Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

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Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby Brenda65 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:47 pm

Hi,

I acquired a hand me down 1979 Chrysler Cordoba 2 years ago from my great uncle. My car skills are limited, however I use this car daily as I am single and on a very limited income and need it to last me awhile. Recently, I have been having a really difficult time getting it started, especially when cold. I have paid for a tune up, new battery, fuel pump and am still having problems. I go through the ritual of pumping the gas pedal before turning it over and while turning it over with various results, sometimes it starts and sometimes it’s a long ordeal to get it started. I do find though that really the only way it is going to start now is if I am really pumping the gas pedal with aggression for some reason. It never required that much before, so I am at a loss??

Any help is most appreciated.

Brenda
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby 89ARIES » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:19 pm

Hi Brenda. Welcome to the CKCC. Unfortunately, this club is focused on 80s K-Cars, but many of us have owned other Chrysler products before the 80s, even Cordobas.
I am really happy you joined and we encourage everyone to join our club, regardless of make or model. We have some great old timers on this site that our familiar with carbureted
70s products and we will do the best we can to steer you in the right direction. Would love to see some pics of your Cordoba. A few still exist, even in SoCal. 8-)
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby K-CAR_WAGON » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:42 pm

Sounds like you might have a problem with the choke not fully closing. If it is the choke, it could be sticking and just needs to cleaned, it might need adjustment, or it might need replacement. Generally, when you start it cold, the choke plate should be fully closed giving you a rich mixture. Sometimes, if your choke is not working properly and is partially or fully open at start-up by pumping it you are putting in extra fuel to compensate for the open ckoe plate which should be restricting the air input at start-up (but is not).

Then, as soon as it starts the choke pull-off (a vacuum unit) should cause the choke to partially open. When its fully warmed up the choke should be fully open (choke plate vertical). Sometimes the choke pull-off can be NG (bad diaphram) and also give you problems. - The car may initially start and then stumble and put out alot of black smoke (running too rich.)

Also, I think in 79 your choke also has a built in heater. If you have the key in and turned on too long before the car actually starts the built in choke heater causes the choke to start opening making it more difficult to start. This built in choke heater was to improve emissions by getting the car off choke as quickly as possible. This built in choke heater works fine when everything is ok, but when the car has problems starting this built in choke heater design can contribute to your problems.

It could also be many other problems. I think in 1979 you had the "lean burn" ignition system which was problematic. In addition a weak or poor spark or fouled plugs can also give you a starting problem.

By the way, which engine do you have - slant 6 or 318 V8 ? I assume the car runs fine after it warms up.
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby Brenda65 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:53 pm

I do know that it is a slant 6, which I have heard can be difficult starting! Well, that has become the case with mine recently. I can get it started, but it does take some effort on my end and praying the battery is going to hold out for me, if you know what I mean?

Thanks

Brenda
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby K-CAR_WAGON » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:15 pm

I have an 80 Plymouth Volare with a slant 6 in the family. I would have a mechanic look into the choke for starters to make sure it is fully closed (shut) at cold start-up. (Most likely cause of the problem). Even being open a small amount can make a big difference in getting it started cold. I think replacement chokes are still available.

In addition, to the other problems that I mentioned you could also have carb. problems.
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby Brenda65 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 pm

Thanks for the help. As part of a tune up, shouldn’t a mechanic be looking at the choke? I recently just paid some $$$ for a tune up and can’t afford to keep throwing good money down the drain.
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby K-CAR_WAGON » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:31 pm

In general tune-ups used to be : change plugs, change point/condensor (before electronic ignition) and set dwell, distributor cap, rotor, air filter, fuel filter, maybe ignition wires, maybe check/reset fuel mixture, set the idle speed, set timing, etc. However, if you car was having cold starting problems and you told the mechanic, the mechanic should have already looked at the choke adjustment, choke and choke pull-off to make sure everthing was ok. The problem is that carburetor cars with chokes, for the most part, disappeared in the mid-80's. Virtually everything is fuel injection now with computer control. Many younger mechanics are not familiar with the carburetor cars and choke set-ups. In addition, your vintage car (late 70's) can be problematic to get the choke set-up just right, as at that time pollution control was being introduced and was not yet well refined.

Lots of vacuum controls and modules on your car that can also cause trouble. The earlier slant 6's from the 60's are alot simplier and a lot less trouble. There are lots of other things on your vintage slant 6 (late 70's) that can cause problems like the lean burn computer module and its carb.

If you are mechanically inclined you might be able to check the choke adjustment yourself and replace it if needed.
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby 89ARIES » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:26 pm

I still see these late 70s Cordoba cars. They are very few and far between, but they exist. I have seen about 8 so far this year either driving around, parked, etc. There is one near my office. I have also seen as many as 3 for sale at once on Los Angeles craigslist. To add to the rarity of your vintage car, keep in mind that you are one of the select few that still owns and operates a late 70s coupe as an everyday driver. It is virtually unheard of now. But, you might find this encouraging. All the other models for the 75-79 RWD Chrysler B-Bodies are much rarer than the Cordoba. Cordoba is the only one left of these B-bodies for 75-79 that is still considered "findable" for parts and resources, while the Dodge and Plymouth versions can now be considered practically extinct. Cordobas are also selling at higher prices than ever. I have observed lately a young mother and her young son driving daily a yellow 1976 Plymouth Fury Salon Coupe. The only one I ever found. So, it is possible to keep an old car going. I wish you the best of luck. Enjoy your car and be proud that your car stands out while everyone else drives boring roundish modern stuff with no character.
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby Baron » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:21 pm

Does it have the Lean Burn system (it should say so on the air cleaner cover, if it does)? Your problem sounds a lot like the problem I had with my 78 LeBaron with the Lean Burn system. If so, have them check the choke settings. Mine was set so heavy that the choke never totally went off so the car was always getting too rich of a gas mixture. It would foul the plugs in less than 10,000 miles, become hard to impossible to start until the engine had totally cooled off and the choke had a chance to reset back to the cold start position and the computer governing it all finally gave up the ghost trying to adjust for it all the time. Once we got the choke reset all the problems went away and the gas mileage was great. Don't know if that is your problem, but it sounds like it could be and might at least be worth checking out.
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Re: Starting troubles- 1979 Cordoba

Postby Brenda65 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:41 pm

I just want to thank all of you for your kind suggestions. When I get the extra money saved up, I suppose I better get my car back to the mechanic to check on the choke. For now, pumping the pedal (with starting fluid at times) seems to be working and helping me get from point A to B. Yes, I appreciate my car and its looks, thus I plan on having it around with me for some years to come. My funds are limited, so I don’t have to much of a choice anyhow!

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