Starting on Mag

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2010: Starting on Mag
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Money on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 09:04 pm:

Now that the T is running so much better, I am starting it on Mag with the starter. The question is when starting on mag I know you have to advance the timing just a bit more. Do you still just give it one pull? Can it still kick if the timing is still advanced? No one dares stem wind on mag do they? Thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Brent in 10-uh-C on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 09:25 pm:


quote:

No one dares stem wind on mag do they?




Doug, I guess the first question is why do you need to 'stem wind' it in the first place? It is amazing how little "crank speed" is needed to start an engine on the mag. I have gotten to the point where I always hand crank on the mag. Yes, they can kick a little but if you are holding the crank handle properly, even that does not hurt you if you are expecting it as it just pulls the handle out of your hand.

FYI, ...Blakes '16 had been sitting in the trailer for over a month, and on a 40 morning we needed to use the trailer so we rolled it out of the trailer. I decided to see if it would start instead of pushing it inside the shop. I primed the cylinders by pulling it thru about 3 times with the choke. I switched on the mag. and pulled it through but I could tell it was "lazy" as it was trying to start. I advanced the spark a few notches and it tried to start on the next pull. I again advanced the spark lever even more and was easily pulling it through with the choke rod pulled (with the intention just to prime the cylinders again) when it started on that pull. I think if it is proper 'tune', stem winding is unnecessary.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 09:34 pm:

Just my own 2 cents here that will probably raise a howl...

My '15 can be started on mag by 'stem winding' Has a year old or so rebuilt ignition system with parts built by the best and tuned by the best. I still usually start it on 'Batt' when cold though, I think they all 'cough' better that way.

On my '25? NO WAY would I try and use the starter with the key switch on mag! May just be me, but my thought process is...Odd chance for a kickback or something being loose when I least suspect it? Going to cost me a bendix at best, some teeth at worse, and it starts just fine anyway on Batt with the lever on but 2 clicks or so, thank you very much :-)

T's are 'quirky' and so am I :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 09:37 pm:

ahhh...let me correct the last based on what Brent said.....

'Stem winder' was meant as a noun and not a verb.....I never ever do anything more than quarter pulls, even if I want giggles on the '25


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 09:47 pm:

If you have a good mag the car will start with two or three light pulls. Doesn't matter what year Model T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John F. Regan on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 10:06 pm:

Guys:

A "kickback" is something that happens when starting on Battery - not on mag. The timing pulse from the magneto is fixed permanently at 4 degrees retarded and unless the timer lever is pulled down about 3 notches, it will be skipped by the timer and the motor will not typically start on mag. Since with the switch set to mag the timing is determined by the magneto pulse rather than the timer - it is just way safer than using a battery for hot shot starting. Think about it and re-read Ron Patterson's article about this. If your timer is set incorrectly to advanced position and you have the switch set to battery then you will get a kickback but with the switch set to mag you won't unless you have something really screwed up with your setup. The reason that many folks use hotshot battery is that with battery you get a spark for sure every time the timer closes regardless of cranking speed. With magneto starting, you may not get a spark for sure if the magneto gap is wide and/or your cranking speed is a wee bit slower than minimum necessary to generate a spark coil point opening. The magneto output is determined by magnet strength, magneto gap, and speed at which the magnet passes the magneto coil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 10:14 pm:

Doug
I agree with Royce.
It is important to understand how spark timing occurs when hand cranking on the magneto.
Take a look at the diagram 8 in this article.
Model T Ford Ignition System and Spark Timing
Ford recommended you advance the spark lever 3-4 notches when starting the engine on the magneto. As you can see from figure 8 in doing so you allowed the timer to catch the magneto current pulse that occurred 4 degrees ATDC as opposed to the current pulse that occurred 18 degrees ATDC.
You can easily understand the difference.
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul Mikeska on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 10:59 pm:

My 26 Coupe and 17 Speedster will start on mag with a lazy 1/4 turn pull on the crank. Both have individually charged magnets with rebuilt field coils and Fun Projects coils. When the engines come out of the other cars for a rebuild or refresh they will start on the mag as well. 35 years ago, when I started on T's you could not give me a Ford coil. I knew that you needed a distributor to make a T run. Now I understand how much fun a T can really be. Just my .02
Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 11:21 pm:

People would quickly learn the how to of stem winding and proper tune if there were no grinders/self commencers/or groan pokers!Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul Mikeska on Sunday, May 09, 2010 - 11:37 pm:

Kenneth,

I stalled the 26 at a busy intersection in downtown Denver a couple of days ago and used the "groan poker" for the first time in about 3 years. I drive the car about once a week!
The 17 Speedster is undergoing a cosmetic restoration at this time and I pull the engine through once every couple of weeks. I have a jumper wire connected between the mag post and the mag horn while it sits. You can here the horn groan on every pulse of the mag when you give the crank a slow lazy pull. That is what a Model T is all about!

Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 03:32 am:

I was under the impresion that "stem winding" was just using the hand crank normally, "spinning" the crank is a whole 'nuther deal! Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Mortensen on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 07:32 am:

I've yet to encounter a kick-back when hand cranking on MAG. My '17 needs the spark lever pulled down about 6 more notches for MAG starting.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 07:49 am:

John,

Your statement, "A "kickback" is something that happens when starting on Battery - not on mag." troubles me as your opening sentence in your post.

If the initial timing (timer position relative to spark lever) is incorrect or the lever is pulled down too far, the spark can occur at some 18 degrees before TDC or even 41 degrees before and there will likely be a kickback. Required for this to happen is a healthy mag, healthy coils, and fairly healthy pull on the crank to obtain enough speed to have sufficient mag output to open the points.

Yes, I know you explained further in your post, but that first sentence bothers me from the safety standpoint.

Seth


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Money on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 09:11 am:

Thanks, I haven't tried to start on mag by hand. I know that to start on mag with the starter it requires a couple more notches of timing. I had thought that the mag would be safer to some extent but wasn't sure. I will try it this week and see if I can find the sweet spot.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Money on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 09:26 am:

I read the text also for figure #8. That cleared up why it needs a few more clicks when starting on mag. I knwo that there is some slop in the timer lever I need to get to someday. The other question I had but didn't state very well was, was the magneto able to generate enough current to fire the coils with a small 1/4 turn pull. That was what I was referencing with the "stem-winding" comment. I know not to stem wind and mine usually starts on the first or second pull on battery. It's just that I have not used the Mag to start before. Thanks again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 09:38 am:

Doug,

There is no storage of electrical energy from the magneto so revolutions have nothing to do with ability to produce a spark. Crankshaft speed once the timer grounds the coil is all that matters.

Seth


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Doug Money on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 01:58 pm:

What I meant Seth was will one the speed of 1/4 pull be enough to produce enough energy to fire the coil. I see from everyone it should be. I will try it this afternoon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 02:26 pm:

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "stem wind". If you mean crank start. Yes you can do it on magneto with the spark lever advanced a few notches. I would recommend that you try it when the engine is warmed up. Leave the spark lever up all the way with the key on and pull up on the crank once. If it doesn't start, advance the spark one notch and repeat. Advance it one notch at a time until you find the sweet spot. Usually about 4 notches advanced. Remember that spot, and then every time you want to crank start it on mag, set the spark lever at that spot and crank.

Now concerning spinning the crank. If that is that you mean by "stem wind" You can do that if you have the ignition switch OFF. Do not spin it with the switch on. This can be done with a cold engine. Pull the choke and pull up the crank a couple of times, then with the choke off, spin the crank. This will evenly distribute the gas in the cylinders, and then you can turn the switch on and pull up and usually it will start on the first pull. If you should accidentally flood the engine, you can with the switch OFF and the throttle all the way open, spin the crank a few times to clear out the excess gas. Then turn the switch on and put the throttle down just a few notches and pull the crank and it should start. Never spin the crank with the key on because pushing down on the crank is an easy way to break the arm.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 02:43 pm:

Norm - I'm with you on this one. I've been fooling around with old Fords since my '28 Model A that I had in high school in the '50's. And I'd never heard the term "stem wind" until I became active in this forum.

I have always been under the assumption that it is never necessary (or wise) to hand crank in any way except pulling up on the crank from approx. 7 o'clock to 12 o'clock. I also feel that it is good practice to always keep your thumb on the same side of the crank as your fingers, however, I have always felt that this became "an unwritten rule" due to those who for whatever reason, felt the need to (incorrectly) push down on the crank.

No use in "rehashing" all this cranking procedure as it's been thoroughly discussed on the forum before and available info in the archives.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William Harper on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 04:00 pm:

The term "stem winder" is often used to refer to any antique car which does not have an electric starting motor. (Think pocket and wrist watches.) Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 04:07 pm:

"Windmilling" is the term I've heard used for turning the engine through many revolutions.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 04:59 pm:

We've had the discussion of crank starting before, and I always have to get my licks in because of personal experience (a broken wrist that is still stiff years later). I don't care about "I've been doing it for years and never had a kickback," or any similar protestations. Just add "YET" to that statement to put it in perspective. Anybody who fails to do as Norm and Harold said above is asking for trouble. ONLY pull up on the left (about 7 to 12) with the left hand. A kickback is likely to throw your left hand out of the way before the crank comes around again in a fraction of a second. NEVER go over the top. If the car (or tractor) won't start with the safe method, fix it. It's better not to start at all if you can't do it safely, unless, of course, you enjoy pain so excruciating that you lie down on the ground and pass out. If you're into that sort of thing, be my guest.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso on Monday, May 10, 2010 - 06:07 pm:

I was brought up around the term "spinning", if you were going to pull her through and just keep going !


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 10:38 pm:

Ron;

I just read and digested your article; it's a good read!! So I went out to the garage, advanced the timing a bit more than I've ever been willing when starting on battery (I never knew that was the key to magneto starting), and it fired right up on mag. Tried it a few times.... I felt like a kid with a brand new toy!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John F. Regan on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 11:48 pm:

Gary:

Part of the key to this working exactly that way is that you have the timer adjusted correctly to start with. Since I know from our email exchange that you indeed have your timer dead nuts correct, it is not then surprising that your T fires up on mag with the usual 3-4 click advance but I have to confess that I had the same reaction as you did once I found out that 3-4 click advance was the secret and tried it. I have fun with folks who swear their T won't start on magneto and then I move their lever, fire it up, and walk away. Lots of fun. When they ask what's the secret, I point them at Ron's article. I think a lot of T's will start easily on mag if the timing is set correctly and their coils are correctly set too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - 12:17 am:

It's not a secret. Spark lever position when starting on mag is explained in the Ford manual, Answer No. 5 and Answer No. 6 below (1917 version shown).

manual


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