A month ago, the very weekend after my brother had to help me get my Jeep out of the mud, I was driving my ‘78 Mercury around. I filled up the gas tank, tried to start up the car again and nothing. Died right there at pump 9.
For the second weekend in a row I had to ask my little brother to help me get a vehicle back home, this time we towed it from the gas station to my house – about 3 blocks.
Anyway, school is out and things have calmed down a bit, so I spent the last few days working on it.
First, I thought it was the accelerator pump on the carburetor, which did need fixing because it was spewing gas every time I pulled on the throttle.
But it wasn’t, fixed that and the car still wouldn’t start. I tried spraying starter fluid right into the carburetor and it still wouldn’t start, not even an attempt.
This made me think that it must have something to do with the spark. The beauty of old cars is that if it cranks but won’t even sputter there’s only two things that could be the problem: no gas or no spark.
So coil. It had to be the coil. I pulled it out and took it down to NAPA to get a new one. No, this is why I go to NAPA – the guy there told me that ‘78 was new enough to have electronic ignition, so it could be either the coil or the ignition module. I already had the coil out, so I bought that hoping it would be the whole problem.
But no, the car still wouldn’t even attempt to start. I pulled the module and headed back down to NAPA. Preparing myself for total frustration, I went home and installed the new module.
Voila, it started. Yea!