73 Deville won't start


Asked by Apr 07, 2017 at 07:55 PM about the 1973 Cadillac DeVille Wisco

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 73 Cadillac deville. Have rebuilt
carb, new plugs, wires, cap, generator,
rotor, and fuel pump. The car doesn't want
to start when turnt over, however it burns
the gas in the carburetor (smoke leaves the
breather). Any suggestions where to look
or begin assessing the issue?

6 Answers


Spray some starter fluid in the throat of the car and it starts and runs a few seconds, then it's possible the float in the carb is stuck and may need to be adjusted


I recently had the carb rebuilt and tested on another vehicle. An older GM model truck according to my mechanic. Would it be possible the timing is off or the firing order is incorrect? I bought the car for a price I couldn't turn down and have been slowly working on it ever since.


Also some gas stays in the carburetor as well that would and possibly could have something to do with the float as well? How would I adjust the float manually?


You didn't mention replacing the points and condenser in the distributor. Unless you have the optional HEI ignition system. To insure that you're getting gas to the carburetor, remove the fuel line at the carburetor. Use two wrenches. Have a helper crank over the engine. Gasoline should spurt out of the disconnected fuel line as the engine cranks over. If not, make sure you have the fuel lines hooked up correctly at the fuel pump. If you have gas at the carburetor, do you have spark at the spark plugs? If so, it's time to do a compression test. If all cylinders test very low or zero it's jumped timing. If this car has 120,000 or more miles on it that becomes a prime suspect. These engines used a plastic camshaft sprocket which is prone to wear. If the engine has been running hot, boiling over when you shut it off and the transmission has been shifting late, before it quit, it's 99% going to be the timing chain has jumped. On the 472 engine the oil pan has to be removed to do the job because the crankshaft sprocket won't clear the front of the oil pan when you go to remove the sprocket. Also, when setting the valve timing the number SIX cylinder must be at top dead center of the compression stroke, NOT number one!! That's very important!! HTH. -Jim


I'm not sure if the previous owner replaced the condenser so I will definitely pick one up today. As for fuel gettto the carburetor it gets plenty in the bowl but just seems to sit there and burn when I attempt to start the vehicle. I recall checking the number one plug using a screwdriver and got a blue spark after testing. I'm going to get back working on it today and see if I come up with any solutions. I appreciate the help I will update as soon as I gather new information.

1 people found this helpful.

If you're getting fuel to the carburetor and the float bowl is dry the needle and seat is sticking. Tap the carburetor where the fuel line goes into the carburetor. If that gets you going the needle and seat is definitely sticking. In the distributor replace the condenser AND the points. HTH. -Jim

Your Answer:


Looking for a Used DeVille in your area?

CarGurus has 15 nationwide DeVille listings and the tools to find you a great deal.

Postal Code:

Cadillac DeVille Experts

  • #1
  • #2
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Chevrolet Impala
17 Great Deals out of 997 listings starting at $2,994
Used Lincoln Continental
4 Great Deals out of 46 listings starting at $1,500
Used Ford Mustang
28 Great Deals out of 1,228 listings starting at $5,995
Used Dodge Charger
43 Great Deals out of 924 listings starting at $4,490
Used Chevrolet Camaro
6 Great Deals out of 1,005 listings starting at $4,500

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.