Unregistered users may browse the website, but in order to participate in the forums and view select pages (such as "Club Contacts" and "Classified Ads") a user account is required. Click HERE to email the webmaster and request a free account. The National DeSoto Club uses real names rather than pseudonyms. Notify the webmaster of your user name preference (Johnathon Doe vs. John Doe, etc.), preferred email address, and password request.
'52 '53 starting procedure / experience
Wondering how owners of '52s-'53s start their cars - how many pumps of the gas pedal before turning the key? Does the car then fire right up? Or does it take a few tries? Pump the gas every time you try? My experience has been it takes a few tries witha few pumps... wondering if this is normal or might be a battery or alternator issue. Thanks
As with any carbureted gasoline engine, there are many variables.
#1. How long has it been since it was last started? After a while the fuel will evaporate out of the carburetor fuel bowl. You may have to crank the engine for the fuel pump to fill up the float bowl.
#2. How old is the fuel? You'll probably need more stale fuel too get the cylinders to fire.
#3. What is the condition of the carburetor itself? Sediment in the fuel bowl and jets could restrict the fuel flow. Also, gaskets and accelerator pump seal may shrink over time if allowed to dry out. When you depress the accelerator, a stream of fuel should squirt into the carburetor venturi.
#4. Condition of the choke mechanism. When first depressing the accelerator, the spring on the choke butterfly should snap it closed and then gradually open as the engine come up to running temperature.
#5. As we have covered in the NDC magazine De Soto Adventures, it's essential to keep the battery cables and terminals (including the engine and body grounds) clean and corrosion free. This is more crucial with a 6 volt system than with today's 12V systems because the 6V system has less electrical pressure from which to supply the necessary current required to crank the engine.
Sounds like a really good topic to cover in an upcoming issue of De Soto Adventures!
Geoff Overley, Editor
the National De Soto Club's De Soto Adventures Magazine
If my '52 6 cyl. sits for a week or so and the fuel has drained or evaporated out of the carb., I pump it while turning it over and it will start as soon as it pumps gas into the carb.. If it sits overnight, or a day or two, I push it to the floor once to close the choke then push it about half way down and it will usually start the first couple of turns. If I drive it a short distance I push the pedal about half way down and it fires right up. When it gets warmed up good like driving it for an hour on a hot day that is a different story. It will fire right up if I try to start it right after shutting it off. However, if it sits for a few minutes when it is hot, it vapor locks or something and it will crank and crank like it isn't going to start. I usually give it a pump or two after it has cranked a while then hold the pedal to the floor while cranking it and it always starts but I am always thinking the battery is going to run down before it does. I try not to shut it off when it gets warm if I am going to start it a few minutes later. I just let it idle.
I owned a 1949 6-cylinder for many years, and now own a 1952 Firedome. Both cars start quite differently. The six required two, sometimes three accelerator pumps before cranking to start cold. You had to hold your foot about 1/3 open, start cranking, and quickly release your foot. Hot, it would restart without touching anything- just crank. That car had the "Sisson" style automatic choke though- later cars with the Carter "Climatic" choke will probably start differently.
The 1952 Firedome requires only one pump, then release the accelerator before cranking cold. It usually starts quickly and goes onto high-cam idle. Hot, I push the pedal about 1/3 of the way and crank, and it starts pretty reliably. Now, my 1952 has the earlier WCD 2 BBL carb, and later cars have the model BBD 2 BBL. I have not played with the model BBD.
Owner of a 1952 Desoto Firedome