He would start screaming at her (as we where a dysfunctional family) saying that it was her fault and she flooded the engine. Of course the car I speak of had a carburetor on it and it was possible to flood the engine. In most cases when this happened my dad would go out and hold the accelerator to the floor while cranking and most of the time the engine would fire up.
On this old carburetor equipped vehicle there were many adjustments that could be made to the choke assembly, such as choke angle and choke pull off which would help increase the amount of air that was allowed to enter the engine cold.
Engine flooded on modern vehicle
I should also mention on most modern vehicles the computer provides a clear flood mode if an engine becomes flooded automatically. This clear flood mode can be entered manually by pressing the gas pedal to the floor while cranking the engine. On a fuel injected vehicle this will turn off the fuel injectors when the engine is not running and after several rotations of the engine the cylinders will be cleared.
Causes of an engine to flood
The CPI injector was mounted inside of the intake Plenum and could not be seen without removing the upper part of the intake manifold. What would happen is the CPI injector would start to leak and raw fuel would pool up inside the intake manifold. This unmetered raw fuel would be drawn into the combustion chamber and would cause all kinds of problems associated with a flooded engine.
This unmetered raw gas would also cause symptoms that are associated with an engine that is flooded. The case that comes to mind was so severe that the unburned fuel wound up leaking past the piston rings and into the engine crankcase. The first sign that I detected of this problem was that the engine will was way overfilled and smelled like gas.
So even though an engine flooded causing a no start condition is not as common as it used to be back in the days of carbureted vehicles it can still happen. For more information and other problems that can still happen to your car visit the blog for online auto repair.