There we were. 10th car in the big annual Memorial Day Parade with WW 2 Vets aboard and lots of folks admiring the Model T. The parade starts and = the starter just "rapidly spins" without engaging the flywheel. Had to have volunteers push start it!.
This is a great reliable car. Proper size cables. Good ground. As I said, starter spins but now only engages flywheel on the first start of the day. After that is just spins. Before i remove the starter (which I hate those little Bendix cover screws) any trouble shooting hints?
This post was very informative
Why would you have to push start your car? Does it not have the good old original most always reliable hand crank?
The bendix is not making contact with the flywheel, or there is a spot on the flywheel gear with no teeth and it happened to stop at that place. Most likely cause is a broken bendix spring or one of the bolts at either end of the spring has broken or fallen out. If the bolt is out, you need to find out what happened to it. If it fell into the crankcase, you need to retrieve it or the big bang could occur.
It is unusual that the starter would work on the first start of the day and not later in the day. Have you tried it on another day since that happened? I have not heard of one where it would work the first start of a day and not thereafter. Usually whenever it stops working it doesn't work at all whether the first time or later in the day. Are you sure this is the case, or did it just happen that particular day it worked and later didn't? Anyway, I don't see any way to find the problem without removing the bendix cover.
Bendix key sheared... troop
Probably no need to pull the starter, but if you do, be sure to remove the complete bendix drive, first.
Jim unfortunately this car was converted to points and distributor. I just can not get it to start using the hand crank. It is my belief that the original coil system gives a much hotter longer duration spark than the very short burst of spark from a distributor.
Most likley the bolt on the bendix gear broke off or came loose.You should be able to hand crank no problem with point dist. if it is set up correctly.Phil
Remember that a Model T or A engine tends to stop in one of two places. Not every time, but more often than not. Consequently, only the teeth in these two sections get used, over and over, while the others on the ring gear get a free ride. To test whether the flywheel teeth are missing or damaged the next time this happens to you, hand crank the engine 1/4 revolution with the ignition key off. Then try the starter. This moves the ring gear to an area where the teeth rarely get hit by the Bendix drive. If hand cranking the engine until good teeth are reached and the starter works again, the repair ain't fun. Either live with this condition or pull the engine and replace the ring gear. OUCH!!!
Check the bendix. Broken spring likely.
First thing to try when this happens is to turn the motor with the hand crank a little bit and try it. If you can turn the motor some and the starter work the flywheel gear is bad. Like Marshall says the engine will stop in one of 2 places most times in the same place and the bendix gear striking the flywheel gear over and over will remove the teeth on the flywheel gear eventually. If turning the motor does not get the engine to turn with the starter the bendix is gummy and the starter will have to be removed and the bendix replaced or cleaned to remove any grease. At least you can either fix the starter or just rotate the engine to get started till you feel like removing the engine and replacing the starter ring.
Solution found. Well I found the problem a split, partially disconnected starter drive on the Bendix. As you can see from the pictures, it is nearly separated. The car would engage the flywheel with the electric starter on the first start of the day (congealed oil holding it together?) but then the starter just spun with no flywheel engagement.
The purpose of that loose piece is the offset weight on one side. This tends to hold the gear part stationary resulting in it going down the spiral track to the ring gear. Without it the gear will turn with the starter and not engage.
Yup. I just repaired a local 1926 Model T Coupe two months ago that had the same identical problem. Advice gathered on this website walked me through the repair so that the purchase of an entirely new and complete Bendix wasn't necessary. 'Hadn't thought this was your problem because you said it was intermittent. I'm surprised yours even worked occasionally. The one I repaired just spun and spun. Problem fixed now for both of us, though.
Now you just have to weld it back together.
Not trying to start anything, but out of curiosity, 6v or 12v?
If you do not replace that large 6 Volt wire with some smaller 12 Volt wire, the starter slams in very hard and often causes damage. The smaller wire size does help.
Yes the prior owner did convert it to 12 volt. It does have the large metal "spring" in line between the positive lead from the starter switch to the starter motor terminal.