I went to get my truck out of storage this weekend, and it didn’t go well.

update 4/27 - it was the points

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I parked it in a garage with about 1/4 tank of fuel - if you ask 5 people how full a fuel tank should be for storage you’ll get 5 different answers. My system is to put it away with however much it has at the time. Empty has disadvantages, and super-full does too. Of course, I put fuel stabilizer in it before putting it away so it could run through the system.

I do very little else to store it. I turn the battery isolator switch to “off” and shut the door. It always starts in the spring, and this year was no exception. It took some pumping of the gas pedal and quite a few revolutions with the starter, but as ever, it fired up and ran.. fine. It’s a 59-year old carbureted engine with a manual choke, and it was 45 degrees inside the garage. It needs a little time to warm up, even in July. So while I was feathering the throttle to keep it alive, I rolled it out of the garage in 1st gear, then had trouble keeping it going.

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Illustration for article titled An Actual Mechanical Problem

It was like it was running out of fuel, or the choke was on full (it wasn’t). I could barely get it started again, and it stumbled, misfiring, not running on all cylinders - but no backfiring - and then it died. I could not get it going again.

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I strongly doubt it’s ignition since it ran fine at first. Still, I took off the cap and cleaned the contacts. It has points ignition but the points open and close “normally” in that they look fine, and it ran perfectly at first - it also strikes me as supremely unlikely the points went out of adjustment by themselves. I did find a new rotor in the glove box that I popped in because, why not. But I don’t want to start changing out a bunch of parts, and the points in particular are hard to get right without being able to hear it running.

I changed the canister-type fuel filter and drained/cleaned out anything in the bottom of that canister. Couldn’t tell if there was water or anything. There’s another fuel filter, but I’m doubtful that’s an issue. Still, I’ll try to get a new one.

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I left the truck Saturday and went back Sunday armed with a few more tools, and it basically did the same thing - it started up okay at first, then stumbled, died, and wouldn’t re-start. I checked spark plugs and they looked... a little wet I guess, but not soaked in fuel. Just, like they hadn’t been firing perfectly but not dripping in gas or anything. I cleaned them up and put them back in. Wires are in great shape, and again, I just don’t think it’s ignition.

This leads me to believe it’s either getting too much fuel or not enough. A stuck float in the carb? A clogged jet? I don’t want to take the carb apart at all without a set of gaskets, so that kind of sucks. My next thought was to run the engine on a separate fuel tank, like a little outboard tank connected right to the fuel filter - that’s where there’s a bit of rubber hose already. Then, I guess it’s off with the carb.

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Or am I totally on the wrong track? I have limited time to mess with it, as it’s not at my house. So I need to plan ahead, get some parts, and go back over to it armed with whatever I need.

Illustration for article titled An Actual Mechanical Problem
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I welcome all input. I may not reply right away as I need to, you know, work - oh, and teach kindergarten and 1st grade too.

I love trying to figure out a mechanical puzzle, but there are times I just don’t really need another problem to solve, and now is one of them. I just wanted to pick up the truck and bring it home. Oh well, it’s not like it’s a necessity.

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