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Starting a car

I have a pile of a 1961 Mercedes 190B (gas). Aside from mice finding it quite cozy, I have the hardest time starting it. It cranks, floods but does not fire. I can push start it and then it cranks and fires just fine all day long. The next day, regardless of California heat or California cold, the car will not fire unless I push start the car or crank it until the battery dies and then jump it and continue buning up the starter for another 15-20 minutes before the car starts.

Now I did have carb rebuilt and the mechanic told me to open open (or is it close) the choke until the car warms up. No matter what position the choke is in, it does not fire until it is pushed or after 20 minutes of cranking.

Now the Mechanic did tell me that the distributor is not original and that once the car warms up, the timing changes.

I have never been a mechanic but I am mechanical. Does that make sense?

So I wait for your geniousness to pour out and spill into my world.

Eternally greatful if you can fix this pile. Heading out to fill the mouse traps with peanut butter.

Mark Flath


Los Angeles California (actually it is Agua Dulce California but does it really matter).

Nice two seater.My idea is that the plugs might be the problem. Also is the distributor a Bosch mechanical advance or vacuum advance?
Did the carb get rebuilt by a professonial because Solexes’ can be tricky.How did your mechanic figure the carb choke is messed up?
The 190’s are glorified VW’s.Maybe a mechanic who knows the Bugs will help with yours.Should be lots of Homies that would know…They stole my '63 Bug engine in 5 minutes flat in the Silver Lake area
Opps, I was thinking of the 190sl.But many ignition and fuel components are similar the VW (except engine cooling of course).

Is Your Mechanic Over 60-65 Years Old And Does He Or She Speak With A Thick German Accent ?

If the answer is “Yes”, I can’t help you.

If the answer is “No”, then you have found your problem!

Any broken-English speaking, older technician named Helmut, Hans, or Gunter, can have this baby percolating in minutes.

You don’t happen to live near Jay Leno, do you? He may know just the guy.

How about a vintage Mercedes club?

Not a 2 seater. This is the 4 door sedan, referred to as a “Ponton”. Looks kind of like a '52 Packard. And nothing to do with a VW. OP needs to find an old MB mechanic, let him look at it, like CSA says.

Hoy Hoy, back at home to see the replies. Been a windy day today. Not safe to drive the Benz in this wind. besides, the seals are not that good and my hair would get all messed up. You should see my son when we run through the drive through car wash.

so back onto the 190b -

was tshooting with a friend (over the phone) and determined that the coil is fine 3.0 ohms across the resister and primary. had no problem flooding the engine while trying to start it via the push button. Eventually pushed the car down my driveway and it started just fine. Ran very cold. but it did run. Drove it around the block twice, puled into the garage, turned it off, and then pushed the button to start it. and like always, it starts fine.

Vacoum advanced, and it does move when I suck on the sube (fumes galore). I wonder about the rotor and d-cap. Could an old rotor or cap cause a cold start problem (not temparature cold start, but the car sitting for a day cold start)? Keep in mind, once I get it started, I can come back 4 - 6 hours later and start the car. Once the car passes midnight (or actually the next day), i am back to the initial push start even though everything turns over with great power.

Car was rebuilt by a carb shop in Santa Clarita just across from Home Depot on Soledad. The choke is fine so he said. It was the distributor that was different. He said the timing changed quite a bit after the engine warmed up.

Plugs might be the problem??? Even after the push start and everything works fine? What would be the tell tale sign?

Gotta be something with the crunchy peanut butter cause the mice only like smooth PB.

As for Jay, I was at the studie parked right behind his "Mercedes SLR Mclaren (" when he commented about mine. I offered to trade him for his, and he jokingly said that mine was probably paid off. And his isn’t?

I cannot afford his mechanic nor can I afford my own mechanic these days. I am down to doing this myself now. My wife has seen enough money go into this car and she has been in when it broke down three separate times.

Vintage Mercedes Club??? Let me see what we have in SoCal (not to be confuse with the SoCal style/gangs).

Sounds like a good question for the IPOG (International Ponton Owners Group).
list of forums, etc, here-

My Ford Ranger plug change interval was to be around 100K miles. Would not start(90K) right off unless I popped the clutch down the drive.It drove and restarted just fine for the rest of the day;turns out that the electrode gap was way too big on all plugs.Truck started fine after replacing the plugs.No spark=flooded engine.


I don’t often offer this, but since I also live in Santa Clarita, if you’ll post an e-mail address I’ll get in touch with you and take a look at your Benz if you’d like.

I promise nothing except that I’ll point to things for you to check, and offer suggestions, but I can probably get you on the right track. - bb email
661-305-5055 ©

Agua Dulce



I know zero about this vehicle, but do have some knowledge of the ways of old, so I’ll throw in some wild guesses in the interest of “brainstorming”.

Sounds more like a fuel loss problem than an ignition problem. It sounds like a typical empty float bowl. Where the carb’s been rebuilt, I’m wondering of this has a mechanical fuel pump and the diaphragm has a rupture. If that kind of a condition were combined with a leaking needle valve the gas in the line could, theoretically, slowly draw the fuel out of the bowl as the vehicle sits and you’d have nothing there in the morning for the accelerator pump to spray into the venturi to get the enginge started.

Have you checked to see if you have spray? Have you looked into the carb to see if the gas is spraying when the accelerator linkage is manually activated?

Remember, I’m wildly guessing. If this has a different fuel system don’t hesitate to tell me.

Gas - Carb. That this the least of my problems. Or perhaps it IS my problem. What I mean by that is, when I push the start button, after a couple of cranking cycles (and then a couple of my cankings because the car wonts “fire”), you can definately smell the gas. In fact, if I continue to crank and crank and crank, the car is sooooo flooded that it actually begins leaking and gas pools just below the carb. I have tightened all screws and bolts and this scenario plays out evertime I do that.

Once the car get’s it’s puch start, the carb and pan below it dries up.

PLease remember my original post that I have no mechanical training. That means that ya’ll have to speak real slow when asking me questions about an engine.

I am liking the two posts, which talk about the spark plug gaps and the local post who said he could look at it and possibly offer some pointers. I only hope that his pointers is not in the line of wagging his pointer at me and telling me that I should not own this car if I cannot repair it.

Gimme a hammer, hack saw and vice grips and I can fix just about anything. Or is that I can nail, cut or loosen anything. The howling wind often times causes some confusion on my part so bare with me.

0738 hrs on a windy Saturday morning. heading out to the car to feed the mice. I thought that I got them all but they keep coming out of the seat or somewhere. must be the free food.

I think that’s a VERY GOOD educated guess and was essentially what I was going to say. I’ve had quite a few old carbureted Benzes, and never had this problem.

I think you’re losing fuel somewhere. Do you ever see ANY fuel residue under or on the bottom of the carb? I think it even has a drain plug that may have a leaky gasket, but I’m not positive. Some did. Check for accelerator pump spray before you try to crank it (as stated above). If there is no fuel in the float bowl, you’ll see no spray in the carb throat when you actuate the throttle by hand under the hood.

How far do you have to push it before it will start? If it’s three feet, and pop the clutch, that’s probably the wrong answer.

How strong is your battery? How long do you crank it before you give up and shove it?

You may just be over choking it. You should never smell or see gas outside of the carb. Try cranking for just couple of seconds with the manual choke pulled, and then push it in half way. Once it will idle without the choke, push it in all the way.

Did not work… not even a hint of a sound of any combustion

but the mice population is reduced by one more. more food for the rest!

Spray is good. I actually flood the carb by cranking and cranking. eventually I get puddling below the carb. It does dry up once the car starts.

push start. Need to roll down my driveway about 30 feet before I “pop the clutch”. Need to get the speed up. anything less is useless.

having gotten use to the cold start problem, I always crank two or three times to get the gas into the carb and then push it. cold push on my driveway does not work as my driveway dips down and then right back up. I am sure that I could push start cold (without pre-cranking) if I had a longer down hill or flat surface to work with.

I have drained the battery before, then jumped it with my truck and after 15-20 minutes of messing with the choke etc., the car finally starts. It appears to be related to the parts warming up. Remember that if I go and push start it now and get the car running, I can come back 4-6 hours later and start the car just fine. Once the day becomes a new day, the whole process starts all over again.

Good news, one less mouse to deal with.

Bad news, my summer sausage supply is dwindling.

Agua Dulce, Ca

It’s me, know-nothing again.

I’m starting to wonder if the accelerator pump is pushing too much fuel. I don’t know what teh setup is on these, a piston pump, a diaphragm, or what, or if the accelerator pump sprays through a fixed orafice that may be eroded too big. That would cause a squirt rather than a spray and you need a spray. A squirt would cause your symptoms. Heck, I don’t even know if you could get specs on this carb to pin-gage the orafice to see of it’s correct. I’m going to assume that any elastomeric components to the carb were changed in the rebuild, so something like a bad accelerator pump diaphragm that prevents the pump from developing pressure sufficient to spray and causes dribble I’m assuming would not be a factor.

But that’s what I’m thinking. Perhaps someone with more specific familiarity with these cars can feed off my wild guesses.

Special thanks and recognition goes out to Jay. I was the recipient of Jay’s knowledge and now the Benz is running quite nicely.

Long story short, the engine was rebuilt about 1,500-2,000 miles ago. About 800 miles ago the carb was rebuilt. As time has passed, cold starting the car has been harder and harder every time, and the only way to get the car started for the first time of the day was by pushing the car - (clue)

Replacing the points did not help. Following one test which consisted of squirting oil into the spark plug opening uncovered the problem.

Care to guess what it was?

It is amazing how smoothly the car runs now. And it starts on the first push of the button, cold or warm.

Thank you again Jay for teaching me so much and for getting the pile running.
Mice count as of today - 9 removed over a 10 day period. I love those sticky traps.