Earlier this year, I have discovered a strange occurrence, that seems to happen when my 1926 Model T is fairly hot. One time I got in the car, set the engine for hand-cranking conditions, when as soon as I stepped out onto the running board, the car started! No starter noise, nothing; it just started by itself! Now this was pretty scary considering I was still on the running board, the parking brake doesn't work very well and the car was on a downward slope! Luckily, it didn't roll much and the car stopped. (By stopped I mean stopped rolling, not running.) Now this same scenario has happened only once after, when I turned the key after the car WAS HOT, the car started again by itself, no starter noise.
I would like to know what to prevent this from happening, of course there is that feeling that makes the car seem alive!
Thanks for the help,
Peter, that is called a free start. Usually it happens if you have the throttle and spark set, then turn the key to Battery. Once she gets spark, and she is hot and everything is in the right position off she goes. I've not experienced a delay as you describe but this is pretty normal for a well set up car.
My suggestion, don't get out of the car so quick and wait a second or two to see if you get a free start. Also reline or adjust your hand brake as needed so it works well.
I was going to suggest when getting out of the car the twisting body/frame/etc. might have caused the timer to move a bit. Whatever. The second one was just a plain old free start.
Yes Model T's are Magical Cars!
A friend of mine kicks the front wheel when he wants to start his.
I have had mine start with just a little jiggle of the car when I reached for the crank!
Starting when the spark plugs get energized by battery power was called " starting on the spark" in the old days.
By stepping on the running board you rocked the car just enough for the timer to make contact and spark a plug starting the engine. As Richard says, kicking the wheel can do it. As Mark says, a jiggle will sometimes work. Either learn to love a typical Model T quirk OR leave the key off, get out then reach in to turn the key on before cranking. Remember though that a jiggle or a kick can still do it!
If the handbrake doesn't work very well you should not be hand cranking it unless the wheels are blocked which will also hold it when it starts by itself.
Yeah, the hand brake does need some adjustment... Just another thing to add to the list! It only rolls just when it starts up and just when it shuts down. That's always been something I've wondered about. And that's what I thought it was called... watched a video called "Model T Ford Hot Start"
Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15kHEGcIYG8
Oh, and the video is not mine!
Better safe than sorry... right?
That can even happen when it is cold. I usually prime mine with the ignition off, then turn it to batt and pull up on the crank. Sometimes it gives me a "free start". It is more likely when hot. Also a favorite time for it to happen is when someone asks you to demonstrate crank starting.
Fun cars, aren't they?
Again I don't understand, why in the world would you get in the car to just turn the key on and then get out and hand crank. You can adjust your gas, spark and turn the key on STANDING OUTSIDE. With my old age and arthritis the less times I have to get in out of one of my Ts the better I like it.
The picture above was yard art along the highway between Wenatachee and Leavenworth, Washington. It still had the carb, coil box and steering wheel.
Why would you want to hand crank a '26 anyway? Other than to say you can do it...that's why Henry finally started putting in electric starters, to save aggravation and broken arms. Enjoy the push button!
Hand cranking is half the fun. My starter is just for emergencies.
Unless I am in a hurry I start my 26 with the hand crank.
I usually hand crank my 1923 touring / pickup conversion to stay in practice. I find that at shows or whenever someone sees the car, they want to see it started with the crank, like they did in the old movies!
There was a guy on this forum some years ago that got a free start after the car sat about a week.
I got one on a '15 after it sat all night.
I hand crank the first time I start it in a while, because if I should run down the battery, it won't even buzz the coils enough to start. If the battery is fully charged, I use the starter.
I was making a silent movie, and I wanted to hand crank it for realism. The movie was in a style not unlike the movies made by Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton.
And besides, what's the point of having a Model T if you crank hand crank it? Modern cars, you just turn a key and it goes. A Model T you can electric start or, if your feeling good, hand crank it.
I've experienced a free start up to at least 10 minutes after shutting the motor down.
I was wondering the same thing. He must not have a dead battery because he would not get a free start.
By golly, I hand crank mine to save the battery! A few pulls of the crank to prime, sometimes when I turn the key on it fires if not maybe a 1/4 pull brings her to life. Besides, it's fun. I use to hand crank my Morris Minor just for fun when there was a crowd around.
16 days,No prime,no nothing just turn the switch on! Wheezes and farts do not count and the car must stay running! Bud.
When starting my TT after it has not been run for a while I have a routine. I open the gas shut-off, check the water oil and gas, make sure the Muncie is in neutral, check the spark and gas levers and set them, then with the key off I pull the choke and give it two full turns on the hand crank. Then I turn the key to battery and about 40% of the time I get a free start (that is if priming it first counts as a free start).
If you have a hot magneto you can turn the key to "mag" instead of "bat", then there'll be no risk for unwanted free starts when you want to show off with the crank
If the ignition is timed like Ford said, 15 degrees after TDC, then you'll get easiest starting on mag with the ignition lever a few notches down.
Just wanted to wish everyone on the forums, a Merry Christmas Eve!!!
I had one set over the winter and in the spring hit the key and the surprise was on me with a free one. One that is tuned well will give you many of them.