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How to Start A New Engine

Don't Burn Your Eyebrows Off With A Brutal Backfire. We Show You How to Start a New Engine the Right Way.

Photography by ,

It's been nearly a year since our '67 Buick GS 400 ran. We had just added an Air Ride Street Challenge system and were driving it home when we heard a strange noise that got worse when we revved the engine. That noise turned out to be several bad rod bearings that had eaten their way through the journals of the crankshaft. We shipped the engine off to JMS Racing Engines, where the mill was rebuilt and a set of Edelbrock heads were added. Now that we have it back, it's time to make this sucker run again. Stabbing the engine is the easy part, but what about the initial start-up? It seems simple enough, but if you blow it, you'll likely start a fire, kill your battery, or both. Watch and learn.

Trouble Shooting
These are some common new-engine problems and their likely causes. We've made these mistakes so you don't have to. Enjoy!

PROBLEM LIKELY CAUSE
Engine backfires and will not start Distributor 180 degrees off
Distributor one tooth off
Crossed spark plug wires
Engine will not idle Retarded timing
Vacuum leak(s)
Lean A/F ratio
Out of gas
Engine idles high Choke fast idle is on
Idle screw screwed in all the way
Linkage is bound
No return spring
Noob’s foot is on the gas pedal
Engine cranks slowly Overadvanced timing
Dead battery
Loose battery cables
Bass-heavy hip-hop playing on stereo
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25 comments
Dennis Wilde
Dennis Wilde

No, but I had to sacrifice my coat once to put out my oil bath filter because of a backfire.

Jeff Stringer
Jeff Stringer

No, but I once did burn off my BF's eyebrows with his grill! LOL I have seen the whole backfire deal... that is a serious situation! :)

Erick Thien Jr.
Erick Thien Jr.

Yes yes I have and part of my hair line its a damn good thing I ware glasses

Andrew Lieberg
Andrew Lieberg

hahaha, My Uncle got them burned off helping or being in the way with my Dad.

Paul Gemellaro
Paul Gemellaro

Yes as a matter of fact I have. Damn SBF distributor went in 1 tooth off.

Nick Heath
Nick Heath

Small block t bucket. Cooked every hair on my head & somebody got it on camera.

Chris May
Chris May

I shave my eyebrows to keep from burning them off anymore...doesn't save powervalves though.

Michael Swanson
Michael Swanson

Yep, 1933 coupe with a 340 Chrysler. Timing was 180 out. Lol

John C. Lukasik
John C. Lukasik

Not eyebrows,but leaning into my GTO starting it with no mufflers on headers & backfired out exhaust, I felt the pressure & flames pass over my feet.

Liam Knight
Liam Knight

Nope.... Built a lot of engines and they've always started up without a backfire.

Fletch Bryan
Fletch Bryan

Embarrassing as it is..... Been building and repairing over 35 years...... Maybe once or well maybe once lol

Jason N Charmaine
Jason N Charmaine

I set the ign timing close before trying to start. Disappointed you didn't tell your readers how to do this.

Joshua Pugh
Joshua Pugh

Had a friend do much more... he wore a hat till he got it cut right.

J-f Dube
J-f Dube

LOL! Yup,once...ONLY once!

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