I have been trying to help a local gentleman with starting his 1917 touring with no luck. The car ran back at Christmas for about half a hour and not since. Unfortunately, the owner has cancer and not strong enough to start it. The car had a Texas T distributor put on it in December before it ran last. I am used to stock T coil ignition systems, so I need to ask if there is a any difference in starting procedure if you have a distributor?
The car has a starter installed, but does nothing but spin when I depress the starter button. The old girl is getting fuel. The lights turn on and the battery is charged.
Your thoughts are appreciated.
Assuming the initial timing is set correctly (slightly retarded with lever full up), there is no difference between starting a car with original coils vs. a distributor. A little throttle, pull the choke, spin the starter and vroom. If it is slow to start, go lightly with the choke. As with any ignition system, I'd pull the #1 plug (and other plug wires) and slowly crank the motor checking for the piston position when #1 fires.
Some cars like the mixture enriched slightly, 1/4 to 1/2 turn, when starting from dead cold.
Just to be sure that the timing gear isn't stripped, take the dist. cap off and turn the engine over to be sure the dist. is turning. If so, then check for spark like Walt said above.
Check for fire through the points. Both of my speedsters have distributors. When they sit for a while, I sometimes have to run an emery board between the points. Check/clean all connections.
Have I missed something ? "The car has a starter installed, but does nothing but spin when I depress the starter button" IS THE engine itself turning over ? If not bad bendix ? Am I reading this wrong ?
Do what Mike Black suggests. Points may look clean and bright but could still have a thin, insulating oxide coating. I've had it happen more than once.
David Kriegel: That's easy something in your bendix failed. My guess would be one of the bolts in the bendix has BACKED OUT!
And NO your motor is NOT turning over.
Mike, I have a 1916,no starter. But every spring I empty the fuel tank and put in fresh gas. I have noticed that within a month the ethanol fuel breaks down. Some times I can put Sea Foam additive in the fuel and run it in my riding lawn mower. I always put a little Sea Foam in my T tank, if the car has sat a month. Rock the T after you add the Sea Foam to mix.