1965 Impala not starting - Impala Tech
Troubleshooting Diagnosing problems

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: california
Posts: 2
1965 Impala not starting

Hey guys I recently purchased a 1965 Impala Sport Sedan w/ a 327 and 4 bbl Rochester Quadrajet Carb. The previous owner also replaced the old ignition system with an electronic ignition.

Im having some issues though, the car will not start. It'll crank and make a sort of a popping/puffing sound (sounds like air) thats coming from the Carb and thats it. Even when we put fuel straight into it.

When we first got it there was no spark so we replaced the coil, rotor and condenser, now we have spark to all 8 plugs. We also made sure the timing was correct. One of the problems is we dont know where the vacuum lines go and which ones need to be on for it to start (if someone has this same setup could you take a picture of you carb so I can see where all the lines go?

If anyone could give me some more ideas of what to check Id be really appreciative.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 05:41 PM
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Welcome to the Team Adam!

Internal combustion requires the the same three things that external combustion (fire) requires; Heat, Fuel, and and Oxygen.

Heat and oxygen are mostly provided by the car's compression ratio which on a 1968 motor should be 10.25:1 (which is considered high today but standard back then). With the Otto thermodynamic cycle a car uses for power we rely upon a spark for ignition (the Diesel cycle doesn't and ignites just as soon as the fuel is injected into the cylinder). Finally we use the same oxygen source that a regular fire does. The air found above the carb is one fifth by weigh pure oxygen. But a cam with wiped cam lobes will keep the valves closed so you get in neither air nor fuel. (pull both the valve covers to see if all the rockers move equally as far as the motor turns over, because modern motor oil will destroy a 1968 flat tappet cam).

So in retrospect if you suspect a fuel issue substitute another fuel temporarily to see if fuel is the problem. Get a can of starting fluid and squirt as much as you dare into the car while cranking the engine over. If it starts up and runs you know you have no fuel in your carb or it is way out of adjustment. Rebuild the carb if you see gas shooting into the engine as you move the throttle arm by hand. No gas at the carb look for a clogged fuel filter or ruptured fuel pump membrane leaking gas into your motor (pull the dip stick and smell for gas).

If it will not fire with starting fluid you have an ignition problem. If you have spark to all eight cylinders consider pulling the distributor and installing it 180 out from where it is now as you are not getting the fire to the cylinders that need it (hence the chuffing and smoke as it turns over. Firing order on all Chevy's V-8 's (and Chrysler's to for that matter) is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. Number one is the front cylinder on the driver's side and all are odd on the drivers side. The even numbered bank is the passenger side with the number 2 up front and number 8 in the back. Trace your plug wires to be sure they are going to the right cylinders. Also check your dwell angle if the points and condenser are not brand new; as burnt points and a shorted condenser will prevent it from firing up as well.

Finally consider twenty four volting your starter to get double the voltage to the starter motor (which spins it twice as fast) and doubles the voltage to the points as well for a hotter spark. If you have gas and ignition and 24 volts won't start it you need a new cam and lifters.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: california
Posts: 2
Thanks for the welcome Big Dave, that was a lot of info you squeezed into one post.

I had an uncle come over and he helped me figure out what was wrong. The distributor was off a few teeth and some of the wires were crossed. At absolute top end on cylinder 1 the rotor was pointing at about 7 Oclock instead of 5 Oclock so we pulled the distributor and adjusted it. It was a pain in the butt to get it to line up with the oil pump but we got it done. I never thought I'd be so happy that an engine was off time, I thought I bought a lemon and would have to rebuild it. That roar of the V8 as it came to life is something that will stick with me for a while

Thanks again for your help
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