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Cold Weather Starting

by Tom Mason

Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine, October-November 1991

I guess you never see it all. I know that Healeys start hard in cold weather and I know it's because they don't get enough fuel. Cold weather here begins at about forty degrees down to twenty degrees or lower. California probably doesn't see much of this weather, but many members in Minnesota and Oregon and Washington get this cold weather.

For many years I had toyed with some way of getting extra gasoline in the carbs for cold weather starting. All winter I routinely start my car once a month and let it run for a little while, usually this is done when it warms up from below zero. I have to crank quite awhile with the choke out before she begins to fire.

A friend showed me a neat trick. If you know how the choke works, it is supposed to open the throttle a little bit and then it lifts up the arm with the mixture adjusting screw, which is a teeter totter like fulcrum that pulls the gland down on the main jet needle. The trick is to open the hood and pull full choke and then lift up on the main mixture arm another quarter inch or so, this creates a gross mixture and the engine fires right off. The accompanying picture shows where to lift. So next time you want to fire the Healey up in cold weather try this little trick and save the old starter. Many thanks to Bob Thomas for showing an old dog a new trick.

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