Should the pedal that I step on for the starter get piping hot?
Ron the Coilman
How do I troubleshoot it? This only happens when I'm trying to start it. I can't get the engine to run consistently so I'm trying to start it many times.
If you continue to use it, then maybe it would get hot, but in the normal use it would not. Try making the fuel mixture a little richer and open the throttle a notch or two more. Then as soon as the engine starts, advance the spark and switch to magneto and it will probably keep running. After it runs for a minute or two it could start getting rough, in that case lean the fuel mixture until it smooths out.
Is it possible that you are not pushing it down hard enough? We do not want an arc in there, but a firm contact to allow the current to flow, then let it all the way up quickly. If it is an "experienced" starter switch, it may be well worn inside at the contact points. Most of these can be carefully taken apart and cleaned up or at least looked at. I have done a few of them, but a new one is money well spent if you get the heavy duty one.
Or to try and conserve the switch, you could add a starter relay. That way only enough current goes through the "experienced" switch to energize the relay. That is the route I took with my T. I didn't want to over burden a switch that was over 85 years old at the time since I've heard that good reproduction switches aren't available.
The reproduction starter switch has a anodized copper finish...... bad news, that's the switch that welded itself closed the handfull of times I had it installed...... had to quickly disconnect the negative ground at the battery to break the circuit.
Best to find a Ford original and clean & brighten the internal contacts for reliable service.
I had the same problem with mine which is a repop, to fix it you need to take the circular contact out that is on the inside of the switch and replace it with a thick copper washer
I would think that a switch that is getting hot would indicate some resistance in the circuitry. I'd check everything from one end to the other for good contacts, cleanliness, frayed wires, etc.
Be sure all your cables are the correct size. If your running a 6 volt system the cables need to large enough so you don't have resistance to create heat.
You said, "I can't get the engine to run consistently so I'm trying to start it many times." If it does not start within about five seconds of cranking, don't crank any more till you find what the problem is. Another option would be to limit cranking to a duty cycle of no more then 10% in any one minute, that would be six seconds in one minute. If the engine don't fire right off there is something wrong and cranking is not going to fix it. Even a modern cranking system will be destroyed when cranking for an extended time. Model T's in general are easy starting engines, no matter if using an electric starter or a hand crank.
In the end it comes down to the basics, if you have air and fuel at about the correct mixture, spark at the correct time and compression, the engine WILL run. Leave any one of the four things out and it will NOT run.
You can increase the duty cycle of the starter to 100% if you use the hand crank.
thank you to all for the feed back.
Jim is on the right track there. A T engine should start on one pull of the crank by hand. Using the starter, if it doesn't start right away you should fix whatever is causing it to not start.
In this video the car is starting cold. When it's warm it should start instantly.