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Thread: 302 won't start

  1. #1

    Default 302 won't start

    I have a 302 PCM, RWC with a 2 bbl holley; basically 1980ís vintage (rebuilt engine with about 300 hours on it), but with a pertronix ignitor points conversion. Engineís been running like a top, but two days ago I went out for a 30 minute run. The engine started right up and ran fin for the first 5 minutes, but then began missing and sputtering. I would have thought that the engine was running out of fuel but these symptoms went on for 20 minutes as I idled back to the dock. The symptoms got worse as I went in, and she died just as I reached my dock, and would not restart. I did not have time for a full check; I did look down into the carb throat and saw fuel spurting out as I pumped the throttle. Keeping in mind the old rules of air, fuel, compression and spark, what is my most likely thing to look for when I have a chance to tear into it this weekend? I discount air and fuel, although I suppose the fuel could be contaminated (but a shot of starting fluid should reveal that). I also discount compression, as I donít know how compression would fine on startup and then deteriorate enough to prevent running 30 minutes later, but you tell me. That leaves me with spark. Could my coil or my pertronix have gone bad? Remember, the engine has been running fine, and even started up fine, but went downhill to eventually kaput as it warmed up. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: 302 won't start

    I'm not familiar with your aftermarket ign. I would check spark. you have gas , other engine problems should not be likely. A head gasket leak would give you a hydrolock on restart attempt. starter compressing water in cyclinder won't turn over easy. If you have mechanical points in your set up, they could have vibrated closed and run as you described exactly. good luck

  3. #3

    Default Re: 302 won't start

    Update: here is a good example of go with your first intuition. Engine sounded like it had fuel issues but I discounted that becasue I saw fuel going into the throat of the carb when I pumped the throttle. Well, when I started checking everything out this weekend, seems like I had run down one fule tank completely dry. This made me suspect a crud or other fouling issue, but thought if "fuel" was getting into the carb it should at least start up..but then I thought, what if it wasn't pure fuel getting to the carb? So I pulled the fuel/water separator off and emptied it-was chock a block full of water. Changed that, gassed up the boat, added some marvel mystery oil, and tried to start it up: Started right up and ideled fine. I let it get up to temp and then pulled out of the dock for a 1 hour run at all differnt speeds and she ran great. All is well that ends well. I usually don't run a tank on a boat down very low, but I've been very busy and only making very short runs with the boat that I had not been keeping up my tanks (no gauges, I need to "stick" them to see how much fuel is left). I'll pay more attention in the future.

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