 daily driver.) I had a long day yesterday so the car was sitting in the lot from about 9AM to 11PM... high temp yesterday was 27... and I never got a chance to go out over the course of the day and start it for a while (mistake #1). Come 11PM, I went out to start it and it wouldn't catch. Thinking I probably flooded it again, I went back in for a bit and came back out to try again - still nothing. Put starter fluid down the carb and still nothing. At this point the battery was starting to bog, despite being brand new, so I went in and got our jumper box but that still didn't get it started. Eventually I ended up catching a cab to the airport and rented something to get home.
The only symptom I can identify is that the car's acting like it's flooded, but it shouldn't be at all based on how little I touched the pedal trying to start it. Still not 100 percent sure whether the coolant is slushed up or not - it feels like it might be but it's only at the top of the fins so it's hard to tell. It's going to sit here till at least tomorrow afternoon, by which time it should be in the low 30s so hopefully that'll help. It's supposed to be 50 here on Tuesday so if that's what it takes, so be it.
Thoughts moving forward... going to take the battery out today, take it home and charge it back up. Then I'll come back tomorrow afternoon and try it again. I'm going to bring a couple gallons of gas in case that's contributing, because it's somewhere below 1/4 tank (mistake #2).
Towards the end of trying to start it I really didn't like how the engine sounded... not sure how much oil is on the parts right now. I thought of trying to prime the oil pump but I haven't been able to get the distributor out of the car since I bought it, so I'm not sure that's an option.
At 27 degrees I would suspect maybe some water in the fuel that froze, but ? why then no start with starting fluid. I hada mustang II that did wouldn't cold start (but only once and it was 4 deg with a hellof a wind. Nothing actually wrong, mind you, when the temp rose the next morning to a balmy, spring like 18F it started right up. Only two other cars would run (we all worked at a small hospital) 68 caddy, and a 90something Ford Tempo. I racked my brain but never figured it out, (even thought about point gap changes in extreme cold) Maybe when it warms she'll fire up
I drove a '65 convertible for one winter here in Michigan. Most of my starting problems occurred after a snowfall. Moisture would find its way under my distributor cap and I wasn't getting a good spark. You may want to shoot some WD-40 in there to see if it helps. Some dielectric grease on the rotor and cap contacts wouldn't hurt either. Good luck!
65 2+2, C4 Auto, 351W
09 Dk Highland Green Bullitt
I'm curious what carb you have? I always like to start with the basics. I daily drove 65-66 cars for years. With autolite 1100's to set the choke properly you have to give it a pump and then hold the pedal 1/3 third of the way down until it catches. It's possible that it's flooding,I would pull a plug or 6 easy enough and see how they look. In the winter I always ran a strong mix of antifreeze, a hotter thermostat, thinner oil (when cranking in 10 degree weather oil thickness mattered to me very much when it was cold). I also made sure to use a heated carb spacer plate stock sixes already had them to aid with carburetor icing. I hope you get this figured out.
also once I do get it home, on the docket is a complete drain and refill of the system to get the coolant level right and hopefully putting in an in-line coolant heater. Problem is, I don't know how easy it is for me to plug it in at work on a regular basis, and I'm there till 11 or midnight all the time during the winter. So if this is indeed going to be an ongoing issue, this DD experiment may be coming to an end for me. I knew winter starting was harder but I didn't realize there was potential for something like this.
Many years ago I had a twin carburetor BMW fail to start due to some water in the fuel that froze inside the fuel pump while parked outside in snowy weather at Lake Tahoe. The 6300 foot elevation didn't help much either! I can't remember how I determined that, but I do remember applying a hot compress to the fuel pump, (mounted high on the cylinder head) for a few minutes and the ice melted, the car started without further difficulty but did run poorly until the engine got up to operating temperature.
*67 Vintage Burgundy 390GTA with most of the bells and whistles*
I drove a '65 convertible for one winter here in Michigan. Most of my starting problems occurred after a snowfall. Moisture would find its way under my distributor cap and I wasn't getting a good spark. You may want to shoot some WD-40 in there to see if it helps. !
Agree & If there is a hairline crack in the cap it will temp.take care of that also......! Definitely check the rotor to see if it's turning or - might be damaged (assuming to have no spark)
A crankcase full of 20w50 that's been sitting all day or overnight in 10-20 degree temps will make that car crank super slow.I would definitely go thinner in the winter.Change the oil and you probably won't need the block heater my daily 66 used to sit out on the street all day and nnight with no heater.
10w30 with some ZDDP additive should be fine. It's what Ford recommended for this engine and what I ran in my 200 I6 when it was my daily driver in high school in the late 90's in Orange Co. NY. Never once had a starting problem. Oil is not your problem. I would check the distributor/points and plugs like the others are saying. Also make sure carb is adjusted to specs. No reason in the world why that engine shouldn't start reliably in the cold. People in the 60's didn't just stop driving when it got cold out.
1966 Mustang Convertible - T Code - vintage burgundy / black pony interior
1966 Mustang Coupe - C Code - currently red / black standard interior (going back to original dark moss green / ivy gold and white pony interior)
Looking at it that way... would the coolant freezing up cause non-starting? Also, I have Pertronix... can that get too cold to work right?
The only x-factor here is the amount of time it's been outside in the cold. When the cold snap started, it was starting up fine in the morning after a night in the garage with a small space heater running underneath the front bumper pointed towards the oil pan. Wednesday it had probelms as described... Thursday I went out at lunch about four hours after I got in and it didn't start right away but did fire, and then that night when I went home three hours later it was fine.
Something is happening with the longer it's exposed to these cold temps, the harder it is to start. I'll certainly check the cap/rotor/etc., but to me, if that was the main problem then it would have been happening all the time - not just late in the day.
Definitely throw in some water treatment in the fuel system. Steel tanks sweat inside when the cold metal is colder than the fuel e.g. when you drive the exhaust heats the tank a little. When you turn off the motor the steel gets cold and condenses water in the air.
Next, make sure your ignition system is in great shape, cap rotor, plug wires etc. For the price of one cab ride you can replace it all and know your good, definitely worth it.
Petronix should be fine. Google petronix and cold weather to see if you get pages of complaints but all carz these daze have magnetic pickups.
Flooding is easy to see - just pull a plug. I have cleared flooded motors in winter with a propane torch. Pull the plug and flame the plug hole, It will flame up, little spooky but not bad. Never heard that this is ok to do, I just did it and it works...
Seriously, we all love vintage mustangs here on the forum, but few of us would expect a 48 year old carbureted, points ignition car to perform daily in below freezing, snowy, icy, salty conditions. Are you sure that your not expecting more than is reasonable?
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