Well my T has been running absolutely great since i replaced the timer and had the coils rebuilt. But one thing has happened twice in the last week that is a little worry-some, especially for a new driver. Today i was cruising along at about 30 when all of a sudden she just stalled with no warning at all, no sputtering like you would expect if you were having a fuel starvation problem, just coasted to a stop. I knew i had plenty of gas, so no problem there, and when i tried to restart her she wouldn't until i choked it a few cranks. When i bought the car the last owner had drained the tank and it looked like brand new inside. I realize that lots of crappola might still be in the tank even-though it looked good to the eye. The part i cant understand is why it started after choking it if there was indeed something clogging up the works...Any thoughts?..
It could be fuel, or it could be electrical. I'd start with the simplest thing and be sure all electrical connections are tight. That includes contacts in the ignition switch.
A simple test would be to open the drain on the carburetor bowl to see if there is gas there or not. If there is no gas, maybe a sticking float valve.
Steve, an electrical problem didn't even occur to me due to the fact that it started after choking. When you say "in the ignition switch" does that mean dissembling it to look at the contact points?
Thanks Jim, I took the carb apart and cleaned it when i first bought it, but god knows what is flowing in there now.
Seems this subject is a little too boring, i should have just done more research on the search pages,..my bad.
If this happens again, as you are coasting to a stop pull the choke out. If that makes it "catch" for even a little bit, your problem is probably fuel starvation. Whether it's a stuck float or trash in the system, only examination can tell.
The reason I suggest this, is that I always run the fuel out of my carb when putting the car in to the trailer. It just stops - no sputter, no cough. But if I pull the choke while it's stopping, I can coax quite a bit of extra time out of it - which means sucking up the last bits of fuel in the carb bowl.
On the other hand, if choking doesn't give you a little more sputter, it's probably electrical.
The reason the ignition switch was mentioned, is that they are notorious for having their contact springs lose their oomph, and making poor contact. Since most of us have a few other keys dangling off the ignition key, bumps and vibration can move the contacts to where they lose continuity.
Rest easy, though - the really bad things, like a stripped cam gear or broken valve, are not indicated.
Best of luck!
I wouldn't open up the switch unless you find it's intermittent and need to fix it. Just check to be sure it conducts a current when you jiggle it. It's your description of sudden death that made me think electrical. With a fuel problem I'd expect some sputtering.
Thank you Peter, I thought it was a valid question and will definitely try your suggestions,..thanks again.
John, have you tried draining the fuel sediment bulb under the tank? Sometimes mine collects a bit of water and dirt(that's what it's for) and slows down the flow. Just a thought. Dave
Steve, i have huge amounts of respect for you for what you contribute to this forum. I have only been here a short time but it seems that you go the extra mile to add greatly to the conversation at hand, and as a newbie i appreciate that. I understand that some here get bored with the same old questions being asked over and over, i get it. But its also a good sign that the hobby has new blood, and is continuing into the future. All i ask of those that have been there and done that, is to just give us a chance.
I also experience the occasional episode of cruise-speed sputtering and power reduction.
For me, enriching the mixture solves the problem until the little piece of grit or crud that became lodged in the carburetor gets washed out, and then the engine acts like it's running too rich—which it now is—so then I just lean it back out.
Thanks Dave, great idea, it is definitely a suspect in a fuel system with no filter other than a screen
My 26 is doing that right now. It just quit. Then starts running again. I do get a back fire now and then. It runs on battery OK. It turns out to be the mag contact in the switch. I have the pin type switch back so getting in the switch is easy. I have a new one on the way. PK
Bob, i have just gotten used to driving and being comfortable enough to drive and adjust the mixture at the same time..its quite a feat in my opinion, especially if your over 6 feet tall and your knees are where they haven't been in a long time.
I've had the same issue. The repro switches aren't that great. Take your switch apart and pull up your inner contacts so they have a little more pressure on the back plate when re-assembled. May just solve your problem. I've tried repro back plates, some are good (the ones Ben Martin gets) others won't even mount to your switch.
John...it takes only a little bit of vacuum in the gas tank to do what you're seeing. And only a few moments sitting for that to sometimes appear to resolve itself.
Have you replaced the gas cap during the "get 'er going" phase of your work?
Is it vented?
A half tank of gas, an unvented cap, and 20 minutes of driving at a good clip can create some surprising results.
John pulling the choke out while you are coasting to a stop if it is a fuel starvation issue with the ignition on may cost you a muffler (don't ask me how I know this)I would just go ahead and clean the sediment bulb and the carb. and if it happens again then I would look at the mag post and switch for electrical problems
Here's a little on the switch. We don't know yet if that's the problem, but this may apply if it is.
The contacts in the original switch are embedded in a material that looks like a very thick cardboard or Masonite. Over the decades that material sometimes becomes warped, especially if it's been wet, and the contacts don't all contact properly. All you may need in a case like that is to flatten the surface by rubbing it on coarse sandpaper. This may save you from spending over $30 for a new back piece.
I've seen a lot of gripes about some of the modern switch repair kits. Several years ago I bought one from Lang's and found that a phenolic material was used instead of the old thick cardboard. It was excellent, BUT it didn't quite fit. When I asked about this, Steve Lang explained why. Ford didn't make these switches. They came from different suppliers, and therefore weren't all exactly alike. In the case of the back piece I bought, the notches didn't quite line up with the metal tabs on the case. The simple solution was to slightly widen some of the notches with a small grinder.
My touring started acting like that during the first summer I drove it. After a few times of it happening and researching every cause I could come up with I found I was dealing with excessive crankshaft end play. After building up the thrust on the rear main it cleared right up.
Just had a customer who was trying so hard to fix his own problems, said the engine would die after 45 seconds.
He trailed the car over and as he was backing into the barn, it stopped. It was an abrupt stop, just like the ignition switch was turned off. That was not caused by fuel starvation. It started right up and again stopped abruptly. When we banged the dash it stopped. I put a jumper cable across the ignition switch and it ran like a top.
So he needs to work on the ignition switch, either new or clean, his choice.
We had similar on our 26 Fordoor. Going up a hill was particularly bad....engine would just die. In order to get out of the way of the logging trucks behind us, I turned the carbureator adjust several turns counter clockwise and pulled the choke all the way out. John and Karen Danuser were right behind us with the vulcher truck. At the first safe turn off, we pulled over, turned the ignition off...and drained the carbureator to include a couple of gentle taps on the carbureator with a wrench. Got back in, turned the carb adjust all the way clockwise to close, then opened about 1 full turn. Started up just fine and ran the remaining 200 miles of the tour. John had stopped to help, but thankfully everything worked out fine. Hope this helps. Bill V.
I didn't read through all of the threads, just skimmed, but I wonder, were you running on mag? if so, the connection to the magneto post might be dirty.
My '27 did that a couple of times. At first I suspected fuel as my tank is old but the float bowl always had gas in it when I checked. The last time it did that to me I got down on the floor and reached up under the dash and the minute I touched the back of the switch the car started on compression, scared the crap out of me! I say it was the last time because I pulled the switch, sent it to Ben Martin in GA and have not had a problem with it since.
Thank you guys for all the tips and pics. Between me just learning how to drive my T properly, and a'holes driving right up my butt and now my T wanting to take a short break without telling me, its going on jack stands tomorrow and i will check every thing you nice folks have suggested without the fear of sitting at the side of the road with an old lady who talked me out of a bunch of money. Like usual, thanks for the input and support from those here at mtfca.
Hope you don't have those plastic coils. I had a set and had the same problem initially, then came the backfiring and eventually complete failure. A new set of wooden coils and now I don't have a problem.
I had a problem really similar to this. It was fuel starvation. There was a chunk of debris partially blocking the fuel line just before the fuel shut-off. The car would start great, drive for a few miles, start to sputter and miss, then kill. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and off you'd go, then repeat the process. Cleaning the debris out of the fuel system solved the problem.
Steve is correct about getting the surface flat. Be sure to get all the metal off the insulating materiel. These are layered pressed paper. Also over time moisture and contaminants can make the paper conductive. I had an original backing plate that was conductive. It takes a very good analog meter, and access to a 6 volt power supply (battery will do). I can't remember what the plate would conduct, but I wanted to make sure the plate wouldn't conduct at all. Didn't use it because it would have applied voltage to the magneto. I had Ben rebuild my switch with one of the excellent repro backs he obtains.
Vapor Lock. Make sure your fuel line is as far away from the exhaust pipe as possible. Find the place it's closest and move it or insulate it.
Today i drained the sediment and carb bulb, and got quite a few pieces of debris, more than i actually thought i would get. After flushing out the lines the best i could, i put it on stands and ran it straight for like 30 minutes at varying rpm's, and not even a sputter, so far so good. I used the time it was running on the stands to purge the u-joints of the old grease that had been there since at least 87 by filling the cup with new grease and repeating this over and over while this brown-like snot exited my T like it had been subjected to some bad Mexican food Took it off the stands and for a nice long ride considering that if i did have a bad connection on the switch assembly it probably wouldn't act up on the stands, and would on some nice bouncy roads. Well she performed like a trooper and all again is well at the Noonan household tonight My only question is if filters slow the progress of the fuel too much, what option does one have? Do you just have to add this to the list of things you should check on a regular basis?
What year is your car? An in line fuel filter seems to work fine on a 26-27 cowl tank car.
Jim, its a 25.
Get one of the screens that fits in the top of your sediment bulb. It extends up into the tank and kinda acts as a stand pipe. Langs has them, as well as some other vendors. It doesn't restrict flow.
Hal has the right idea. I would have made my own if we still had a hardware store where they know what brass cloth is.
I just kept draining the sediment bulb regularly. Eventually, everything came out. That's what the sediment bulb, or any other filter, is for. They have to be maintained. I don't care for the screens, or anything else that sticks up into the tank. That just masks a problem and leaves a place for the dirt, debris, and water to collect, and no doubt let the tank rust out eventually. JMHO. Dave
If the particles are small enough to go through the shut-off valve in the sediment bulb, then I would agree that it should get them out. If they are too large to go through, then there's a chance they can plug up the fuel system before the sediment bulb has a chance to do its job. If your gas has no ethanol added, then yes, water could accumulate at the bottom of the tank amongst the trash the 'stand pipe screen' holds back. If you have gas with ethanol added, the moisture will be absorbed by the ethanol and it will readily mix in with the fuel. Think HEET that people in colder climates add to their system to keep gas lines from freezing.