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old fords 05-23-2008 03:48 PM

can't get the 283 to crank
My 1951 F-1 has a 283 in it. Before I got the truck it sat for probaly 5-10 years. I don't really know. I tried to get it to crank but at first it would not fire on the plugs. I replaced the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap, points, rotary button and condensor with new parts. I took the coil off my maverickand put it on. I managed to get it to fire on the plugs. It is a mix off red and blue fire. It is still weak. I have a practically new battery with 750 cold cranking amps. I can't think off anything else ignition wise. When I got it there was no carb on it. It has an offy 360 intake on it. I put a holley carb on it. I have tried to crank it on gas and starting fluid. I have got it to were it seems like it's about to crank but it won't. The motor has set and it doesn't have much compression. I've basically run out of ideas. Any help would be appreciated.

Deuce 05-23-2008 04:03 PM

Check to see if you have 12 volts ... going to the distributor ... BUT ... it sounds like ... Low compression ... may be the problem.
With the 283 sitting so long ... the rings may be stuck and the valves may not be seated. Get a compression gauge and check each cylinder ... see if one or more is very low. Sometimes you can squirt some oil into the cylinder with the spark plugs out and get the cylinder sealed up enough to get enough compression for it to start.

Then ... sometimes the cylinder will seal up after running a little and getting up to operating temperature.

old fords 05-23-2008 04:05 PM

thanks. I borrowed a compression guage from my friend and I will check the compression tomorrow. What kind of oil should I use

DoubleVision 05-23-2008 06:29 PM

I would use marvel mystery oil and let it soak in each cylinder over night.
Next I would get rid of the distributor, the best place for points is the trash. I would get a HEI were points are eliminated and there is much more fire power. Next it is often hard to start a engine that has sat many years, the rings being stuck or valves sticking is the issue as discribed. You may want to pop the valve covers and cycle the engine by hand to see if any are sticking, I would also give each valve a good shot of marvel or other lubricant.
It will likely take many pumps of the carb to get it to fire off, when you do, you will want to cycle it as if its a new engine, run it at 1800 to 2200 rpm in 4 minute varibles, this will ensure the cam gets plenty of lube, if its not cycled its very likely the cam will go flat, seen it many many times.
Its also very likely whichever valve springs have been in the open position since the engine has taken a long nap are shot due to being open so long.

F&J 05-24-2008 07:33 AM


Then ... sometimes the cylinder will seal up after running a little and getting up to operating temperature.
Yes that's true on those old cars we dragged out of the woods :D Many times, you can't get it to start without hooking a chain to it and dragging it to pop the clutch.

One thing to try before towing is starting fluid, that will raise the force in the cylinders...maybe enough to get it to go.

old fords 05-25-2008 01:11 PM

about how much marvel mystery oil should I put in each cylinder

FEDDO 05-25-2008 01:24 PM

put a couple of tea spoons then turn the over without plugs, then put some more in. I had a 350 s/b one time that would do the same things yours is doing, pulled the heads put new rings, used the old bearings, and head gasket ran fine. that was just way cheap and easy to do because it was in a ft eng dragster.

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