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'57 Plymouth belvedere

trying to start up my '57 after 5 years of sitting up.engine turns over but not getting fire to turn on.has points

Are you pumping the gas pedal before starting? Pumping the pedal will set the choke. Give it a shot of starting fluid to narrow it down to a gas or electric issue,

Just clarifying, but you are saying that the issue is lack of spark at the plugs and how hs this been determined?

Anything done with the fuel system? Five year old gasoline will be utter garbage.

Pull the HT coil wire out of the distributor and hold near any metal. Crank the engine. You should see a nice fat spark…If so, it’s not getting fuel…After 5 years, the carb might be full of tar…it’s a no spark or no fuel problem…

What you want to do is run a line from a small gas can into the fuel pump. That way, you’ll be getting fresh gas. Flick the throttle a few times to see that you are getting a good stream of gas into the carb on each flick. Check spark as stated, while cranking. Be sure coil wire is removed so car will not start while running these tests. If fuel and spark, then be sure choke closes, then opens about 1/8" when trying to start. That will allow the air in to mix with the fuel. It should start at this point,unless something has been monkeyed with, such as timing or point gap.

Just FYI, I own a 58 Belvedere and it starts with less than five seconds of cranking, even after sitting for a month. All stock. No aftermarket doo-dads.

Be sure coil wire is removed so car will not start while running these tests.


Is this the car from “Carrie”?

Once you’ve done as Cadyman suggested, and made sure you’re getting a good spark, try putting a couple tablespoonfuls of fuel directly into the carb and turn it over. If it fires and runs for like 3 seconds, then it’s a fuel delivery problem. The only way around that is to rebuild (or replace) the carb. They can get gummed up if they’re not treated before storage, and drained. The biggest problem is the tiny pathways get clogged, and don’t let either air or fuel through. 5 years is a long time to sit with deteriorating fuel in a carb.

What engine do you have in this Plymouth? IIRC you could still get the flat head 6 for this year. Also I seem to remember that the V8 semi hemi 318 was an option. If it is the V8 does it have a two barrel or a four barrel carburator?

Also, this should be similar to the devil car from Stephen King’s “Christine”.

The 318 was an option, but it was a wedge engine, not a hemi or semi hemi. There was 354 hemi, but I don’t think it was an option on the Belvedere. The old flathead six was most common.

Check that the points are opening and closing, take something like a small file or emery cloth and lightly sand or file the faces of the points before you do anything else. Then get good gas into it. You will probably have to put some gas directly into the into the intake manifold to get it started. A teaspoon full should be enough. In all likely hood, your fuel pump has dried out and will need to be replaced to keep it running.

If it’s a Belvedere, then more than likely it’s a 301 V8. You could also get the 230 flathead 6 or the hi-po 318 with dual quads. The 301/318 was NOT a ‘semi-hemi’. It was an early version of the 318 that was used for years during the 60s and into the 70s.

The 318 used in the later 60’s and 70’s was not the same 318 from the 50’s. Both were designated as “A” blocks, but when the Baracuda first came out, Plymouth had a brand new engine, the 273. This engine was enlarged to 318 and replaced the older 318, then it went to 340, 360 and ultimately to 400.

The “B” block started in 59 as the 383. It spawned the 361, a 383 (different bore and stroke from the 59 383), 413, 426 wedge and the 440. The hemi’s were completely different engines that some called the “C” block, but I don’t think that was a Chrysler designation for them. AFAIK, they were just called “Hemi”.

Plymouth had four lines in 1957. There was the Plaza, the Savoy, the Belvedere and the special 2 door hardtop Fury that came in eggshell white with a gold band down each side. The engine for the Fury was the V-800 318 cubic inch V-8 with 2 four barrel carburetors. In the other lines, there was a 230 cubic inch flat 6. There was a 277 cubic inch V-8 available only in the Plaza. The 301 V-8 which developed 215 horsepower without the “powerpack” or 235 horsepower with the powerpack was available in the Savoy and Belvedere. Plyouth also made the V-800 available in all lines, so that even the lowest line Plaza could become a real hotrod.

Keith has it right about the engines.

To set the record straight, it was a '58 Plymouth Fury in the Stephen King book and movie “Christine”

LOL ! One of the ‘bumper’ songs on today’s (5/21/11) Car Talk is called ‘57 Belvedere’ ! The song comes on right before the new puzzler, and yes, it’s a new show this week.

All we know for sure is that no one’s recognized it as an old show yet. You beat me to the bumper. Good catch.

The 318 made before 1965 was a semi- hemi. Chrysler called it a “poly” head. They were a single rocker shaft unlike the hemi but the intake pushrods came up the exhaust side of the heads and the rockers crossed over to the intake side where the intake valves were. The exhaust valves were just the opposite. You thus got 2 rows of valves running down the heads not one and thus not a wedge engine. They had straighter and shorter ports than either Ford or Chevy designs. I thought the earlier 318s were much superior to the later wedge design.

I never heard of anyone referring to the older 318 as a semi-hemi. I never took one of these apart, but they were not a very good engine. You are the first person I’ve ever heard of that thought they were a superior engine. Most of the ones I saw died an early death, usually bearing failure.

To each his own.