Oh well, NEVER quit and give up. I still can not get this 1926 engine to start. History, brought it up over a year ago non running from Florida had not been run in decades.
Engine had no spark. Replaced coils with Ron Patterson coils, cleaned terminals got good spark
Replaced carb with “a new” NH from MAC’s still no start. Discovered very low compression
Good news, after valve and ring job compression is up over 50 PSI on all cylinders hope this is “good”
Now to trace down an electrical ignition problem. I have all new wiring but before I replace it all would like to hear the engine at least start once.
It has a new 6 volt battery new battery carrier, new ground strap and appears to be the old thick gauge cables to the starter.
The starter is intermittent on the 6 volt system, many times will not turn over the car. It seems to be a very high amperage draw on the starter, as though there is too much drag during the starting process. . If I connect a 12 volt jumper from my 2009 car direct to the starter it turns over with a heavy amp draw heating up the positive cable quickly.
Of interest with the key on battery, and a coil buzzing, when I hit the foot starter switch, the coil buzz immediately dies.
Any thoughts on what to do next/? I have the rear tires off the ground so the high amp draw is not the engine turning the rear wheels
The spark plugs using the battery ignition switch and hand crank do fire 1 2 4 3 in order. I did set the spark advance to fire just after TDC by placing a stiff wire down number one piston hole to measure where TDC was during the compression cycle on number one
THANK YOU for all the great advice over the past year on this project
Tow it! Sounds like your losing your ground? Tow it! Bud.
Use the hand crank!
I like Mark's suggestion, but aside from that, maybe try a new starter? You say it's intermittent, and has a high amp draw, so sounds like it's sucking all the juice from the coils so then there's no spark to the pistons. Just a thought,trust me, I'm no expert here.
David, is the starter switch/button a replacement or original?? I have had and others I know have had problems with the new replacement switches and most have gone back to original equipment when they can find a good one.
Does anyone know what causes the coils to stop buzzing when the starter button is pushed as David described? I have had the same problem in the past. Usually turning the engine over by hand or jostling the battery cables helps but I've never been able to figure out why.
To be clear, the key is turned on, the coils buzz and as soon as the starter button is depressed, the buzzing stops and the starter doesn't turn.
Starter switch maybe is shorting out.
Ground Ground Ground !!!!! One of the most common electrical issues we see with restored cars is bad grounds. If you have painted the frame and bolt the ground cable to the frame, the only contact you have is thru the bolt and the very edges of the threads and the edge of the bolt hole. This is not enough for solid contact under load.
I would suggest you scrape the paint from the frame where the ground cable lug comes in contact. A simple ground test is to turn your headlights on then try and start the motor. If the lights go out and the starter won't turn over you most likely have a bad ground.
I second what the brassguy says. A beautiful paint job makes for a very crappy ground. The three places where the engine mounts to the frame has to be free of paint also. Same goes for weak headlights.
I agree with Mark, use the hand crank. There appears to be a problem with your starter and/or starter power supply. Just deal with one problem at a time and hand cranking will likely eliminate the voltage drop that may be stopping the coils from firing.
If you need to, find some strong armed helper and teach them how to crank with only the left hand and only on the pull stroke.
Here is a video with the safe and proper cranking method:
In the end if you have air and fuel at about the correct mixture, spark a the correct time and compression, the engine WILL run. Leave any one of the four things out and it will NOT run.
I always start my cars with the hand crank for the first starts. It does away with the starter/voltage issue. One way to test for top dead center is to do as you did with the wire or a long straw. When you find TDC look at the pin for the front pulley it will either be horizontal or verticle. It depends on the manufacture of the crank. They are always one or the other position. Then move the crank a little past TDC (about 17.5 degrees. Thats where the coil should buzz at. With the timer rod removed from the timer, you can turn the timer back and forth by hand to verify the contact point. With the timer turned till the coils just started buzzing turn off the key. Then with out moving the timer bend the rod till it fits into the timer rod hole on the timer, and with the timer rod handle pushed all the way up. Then you are ready to try and start the car. First make sure the needle on the carb has been bottomed out all the way in. Do not force it just make sure it is all the way closed. Then back it out 1 turn. That is a good start point. Then set the throttle and timer control handles about 3/4 to 1 inch down. With the key off, hand crank and choke the carb 3 hard pulls of the crank handle. Then turn the key on to battery. (with luck you may get a free start) (but probably not) Then using a good cranking technique pull up hard on the crank. Keeping the thumb in a safe position. Do not wrap the thumb around the handle. While developing a new starting technique be aware of kickback being possible. Useally in about 3 or 4 cranks the engine should at least hit. If the car is off the ground and is safe and secure. put it in high gear (emergancy brake handle all the way forward). It will help on the first starts. Remember that you are wanting to just pull up hard on the crank handle, you do not want to spin it. You may need to move the spark rod or throttle a little or maybe open the needle another 1/2 turn a little at a time. You are trying to find the "sweet spot" Good luck and keep us posted ....
Brass car guy has a good point. I'll add that if you have one of those braided ground cables ditch it. I had one that looked great then realised (when I smelled something cooking) that the cable was too hot to touch. Replaced it and all was good. Just a thought but it's a good cheap place to start.
David, check the terminals and screws on the terminal block on the firewall. I lost fire(engine died) a couple of times when I turned on the lights or honked the horn. The screws had loosened a bit over time. Just a thought. Let us know what you find out what the problem is. Dave
Just to clarify, a coil only buzzes when the timer is in a position to make it do so. It is also not necessary for a coil to be buzzing before you try to start the car. If the timer is in a position for the coil to buzz and you try the starter but it won't turn the engine over, it could have turned it far enough that one coil quit buzzing but it didn't turn it far enough for the next coil to start buzzing.
I apologize if you already knew this, but I have seen guys at car shows who truly believed they had to get a coil buzzing before they could start their car.
I got so use to my T buzzing when I turned the key on that I had a major brain fart once when I turned the key and there was nothing! One of those Duh moments. Good point David about the wires, I've had that happen.
Have you been able to start with the crank or by pulling or coasting down a hill? If not, you have a problem with either fuel or spark. If the spark plugs are wet with gasoline after you try to start it, you can probably rule out fuel as the problem, and concentrate on spark. With the key on and all plugs out laying on the head with the wires attached, try turning the hand crank. Does each plug make a spark as you turn over at least two turns with the crank? If so, next thing would be to check the timing. With the spark lever all the way up, using a thumb in the number 1 spark plug hole, turn the crank until you feel compression pressure. The spark should come just after your piston reaches the top and starts down. If the spark comes at any other time your timing is off. You need to adjust the length of the rod connecting the spark lever to the timer to make the spark come at that time. Note, a way to verify this would to be to check the pin which goes through the front pulley on the crankshaft. The pin should be almost straight across with the side toward the right as you face the front of the car, just slightly lower than the left. about a 9:05 clock position. If one or more plugs does not fire within two revolutions of the crank, you have a problem in either the timer, the coil box or the wiring.
If it still won't start, try about 1 teaspoon of gas into each cylinder and replace the spark plugs into their holes with wires attached. It should start up and run for at least a few seconds. If it stops soon after it first starts, you have a fuel supply problem.
If you still cannot get it to start, look for someone in your area who can help you.
Try this. With a 6V battery and heavy jumper cables, (or 2 sets of cables), try energizing the starter by attaching the neg. cable to ground and the pos. cable directly to the starter terminal. If it turns the engine over any better, you've got a wiring or starter switch problem. If it's still sluggish or intermittent, you've got a starter problem.
You're not trying to start the car here, just testing the starter's ability to crank the engine and bypassing the car's electrical system.
I have been thinking more about your problem. It could be that the engine is too tight after you replaced the rings and needs to be pulled for the first start. Sometimes a tight engine is just too much for a T starter especially if the starter is old. Try pulling it to start and running for about 10 minutes and then let it cool off. It should start with the starter after that.
Excellent point Norman.
Was this also an issue before installing new rings & valves David?
Jerry and Norm thanks Yes I believe the engine is tight. I do have 50 PSI when turning the engine over with a 12 volt battery connected directly to the Model T 6 volt starter. The starter works fine. What I BELIEVE the problem is is hopefully a bad ground as previously mentioned. Tonight I am starting back at the new battery and working forward The reason i believe this is I have a battery charged up in the car, I just tried to use the starter button to no result. Then, when i turned the key to battery and hand cranked it slowly not a peep from the coils. So tonight, hopefully I will find a simple solution before I rewire the whole car
Have you checked out the coil box? Just because you hear a buzz doesn't mean every thing is OK. If you've gone through most everything else you might as well remove the coil box and go through it also. Its probably something pretty simple after its all said and done.
Check that new 6 volt battery with a load tester. Some new batteries are crap and fail almost imediatelty.