The first order of business with the 1979 Monte Carlo was to get it starting and running on its own without help. I was unsure of how much of a project this particular part of repairing this car was going to be but I figured I would be able to do it fairly easily since I could get it started with help.
Since the car had sat for around 4 years I decided to start with the decrepit looking fuel filter that was installed. The filter was faded and soft and just looked like it was the problem. It was cased in dirt and just looked like it needed to be replaced. I purchased a clear glass fuel filter, which will probably turn yellow in time, and attempted to start the car. No luck, the simple fuel filter clogged issue did not fix this car.
The next step was to charge the battery. I took my fluke meter and tested the battery that was in the car. It had 10+ Volts. This would not be enough to start the car. So I hooked up my battery charger to it overnight and took another reading. I believe that the reading was less than 12 Volts again. I knew this wouldn’t start the car either but it was worth a shot. No good……Off to the auto parts store to get a battery.
I pulled the old battery from the car, it was not even buttoned down with the little rubber block so it was just as simple as disconnecting the terminals. I took it to the local auto parts store and got a new battery. Before putting the new one in, I cleaned out the battery tray which was full of rust chips, and I made sure to use the rubber block to keep the battery in place. I connected the terminals and attempted to start the car. Still the car did not start, although we were in a much better place because she sure was cranking without a problem!
Now I was on to real troubleshooting. I replaced the fuel filter thinking it was clogged, so that was not the problem. I replaced the battery, because the old one was shot, but that did not resolve the issue. I was now onto the carburetor. After doing some research online, I decided to spray some carburetor cleaner into the carburetor to clean it. Of course, doing this gets the car started, but not the way I want it to. It needs to start without help. So I let the car run for a little bit and then it dies. At this point I’m thinking it is not getting enough fuel. Maybe the fuel pump is bad or the carburetor needs a rebuild? I’m hoping it’s not the fuel pump cause then I have to drop the gas tank. A carburetor rebuild would be ok but I think I will try some more steps first. I understand that the car has been sitting, but I was hoping to get the motor running without having to do too much work, especially since the guy I bought it from said the motor only has around 20k. Who knows how right that is….
The next thing I did put me on the right track. I held the choke plate open and tried to start it. It started but died. Now I’m onto something. I get the car to start after messing with the choke a little bit and now I can’t get it to stay running. I then start messing with the carburetor adjustment screws and I get the idle to come up. Now she’s running. So I turn off the car and try again, here’s the result:
So, after replacing the battery, the fuel filter, and making some carburetor adjustments, the car will start and run on its own without help. That was the goal for the weekend. Mission accomplished!