My T when starting seems to fire backwards a lot more often than it used to. It will eventually start and run in the correct direction. what is changing?
My guess would be an initial backfire damaged a non-Ford type timer and now the timing is off atleast one cylinder. Before putting in a new one you should just check the timing thru all four and see if one is coming early.
I viewed a Touring car that for sale years ago and when the owner started it, it ran forwards and backwards between the same two cylinders for over a minute. I happened to be recording with my camera when he started it, but the video came out too dark in his garage to see it oscillating.
Do this in this order
1. Push the spark lever all the way up. If it was not all the way up when you tried to start it, that is the most likely cause of the problem.
2. With the lever all the way up, and the ignition on battery, turn the crank VERY slowly and stop immediately when it starts to buzz. The piston should be just past the top starting down when this buzz happens. You can double check by observing the crank pin through the front pulley. The side toward the left side of the car should be lower than the right side. (note if viewing from the front of the car, the right side (driver's on a U.S. car) will be lower than the passenger's side.
3. Slowly turn the crank and check for each cylinder. this will take two complete turns of the crank. If you find one cylinder spark comes before the piston is at the top, you have a timer problem. If all come before the piston reaches top you need to adjust the rod a little longer.
Take the spark plugs out, reconnect to wires and lay them on the engine to above test.
Yes! That very important detail was omitted from Norm's instructions.
Andrew, is the spark lever in the fully retarded position when starting? If so, something is out of adjustment.
The condition you describe is caused by the engine firing before top dead center. You need to fix this problem or you will break your Bendix, if it is a starter car, or worse you will break your arm if cranking by hand.
I would check the linkage to the timer to make sure it is working correctly, then I would remove the timer and check that it is functioning correctly. Mark's method of checking this out is the safest way of proceeding. There are numerous old posts describing how to set the timer for correct timing.
Steve Jelf shot a video a while back showing how cranking with an advanced spark can potentially ruin your day. Most importantly, BE CAREFUL!
A suggestion- perform Norm's test several times, running the motor between tests. If the results are inconsistent take a look at the timing gear.
My fiber timing gear lost 6+ teeth, and it made the engine run as you describe.. The problem began with a backfire.
Thank you for the info I will look into it and give an update when complete.