1978 Ford Pickup - Difficult to Start in Cold & Wet

I own a 1978 Ford Pickup that is difficult to start in the cold and wet. It WILL start, but it requires lots and lots of fuel and lots and lots of starter action - literally several minutes.

In the dry (either cold or warm), it’s a one pump, 2 second startup affair.

The truck has been modified from it’s original config with a new carburetor and manifold, but, like I said, it starts fine in most conditions, and runs like a champ once started in any condition.

Have you checked the distributor cap and wires ?

No. I haven’t. I suspect I’m looking for moisture? ;D Not much of a mechanic - if that isn’t obvious by now.

Assuming it’s that simple, how would I preventing this situation from recurring? Is this a simple seals thing, or a new distrib, etc?

Finally, I was about to have the guys at my mech shop install an electronic ignition. If the prob is moisture, would this make this problem disappear?

Spark plug wires are not created equal. Some are cheap and don’t handle moisture well at all. If you are not sure the wires are good, I’d replace the plug wires with new ones of good quality. This includes the wire from the coil to the center of the distributor. After changing the wires start the truck and see if it runs smoothly. This will assure you have the wires on correctly.

Then for good measure I’d put on a new distributor cap and rotor. Again start the truck to be sure you’ve got the wires on correctly. Next time it rains or is very moist and humid if the truck starts easily then you’ve got the problem licked.

Sometimes the plugs themselves can break down at the seal where the porcelin meets the metal base of the plug. If the plugs are more than 2 years old they might be part of the problem too.

Thanks a bunch. Looks like I have a bit of a project this weekend.

If I install a new distrib and rotor - do I need to worry about timing? I’m hoping to be really, really careful so I don’t have to do that.