I put this car together from scratch and now having problems problems starting. Its a 21 and its had the carb. Rebuilt. Good coils (i think) and good compression. All I can get is an occasional sputter. I have had it going before but it takes so long on cranking the starter. I would love to get it a little easier to start so I can do something with it this summer. It is completely stock with a new timer. Any ideas where I can start over or does anybody want to come on over and give it a crank......
Just a wild guess if you are getting an occasional sputter I would say it is a gas problem. Are you sure that air fuel is being sucked into the cylinders? A test would be to prime the cylinders with just a little gas and if it runs for just a little bit you would have a good indication that gas is not getting to the cylinders.
You need four things for it to run. Compression. Spark at the correct time. And air and fuel at about the correct mixture. Sometimes is helps to check each requirement to make sure it is there. Tell us what you are doing to test that to have what it takes to run.
Are you choking it? If so how much? A T is easy to flood but is is also easy to clear a flooded engine. Just gently close the mixture control and crank till it tries to start then reset the mixture to about 1 1/4 out and start.
If it's timed right, you have fuel and spark at the plugs you could try opening the spray needle more. What is your compression? Are you priming it before you you turn the key on by pulling the choke rod and cranking it over a couple of times. Are you trying to start on battery or magneto?
I'm not sure how much compression but I can check. I do know its a lot more than my neighbors and got his running. I was told to crank it over a few turns with choke on and then when I release it gas pours out the back of the carb.
I question whether the ignition system is working correctly. Have the coils been tested by a shop that is qualified? Have you checked the timing and quality of the spark by removing them and cranking slowly with the plugs connected to the wires but laying on the head?
I strongly suggest you find an experienced Model T "mentor" in your local area to help until you gain experience with "Lizzy" until she is debugged and you gain more experience with her quirks.
Hang in there, Jim. A T in the right shape is an easy-starting car. It should start right up without even using the starter, with just a pull of the crank. Just check one thing at a time as these guys suggest, until you eliminate whatever problem there is. If the suggestions so far don't do it, come back for more ideas.
I have not got the coils checked yet but I did get nice spark to the plugs with them laying on the head. I think the timing is very close. I pulled TDC and used the measuring device for the timing rod.
When I put my '19 together from scratch I had a time getting the engine to run. I thought that just because I had spark at the plugs it should run like a rabbit. Well that is not the case. If you can check the coils and they have at least 1.3 amps they are good, but if not 1.3 have someone help you get that amperage. Once mine had the above it would start on a 1/4 turn on the crank(no Starter) and runs like a scared rabbit.
When we were trying to get it running we must have pulled it 1`5 miles. After the coils were good I could get the "FREE START".
CHECK THE COILS, to start the eliminate one item at time, oh and be sure the timing is after TDC, that or you may be on the broken WRIST gang.
Good luck and keep everyone posted on your progress.
Bill D MTFCA #14079
Hang in there Jim, usually when I am working on my stuff. Right when I am about to give up in disgust, is when I fix it :-)your closer than you think.
You said, "I was told to crank it over a few turns with choke on and then when I release it gas pours out the back of the carb."
That surely sounds like you have flooded it. Normally it should be choked only about 2 compression strokes. That is if you were hand cranking that would be two 1/2 turns with the choke pulled out. Try choking less and if you think it is flooded, do as I said above to clear the flood.
This is my experience.
My T is easy to start but the first time after a long storage was not easy.
I jack up a rear wheel and put the hand brake half way forward to make it easy.
A few cranks with the choke pulled out, the throttle half way open, and the ignition off.
When I pull the crank with the choke closed I get a bit of gas spraying out of the carb near the choke.
Then I make sure the timing is retarded (lever up)and turn to the battery. The coils usually buzz. (I use a standard automotive 12 volt battery and no starter.)If they don't buzz I move the spark lever slightly to see what happens. It usually gives me a free start.
In the case of the first start it took a bit longer because I had to figure out where to set the needle valve. I started with two turns open but soon learned that it only needed to be about 1/2 turn in my vehicle - most likely because the needle is worn.
Since gas pours out after you choke it I wonder if the float is set too high or if it is stuck of maybe the needle is open too much.
In any case jacking up a rear wheel makes it easier to turn over.
Never EVER give up. Usually success is just down the road.
As Steve said, T's can and should be very easy to start. But you must find the magic combination of spark, gas, prime, needle setting, and priming.
It also helps to hold your tongue the right way ;o)
You should not ever have to jack up a rear wheel. That points to either oil grade too thick for ambient temperatures or a maladjusted clutch, or both.
Great advice from all
Again start with the basics
compression check if low compression usually a ring job and valves will correct sufficient
check TDC retard spark at number 1 set correctly
Then I spray a small amount of starter fluid in each spark plug hole
If it starts, then it is the carb most likely
Again, It should start easily in 1/2 turn
Look at youtube videos on starting a Model T
Here's one. This is what you're aiming for: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCWnmPrxKo0&list=TLhR6D940x5Z0.
If the oil is correct, then starting a car with out a parking brake should not be a problem, as it should not move, I use 30 weight oil in the summer (and winter for that matter) but when it is cold in the morning, it wants to move forward if the brake is not set. You are saying that my clutch is maladjusted, but the clutch lever needs to be 3/4 of the wat to the firewall before it engages. My thought was that when cold, there would be a small bit of drag through the clutch discs due to the viscosity of the oil and have used the lever froward when it is cold to overcome this drag in the winter. The lever forward system of pre starting works very well, which leads me to think that my clutch is adjusted pretty well, but from what I understand you to say is that jacking up a wheel for a cold start is just an indication of a maladjusted car. Now bear in mind that the car in question in this thread is assembled from parts, has not been run, don't you think getting it started might be a good thing, and then adjusting the clutch later if that ends up being a problem would be a reasonable way to go? Jacking up the rear wheel as Jim suggested just narrows down the possible problems to check in starting the engine.
Every T seems to behave differently. My roadster pickup just requires a very quick pull on the choke on the NH carb after I engage the starter and it always starts instantly. The choke isn't pulled out for even a half second ... probably just a fraction of a revolution of the crankshaft. My racer is quite different and needs a longer choke duration but its a Tillotson XF carb. You may be over doing it if you have gasoline pouring out.
Gas coming out the back of the car tells me you might be over choking it, possibly with the mixture adjusted too rich as well. Try adjusting the mixture screw out a turn and a quarter as mentioned above, use full choke for only one turn of the engine and then pump the choke rod only slightly while cranking. Too much choke will guarantee a no start. If that doesn't work, try opening the mixture just a hair more.
30 weight oil is probably fine if the ambient temperature is 80 degrees. If for example you live somewhere that the morning temperatures are less than that you will find that the crank is hard to turn. Your engine is not getting a good supply of oil when it is cold because the oil is too thick.
A couple weeks ago I adjusted the clutch on a '27 roadster belonging to a club member in the Austin, TX area. Our typical morning temperature is about 80 degrees in the morning, with 102 in the afternoon. He is using 30 weight ND oil, really crappy oil in my opinion. At 100 degrees F it had to be jacked up to start the car using the starter! A full turn on the link connecting the low pedal to the clutch arm plus a couple turns on the bolt that rides on the brake equalizer cam fixed the problem.
Try some 5W-30 and the engine will crank easily down to perhaps 30 degrees F.
Straight weight oil is also typically non detergent, another bad idea and another reason not to use it.
Actually, most SAE 30 oil sold today is detergent regardless of where you buy it. It's commonly used for small 4 cycle engines, such as lawnmowers, although 10W30 can be used.
In my experience, non-detergent SAE 30 is getting harder to find and is only available at auto parts stores.
Straight weight non-detergent oil is good for oiling bearings such as in electric motors. Detergent oil is usually and specifically not recommended for oiling bearings.
LOL OK Royce - whatever you say!
But I'm with Gustaf on this one.
I use 10-30 oil and the clutch is adjusted correctly with minimum drag. In fact the vehicle doesn't creep when the running with the brake handle part way forward.
I jack a wheel when it is cold because it makes the car easier to start with the crank.
I figure that having the smallest amount of resistance in the drive train makes it easier on this "OLD GUY"
I don't jack a wheel once it is warm.
When some is having a hard time starting their vehicle for the first time every little bit helps - especially when using the crank.
Seeing spark plugs spark while they are laying on the head proves out neither the spark plug nor the coil. Without high pressure (typically cylinder compression) surrounding the spark gap, most any plug or coil will spark but neither might actually work at all when the plug is in a cylinder and there is decent compression. To test the coil you need to very carefully setup a 1/4" gap between the coil spark connection and engine ground. If the coil will reliably jump that gap in free air then it will operate under compression and you have at least shown the coil is capable of working though smoother running once the engine starts may still point to wrongly adjusted coil(s).
With choke i can flood my car but if i wind the mixture screw out 3 turns it starts easily.
Thanks a bunch for the advice. Looks like I have my work cut out for me when I get home tonight. I will keep you posted on progress. One more thing I cut down some high energy plug wires off of an HEI dist. that I had laying around( they are new)...Thanks again
Can someone tell me if there is anybody in my general area of Harrisburg ore that can check coils?
Where is Harrisburg Oregon? There is a very active group around Portland. Someone there should be able to come over and visit you, or possibly know someone closer to where you are located who could help you.
This is what I did this morning. The car I started today was run Saturday. I opened the spay needle 1/4 turn Then with the key off I pulled up twice on the crank with the choke out. Then I turned the crank one complete revolution with the choke off. Then I turned on the key and got a free start. I am not always that lucky, but it would have started with one up pull on the crank.
Each engine and each carburetor is different. I have one with a Kingston L4 which only takes one up pull on the crank to start. The one I started this morning has a Holly. I think you might be choking it too much. Sometimes if a T hasn't been run for a while, you will need to pull it with a rope. Attach where the spring shackle connects to the axle. Pull in high gear until it starts. Once it has been run, it will start easier with the crank or starter.
Good luck. Don't give up. It WILL start.
Jim - I didn't notice anywhere in this thread whereby anyone mentioned the possibility of old and stale gasoline. If your gasoline is more than a couple months old, you might try fresh gasoline. I was not a believer in the "stale gasoline" thing until having had hard starting two years in a row because of old gasoline, even tho' I'd used "Stabil". Just a thought,....harold
should have good gas its only a few weeks old and Im running CLEAR gas.
Could not do a compression test yet Need to do some conversion on an old spark plug. Have class for the next two days but I did set up an appt. To have my coils checked at Rods n Relics in Silverton.I will let you know how that works out...
I'm with Royce on the 5W-30 oil.
Up here in Wisconsin using the lighter oil practically eliminated creep altogether even at 40º.
I like to keep the oil level "up there" as I want as much oil splashing around as possible.
My '19 Touring starts exactly the same way whether it's 40º or 90º....... ......as do the other cars.
Harrisburg is north on Eugene on I-5 anyone near there?