Alex and I were out in his T last night driving from Redlands to Yucaippa for a cruse night and it was performing poorly. Had to take an 8% grade in low. Here's the rub: the T smells as if it's running rich and yet performs as if it's running lean. While climbing the grade, the exhaust pipe was deep red from the manifold flange for about 12 inches and we were doing everything we could to maintain 8.6 MPH. (according to our GPS) I am suspecting late timing or a slight vacuum leak at one of the intake ports or a combination of both, or a bad tank of gas. Alex drained the sediment bowl and cleaned the screen today but there wasn't any noticeable change in driveability. It's also seams to be consuming a lot of fuel. Any ideas where to start looking?
Sounds like timing or lean mixture. A few more details would help.
Original Coils and Mag or distributor?
What do the plugs look like?
History of the engine?
Barn find that just got running?
15 Touring, NH carb, factory coils and magneto, fresh engine & trans, stock Ford rear, Motorcraft 3098 plugs, I think the engine is a '22. Car has been in the family for years. I weigh in at 225# and Alex is about 180# and the engine is painted ight green and there were still some franks n beans in the manifold cooker.
Other then tweaking the mixture and timing when running when running probably a better fool proof check to see if it is running rich or lean is to pull the plugs and "read" them.
The manifold was showing color when viewed in the dark may be normal but just does not show up under normal daylight conditions.
Here one site that shows how to read a plug.
It should be done as soon as possible after the running condition in question and not be driven or idled as that could change the reading.
The only way I can get the manifold to glow red is to retard the timing and rev up the engine. Maybe the timing is off? Was the spark lever all the way down when you saw this? 8.6MPH is very slow.
It was dark and Alex was driving. I learned not to ask him how he has it set when he's at the wheel. The manifold it self wasn't glowing that I recall, just the pipe from the flange back for about 12". I was tempted to adjust the mixture a tad but since it was dark and we were making some progress I didn't want to chance having the engine die on a steep grade where it's 50 mph speed limit.
A couple of things. Have you climbed this grade before, and how did it run before when you climbed the same grade? Did it run rough like it wasn't running on all cylinders? If you have an ignition problem with one or more cylinders, or if the valves on one or more cylinders leak, especially the exhaust valve, you will still be drawing gas into that cylinder but it will go unburned into the exhaust to be burned later by the hot gasses coming from other cylinders. That could be why it performed as if lean, but smelled as if rich.
Where I'd start would be the ignition, to be sure it is working on all cylinders and timed correctly, then if you don't find an ignition problem, check the compression to be sure it is about 50 lbs on all cylinders. Also check the fuel mixture.
Make sure your choke is full open/not blocked and un screw the carb needle and make sure the end isn't broken off.
Could be the exhaust valves aren't opening & closing as they should.
Recessed valve seats & valve stem tip wear will male the valves open late & close early giving poor "performance" and the glow you mentioned.
Could be the exhaust valves aren't opening & closing as they should.
Recessed valve seats & valve stem tip wear will make the valves open late & close early giving poor "performance" and the glow you mentioned.
Paul, what kind of timer are you using? I have an old original Anderson on my '25 coupe and ran into a problem similar to yours last year. The pin that the flapper pivots on is riveted (or piened over)on each end . One end wore down enough that it slipped out partly, letting the flapper set on the bracket crooked. This threw the timing WAY off. It just started running bad all at once, took a while to figure it out. Just a thought. Dave
Ok, so we need to clean the plugs, do a compression test, check valve lash, check the timer, check timing, am I missing anything? Thanks everyone for all the insight. Glad you are all out there. I still suspect some bad fuel too. I got gas in my 2000 Expedition at the same place as the last tank load for the T and the Expedition seems to be not very happy. Believe it or not, it's Exxon gas.
Gas brands mean nothing. Any brand can be supplied by any supplier.
Paul lives near the Exxon refinery in Torrance, California.
I would suspect driving technique first - spark lever position, mixture control position. If you are a member of one of the local T clubs then let someone with a good running T drive your car to see if there is really anything wrong with it.
I notice you said "factory coils" - I wonder if they have ever been adjusted properly on a hand cranked coil tester?
Royce, Dave at Chaffin's tested and adjusted the coils, and all cylinders are fireing. When the rebuilt engine was put in, a new stock style timer and new rod was also installed. My son drove the car the weekend before going over similar grades in high gear and without issue . Last Friday I filled the tank for him and then it started having issues later that night. Sunday I took on about ten gallons in my Expedition from the same station and I noticed it had a slight mid speed (45mph) misfire. He and I will spend a day or two going through all the testing advice given here.
You might have a gasoline issue. I have had a problem with water in the gas on a tour we took a few years ago. I filled up at a certain station and it ran fine until I parked for about 2 hours. After starting it again it ran rough and eventually stalled going up a small grade. I drained both the carburetor and the sediment bulb, got it started again and it ran fine. If there is water in the gas it will settle to the bottom, and since the Model T tank is gravity feed it will be the first gas that reaches the carburetor. Apparently, I got all the water out when I drained those two parts, because I had no more trouble. I found out later that others who had gotten their gas at that station had the same problem. When the gas was pumped from the station into the car the water must have been mixed with the gas, but when it was parked the gas rose to the top and the water was at the bottom. We had only driven about 1 or 2 miles after getting the gas before we parked.
When I was a kid (heard that before??) and I drove at night I was concerned if the exhaust manifold DIDN'T get RED hot (at or near full throttle). I didn't have floor boards or an exhaust pipe and now I wonder why my hearing is heading West. It is my opinion that the manifold will run red hot at higher RPM's. It's the nature of the beast. If your timing and mixture is correct, don't worry about it. IMHO
Except I didn't read close enough...I didn't consider that the engine wasn't running very good. There's lots of good things to check in the posts above.
the spark lever was just a bit off the bottom as that is where the engine would run the smoothest.
the next day I cleaned the fuel screen and sediment bulb which helped a bit, but I'm still having issues.
I would like to think the problem is in the carburetor as we have had issues with it in the past, but I don't understand what would have caused it to change so quickly other than possibly bad gas
Let it sit overnight and drain a few ounces of gas from your sediment bulb drain into a glass jar. Look to see if there is water in the bottom. Do the same for the carburetor bowl. Standard preflight inspection and for a J-3 parked outdoors, it's amazing how much water can turn up.
Paul, You need to bring your T over to the Long Beach Model T club's "Model T Garage" The guys there are very knowledgable and more than willing to help you get your car running the way it should. It's close for you and you'll have fun learning too!
Call Bob Schwinck at 562-433-7892 or email him at email@example.com to find out which Saturday is scheduled. His shop is pretty close to where you are and they can give you lots of good help.
I checked out Paul's profile and shows he's in Redlands and Not Torrance. There is a T club closer to him there and would be benificial for him to join.
Good luck and I'm betting on the gas.
Two things against us for taking the T anywhere on a trailer: our trailer was stolen a few years ago, and our Expedition has a VERY bad differential in it. We'll get it figured out when time permits. Thanks all.