engine starts for ten seconds then stops, then won’t start

Started by Whambam-winnebago, September 21, 2022, 08:22 PM

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Hello everyone

I'm new to mechanics but very open and willing to learn. Going to describe everything to my best ability.

Bought my 1974 Winnebago indian (DODGE 440) last fall to gut and rebuild the inside to live in full time. Everything worked and ran great! Long story short I accidentally let the gas tank get to empty (not paying attention to faulty fuel gage ahh). Still ran  after filling with premium gas but started to sputter once getting to higher speeds (80km/h). It felt as if the engine wasn't getting enough fuel, replaced the fuel filter after fuel pump  to a clear one,, ran a bit better but not too much of a difference. Took to mechanic , who found a second clogged fuel filter and replaced it also found clogged fuel lines so fixed that. He checked fuel pressure and said it was all good.

Engine was running great again for a few days... tried to test it out on highway started to sputter again and ultimately led to me rolling into a carpool lot. Engine now would start and run for maybe 10 seconds before shutting off. If I try fo start it again it won't start unless I give it a couple hours break between tries. Most of the time when it's trying to start or just before it shuts off the carburator overflows at the drivers side.

Things we've done since last mechanic visit:
- replaced mechanical fuel pump
- checked push rod length (3.22")
- took out and apart Edelbrock AVIS2 #1905  carburetor (floats are good, needle and seed good, fuel pressure good according to mechanic ... unless this could change after putting in new pump).
- replaced alternator
- ran fuel through fuel pump directly from jerry can... no change continued to leak gas out top)
- checked spark plugs (were replaced approx 1 year ago) they were black and wet
- checked spark plug wires most read approx 3000 continuity/ft
- charged battery
- filled gas tank with premium gas (*** we only run off one gas tank)
- replaced ignition coil

Could this be an ignition issue? Distributer?  Was recommend by someone in the parking lot to consider replacing spark plug wires


That is difficult.
Usually when you got it running for 5-10 seconds and it dies then - the Fuel delivery is the issue.

First - do not ever assume that new part is good. Your shiny new mechanical fuel pump could be broken out of the box.

The carb is flooding? 

I would get an electrical fuel pump and try running it from the Jerry can - bypassing everything in the RV.
If it's still not starting - only the Carb remains as prime suspect.

Ignition shouldn't fail after 10 seconds.  It either works or it doesn't, a faulty coil might get heat soaked - but that happens only after the engine gets warm - so minutes and not seconds.

How does it behave when you start if with you foot on the pedal?  Half way?


Yes engine floods, and leaks out of top near drivers side.
- we called the manufacture and with them on the phone took out and opened up the carb to check floats and needle and seed

When I start it with my foot on the pedal it's starts up then starts spitting up gas from the top of carb you can also smell the gas.

When I start it and then press my foot on the pedal it will hold on and then eventually die out after several seconds. It sounds as if it's running out of fuel.

We originally thought it was a fuel delivery problem but because the carb continues to flood and spits out gas every time before it's about to die we thought it was getting enough fuel. If the fuel pump wasn't working would the carb still be flooding and spitting up?


Where does the fuel leak from the carb? I am wondering about the accelerator pump. If it is leaking, it may be flooding the engine. Are the fuel tanks switched by a dashboard switch? The reason I ask is that could be a problem as well. While cranking the engine, the fuel tank solenoid is not activated regardless of the switch position and only draws from the "main" tank. It only activates after the ignition returns to the run position. You may be getting some fuel to the carb while cranking but nothing after the key is released.
Rick and Tracy Ellerbeck


Thanks for the response

I just got to the rv this morning and was going to take a video of where it was leaking out of the carb. However now it is not turning on, it is cranking but there is no spark coming from the distributer.  Charged the battery last night so isn't a battery problem. Fuel tank is full.  Prior to this it was starting as described on for 5-10 seconds then shut off.

We did replace the ignition coil before we finished for the night last night. And it wouldn't start at all after this. Going to put the old one back and see if it continues not to start at all.


all the signs that you are giving are pointing at your carburator.

You said it yourself, you ran the tank dry so crud got in the filters and lines. That you had fuelfilters between the tank and the carb doesn't mean dirt can't reach the carburator and the tiniest piece stuck somewhere in your carb can make an engine stop working because the air/fuel ratio is not right anymore, so you really need to disassemble your complete carburetor, clean everything and finetune everything.

another sign, your sparkplugs are black AND wet so your engine is running way to rich, in a way that the engine floods itself, sputters and dies. And then yes, you need time for the fuel to evaporate so the engine can start again, gets to much fuel again ..........

Elandan2 gives you a good tip about the accelerator pump and I have another thing. I'm not really familiair with Edelbrock, but I have a Carter Thermoquad myself. They are notorious for one thing, they need a special kind of ring to seal the metering rods from the bowl. If you forget this ring, put a normal ring in or the ring is broken, fuel will leak from the bowl in the intake manifold  creating exactly the problems you are discribing because the engine is flooding. Are you absolutely sure that you have replaced everything and did you make absolutely sure all jets and parts were clean, in the right place and all gaskets were ok and placed the right way.

The air/fuel ratio needs to be perfect to make an engine run right. Then you get ignition timing, but when this is off you should also get backfires to the intake or the outlet but I don't hear you about that.

Eyez Open

You need to go no further than wet black plugs, first thing to address.

Keep it simple.

Is your choke sticking?

Is this a factory fuel pump? To much pressure can overwhelm the carbs float..
Read flooding.

If you cannot get a good clean spark plug burn your carb is the problem.

If I were in your shoes I would set the timing to say 10 degrees, get your idle speed down to 750 rpm watch your choke closely. I'd almost be willing to bet those things will be tough to accomplish. Old carbs, chokes and associated linkages can be difficult...Very difficult if you lack experience. Not so bad once done however.





Okay figured out where I went wrong with the Infiniti on coil and now I am  back to the original problem with the carb flooding.

I have attached an image of the carb and circled where the gas flows out of the carb.

Yes the fuel tanks can be switched from the dashboard. But the switch has been broken since we got the vehicle. so we only run off the main tank. 


Carb update!!

Great news (kinda) after all the comments on checking the carburetor we decided to open it back up again and found one of the floats was full of fuel. Now we're trying to find a replacement.

Any advice on where to get a replacement float for edelbrock avs2 #1905 carb?


1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


 :)ThmbUp :)ThmbUp :) well, there you go.  :) :)ThmbUp :)ThmbUp

Congrats finding a problem. Let's hope it's THE problem because thid is an easy fix and not to expensive. Keep us posted


Good news-ish

So we got it started and running! We couldn't find a replacement float that would come in time and we need to be out of this carpool lot (have been here for two weeks). So we located the crack and drilled a hole to get the rest of the gas out of it. Soldered it closed and put the float back in the carb.

Engine is now starting and running however we noticed there is now a ticking noise and some smoke started coming out of the passenger side of the engine after starting it for a minute or so.

Back when we were switching the ignition coil (which we put the original one back) my boyfriend has accidentally taken out the distributer. This is why we had the problem of not getting any power which was resolved after turning the distributed 180 degrees and the problem resolved. Could the ticking and smoke mean we messed up the timing?

We had also switched out the ignition control module.

I am new to writing in this forum should I be starting another topic for this problem?


The "ticking" could be a collapsed lifter or simply an exhaust leak at the manifold. If the smoke is coming from the outside of the engine, it is going to be oil that is leaking from the rocker gaskets onto the manifold. That is a common item on these engines, the manifolds are beside the gaskets and ruin them. You may be able to temporarily fix the oil leak by slightly torqueing down the rock cover bolts. Just slightly though, too much pressure will bend the cover and you will end up with a bigger leak.
Rick and Tracy Ellerbeck


I tried to attach a video of the smoke but it says my file is too large. I have attached photos of where the smoke is coming from. Is this inline with what you are suggesting?


We tried running it again.

The smoke didn't start for several minutes. It started when we pressed the gas pedal and continued from there.


Yes, that is exactly where the smoke will come from if the rocker cover is leaking. It will smoke until all the oil is burned off the manifold. If it is increasing with engine speed, the leak may be too large to fix by tightening the cover and you may have to replace the rocker cover gasket.
Rick and Tracy Ellerbeck