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View Full Version : 1972 Charger won't start! A muscle car newbie needs help!



Shelbydaytona91
11-11-2007, 11:55 PM
Hello all, well I mostly post on the Shelby-Dodge side of things, but I have a '72 Charger that's just been sitting and it needs to start up. I know I'll feel more up to body work when I hear it's 318 straight pipes blare. Last time it started was probably a year ago. I know the battery is shot, it was a piece of crap when we got it. But I tried jump starting it twice and when I hit the start button (the r-tard who had the car before thought it would be cool) it sounds like something is just going *click* but it won't turn over. Sounds likes its coming from the starter? I know it is getting power because the wipers will come on. I tried getting the coil to spark to the valve cover while my friend tried to start it and no spark. Any problem areas I can look for? What can I do? Thanks for the help! And for everyone's viewing pleasure, I'll include a picture of the thing (I wouldn't call it a car yet ;) )

http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa257/ShelbyDaytona91/101_0699.jpg
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa257/ShelbyDaytona91/101_0698.jpg

(I know my my Daytona hogs the pictures...)

Birddog
11-12-2007, 12:04 AM
UH. Does it have a crank/no start or does it just click??? Sorry much confused post..

Nice rides though:thumb:

Shelbydaytona91
11-12-2007, 12:08 AM
Thanks too bad they're all broken, I think my driveway is cursed :lol: . Sorry I didn't make it more clear. When I turn the key the engine just makes a single click/clunk sound from around or at the starter but does not turn over when it does this.

TurboRon25
11-12-2007, 12:30 AM
It's been a year. First turn the engine over by hand to make sure 'it ain't froze'. After that it just sounds like a wiring issue. Check the ground. Check voltage while you're trying to crank, check r-tard's wiring. Look for twisted together wires with black tape over them.

Ron

Clay
11-12-2007, 12:41 AM
the click is the solenoid of the starter engaging, usually. There is a relay on the fire wall, you can jump around this relay to make sure its good. If you jump around it and still get the click, but no crank, make sure you have a good battery. If the battery is good, then you may have a sticking or bad starter. The starter solenoid engages the starter gear with the fly wheel. If the solenoid is sticking, then it wont push the gear out and then wont spin the motor. Tap the starter with a hammer to see if this unsticks it. The engine could be stuck, but in my experience it takes a LOT more than a year of sitting to do so.

Birddog
11-12-2007, 12:45 AM
In short...

Whack the starter with a BFH a couple of times while a friend turns the key.....

Clay
11-12-2007, 12:48 AM
^^^^^^ yeah, what he said! ;)

Shelbydaytona91
11-12-2007, 12:53 AM
It's been a year. First turn the engine over by hand to make sure 'it ain't froze'. After that it just sounds like a wiring issue. Check the ground. Check voltage while you're trying to crank, check r-tard's wiring. Look for twisted together wires with black tape over them.

Ron

Twisted wires with black tape? Yeah... that makes up about 1/2 of the wiring in the car. At one point you see some stray wires hanging near the battery tie down post, and he taped the post rather than the wires to keep it from shorting :banghead: I guess that would be a good place to look for problems.

Also, could a bad battery cause it not to start at all, even while it is being jumped? Because I know the battery is gone.

Shelbydaytona91
11-12-2007, 12:55 AM
And I forgot about the hitting the starter trick, hopefully that will get it started.

Birddog
11-12-2007, 01:05 AM
If the battery is dead it's dead. Pull the battery out of your DD and make sure..
I had a 73 G van that took 3 batteries in series PLUS a charger to turn over. Yes the primary lead was melty...

Better yet I can grab a truck and trailer and get that sweet coke bottle up here to find out for ya!

My buddy's 73 SE(you should see the interior on this thing..!)....
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d45/finallyflanagan/DSC00787-1.jpg

Shelbydaytona91
11-12-2007, 01:11 AM
That thing is sweet! Have any interior shots of it? Mine is a '72 SE, it was the same color as that one and had a vinyl top :thumb: I tell ya though, tardboy did a job on it...

Birddog
11-12-2007, 01:22 AM
I could only imagine..
"Don't call me Jim" got the car as an unfinished project. And has been through a ton of crap since..
PO found a bolt of the SE fabric and had the entire interior redone. If you need that pattern you'll find it in any 70-74 Imperial oddly. It's still costing him less than the 63 Riv it replaced!:D Plus this one's got a 400...

Shelbydaytona91
11-12-2007, 01:36 AM
My interior is pretty bad off at one point they tried to dye it all black, it's really a shame, but my only concern is covering up all the rust holes before the frame gets rusted, the body panels are bad but the frame is good. As soon as I hear it run I'll be more motivated though.

Here is a list of the car's "modifications" for entertainment purposes only: removal of the electric choke for a manual choke, automatic floor shifter that hits the dashboard before park, vinyl topped removed (without painting the roof so its full rust now), a downgrade to what looks like a lawn mower carburetor (but with a chrome air cleaner!), custom start button under the dash, custom skeleton-gambling/ripping through the door vinyls (now removed), and my personal favorite, muddin' tires on the back "tha biggast walmart could fit on them wheels" the previous owner said.

Birddog
11-12-2007, 01:43 AM
Oof!:eek: :eek: :eek:

Turbodave
11-15-2007, 05:26 PM
Make sure you've got a good connection on those jumper cables and that they are decent set of heavy gauge cables. The crappy little wal-mart 10 gauge cables probably won't carry enough current to crank it over.

moparzrule
11-15-2007, 08:19 PM
Just replace the battery already! If you know it's shot...!!!
I've had cases where the battery was bad and jumping didn't start it, and also putting a 150 amp charger on it and it wouldn't start. Replaced the battery and it started fine.
So first make sure you have a good battery. Second make sure the connections are all good even at the starter and the selenoid. If that doesn't start, try jumping the selenoid like someone else said. Basically follow the positive cable to the selenoid, take a large screwdriver (with a rubber or plastic handle) and touch the post where the cable is connected to the other large post on the selenoid. If the ignition is off it will just crank and not start. If THAT doesn't work, the start has issues and again as someone else mentioned use a hammer and beat on it.

Shelbydaytona91
11-15-2007, 09:43 PM
The crappy little wal-mart 10 gauge cables probably won't carry enough current to crank it over.

That could be part of the problem... I'll get a new battery eventually too, I just wanted to make sure there wasn't another problem with the car to why it wasn't running which would be more costly to fix. This is my second project so money is tight on it.

jamesmonty
11-16-2007, 11:01 AM
Just replace the battery already! If you know it's shot...!!!
I've had cases where the battery was bad and jumping didn't start it, and also putting a 150 amp charger on it and it wouldn't start. Replaced the battery and it started fine.



+1 on the battery. I had a car that the battery got so bad it couldn't even be jumped anymore. Stick a good battery in it then go from there.

turbokid
11-22-2007, 01:39 PM
ya +2 on the battery. Then try turning the key and sticking a screw driver on the selenoid to see if you have a starter. Also check your neutral safety switch, it wont start from the key with the neutral safety switch out. It is an auto right? Trace your grounds. There should be a ground to the fire wall on the passenger side from the block aswell as the front one. Is it electronic ignition?

turbokid
11-22-2007, 01:40 PM
just to cover your --- =) my dads 69 roadrunner had the same problem... and when you get it running you dont wanna begin by chasing problems.

overlordsshadow
11-22-2007, 01:50 PM
I know that when you have a full dead non working battery not even jumping it with a plug in type booster will help. Try tossing a new/good battery at it at least.

TurbododgePirate
11-22-2007, 08:54 PM
My 1972 400 powered charger died once on the way home. No lights, not power at all. There was a relay or something on the drivers side inner fender that had a bad connection. Hard to remember more than that... it was 1993. I miss that car. hemi Orange, cyote headers and 2.25" dual exhausts.

moparzrule
11-22-2007, 09:54 PM
My 1972 400 powered charger died once on the way home. No lights, not power at all. There was a relay or something on the drivers side inner fender that had a bad connection. Hard to remember more than that... it was 1993. I miss that car. hemi Orange, cyote headers and 2.25" dual exhausts.

I actually had the same thing in my 77 power wagon, it was the main feed fuseable link for power to everything in the cab EXCEPT the 4 way blinkers. Thats what helped me hunt down the problem, the 4 ways have a seperate wire feed.

Shelbydaytona91
11-24-2007, 01:12 AM
Where is the starter? Is it by the firewall on the driver side? And does the screw driver trick complete the circuit and make the starter manually crank? Once I get my Daytona transmission buttoned up and get it's battery charged up I'll throw it in and see if I can start it. I really want to hear that thing again. Last time my step-dad and I started it, it was so loud we both jumped, the windows on my house shook, and the neighbors came outside because they thought something exploded :evil: Even 318's can sound mean.
Do you mean electric choke? I thought all ignitions were electric :confused2:

Scottmon
11-24-2007, 07:19 AM
Starter relay in on the DS inner fenderwell next to the battery. Starter itself is on DS of the engine. If you jump across the relay and the starter just clicks you have one of two problems: Battery is too weak to crank the motor or the motor is stuck. My guess is that the battery is just too weak.

Make sure your battery cables are in good condition too. I had a friend in high school with a '72 Charger SE. The postive post on the battery was loose, so to tighten is up he stuck a screw in it. Car wouldn't start. Took the screw out and it started right up.

Factory used a bimetallic spring that would uncoil as it warmed up and pushed the choke open. It looks like this: http://www.440source.com/1001013.jpg

Shelbydaytona91
11-24-2007, 11:11 PM
It had that until the previous owner thought a manual choke looked cooler :confused:

moparzrule
11-25-2007, 02:01 PM
It had that until the previous owner thought a manual choke looked cooler :confused:

Not necessarily, they rust up and stop working. They are 30+ years old you know ;)

turbokid
11-28-2007, 10:37 PM
ya deffinatley invest in an auto choke. Starts alot better and works out pretty well. They like to drive better in the cold with an auto choke. plus starters are super simple to change on these cars *thank god* and wouldnt be to much of a headache. Good luck =) Plus join dodgecharger.com. Nice ppl and they deffinitley know there stuff.

Shelbydaytona91
12-12-2007, 04:39 PM
Well I hooked up my battery from my Daytona and tried to get it to start. Seems the starter works fine and the engine isn't seized, but we couldn't get it to run for more than about 5 seconds. Something is causing it not to get any fuel. We can keep it running by squirting bursts of starter fluid in there but it won't idle on its own. It was pretty funny watching it shoot all the crap out of the tail pipes though! :lol:

looneytuner
12-12-2007, 08:30 PM
fool pump diaphram? ;)
and the thing on the firewall is a ballast resistor. You wouldn't get any fire if that's bad. Pick up an extra though. It goes without warning during heavy rains.

Clay
12-12-2007, 09:04 PM
if the ballast resistor is bad it will run when you crank (key in start position), but as soon as you let off the key it will quit (key in run position). The ballast resistor is bypassed when starting for higher voltage to the ignition, but after the key goes to the run position, the ballast resistor is used. Every older mopar owner should have a spare ballast resistor in the glove box! ;)

Shelbydaytona91
12-13-2007, 11:46 AM
Again, sorry for the newbie questions, but where is the fuel pump on this thing? I hope its not in the tank like TM's... Anyway to tell if it's bad or if the carburetor is junk?

Turbodave
12-13-2007, 11:54 AM
Fuel pump is mechanical so it's mounted on the engine, looking from the front of the car it's down on the left side at the front of the engine.

You can remove the line from the pump to the carb temporarily and try to crank it, if the pump is getting fuel and working it will squirt fuel out of the line. (these systems are not high pressure like our efi cars).

If it's not getting fuel pumped up to the carb make sure there is fuel getting to the pump, you can disconnect the inlet hose on the pump and hook up a temporary fuel source like a fuel jug with a fuel line running into it or even a gatorade bottle or something. Crank it over and see if the pump draws fuel in then.

If that doesn't work then it's likely a bad fuel pump, the rubber diagphrams inside break down. New ones aren't much money and they are easy to replace. I think the newer fuels are hard on the old rubber in the pumps, I had a couple go out in my Roadrunner over the 8 or 9 years I had the car.

Shelbydaytona91
12-13-2007, 12:06 PM
Oh ok I remember seeing the fuel pump now, silly me I thought it was something like a fuel pressure regulator :lol: I have a lot to learn...

looneytuner
12-13-2007, 02:49 PM
One other thing. The carb floats go bad. That's not about this problem, but they are foam with a plastic cover that goes bad. They made them this way on all cars 60-70' as far as I know.
If the old cars didn't suck so much gas, I would go back to them. 76 Town and Country 440. I got 12 mpg. Wife's uncle (a mechanic) was really proud of getting 18 mpg.

Shelbydaytona91
01-04-2008, 11:58 PM
Well I changed out the fuel pump and it's not pumping fuel. I'm not sure if I put it in wrong or not? It won't pull fuel in from the tank or a separate source. Replaced all the pump to carb lines. How can I tell if the pumping lever is lined up right when I install it?

looneytuner
01-05-2008, 10:38 AM
this is a nasty thing to do, but suck on the fuel line from the tank and see if you are able to suck gas, or blow on it. (you WILL know what gas tastes like for a week)
Plus the pump doesn't instantly prime. You need to crank it a little before the gas get sucked up there.

You could also have a hole in the line and the pump will just suck air. It won't leak like a pressurized fuel line does.

daytonaturbo87
01-06-2008, 06:08 PM
If you need more help, come over to moparts.com, the board there is dedicated to old mopars like ours.

First thing, remember in a carb you have fuel sitting in the carb bowl. After sitting for even a week the fuel will evaporate out of the bowl, so don't be surprised if it's hard starting. Starter spray may be useful. Plus if it's been sitting for a year, fuel has probably drained back from the fuel pump, out of the fuel lines and back into the tank. That means the fuel has a long way to go before it even gets up to the carb. Personally, I did not want to deal with these problems so I converted to an electric fuel pump with a return style regulator. Gets rid of these problems. Now next thing I would do is go and order a replacement auto choke from rock auto. They're cheap and your 318 will start 100x better with it than a manual choke. Carb is probably not in the best shape by now, however I've left carbed cars sitting for much longer than a year and fired them up.

Also, even if your fuel pump is hooked up correctly, just cranking the engine over with the starter will not flow much fuel. One time I had the bright idea of pumping some gas out of the tank by cranking over the engine with the coil unhooked and the fuel pump output leading into a bottle. Very very little gas gets pumped out at those rpms. I'd replace the choke and keep at it with the starter spray.

Blowing on the fuel line to make sure it's not rusted thru anywhere would not be a bad idea, or you could suck if you like the taste of gas.:lol::thumb:


Here's a couple pics of my car, it's a 74 Satellite with a 440/727 under the hood.

Pic (http://www.mts.net/~sawka/74satelliteSebring440-1.jpg)

another (http://www.mts.net/~sawka/rear1.jpg)

last one (http://www.mts.net/~sawka/rear2.jpg)

moparman76_69
01-06-2008, 07:54 PM
I always fill the carb bowl with fuel and start it then keep doing it until gas gets pumped up to the carb. That way you won't go through a whole can of starting fluid trying to get it to pump up. I'd also suggest running a line from the pump input to a small gas can first because the gas in the tank is probably nasty after a year.

Shelbydaytona91
01-08-2008, 12:22 AM
I always fill the carb bowl with fuel and start it then keep doing it until gas gets pumped up to the carb. That way you won't go through a whole can of starting fluid trying to get it to pump up. I'd also suggest running a line from the pump input to a small gas can first because the gas in the tank is probably nasty after a year.

The tank was empty when it was last started a year ago, I ran it and it ran out of gas and I never filled it back up. I put on a new fuel filter, the clear plastic type when I installed the pump, as well as a pump to carb line. As I crank the car, no fuel even gets into it, not even a little. We tried running the feed line to a separate gas tank to see if the fuel line was the problem, same results. It wasn't sucking anything up from the jug. We'd use starter fluid and gas to try to keep the car running, the longest we got it was about a 10 second idle and still no fuel in the filter. We tried that "fun" process for about 30 minutes on and off until the starter started overheating. That's why I think I installed it wrong.

moparman76_69
01-08-2008, 12:46 AM
you hook the lines up right? That and where did you get the pump at, autozone ones are known to fail quickly or never work in the first place. As long as you didn't really force anything then the pump arm should be in correctly.

daytonaturbo87
01-14-2008, 03:36 PM
Did you make sure you pushed the fuel pushrod up into the block before installing the pump? Really I don't think the pum will even bolt on with the pushrod in the 'down' position, or at least it wouldn't on my 440. I have heard of fuel pushrods mushrooming at one end, causing it to not actuate the fuel pump enough for flow. There should be a plug below where the fuel pump mounts onto the block. If you take off this plug you can extract the fuel pump pushrod thru the hole. Inspect it to see that it's not mashed up on the end. If it's fine, put it back in after cleaning/oiling it.

Here's a backyard mechanic's trick for when you get stuck with a dead fuel pump. If you run a rubber fuel line and a bottle to hold your gas, you can elevate the fuel supply above the carb to get a gravity feed to the carb. Not much pressure, but enough to keep it going. I've never tried it, but I've heard it works.

Turbodave
01-14-2008, 03:43 PM
Here's a backyard mechanic's trick for when you get stuck with a dead fuel pump. If you run a rubber fuel line and a bottle to hold your gas, you can elevate the fuel supply above the carb to get a gravity feed to the carb. Not much pressure, but enough to keep it going. I've never tried it, but I've heard it works.


Been there and done that. A water bottle filled with gas and zip-tied to the antenna will get a car on and off the trailer.:D

Shelbydaytona91
01-21-2008, 05:19 PM
Well that trick worked... kinda... I got the car running for about 10 seconds :thumb: After looking over the engine, I noticed it was sucking the fuel out of the bottle and then almost pouring right back out from where the throttle goes into the carb.... I think I found the problem :lol: