I have a little Uno inherited from my dad. Just before he passed away he was having trouble getting it to start, and before that, having it die on a drive somewhere, even close.

I would now like to solve the non-starting problem first. The battery is charged and seems strong. It takes many tries to start and revs of the starter motor before it shows much discharge. I will be working alone, and therefore have difficulty with things like turning the starter and checking for spark. I will rig a jumper lead from the battery to the starter solenoid for this.

I see the possible causes of non-starting as:

  • Electrical

    • no spark voltage from the coil.
    • no voltage to individual plugs from the distributer, very likely points.
    • no power at all for the ignition system. No idea where to look here.
  • Fuel

    • No fuel. The car does have fuel though, ruling that out.
    • No fuel reaching the fuel pump, i.e. a blocked line or filter.
    • No fuel reaching the carb, i.e. a malfunctioning fuel pump.
  • Carb

    • A blocked jet or cannel somewhere.
    • A stuck float or malfunctioning float valve (dunno what it's really called).
    • A stuck butterfly, allowing no air and ergo no vapourization of fuel.

I'm asking this question not to directly ask what is wrong, or what must I do, but I would like to narrow things down, and am hoping that members here familiar with the Uno could give me a start, say a prioritization of the possible faults I list, and, or, additional faults I could check.

  • When the engine is turning over, does it sound like its trying to catch, just turning, turning really fast etc? if its just turning over, an easy check is look at the plugs, whitish electrode = no fuel and overheating, wet = too much fuel/no spark.
    – Mauro
    Sep 23 '14 at 11:28

An old PARKER'S guide to the Uno known starting faults says:

  1. Failed distributor vacuum unit.
  2. Two small wires inside distributor break after 8-9 years or 60K-70K miles.
  3. Crankshaft position sensor.
  • Welcome to the site, Pip. This answer would be so much better if you added some information which might help the OP actually fix the problems you are describing. Just a suggestion. We appreciate you posts. Nov 16 '14 at 22:56
  • Paulster2, the only thing I see @Pip could have expanded on more is where the crankshaft position sensor is. Still, this answer is quite helpful as is, anyway.
    – ProfK
    Nov 17 '14 at 3:35

It sounds like you've got a pretty good idea what you're doing already!

I'd start by replacing the points & condensor and regapping them, that way you can eliminate one potential problem immediately. The same with the fuel filter - all are quick and cheap and will need doing anyway...

Do a compression check as well, to make sure that is good, and remove the spark plugs, check and re-gap them.

A quick way of checking whether it is a fuel problem is to get a can of "Easy start" or similar (the Aussies have a brand delightfully called "Startyabastard"), and spray it directly into the carb inlet, then try to start it - if it coughs, and tries to start, you have a fuel issue, if it does nothing different then it isn't (and so is probably electrical...)

  • I am a fairly good DIY mechanic, but I asked here in case such problems, and maybe a common cause, occur frequently with the Uno.
    – ProfK
    Jan 27 '14 at 16:31

On the side of the distributor,youll find a little modem.This can also be a problem and need to be replaced every 30,000 ks to be on the safe side.I did not know some Unos came out with points very interresting. One of the most reliable cars really fantastic.

  • 2
    A 'modem'? I've seen capacitors on distributes, but I've never seen anything as electronic as a modem on those old cars.
    – ProfK
    Mar 27 '14 at 14:06

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