I had to deal with a flooded car today, something I haven’t done in decades. I thought the widespread inclusion of fuel injected engines made flooded cars a thing of the past. I learned how to fix them, and this article explains it all.
But first, some background:
I grew up surrounded by some real shit cars. My old man had a thing for American Motors–he was a Rambler man. If you are not familiar, AMC owned the low end of personal transportation in the 1960s and 1970s. The Rambler made a Dodge Dart look like a Chrysler New Yorker. The Rambler made the Ford Falcon look like a Lincoln Town Car. It came in four-cylinder and six-cylinder models, but you really couldn’t tell which was which when driving it.
The trick to a Rambler was getting it started on a cold morning. My older brother became expert in popping the hood, removing the air filter housing from the carburetor and jamming his comb in the choke. We kept a can of ether in the glove box and he would spray it in the carb to get it started. Those were the days.
From those inauspicious beginnings I drove a series of troublesome cars. I had a Ford Fiesta. That little twinkie of a car was the Rambler of its day. Then I went to the opposite end of the scale and drove a Ford LTD, which was about two tons of difficult to start road glory. They both were susceptible to flooding. I became an expert in starting flooded cars, even if it meant I went back in my apartment and watched crappy morning television until the excess fuel dried up.
By the way, that’s what flooding the engine means: you gave it too much gas for it to start, because the mix of fuel and air is shot until the fuel dries up.
One of the techniques to start it is to floor the gas pedal which would open up the choke on the carb, allowing more air in, and try to start it. The other technique is to go back in your house and wait half an hour before trying again.
Here is the secret to starting a modern, fuel-injected car that is flooded: you press the gas pedal to the floor and start it. Works like a charm.