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1955 Won't Start in the Cold

Discussion in '1955 - 1966 Classic Ford Thunderbird' started by pauljacobs, May 6, 2019.

  1. My 55 is very difficult to start once the air temperature dips below 50 degrees. With enough cranking and ether I can usually get it to fire up but I really don't like using the ether so the car sat most of the winter. Any suggestions?
     
    Terry Burt likes this.
  2. Dick Rupp

    Dick Rupp Active Member Lifetime Donor

    Mine is the same way. I pump the gas pedal then hold it to the floor. Turn the key to start, let the engine turn over for about 30seconds. Repeat until it starts. It usually takes about 5 or 6 attempts.The Y blocks are very cold blooded.
     
  3. 64ZCODE

    64ZCODE Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    So either an electric or manual choke is operational but still difficult to start? My other question would be if you have the stock ignition system or have you upgraded to electronic ignition?
     
  4. Dick Rupp

    Dick Rupp Active Member Lifetime Donor

    I have the stock 6 volt ignition system. I have had 4 '55 T birds over the years. They were all hard starting when cold.
     
  5. fordrodsteven

    fordrodsteven Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    Sounds to me like an improperly set choke. I remember I had one car described as "cold blooded" I would pump it twice and then to the floor for the third pump (to set the choke). Then I would hold the pedal about 1/4 throttle to start. it worked pretty good and usually fired up pretty quickly.
     
  6. Dick Rupp

    Dick Rupp Active Member Lifetime Donor

    I don't know about improper choke. I just know what works for me.
     
  7. 64ZCODE

    64ZCODE Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    I think Steven is suggesting the choke might not be adjusted right. Recommend next time the car is stone cold, pull the air cleaner, work the throttle linkage and verify that the choke butterfly is all the way closed.

    Also, I'm a big believer in the Pertronix electronic ignition modules and high energy coils. I'm out of my depth speculating about '55 Tbirds, but if they are anything like the '64 Tbird I'm familiar with, the stock ignition system is weak and the spark is borderline inadequate to light the fire in the cylinders. You could consider upgrading to the Pertronix ignitor module and coil and I think your car would start better and throttle response and power would be improved.
     
  8. Turns out the choke was stuck. Thanks for the help
     
    64ZCODE likes this.
  9. 64ZCODE

    64ZCODE Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    You’re welcome
     
  10. I also have a stock 6 volt ignition system and this is the procedure I use to start my car.

    Cold Engine - Sitting Overnight - Sitting For A Few Days

    1. Do not touch the accelerator; crank the engine over for 5 seconds.
    (This not only fills the fuel filter bowl with fuel, it also builds up oil pressure)

    2. Slowly push the accelerator pedal to the floor and then slowly release the accelerator pedal.
    (This closes the choke assembly and primes the carburetor with fuel)

    3. Do not touch the accelerator; crank the engine over for 5 seconds once again. If the engine starts, rev the engine once slightly.

    4. If the engine did not start, depress the accelerator 3 times, but only ¼ pedal travel each time.
    (This primes the carburetor with additional fuel, but keep in mind, T-Bird engines flood easily)

    5. Crank the engine over once again and when the engine starts, rev the engine once slightly.

    Warm Engine - Sitting Less Than An Hour

    1. Do not touch the accelerator; crank the engine over and when the engine starts rev the engine once slightly.

    Warm Engine - Sitting More Than An Hour

    1. Depress the accelerator pedal ¼ pedal travel and hold it in that position. Crank the engine over and when the engine starts rev the engine once slightly.

    doug7740
    1955 Thunderbird Blue
     
  11. Your choke is probably not engaging. Common problem. On my '57 I've never gotten the choke to work properly. My bad, had the earlier choke cover which the thermostatic spring works in reverse. You can reverse the spring and adjust , but in the meantime, crank it until the oil light goes out then pump the throttle to get a rich mixture. it will start. then pump the throttle to keep it going 'till it will idle on it's own.
     
  12. Excellent advice. I've been doing that for years. I just want to add that cranking until the oil light goes out is insurance that all the stress points are lubricated before the engine fires. It should be well known that the most wear is during start-up before the system is lubricated. I had a race car engine builder tell me he has two switches. One for the starter and the other for the ignition. Crank it until the oil pressure is up then throw the ignition switch.
    These people who install electric fuel pumps for the instant gratification of having the engine fire at the turn of the key have no idea of the damage they are doing. These cars are 60+ years old. Understand the technology and not expect them to act like new cars.
     
  13. "Instant gratification " ?????? Funny new cars don't seem to damage the engine when they start propperly. I'll bet the starters last alot longer to.
     
    CSPIDY likes this.
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