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My pickup won't start

I drive a 1945 Dodge half ton pickup and when it sets for a while, I have to pour gas in the carb to get it to start. Some times I have to hand crank it, that seems to give it extra spark without turning the starter. It is a little embaressing to have to crank it when I come out of a formal gathering. Can you tell me what is wrong and can I fix it myself.

A 1945 Dodge p/u. WOW!

Well, rest assured I won’t be able to help as I was only 2 years old then!

There are a couple of techs here that I believe have worked on old vehicles, perhaps one of them can help.

Good luck.

Getting into a 1945 Dodge pickup (did not know Dodge started producing trucks so soon after the war years, in fact 1945 WAS a war year,somethings fishy here) is embarassing enough even if it did start.

see this web page http://www.allpar.com/model/ram/ram-history.html

scroll through text states that there is a military version produced …T214 if I read it correctly

I thought the answer would turn out to be military but I wanted the OP to respond. If I remember correctly wasn’t it not until 1947 that new models started comming off the lines? and were they actualy NEW models and not pre-war designs?

I think the new models for the Dodge pick-up trucks rolled off the assembly lines in 1948 as did the new design of the Ford postwar trucks. The new design of the Chevrolet pick-up trucks started midway through 1947. The postwar models of the trucks by the big 3 makes appeared before the updated autombiles which was June of 1948 for the Ford, late fall for the Chevrolet and March of 1949 for the Chrysler products. One theory for this is that trucks were made for military use and for some civilian use through the war years, and the dies were worn out. Therefore, it made sense to bring out the redesigned models.

Looking at the problem in the truck of the OP, I wonder if the accelerator pump isn’t working right. If he removes the air cleaner when the truck doesn’t start while someone pumps the accelerator should answer this question. I’m certain that the truck has a manual choke. I had a problem with a car that wouldn’t start after sitting for more than a day without priming the carburetor. The problem turned out to be a section of the fuel line that had deteriorated. The mechanical fuel pump was sucking air. Priing the engine would allow the pump to turn fast enough to begin sucking in the fuel.

However, I am more inclined to think that the problem with the Dodge truck in the OP may be an ignition problem. Priming the carburetor and hand cranking the engine provides a more easily ignited fuel mixture and a hotter spark. Years ago, my Dad had a 1940 Chrysler that would run only when we primed the carburetor. We assumed that the problem was the fuel pump, but it turned out that the ignition points weren’t opening enough to provide a good spark.

Vehicles of this vintage need the plugs cleaned and gaped every 5000 miles and at 10000 need a tune up. This means new plugs, points and condenser, reset timing , adjust valves, and inspect the distributor cap and rotor for wear or carbon tracking on the cap, the coil should be checked for oil leaks and output voltage( or at least the color and size of the spark it puts out). Having said all that I would start by replacing the needle valve in the carb and empty out the sediment bowl on the bottom of the fuel pump.When people say “They don’t make cars like they did in the the good old days” That is something to be very thankful for.