We boxed up the four Strombergs and shipped them off to Dana Britton at sucarbs.com. These smog control era Strombergs have tight tolerances and need to be done right. Now, sucarbs.com is super, super busy and it is a long wait. The work is excellent in my experience – but you should phone ahead and get an estimate on time to delivery. We alerted the owner that this would take some time, In the meantime we stored the V-12. When the rebuilt carbs did arrive they were beautiful to behold – and I could not wait to hear that V-12 purring. Frankly I also wanted the space the car was sitting on – and to make the owner happy by getting the car back to him.
Installation of the rebuilt carbs is very straightforward if you keep the plumbing organized and are prepared to adjust the throttle linkage and carb connections to get the idle and throttle response right. In addition to fuel lines for four carbs, there are things like thermostatic vacuum lines, emissions control lines and pumps, a charcoal canister etc. There are a number of spots to do this from the rotating linkage dish that joins the throttle to the two banks of carbs, to the linkage lines between the two carbs on each bank.
Once we had everything linked up we were ready to start the engine. We waited patiently as the fuel pump began to work to deliver fuel to the carbs. These cars do not have the best fuel economy and you can literally hear and feel the fuel rushing through the lines to the empty carbs.
Once the lines were full it was time to see if the car would run. Alex turned the ignition to start and….nothing! There was a click from the starter and then nothing at all from it. Drats! More work.
After checking all the battery connections and grounds related to the main circuit and trying out a different battery we concluded the starter itself was the likely suspect. Alex spoke with his client who told us that he had been having trouble with the starter before the fuel issue took the car off the road completely. He gave us the greenlight to purchase a new starter if needed. So, time to pull the starter and perhaps replace it.
The Series III starter is located on the same side of the engine as the earlier 6-cylinder E-types. That is the off-side according to UK nomenclature, or the UK driver’s side, US passenger side. It is also low down. Unlike the 6-cylinder cars you do not have to find and remove a special hidden panel on the interior of the car to get to the starter bolts. Actually removal is pretty easy. The starter can be unbolted from underneath the car (this is unlike the 6-cylinder cars). Then it can be moved forward beneath the exhaust manifold – and we found it easiest to simply remove the inner fender and slide it out forward.
We found that the unit in the car was a relatively new looking Bosch starter – but upon removal and bench testing it was not working. Even if we spun the starter by hand and then added power to it – no luck. It was clearly inoperative. Now, the old style starters used in these cars are heavy, inefficient and end up being quite near the exhaust manifold. I am guessing the heat there may well promote early failure? We decided to replace the starter with a much smaller and more efficient gear reduction starter. These are not only better – but are relatively cheap and because of their small size, not nearly as close to the exhaust manifold. Installing the gear reduction is the opposite of the removal and easier because it is light and small. Also – unlike the earlier series you do not need special bolts for the job. We were ready to try starting again!