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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default It just wouldn't start

    So, if you saw my intro post, I've got a 1972 Skylark Custom. I recently bought it (April 5) and I drove it all weekend without any issues. I even had her up to 100 MPH on the way home from church. Every time I would get in it, it fired right up. Sunday night when I hopped in to head home, it just wouldn't start. All this is happening after I messed with the radio, which is aftermarket, because it didn't work. It's turning over, but I'm not getting in spark to the plugs. It's got a points style distributor so I've got a huge coil sitting on my fender well. After tracing some wires, I figured out that the coil isn't getting power. The problem is there is an alarm on the car and I didn't get a remote with it. I found the operation and installation manuals and tried to find a way to disable the alarm, which I did and followed the instructions and still no power to the coil, which I've also changed. The only thing I can think of is there is something in the alarm that is blocking power to the coil after I messed with radio. Any ideas on what I'm doing or not doing? I've found someone who will remove the alarm completely from the car for $55, but I can't get it to them because it won't start! LOL Thanks for your help folks.

    1972 Buick Skylark Custom
    350-4 Set Up
    Dark Green w/ Black Hood Stripes

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
    Posts
    21,748

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Quote Originally Posted by BRedd84 View Post
    So, if you saw my intro post, I've got a 1972 Skylark Custom. I recently bought it (April 5) and I drove it all weekend without any issues. I even had her up to 100 MPH on the way home from church. Every time I would get in it, it fired right up. Sunday night when I hopped in to head home, it just wouldn't start. All this is happening after I messed with the radio, which is aftermarket, because it didn't work. It's turning over, but I'm not getting in spark to the plugs. It's got a points style distributor so I've got a huge coil sitting on my fender well. After tracing some wires, I figured out that the coil isn't getting power. The problem is there is an alarm on the car and I didn't get a remote with it. I found the operation and installation manuals and tried to find a way to disable the alarm, which I did and followed the instructions and still no power to the coil, which I've also changed. The only thing I can think of is there is something in the alarm that is blocking power to the coil after I messed with radio. Any ideas on what I'm doing or not doing? I've found someone who will remove the alarm completely from the car for $55, but I can't get it to them because it won't start! LOL Thanks for your help folks.

    Take a length of wire, and attach one end to the + side of the battery, and the other end to the + side of the coil. See if the car starts now. It's amazing what some people will do to the stock wiring harness in a car. Sometimes, it's just better to replace the entire harness than to try and correct what has been done. The wire from the positive side of the coil, should trace back to the firewall to a connector under the power brake unit. See where yours goes. Also, replace that fender mounted coil with a stock one mounted in the correct location.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    Best E.T. 11.54@ 115.00. Best MPH, 11.58@ 115.89
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Quote Originally Posted by LARRY70GS View Post
    Take a length of wire, and attach one end to the + side of the battery, and the other end to the + side of the coil. See if the car starts now. It's amazing what some people will do to the stock wiring harness in a car. Sometimes, it's just better to replace the entire harness than to try and correct what has been done. The wire from the positive side of the coil, should trace back to the firewall to a connector under the power brake unit. See where yours goes. Also, replace that fender mounted coil with a stock one mounted in the correct location.
    I did try running a wire from the battery to the coil and still didn't have any luck. I will hunt down the wires on the firewall and see what I can find, but I think you're right about replacing the entire harness.

    1972 Buick Skylark Custom
    350-4 Set Up
    Dark Green w/ Black Hood Stripes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Quote Originally Posted by BRedd84 View Post
    I did try running a wire from the battery to the coil and still didn't have any luck. I will hunt down the wires on the firewall and see what I can find, but I think you're right about replacing the entire harness.
    Just another thought, check the coil neg to points wire, some people cut into this for the immobiliser circuit. Cheers Joe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    After tracing some wires around the engine block, I found the culprit. I wire going to the coil was melted. After I fixed it, it was trying to start, but now it seems like it isn't getting fuel.

    1972 Buick Skylark Custom
    350-4 Set Up
    Dark Green w/ Black Hood Stripes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
    Posts
    21,748

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Quote Originally Posted by BRedd84 View Post
    After tracing some wires around the engine block, I found the culprit. I wire going to the coil was melted. After I fixed it, it was trying to start, but now it seems like it isn't getting fuel.
    It seems like it isn't getting fuel? All you need to do is take the air cleaner off. Look down the throat of the carburetor, and open the throttle briskly. You should see fuel squirt from the front of the carburetor to the rear, if there is fuel in the carburetor.

    Pull out a spark plug and make sure they aren't fuel fouled.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    Best E.T. 11.54@ 115.00. Best MPH, 11.58@ 115.89
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    LI,NY
    Posts
    16,273

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Here is a link to the factory Buick troubleshooting roadmaps courtesy of the Boattail registry. Just follow the flowchart and you'll have your answer.

    http://boattail-riviera-by-buick.com...aps/index.html
    Jason Cook
    BPG #1675
    "Expert in obsolete technology"

    1968 Riviera GS- some assembly required
    1969 Riviera GS- my first car
    1970 Stage 1 4 speed Aquamist
    1971 GS 455 11.93@113.36
    1987 Grand National
    1970 Stellar Industries vintage go kart

    When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Ok. Here's what we've done. I had the alarm system completely removed by a professional, thus eliminating something in the wiring causing it not to start. I traced the wire from the coil around the engine block and found that it had melted/corroded and was broken. After fixing that, I tested to see if I was getting spark from the coil by using a screwdriver and laying near a ground area and I did get a spark, where I wasn't before. The spark was orange. After that, it seemed like there wasn't any fuel getting the carb because it would sound like it was starting, but never would. We made sure the fuel pump was function, made sure gas was getting into the carb, and even poored gas straight into the carb. I've got another carb I can use, but it got late and I called it a night. I am at a loss for what the problem is. Could changing the carb solve this issue or does it sound like I'm missing something?

    Thanks so much for all the help. I'm loving this place more and more.

    1972 Buick Skylark Custom
    350-4 Set Up
    Dark Green w/ Black Hood Stripes

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    LI,NY
    Posts
    16,273

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Quote Originally Posted by BRedd84 View Post
    Ok. Here's what we've done. I had the alarm system completely removed by a professional, thus eliminating something in the wiring causing it not to start. I traced the wire from the coil around the engine block and found that it had melted/corroded and was broken. After fixing that, I tested to see if I was getting spark from the coil by using a screwdriver and laying near a ground area and I did get a spark, where I wasn't before. The spark was orange. After that, it seemed like there wasn't any fuel getting the carb because it would sound like it was starting, but never would. We made sure the fuel pump was function, made sure gas was getting into the carb, and even poored gas straight into the carb. I've got another carb I can use, but it got late and I called it a night. I am at a loss for what the problem is. Could changing the carb solve this issue or does it sound like I'm missing something?

    Thanks so much for all the help. I'm loving this place more and more.
    Your obviously missing one of the components that make an engine run. Namely, spark, fuel compression and timing. Go through the troubleshooting roadmaps I linked up in my last post. We can only lead the horse to water...
    Jason Cook
    BPG #1675
    "Expert in obsolete technology"

    1968 Riviera GS- some assembly required
    1969 Riviera GS- my first car
    1970 Stage 1 4 speed Aquamist
    1971 GS 455 11.93@113.36
    1987 Grand National
    1970 Stellar Industries vintage go kart

    When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Live Oak Florida
    Posts
    5,660

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    pull and clean/ replace the plugs. they got fouled while trying to start witth no spark.
    ROA Member # 13359
    BCA #46919
    BPG #2320
    68 Riviera: Show car.
    78 Regal:Track car 1.47 60'- 7.19 1/8 mile, 11.83 1/4

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    ^^ I will get some more plugs today for sure and after talking to a few people, timing could be the issue. I don't understand how it can go from running completely perfect to jumping time and not running at all? Also, thanks buick64203 for that link. I read through it last night and will try some of those things; namely the ignition system test.

    1972 Buick Skylark Custom
    350-4 Set Up
    Dark Green w/ Black Hood Stripes

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
    Posts
    21,748

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Quote Originally Posted by BRedd84 View Post
    ^^ I will get some more plugs today for sure and after talking to a few people, timing could be the issue. I don't understand how it can go from running completely perfect to jumping time and not running at all? Also, thanks buick64203 for that link. I read through it last night and will try some of those things; namely the ignition system test.
    If you still have points, they may be burned. Sounds like someone abortionized the wiring in the car. Stock, the coil get's it's power from the firewall, through a resistance wire. That knocks the voltage down to maximize point life. There is a bypass circuit that activates through the starter solenoid that bypasses the resistance wire for full battery voltage to the coil. The bypass only works while the engine is cranking. If the coil was supplied with battery voltage full time, point life will be very short. I just thought I would mention that being it sounds like your wiring may be compromised. If the points are burned, that will lead to a weak spark, and the plugs are likely carbon/fuel fouled which makes them harder to fire. That is how your car goes from running fine to no start.
    Larry
    1998 "Fully Optioned" SC3800 Riviera
    70 GS 455 Stage1, TSP 470, 602 HP@ 5900, 589 TQ @ 4900
    TA Hyd Roller Cam, 230*/238*, 112, .544"/.577" lift, 4-7 swap
    MSD Digital 6+, Ignitionman Distributor w/MSD trigger
    1967 BT Switchpitch ST-400, Gear Vendors OD
    with TSP 3200/1800 converter
    AED 1000 HO Carb, 800 CFM 7042240 Quadrajet
    8.5 10 bolt, 3.73's
    Best E.T. 11.54@ 115.00. Best MPH, 11.58@ 115.89
    Larrymta@verizon.net, GSCA #291
    BPG # 1063
    N.E. GS/GN Club Assistant Director

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: It just wouldn't start

    Well, after all is said and done, the beast lives. We ended up removing the points distributor and putting in a HEI. We ran a line from the battery to the distributor and it fired right up. BUT! We did find that the line going to the starter was another issue as once we hooked it up, it wouldn't start again. After replacing the wire, all is good. Thanks to everyone for their help. I really appreciate it.

    1972 Buick Skylark Custom
    350-4 Set Up
    Dark Green w/ Black Hood Stripes

 

 

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