Spark lever position

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2011: Spark lever position
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 04:13 pm:

In my many years of driving my Model T I have only ever driven it one way and that is with the spark lever in the full down position. It seems that whenever I experiment and try and move it up, even a little bit, the car runs less efficiently. Florida is very flat, so there is no hill climbing and the only time I ever adjust the levers at all is when I push up or pull down on the throttle lever to increase or decrease speed. Other than that, the spark lever remains down.

Under what conditions would the spark lever be pushed up? As I said, whenever I do, the car runs rougher, so I pull it back down and she runs smooth again. Am I doing anything wrong or is this alright? Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 04:33 pm:

Jim - You bring up an interesting point, for sure! I'd be willing to bet that this is one of those questions that you could get many, many different answers for. When you think about it, theoretically, and I repeat, THEORETICALLY, it would seem that for any given RPM and engine load, there would be just one spark advance setting that would provide the most efficient timing setting. However, it is probably impossible for any of us to determine what that "perfect" timing setting is, just by ear and "seat of the pants" feeling. In others words, what we sometimes call, "the sweet spot", probably isn't one particular "spot" at all; it's more of a "range" where the engine just seems to sound the best and "feel" the best with regard to how much power the driver perceives, given the conditions at the time, i.e., accelerating, just cruising on level road, climbing a grade, etc. Personally, what I do (mostly) whenever I think to "adjust" the timing with the spark advance lever is to slowly advance the spark until the engine begins to feel a bit rough, and then slightly retard the spark until the engine seems to smooth out. Not sure if that's right or wrong, but I'll bet that's how most of us do it. Anyway, interesting question,....harold


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By kep on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 04:58 pm:

i found if the spark is too far advanced it overheats and if it is too far retarded it also overheats. If the mirror vibrates too much i retard the spark until you can almost see anything in the mirror and it will be less likely to overheat. That is probably the way alot of people nowdays judge how to advance the spark


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chester Leighton on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 05:10 pm:

I'm surprised that the folks who developed and market the distributor conversions for the model T didn't incorporate a vacuum advance or some other sort of automatic advance mechanism. Why is that?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 05:25 pm:

Probably several reasons Chester; most Model T folks want to restore, and/or preserve the Model T the way Henry built it, plus, it would add cost, and Model T guys are usually quite "cost conscious", and, a stock Model T engine doesn't really have a whole lot of vacuum anyway.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield, KS on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 05:31 pm:

Of course, if they want to restore and/or preserve it as Henry made it they won't use one anyway.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 05:45 pm:

Here is the chart:


Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson-Nicholasville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 06:14 pm:

Jim
The Fig 38 chart above is for 1919 and later cars.
The chart for earlier cars reflects proper spark lever positions for magneto hand crank starting.
Both charts assume you have the initial timing set at 15 degrees ATDC as Ford recommended.
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson-Nicholasville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 06:16 pm:

Could someone please post the diagram for 1918 and earlier Model T's??
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George - Cherry Hill New Jersey on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 06:17 pm:

Jim,

In all of my years of T'ing and different cars, that sweet spot you mention seems to be a bit different on most of them. I'm one of those who does 'spark up' under load simply because I let the car tell me what it wants to do, mine, or any other I drive.

More importantly I think is what does that spark lever position really mean to most? By that I mean timer relativity to spark lever position relativity. They will run without, but they really should be mechanically timed together. Set the cam position for a just after TDC at the plug, move the timer until you just get a buzz, then set the lever to the up position, and then and only then set the rod to make all match, and at the same time do make sure the timer goes full travel as you move the stick.

I do find that a lot don't do this, their car runs, runs their way and doesn't overheat. As an example, was asked this summer to help a newbie get use to really taking a neighborhood cruiser to a road worthy machine. He always could get it started, I couldn't! Turned out his with starter needed to be at 830 o'clock on the stick! Yet for most driving 'all the way down' was good enough and he never overheated! Of course it really didn't want to go over 25 either and he was blaming it on Fordor weight! As far as he knew...it worked. Set it right, and gee, it actually runs smoother and faster...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 06:36 pm:

Ron,
Regardless of the spark setting when starting, the chart does kind of answer Jim Patrick's original question, "Under what conditions would the spark lever be pushed up?". The lower right illustration shows the the spark lever nearly all the way up when pulling hard at a lower speed. I suppose that same general idea would apply for all years of T's.

Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson-Nicholasville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 06:51 pm:

Jim
George made a good point about "sweet spot". That spark lever quadrant location is all over the map depending upon where the initial timing has been set and the slop in the spark pull rod linkage.
I agree with you the same general rules apply to all Model T's except starting early T's on the magneto.
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson-Nicholasville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 06:57 pm:

Once again. I would like someone to post a copy of the spark lever setting for early Model T's. I do not have one.
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 07:03 pm:

I have 5 Model T's and the sweet spot on every one of them is different. I have always assumed the difference was due to the way the spark linkage was bent but it seems that the early cars run best with the spark lever betwen 8 and 9 o'clock while the later cars run best at 6 and 7 o'clock. Perhaps it is a combination of low head vs high head and the different cams on the early and late cars. In any event, I agree that it is more a matter of the intiial timing than anything else and since I crank all my cars I want them as retarded as possible to start!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 07:59 pm:

I've seen that chart plenty of times and have even posted it for newbies who have never driven a Model T, so it it sort of ironic that I am unable to use the settings on a chart that I have posted so many times, to illustrate the correct way to set the levers. In a way, that chart is why I posed the question in the first place.

I should say that my spark lever inkage rod, connecting the lever to the commutator is the original rod linkage that was on the car when I originally bought it in 1970 and I have never bent it or tried to adjust it whatsoever. I have always assumed that it was set correctly because the car would start without backfire with the spark fully retarded and would run perfect, with the spark all the way down.

I have set the timing plenty of times on my 1974 Camaro Chevy 350 short block engine using a timing light and the markings on the pulley, but I was never aware that there was a method by which you could set the timing on a Model T as there are no markings on the pulley for a timing light like on classic 60's and 70's engines.

Ron, please describe step by step, how to set the Model T timing to 15 degrees after TDC as Ford recommended. Maybe if I did that, my spark lever could be better utilized to operate the engine more efficiently as specified in the chart. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John F. Regan on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 08:16 pm:

The timing mark on a T is the crank shaft pulley pin. That pin hole in the crankshaft is the reference point used when the throws on the crankshaft were ground at the factory. Every time that pulley pin is exactly horizontal (3 o'clock - 9 o'clock position) one of the 4 pistons is exactly at top dead center (TDC) - not approximately at TDC - exactly at TDC. Hence you can easily use that pin to get your timing dead on. When that pin is half way between 3 and 4 o'clock position you are at 15 degees after TDC since there are 30 degrees between 3 and 4 o'clock position. The way I do it is to pull the lever all the way up and with plugs out but connected to their plug wires and laying on the motor I then turn the switch to BAT and pull the hand crank super slow and stop instantly when I hear any coil buzz. I then simply look at the pin. So long as the pin is just past horizontal I am safe. If all the way to 4 o'clock or beyond then I am too retarded. Shorten the rod to advance the timing and repeat. It doesn't matter which cylinder you use since the pin will be horizontal every 180 degrees of rotation and a piston will be up at TDC every 180 degrees.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 08:55 pm:

Here is another way to time the spark using a piston position gauge:
http://www.andersontimer.com/Piston%20Postion%20Determination%20for%20timing.htm

Of course ford recommended using the 2 1/2" timer timing gauge.

In any case it is a good idea to check the timing for all cylinders independently because all may not fire at exactly the same position due to a misaligned timing cover, worn cam bearings or differences in the timer itself. This is especially important the closer the timing is set to TDC and if hand cranking.

Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William L. Vanderburg on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 08:59 pm:

Ron,

I have a copy of the 1915 addition of the Victor Page book and the chart shown above is exactly the same.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 09:15 pm:

Where I live, there are hills all over the place, and very little level ground. I also have 3 model T's and find the "sweet spot" to be different in each car. I use magneto on all three. When I advance the spark, I find what I call "nodes" That is I will move the spark lever a few notches and no change, then the next notch it will speed up. There are about 4 nodes on my spark lever one is all the way retarded and the other is all the way advanced the other two are in between. I usually use the 3rd node which is about the 8:00 position. When I am going very fast 40 MPH or above, I advance all the way. When I drive about 30-35, which is most of the time I use the 8:00 position. If The engine slows down such as pulling a hill, sometimes it will speed up a bit if I go into the second node, about 10:00 position. I can definately feel it smooth out and start pulling better. If I have to go into Ruckstell I go back to the 3rd node. Anyway to make things short I use the first node for starting, the second for low speeds the 3rd for ordinary cruising, and the 4th for high speed. The best spark advance is directly connected with the speed of the engine, not the speed of the car. So in low or Ruckstell the engine turns faster and the spark is more advanced.

If you are using only battery, or a distributor, you will need to experiment for yourself to find the best spot.

I hope this helps.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dare on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 09:21 pm:

I'm going to give my wife a copy of that diagram, not that she really needs it but to assist her on an up hill climb, first she can stop at the bottom, read this and then proceed......nah only kiddin !
she can tape it to the steering wheel, right next to her cell,camera,bag of what ever women carry in there ( please dont be offended ladies ).

David.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 09:29 pm:

Jim, one would push the spark lever up a bit when the engine starts to bog down on an incline in high gear. Retarding the spark at that point reduces the stress on the crankshaft by shifting the leverage "over the side" rather than allowing the piston to push down into the centerline of the crankshaft. So, retarding results in more torque to go uphill and less stress on a notoriously breakable part.

In practice, my engine seems to have four usable spark lever positions: Fully retarded for starting, moderately retarded for hills, moderately advanced for level neighborhood driving, and not quite fully advanced for high speed cruising. My engine doesn't seem to have any use for fully advanced. Maybe that has something to do with my high-compression head.

Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 09:38 pm:

Norman,
The best spark advance not only includes the speed of the engine but also how hard it is working. That is how a "normal" centrifugal/vacuum distributor advance works and and why your engine works better in your 2nd node when pulling a hill.
Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John F. Regan on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 09:38 pm:

Jim:

It is very easy to check the timing on all 4 cylinders since they fire one after each other every 180 degrees of crankshaft rotation and I agree that you should check all 4 of them since you only have to pull the hand crank forward 3 more times and look at the pin. The main problem I have with the "piston position" devices is that it is rather difficult to determine TDC because as you near TDC and pull through it there is very little piston movement. The pulley pin however is linear in that its movement is easy to see and it moves the same amount as you pull the hand crank. The timing gauges are the least reliable since the timer rod connection point can vary from one timer to another but with the methods using piston position and "pin position" timing is irrelevant with regard to the timer being used. On the 24 and later T's it is difficult to see the timer pin unless you set the timing when the radiator is off and that I do understand.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 09:42 pm:

This has been very helpful and makes a whole lot of sense. Especially Bob's "over the side", point. Since all of my driving is leisurely through quiet neighborhood streets, I will try and get into the habit of keeping the spark at around 3/4 advanced so the piston rods are pushing down just after the peak of the revolution instead pushing down at the the peak of the revolution. Whenever I listen to my engine speeding up after a turn in high, when I'm going too fast for low, it always worries me that the crankshaft is being strained as the slow chug chug of the engine explosions can easily be counted until she gets up to speed, then smooths out. Thank you all. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 12:34 am:

O K here are my notes on the metter. When you are driving using the Magneto the spark position sort of takes care of its self. When you are running on battery the spark position is critical. Let us say you are on battery and coming into a wide left turn in high gear. At that time you would retard the spark lever and accelerate while slowley advancing the spark back to running position. This is what a modern vacuum advance distributor would do for you. When running on the magneto ignition the spark timing sets its self and you do not have to control the spark.

One must remember that the spark advance-retard rod must be bent in order to clear the lower radiator hose. It is because of this factor that no two Model T's have the same lever positions. They make a tool to place on the timer for positioning but there are several tools so you may get the wrong one by chance.


It would be very easy for you to kink the spark rod a little bit and that would allow more advance. I have always said that Henry hid t.d.c. very well because he wanted you to run on his magneto which took care of all of your worries. When you run on battery (12 volts that is) you have to play with your spark lever a lot.


So it is actually seat of the pants that controls it and that means how it accelerates and how it sounds more than a drawing someone made for a new car that he drove long ago.

Try and try again and when it feels good it is . . . .


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson-Nicholasville, Kentucky on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 09:45 am:

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of misinformation that is floating around about the Model T ignition system.
In response to Franks comments above; "when you are driving using the magneto the spark position sort of takes care of itself" and "Henry hid t.d.c. very well because he wanted you to run on magneto which took care of all your worries" is not correct.
Second, (I found it) if you read Page 11 of the 1913 Model T instruction manual Page 11 Model T instruction Manual you will see where Ford recommended advancing the spark lever three or four notched for magneto starting.
Now why you may ask? Here is a link to an article we wrote several years that tries to explain in simplified terms how the Model T ignition system works when the engine is running on both battery and magneto.
As you can see, when running on battery the ignition timing is directly variable based on the spark lever position (Figure 7). On magneto the spark lever selects one of the four ignition timing locations based on current pulses that are supplied by the magneto to the coils (Figure 8).
Here is a link to the article.
Model T Ignition System and Spark Timing
I think if you take thee time to read and understand this explanation you will better understand how the Model T ignition system works.
I hope this helps.
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Patterson-Nicholasville, Kentucky on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 10:00 am:

One key point of this article relating to this discussion; If you study Figure 8 closely you will notice if one is trying to start on magneto and you do not advance the spark lever spark can only occur 26 degrees ATDC making the engine hard to start.
By advancing the spark lever a few notches you can catch the magneto current pulse that occurs 4 degrees ATDC making the engine much easier to start.
Also notice this DOES NOT apply to battery operation as shown in Figure 7.
Ron the Coilman


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Pat Kelly on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 11:37 am:

I have a 25 TT with a period Bosch distributor mechanical advance. I start at full retard which helps and run at 9 O'Clock. It seems to run cooler in a parade if I retard the spark lever and run a little rich. I have a steep hill up to the house and it also helps to retard a little to pull the hill. I haven't figured out how much advance I get out of the distributor. I timed it using the piston position slightly past TDC set at full retard. The motor runs real good and doesn't over heat like it use to. I always learn alot on this forum, thanks to all.

image/bmp
TT Bosch Distributor 006 sm.bmp (57.7 k)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John F. Regan on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 11:49 am:

Pat:

Does your spark lever work backwards since full retard is 9 o'clock position on stock T's? Usually running richer will cool a motor down but retarding its timing has the opposite effect. I am not suggesting you change anything but just wondered how you could retard your timing further if you normally run with the lever at 9 o'clock.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 02:05 pm:

I went on a leisurely drive through the neighborhood streets this morning keeping the spark at 7:00 and it did seem to run better and not labor so much immediately after turning a corner. There are 4 points on the quadrant where there is a distinct difference in performance. 9:00 for starting, 8:00 for climbing, 7:00 for leiurely driving and 6:00 for driving at full speed. I'm sure I will get better at determining the most efficient positions now that I have a better idea of what each position does.

When coming to a full stop, is it best the put the spark at 6:00 for the most power and then backing off to 7:00 after getting under way? Thank you all. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 02:28 pm:

Ron, I didn't want to get too windy and redundant. My remark of the spark lever with battery ignition v/s magneto operation was about the running engine after starting. Not for the position for starting. I have owned eight Model T's and three with working magnetos. I never ever attempted to start on the magneto and always had a wet cell battery for ignition to start the engine because I couldn't spin the crank fast enough to start on magneto. We had a four cylinder 366 cubic inch 1913 Cadillac with a self starter and electric lights for 33 years before we got our second Model T. That Cadillac had a hot-shot battery for starting ignition while the wet cell battery cranked the engine over with a whole lot of voltage drop even with "00" cables and good connections. It was designed to be started that way. The factory owner's manual said to do it with the hot-shot battery for ignition and the storage battery for cranking and so and so I used that same system for my hand cranked Model T's with working magnetos.

I usually ran the lights on magneto at night and the spark on battery because my early 1912, 1913, and 1914 brass Model T car's magnetos didn't put out enough power for good lights and ignition and the same time and I didn't have the money to make them work correctly. Some of our early brass T's had gas lights and those worked off of a Prestolite tank and not a carbide generator.


So I ran the 12 volt sealed beam bright and safe lights wired in series and mounted on a removable light bar running on the magneto and powered the ignition with a 12 volt battery. Lots of our night driving was for 70 or so miles both on higways and freeways when that was the only connection and the battery just would not last long enough for those trips so that is why I did it that way. It worked for me, was safe, and in printed format for me to read in my Cadillac owners manual.


It is difficult to print every little detail and be redundant with each posting and that is why I simply remarked about driving the car and not about starting the car. picky picky picky ;~)

I am not into pain and suffering nor am I into perfection in order to win and authenticity prize. I do what works for me and simply explained a different way to do it, not necessarily the right way. So I am glad that you owned up to learning a new thing about Model T ignition even if it was in a back handed way.

You stated: . . . Ron Patterson:

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of misinformation that is floating around about the Model T ignition system.

In response to Franks comments above; "when you are driving ( you see I said driving and not starting f.h. )using the magneto the spark position sort of takes care of itself" and "Henry hid t.d.c. very well because he wanted you to run on magneto which took care of all your worries" is not correct.

Second, (I found it) if you read Page 11 of the 1913 Model T instruction manual Page 11 Model T instruction Manual you will see where Ford recommended advancing the spark lever three or four notched for magneto starting.

And yes Ron, Henry did hide T.D.C. very well and lots of folk ask how to find it so I did not float about and post misinformation, I simply did not mention retarding the spark to start on magneto because I have never done that because of how I learned when starting my Cadillac with a hot-shot battery ignition back in 1960 and it stuck with me so I posted another way to do it. Perhaps not the correct way but it is an easy way. I do beleive that after you set the spark on a Model T running on magneto, you do not have to adjust the spark lever in the same manner as you do when running it on a battery.

Actions such as coming into a left trun in high gear and retarding the spark slightly and then advancing it as you accelerate when on battery are not necessay when running on magneto. It's just the nature of the breed.

Both of my old one and two cylinder cars ran on buzz coils and had no magnetos. I had to adjust the spark lever on those bettery powered ignition systems more that if they ran on a magneto. The ignition spark lever did far more to control engine speed than did the carburetor adjustment. Please correct me if I am wrong, and thank you in advance for your sage advice.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Page on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 03:12 pm:

Here is a scan from the 1913 Instruction Book. Regards, John




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Page on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 03:20 pm:

Sorry Ron, I should have read your posting more closely. If I had I would have seen that it is all there in the link that you posted. I apologize. Best regards, John


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Ashton Rosenkrans on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 04:21 pm:

I have a Bosch distributor on our '26 Touring which was put on sometime in the '30s. It has a form of centrifugal advance on it which theoreticlly adjusts the advance based on RPM. I find it does a pretty good job except when pulling up a hill when it just feels and sounds "sweeter" retarded about 1/2 way up.

Now, I also have a couple Model A's which run all day at full advance, except for one which has a high compression head on it. It is very sensitive to spark position and I am constantly tweaking it while driving. Also very hard to set a smooth idle on.

They all have their own personality, which makes it all the more fun I think.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Carter - South Jersey on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 08:43 pm:

If there is some slop in the spark lever, it may need to be pulled down a little more than 3 or 4 notches when starting on magneto. If the timing is set correctly (BTDC when the lever is all the way up), you can find where the lever needs to be for magneto starting by pulling down on the lever while it is running and seeing where the engine speeds up the first and second times as the lever is pulled down.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Pat Kelly on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 08:51 pm:

Looking at the spark/gas diagram above I see my TT is different. 9 o'clock on mine is half way down, retard is almost vertical. Retarding the spark a little to run cooler in parades came off the forum and does work. Just putting along at 3 mph in July it's hard to cool. This set up really did help, no boil over at all.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - SE Georgia on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 12:32 pm:

Something I didn't notice in any of the posts is retarding the timing when shifting from LOW to HIGH. While it is not necessary, you do get better accelleration if you retard it a bit then advance it again as the engine speeds up. If you don't already do this, give it a try. As you shift into high and give it some gas, reach over and retard the timing back to "Node 2" and see if it doesn't pick up. You won't be there long before you will need to advance it back to "Node 3", but you should notice the better accelleration in "Node 2" for a few seconds.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 12:48 pm:

On the chart in the lower left hand corner "For starting car on low gear"... I am trying to envision a scenario why one would be starting a car in low gear while underway? Would this be in cases where a car died while in the middle of heavy traffic and was still coasting in low gear and if that was the case, without the power of the engine, wouldn't the low gear band act as a brake and bring the car to an immediate and abrupt stop? Of course this would apply only to cars with starters, otherwise the driver would just have to get out in traffic and re-start her the normal way. Of course in the good ol' days of the Model T, such occurences would have been looked upon by other drivers with understanding and a sympathetic "been there done that" mentality. Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 01:18 pm:

Jim,
Note that the lower left illustration says "starting car" and not "starting engine". That is the setting to get the car moving from a stop and not for starting the engine. Use the upper left drawing for starting the engine.
Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis - SE Georgia on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 01:39 pm:

Yeah, I've been thrown off by that terminology too. Confusing until you figure out what they mean. In more modern texts, "Starting" and "Cranking" are confusing. They mean the same thing to most folks, but I've seen troubleshooting charts in some manuals that say something like "Cranks but will not start." Sounds funny until you realize they mean the engine will turn over with the starter but won't actually fire up and run.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 03:01 pm:

Thanks for the translation, Jim. Would a better way of putting it have been: "For push starting car on low"? Jim Patrick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Thode - Onalaska, WA, USA on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 03:55 pm:

Jim,
A better way of wording it on the chart may have been, "For starting off in low gear, Advance the spark five notches and open the gas lever four or five notches". They are not talking about pushing the car to start the engine, they are taking about getting the car moving from a dead stop after the engine is running. I guess if you were to push the car to start the engine that the upper left image would be the one to use. Really don't make much difference if it is started with a hand crank, electric starter or pushing the car, the setting would be the same.
Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Darin Hull on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 10:20 am:

When Ts were sold new, was there instruction or classes provided on how to drive the T? Seems like there is enough debate now... with folks that have experience with Ts and driving. I'm curious what would have been communicated about driving back in the day when cars weren't prevalent and folks didn't have experience driving.

Darin


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 10:35 am:

Darin, here's a story on how one seventeen year old learned to drive a T in 1924: http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8:how-i-learn ed-to-drive-a-model-t-ford&catid=5:history-and-lore&Itemid=1
No mentioning of the spark lever, but that's a detail he may have forgotten when writing the amusing story down many years later.

(Sure there were instructions and classes - and differing opinions back then, too :-) )


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