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Old 03-20-2012, 03:26 PM
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starting problems with a 390 fe

I have a 390 fe that I had the heads ground on and it won't start. The timing is correct, I have placed a light in all the spark plug holes and they are all firing. The compression is a little weak and the carb was over flowing when I first put it on (which I fixed) the jets on the carb show a gas squiert when opened up. The engine trys to start and with the starter engaged it will continue to fire but it won't run without this. The engine acts almost like an engine that has run out of gas and trys to start as you pur gas down the carb and then stops until you pour more gas in it. The valves are all opening and closing on all the cylinders, I'm stumped, any ideas??
I'm seriously considering putting a 400 Ford engine in and I wonder if any one can tell me if it will bolt up to the three speed FE tranny and how much difference is there on the front motor mounts??

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Last edited by Mel Smith; 03-20-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:52 AM
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Reset the timing. Make sure you put the dist. in on tdc of the COMPRESSION stroke.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:32 PM
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After the intake opens, by bumping the starter until the marks line up, you are at top dead center and the engine was timed that way. I wonder if it could be the carb, even though it pumps gas, as the engine acts like it has run out of gas and hits a couple of times but won't keep running. I know the timing chain is also correct as I just did it about 6 months ago.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:00 PM
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Hi Mel

Just to clarify, this is true after the intake opens FULLY. If you are just looking for the intake to crack open, then rolling the motor slightly until the marks align, you're 180 degrees out of whack. After opening fully, it'll take about 270 degrees of rotation to get to the proper TDC. I presume you know all this, so that said, are you sure you have ignition power to the coil when the ignition is on? It may be possible to have ignition power to the coil when the motor is cranking . .. it'll start that way, but as soon as you let go of the key, and the switch returns to the ignition position, it can drop out. It all depends on how things are wired, and the condition of the wiring and the switch. You might want to check to assure the presence of voltage at the coil with the switch on.

Pat
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel Smith
I have a 390 fe that I had the heads ground on and it won't start. The timing is correct, I have placed a light in all the spark plug holes and they are all firing. The compression is a little weak and the carb was over flowing when I first put it on (which I fixed) the jets on the carb show a gas squiert when opened up. The engine trys to start and with the starter engaged it will continue to fire but it won't run without this. The engine acts almost like an engine that has run out of gas and trys to start as you pur gas down the carb and then stops until you pour more gas in it. The valves are all opening and closing on all the cylinders, I'm stumped, any ideas??
I'm seriously considering putting a 400 Ford engine in and I wonder if any one can tell me if it will bolt up to the three speed FE tranny and how much difference is there on the front motor mounts??
Check the ignition resistor for operation. When cranking the coil gets battery volts minus what the starter is using. Once the key is released in the run position the power to the coil is switched through a resistor. If the resistor burn out or otherwise looses its connections, the engine will start and run as long as the starter is turning but as soon as the key is released the engine quits.

It's enough to drive a sober man to drink as everything else checks out.

Bogie
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:27 AM
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Thanks

You guys have given me a lot to check out and some very good knowledge and I thank you for your replies. I have noticed that the ignition switch is giving power to the coil whether it is in the on position or the off position and I'm thinking this may be my problem, so I will replace it and hopefully that will resolve this problem. Thanks again. Mel
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:44 AM
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If you still have points and/or a condenser, either or both might now be toast if continuous power has been applied for sustained periods. The coil too, for that matter. Might be some more to chaeck out.

Pat
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:16 PM
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390 Fe

Ok Guys, I found my problem and I still can't hardly believe it. The problem was the ignition switch, I replaced it and it started right up, this will definatley go into my memory bank for the future. How could an ignition switch let fire go to the distributor and then shut it down when it tried to start. WOW. Thanks for all the advice that was given here. Mel
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:22 PM
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Mel -- Thank you very much for following up with this disposition to your starting problem. All too often, many posters get lots of help from highly skilled people (like Old Bogie, who chimed in with you) and then don't follow up with how their problem was finally resolved. Thank you for the follow through.

PatM
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