If my car sits, it’s hard to start

October 1, 2010 | By Richard Prince


I have a 1959 Ford Galaxie two-door hardtop with 35,000 actual miles. It has the 332 cid engine and Cruise-O-Matic transmission. I have a problem with starting the engine if the car sits unused for

a few days. If I start it everyday it fires right up but if it sits it doesn’t want to start. Pumping the gas pedal doesn’t help. I thought it was the fuel pump so I put on a new one but that didn’t change a thing. When the engine is running, it runs like a new car.

Would overhauling the carburetor help the hard-starting problem?


The hard-starting problem you’re experiencing is almost certainly due to a lack of fuel getting to the engine quickly and this can be due to several things.

Modern gasoline formulations will begin to vaporize at considerably lower ambient air temperature than gasoline formulations from when our vintage cars were manufactured.

As a result, the more volatile components in the fuel in your carburetor’s bowls will evaporate through the bowl vents when the car is permitted to sit idle for an extended period of time. Evaporation of the fuel is obviously accelerated when the engine is first shut off and in all likelihood is hot.

Beyond the inevitable fuel evaporation, there is likely another problem with your car and it is most likely inside the carburetor. One common issue is a failure of the carb’s needles to fully seat or remain fully seated when they should.

If there’s a leak between a needle and its seat, fuel can drain out of the carburetor when it’s sitting idle.

A thorough rebuild of the carburetor will probably solve the Galaxie’s hard-starting problem.