1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin? - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Hello everyone. I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.


I recently purchased a 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic (4 door sedan) with only 32K miles. It has a 305 with a 2 barrel carb. When I purchased the vehicle about 6 weeks ago, it started right up. Then it sat for about 2 weeks and it had a difficult time starting. When I turned the ignition key, it took about 5-7 seconds of the engine turning over before I heard the sound of the cylinders firing and starting. Then about 2 more weeks went by and it will not start. The engine turns over but I never hear the sound of the cylinders firing. The starter seems to be working fine (since I heard the engine turning over) and the battery is good. I keep the battery on a battery tender trickle charger.


So I hoping to get some advice on where to start diagnosing the problem.



My initial guess is the carburetor. The vehicle has only 7K miles since 1989. So I figured the carburetor could use a rebuild/cleaning no matter what.



In addition, I thought maybe it could be the fuel pump. Is there an easy way to check the fuel pressure on the 305 Chevy small block? I've recently changed a fuel pump on a 2000 Jag S-type and that was easy to diagnose since there is a Schraeder valve on one of the fuel lines. I figured the 305 does have this luxury.


Thanks in advance for your help.


Sincerely,

Jim
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 12:23 PM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Look down the carburetor with a flash light and throttle the accelerator linkage.
You should see fuel squirt into the venturies of the carb.

No fuel means carb issues or fuel supply issues.
Remove fuel line from the input side of the fuel pump.. fuel should trickle out.
If yes then stick it back on and remove the fuel line at the carburetor and place it into a mason jar.
Have a friend crank the engine over.. fuel should stream out quite well from that fuel line into the jar.

If NO fuel than you probably have a bad fuel pump.

You can also get a friend to pressure up the fuel tank with a shop vac.. that will be about 3 psi of pressure.
Pressure as in reverse blowing out.

Have the fuel line off the inlet side of the fuel pump in a mason jar and see of under pressure it is flowing well.

If not you could be out of gas or dirty filter or dirty fuel sock or crudded up fuel line.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff swisher View Post
Look down the carburetor with a flash light and throttle the accelerator linkage.
You should see fuel squirt into the venturies of the carb.

Is this purely mechanical to see the fuel squirt or do I have to have the ignition key in the "start" position to have electrical going to the fuel pump?
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 12:59 PM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Its purely mechanical, move the lever towards wide open throttle and there should be 2 solid streams of fuel spraying in there. Carb'd cars do not like to sit for long periods of time and will take quite a bit of cranking to get the carb filled back up.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 2:30 PM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

I suspect a sticky choke.

Mike

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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 8:14 PM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but; 76 305's were smack in the middle of GM's bad cam era. I had one that had two lobes totally round. Less than 50K miles.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 8:29 PM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Buddies 1978 Nova that was bought new by his aunt and then My buddy drove it through high school and while in the marines lots of hot rodding in that 305" I recurved the distributor and put duals on it in high school and it would beat the 5.0 mustangs and the IROC Z cars.
Little 305 2 barrel.
Joe got it next then Dean then me and when I got it the car had over 400,000 miles on it.
The AC still worked on it and no freon was ever added. A6 compressor.

I stuck a 350" into it and rack and pinion a 9" Ford and went 11.50's with milled and ported 186 double humps.
I have seen many 305" engines with over 300,000 on the clock.

I figured it was due to them not making enough power to blow their self up.

But cams do go south sometimes.

I gave the 305" from the Nova to a buddy that gave me the car. We stuck it into his work truck and he burned it up ..loose radiator hose cooked it.

Stuck a 403 olds into the truck after that.. he broke that also and then I gave him a 455 Olds. That one he took care of.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 8:57 PM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Do you have fresh gas in it? I know dumb question but I've done it, also can you check for spark?
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 20, 9:24 PM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Yup old fuel can cause a ton of problems. I just fixed an old Toro 2 cycle snowblower the guy said was un-repairable. I cleaned out the carb, added a little clean up, drained the tank of old fuel and it fired right up. Ran it for over an hour, never died once. Old fuel just won't light off.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 20, 1:58 AM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Did you try startr fluid? Perhaps the accel pump in carb is faulty from sitting a LOOOOOONG time , so there is no stream of gas there. So get you a can of starting fluid spray a good 2-3 second shot in the carb before starting the car and then quickly go ahead and try to start it up
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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 20, 3:29 AM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

That is a very easy car to work on compared to today's newer cars but you can't try guessing to fix it.
#1 Did you pump the gas pedal to set the choke on the carb before you tried to start the car ? Older cars need this or the car will be almost impossible to start,especially in colder weather.

#2 70's era carburetors commonly let the gas in the carb evaporate after sitting a long time which can mean you will have to crank the car a longer time to get it to start.It's not a big problem if you take into account it will need that extra cranking to get gas back up to the carb.
These things were already mentioned but I thought maybe I could help you to understand better.

#3 You could end up spending good money like maybe $6-800 on a carb rebuild and a fuel pump only to find its something else.So you will need to run the car daily to really see what the most common problems are.Maybe just maybe if you use the car everyday the starting problems won't be so bad ? and might even go away.Use a little starting fluid and it should start right up.
Also,do yourself a big favor and get some new gas in that car asap.If there is only 1/4 tank then maybe syphon it out and use it in your lawn mower.Then fill up with some 91 or 93 as it usually has more gas cleaning additives than regular does.
Good Luck with your new Chevelle.BTW there was a 76 Chevelle forsale in the north Jersey craigs list, is that the car you bought ?

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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 20, 7:56 AM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

First check the carb for gas, my 76 with the 2barrel 305 used to drain out of the carb when it sat. And second the HEI ignition modules are famous for no start issues.

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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 20, 8:27 AM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff swisher View Post
Buddies 1978 Nova that was bought new by his aunt and then My buddy drove it through high school and while in the marines lots of hot rodding in that 305" I recurved the distributor and put duals on it in high school and it would beat the 5.0 mustangs and the IROC Z cars.
Little 305 2 barrel.
Sorry, calling BS on that. I bought an 88 Mustang 5.0/5-speed new. Ran a best of 14.27 @ 97mph bone stock, with typical ET's in the 14.40's -14.50's. This was at Atlanta Dragway (NHRA-owned track) so I know the clocks were right. A 78 Malibu with a 305 2-bbl wouldn't run 16's in the 1/4 on a 5% downward slope.
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 20, 10:35 AM
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

That 1988 would be newer than what we raced against we were out of high school in 1986.
That Nova ran in the 16's
My delta 88 also ran 16's and put the hurt on a lot of vehicles until the 90's came around and then it was a putz against what was being sold as new or almost new.
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 20, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 1976 Chevelle Malibu Classic Won't Start - Where to Begin?

Thanks everyone for the replies.

- When I purchased the car about 6 weeks ago, it was on empty (about 1 gallon of gas). I filled it up with regular unleaded. I then drove it 2 hours to a family member's home. Then several days later, I drove it another 2 hours home. So it still has a 1/2 tank from my original fill up.

- Yes, I pumped the gas pedal several times before starting.

- I'll get some starting fluid and try that

- I purchased the car near St. Louis

Now I just have to get motivated to work on it.
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