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'68 Mustang Won't Start

Hello all, I have a '68 302 2 barrel carb Mustang and cannot get it to start! I have spark and I have gas getting into the carbuerator. It turns but does not start. I’m at a loss and cannot figure out what to do.

Any help would be great!!!

What did you do to it? Have you checked for compression? Have you checked for timing and are you sure its not 360? off?

Haha, not too sure what I’ve done to it! I haven’t checked for compression, no. After doing a little research I think timing might be my problem. I’m just not totally sure how to go about adjusting it. What do you mean 360 off? Thanks for your reply

You have gas to the carb but is it going through the carb?

With the air cleaner off and the choke flap held open (assuming it’s closed as it should be when cold) operate the throttle lever on the carb while looking down the carb throat.
You should see a squirt of gas each time you move the throttle lever.

This is all assuming the engine is not worn clean out, the distributor is not a mile out of time, etc, etc.

The carb does have gas squirting up, and I removed a couple spark plugs to make sure that there is gas in the pistons and they seem to be wet with gas. Not really too sure where to go from here… Thanks for the suggestions!

The next step since you’re getting spark and gas would be to check the distributor timing.
Rotate the engine until the 0 mark on the harmonic balancer is lined up with the pointer and make sure that the Number 1 cylinder is on the compression stroke, not the exhaust stroke.

Remove the distributor cap and make sure the rotor is pointing at the Number 1 terminal on the cap.

I wonder if you have a weak spark. Your statement that the pistons seem to be wet with gas indicates that gas is getting to the cylinders, but no ignition is occuring. How did you test for spark?

Some background please. Before you tried to start the Mustang; when was the last time it was running? A day ago, a year ago, or unknown? A little history might help figure this out. If the car is coming out of storage? Did you just buy it?

I remember a while a go a similar vintage, the problem was the owner did not know you had to pump the gas pedal to set the choke. We even used to do 2 pumps of the gas pedal or more to get them started.

My brother and I bought this a few months ago and have been working on it sporadically. Luckily I have some time off so we can spend some time getting things done! They guy we bought it off said it was running 3 years ago and then sat in storage. So, we’ve replaced the frost plugs, spark plugs, and took the head off and gave her a good cleaning. We put it back together and it ALMOST turned over but then we found out the fuel line had holes all over so wasn’t getting any gas. We replaced the fuel pump and line and made sure the gas is pumping through to the carb but could not get the car to turn on. That was the closest we got it to starting!

The balancer is lined up with zero and we’re going to buy a compression tester to make sure number one is on the compression stroke and check the where the rotor is pointing. Really appreciate the trouble shooting help!

We definitely tried this and tried the choke in various positions with no success. Sounds the same every time. Just won’t catch. Thanks for the advice though

We took a plug out, placed it on the head, turned the key and physically looked for a spark. We didn’t do it for all the plugs but did one on each side. We just assumed if there is a spark, it was working. Is there something else we can try to make sure it’s not a weak spark?

Those old Mustangs are great fun to bring back to life. There’s a lot of good advice here and you seem to be going in the right direction so far. Winsor engines are notorious for jumping time and that may have been the cause for it sitting up for years. And when the intake was off you may have dropped the distributor in out of time. Get a good repair manual and if available an automotive trouble shooter manual and be patient and careful.

Have you checked the ballast resistor and/or ballast wire?

Ed B.

You don’t need a compression test to bring No. 1 cylinder up to the top of its stroke.
Just remove the No.1 spark plug, place a finger tip on the plug hole (easy to do on these motors), and have someone briefly bump the starter motor for you.

When you feel a bit of air starting to huff out against your finger then stop and rotate the engine in it’s normal rotation until the mark lines up. This should put you on TDC of the No. 1 compression stroke.

If you’re trying to get this thing to run on gas that’s been sitting in it’s tank for the last three years you’re wasting your time. It’s never going to happen.

Drain the tank and put some fresh fuel in it, then correctly gap and install new plugs and try again.

Now we know you are starting the car after 3+ years since it last ran. You need to start it using fresh gas from an alternate supply. The gas in the tank, and fuel lines is very old. Get a temporary fuel tank, disconnect the current fuel line and hook up the alternate fuel source to the intake side of the fuel pump. This way you have fresh fuel. You might need some starter fluid, or a few squirts of good fuel directly into the carb to get it to fire a few times.

The timing could be off or there might be some other problems. Often when old cars are left unused for years there was a reason they weren’t driven anymore. The motor could have been running pretty bad, the last time it ran at all.

Just for an experiment…get some starter fluid and spray liberal amount down the carb throat…See if that starts it up.

I’m in agreement that if you’re trying to start this car on 3 year old gasoline you’re just spinning your wheels. Gasoline can deteriorate or go completely bad in just 4 or 5 months.

If you have the old gas in there take a sample out and pour a little on the ground. Throw a match on it. Odds are it will never flash up and may not even burn.