Hard starting in the cold.

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My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5. aka Spud
Location: Michigan

Hard starting in the cold.

Post by MrWrench » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:23 am

Hey guys, so far this winter my 85 Tercel has been starting fairly easily. Usually takes a few pumps of the pedal and on the 3rd crank she will fire up. But as of the past few days it's been a real pain to start her. This morning I had to crank it for about 5 hard minutes before it slowly sputtered to life. When it came to life the exhaust was very thick and smelled like raw fuel.
Then I let it idle for about 5 or so minutes before leaving and when I went to back out of the garage, it stalled and acted like it had no fuel.
I'm thinking the GMB fuel pump from rockauto is marginal, but I'd like to hear your thoughts before I start throwing parts at it. She runs like a champ once she's going and will start back up warn without an issue.
Thank you in advance everyone!

The car has a Weber with the choke hooked up.
It has a newer distributor, cap and rotor, new fuel pump (psi is 2.5 for the Weber)
Fuel filter is about a year old.
1984 Toyota Tercel SR5 winter driver rescue
1985 Toyota Tercel SR5. Daily driver. Aka "Spud"
1986 Toyota Tercel SR5. - Recent wagon rescue/project.
* ISO - any 4wd manual transmissions *

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My tercel:: 85 toy tercel 2wd wagon (formerly a 4wd automatic)
Location: Fresno, CA

Re: Hard starting in the cold.

Post by john » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:41 am

I don't know anything about Webers, and it sounds like you went thru the fuel delivery and electrical. I would start, by checking that the spark is strong at each plug. I would pull a plug, ground it to the engine, I use some vicegrips, watch the spark as you crank. Check spark plug color.

If spark looks nice, next I would detach the fuel line from the carb, crank the engine and see how the flow is.

Probably all the stuff I mentioned is fine because it runs so well when warm. So thinking about it, it may be more likely that there is an adjustment for the weber's choke?? John

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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Hard starting in the cold.

Post by Petros » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:06 am

Do not throw parts at it! ALWAYS diagnose the problem BEFORE you try and fix it.

Ifit smells like fuel once started it sounds like it is getting fuel, and it is flooding out the chambers until it starts and than blows the excess fuel out the back.

sometimes a bad coil, internally shorted when cold, can act like this. once it finally starts after much cranking with a weak spark, it warms up enough to deliver a better spark and it will start. I had one that only would be difficult to start when it was cold and damp, warm or dry and cold it stated. but it would crank and crank when damp. once I started it (sometimes used starter fluid so the weak spark would ignite the mixture), it would stumble a bit and once reved up, would run normal after that. there was a crack in the coil, allowed moisture into it. there is a simple coil test using volt-olm meter, see the service manual. a weak igniter in the distributor can also case that, never had one go bad in a Tercel, but it did in my old Pathfinder once.

OTHO, I also had a bad carburetor act like this, cold damp starts difficult, but ran warmed up fine. I replaced the carb and the problem went away. check each system before you decided to replace parts, you waste time and money, and frustrate yourself to randomly replace parts trying to fix it. find the problem first, the fix ususally is easy.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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