I have a '26/27 block (no serial number on it) that has been rebuilt. Fresh Babbitt, new aluminum pistons, Chaffins' driver's reground cam, stock aluminum cam gear, new stainless T valves, adjustable lifters, Z head, Texas T distributor, and Texas T lawn mower carb on a Chaffin high volume intake manifold. The distributor, and carb worked just fine on the previous engine. Valves are set at .015 per the instructions, I rolled the engine over twice after I set them to double check my settings. The plugs are set at .040 per Texas T instructions, as are the points set where they say. The carb has both hi and low screws set 1 1/2 turns, we have tried more and less. The timing is set so the points open right at TDC with the spark set fully retarded. We have messed with it so many times, once we would have to get it correct. The distributor has a separate ground wire. All we get is a "chuff" intermittently back through the carburetor. We have 6.9 at the battery, and 6.6 volts at the coil. What stone have we not turned?
Do a leak down to see if the valves are sealing. I have a 27 Coupe that sat for over 35 years. The main reason it would not run was poor sealing valves. Pulled the valves, ground them and the seats and now it will suck fuel thru the carburetor.
You may need to lap the valves. Scott
You sure it's firing at the end of the compression stroke, and not at the end of the exhaust stroke? Happens often.
I would reduce the plug gap to .020 . You can widen it later.
Pull each plug wire and see if there is spark while it is turning over. If there is, then the problem lies in fuel delivery and or timing. Do a compression check to make sure the valves are seating properly.
How long has the gas been in the tank? You may be trying to burn an ethanol-water mixture, I am not familiar with your carb, but if the main jet pulls fuel from the bottom of a bowl this may be the problem. If you have a T sediment bowl on your tank, drain off a pint or so into a glass jar and if there water there you will see it.--Len
The carb was drained when it was pulled off of the old engine, the gas in the tank is a mix at the oldest. it is maybe 3 mo old to new. The valves were lapped, and I checked them, a little compound took the dye off right away. The plugs are new and smell of gasoline right after after we have tried to start the car. I will reduce the gap and see. I will check the compression. The gas tank itself is new, and there is no sediment bowl. I live at the top of a long hill, so I run an electric fuel pump with a filter, and with a new tank, there is nothing in the filter to plug it. I know the timing is correct, as you can see the valves through the spark plug hole, and while the head was off I marked the pulley at TDC. (I am not running a fan, so no fan belt to mess up my mark). Thank you all for your input.
Double check that the spark occurs at #1 cylinder at the correct time, and then check the firing order again.
Doug, Insure that the High volume intake manifold is sealing around the intake holes. The manifold is a little larger than normal and sometimes needs a little material removed at the top so that the manifold will seat properly and get a good seal. Otherwise you may be sucking too much air and running too lean.
Glen the manifold went on very easy, fit just like it was supposed to, with no issues. I used a gasket not the copper rings. On the previous engine I had exhaust leakage issues. The exhaust manifold is also new ( or at least it was on the old engine, it has less than 1000 miles on it. What is the best way to confirm that it is correct? I'm done with it for today, will try tomorrow night.
Tow it for a while then tow it to start. If it's tight it might not make enough power to start without a tow!! Been there done that! Bud.
I am with Ricks on this one, go back and check that you are firing at the end of the compression, wires in the correct order and you are getting fuel to the cylinders. Check the voltage at the point should be the same as your battery reading. Make sure the points are clean, even a thin layer of grease or oil will prevent spark to the plugs.
Make sure you test the voltage at the coil box while cranking the starter over. Make sure the starter (or aging wiring) isn't causing a voltage drop at the coil box. Seen that one may times before. Since electricity is kinda like water that likes to take the easiest path, you have to make sure the starter isn't monopolizing most of the available voltage. 6 volts doesn't create much pressure in the wiring to overcome resistance with a high amp draw.
Before I gave up for the day and went in to dinner, I re-gapped the plugs at .020. Got a carb back fire, had not had one like it before. Firing order is 1,2,4,3 the distributor rotates counter clockwise. Compression test was poor, but this is a new engine (what should I expect compression to be?) and the compression tester is old, like from the '70's, so the rubber tip is hard, and I would call it unreliable. Another T owner will stop by tomorrow with one that threads into the head, will see what we find.
Sounds like spark or cam timing is wrong.
If it were me and it back fired I would reset the timing to just past TDC with the lever up to make sure it does not want to kick back. If you set the timing where the starter pin is horizontal to the engine then rods, pistons and crank are straight up and down in a line. Facing the pin from the front turn it to about 3:15. Or just look through the spark plug hole and watch till it just rolls over into the firing stroke.
Put a couple of squirts of oil in each cylinder. New dry cylinders do not make good compression and give a high rotation resistance. The suggestion to tow it around a bit could help as well.
If you lined up the cam and crank gear marks correctly, cam timing should be right. but it may be wise to check. You can check without removing the timing cover. Just look at the intake valve for cylinder no 1. when the lifter just starts to lift the intake valve the no. 1 piston should be at 8 degrees after top dead center. you can check it through the no. 1 spark plug hole. You can't check for 8 degrees but you can determine that the piston has just passed TDC and going down. That should indicate that the cam marks are lined up properly. If not. Off with the timing cover.
I agree with Les. Squirts some oil in the cylinders. Also sure sounds like your 180 degrees off on your timing.
Being 180 degrees out on a T is tough to do. The cam gear is right either way. Now I have heard of cams with the timer hole drilled right threw. That can create a problem. You say it is new cam so maybe yes maybe no!!! Certainly worth checking that the spark happens at TDC
I think Albert is correct. Had that one myself, timing 180 degrees out. Reset the timer roller.
With a distributor the roller 180 degrees out is not an answer. If the timing is not out at TDC out are the spark plug wires on the distributor the right way around?
check which way the rotor is turning from #1 at TDC. If its not rotating the way the plug wires are set to each plug it ain't going to fire.
The cam timing gears are right on the mark, took it apart Friday night to be sure. I cannot see how the valve timing could be off, there is no way to assemble it incorrectly. It has a fresh valve job with new valves and fresh ground seats. We checked the valve seating, and a dab of lapping compound removed the dye on the seats and valves immediately. They should be set at .015 clearance, as I stated before, I confirmed my settings twice after I set them ( In the past I had an MG Midget, and an A-H Sprite, they need the valves set every 3000 miles). We have confirmed, re-confirmed and re-confirmed the ignition timing and we were at TDC with closed valves many times. The car has a new wiring harness, so old wiring is not an issue. I don't remember the exact figures we came up with but there was more than 6.5 volts at the battery, and it was roughly the same at the coil, maybe a tenth or so different, but we are using a cheap voltage tester. The distributor rotor turns counterclockwise, I have watched it turn as the engine cranks. Yes the firing order is correct, it also has been re-confirmed many times. I will try advancing the timing tonight. This is the third new engine we have put back in a car this summer. We replaced the hi performance 289 in a '65 Falcon Sprint, and put a very similar engine to my T engine in a '26 roadster. They both started for us will minor adjustments
I forgot to add, we have squirted oil in the cylinders, several times. Need to see if we have an intake leak, and advance the distributor to past TDC tonight.
If you are using 1 of the Walbro type Kohler engine carbs it could have gummed up sitting.3 months is long enough for the jets in it to clog up with what fuel was left in it after removal.
You would need to get a kit for it with the 2 welch plugs and take those out and soak and clean it if it is the problem.
Lapping valves, the quick removal of the die you mention bugs me a bit because it normaly takes awhile to really lap a valve good and the valve should have a grey area all the way around it showing where the cut was made.Just removeing the die may not have removed enough material to get a good seat.
When you say compression was poor, it would be on a engine that is not broke in good yet. That is the reason for the oil thru the plug hole on first start.
Since that does not help, that also tilts the table back towards a valve problem.
I was not very clear. The valve job was supposed to have already been done, we were just checking the valves to be checking them. The short block was professionally rebuilt some years ago by a respected engine builder in this area. I bought the engine off of a local T enthusiast who is retiring from the hobby due to age. He is a retired machinist. It was to go in a car he has not, and probably will not finish. He put together several T's and a couple of A's over the years. I have no doubt the engine is not correct. We pulled the stock cam he had put in, to replace it with in a Chaffin cam.
The carb came off of the tired engine in my car, was promptly drained, and dunked in solvent to clean it up. It only has couple of hundred miles on it since new, I do not imagine it is a problem, but thank you for your input.
I'm leaning on the intake manifold possibly leaking at this time, it is one thing I have not confirmed, and easy to check into. That and advancing the timing as advise above.
I still work, so it will not be until this evening that I will get to it
Doug, the only things I see in the statements above, would be your setting of the timing rod at TDC. I always set mine at 7.5 degrees past TDC. Mark also mentioned it above. I believe your timing is probably correct as to gears and valves, but the advance rod may still be off. As Mark mentioned the crank pin is horizontal at TDC, but on some 26-27 engines, the pin can be vertical due to different manufactures. My EE crank is vertical. If you have your pulley already marked at TDC, it will be easy to calculate where 7.5 degrees past TDC will be at. That's where your points should fire with the spark control all the way up. Also, If you still suspect the intake gaskets for some reason, just prime the engine thru the plug holes. A few times of priming it will not hurt anything. Too much and too many time may "wash" the oil from the rings (just add some more oil). but its no problem to "prime" it a few times. With it primed, it should start and run a few revolutions, even with the intake and carb off the car. If you 'over prime" and flood it, a few extra cranks will clear it and find the right fuel/air mixture for the engine to fire. Good luck and keep us posted ... One more thing, I do not see anywhere, where you laid all four plugs on top of the head and while cranking the engine, made sure they were all sparking... I may have missed it, but I would also verify the spark at all four plugs while cranking....
I am not familiar with the Texas T distributor. Is it gear driven? If so, it could be possibly installed 180 degrees out of time, so that the spark is occurring at the top of the exhaust stroke, instead of the compression stroke.
Are you sure that the coil is 6 Volt?
With the spark set at TDC it is quite possible that you might be just a little before TDC without realizing it. That would make the engine kick and the exhaust would come out of the carburetor instead of the exhaust and of course it would not continue to run backward. I think if you set the spark to come just a few degrees later, it will start right up. That's just my take anyway. You will also need to set the idle screw to idle faster because of the tightness of the engine. Then after it breaks in, you can slow the idle. In many cases it takes a pull to get the car running the first time, of course, if you have faith, you could try coasting down your steep driveway with the hope that it will run and that you will not need to pull it back up.
I was thinking about the horizontal crank pin as I wrote. If it was on with the horizontal pins then it would be about 12:15.
Is your gas turned on? Have someone hold their thumb over the number one spark plug hole so you will know when you are coming up on the compression stoke. Hand crank it and when your helper feels compression, slowly pull it up until the piston is at top dead center. Retard your distributor and slowly advance it until the points just barely open. Make sure the rotor points to the number one plug. Put it all back together and advance the spark lever about three notches, then try and start the engine.
Did you look in the plug holes to see the valves are all opening and closing ?
Possibly put one or two spoons full of gas in each spark plug hole, quickly replace the plugs and attempt to start to see if one or more cylinders fire for even one or two times. It should tell if the engine is getting gas through the carb.
Doug, Less has a good point. If your reground cam is a 09-25 then the Timer pin hole could be drilled straight through which means your timer roller may be 180 deg backwards. Easy to check but could be the answer.
I think Ted is spot on and actually listening to the symptoms being described.
Doug I have had two engines do this type of thing in my lifetime. You mentioned that you had a distributor and that's where my problems were solved.
You could not see anything wrong except that the spark was week or intermittent.
The first engine had a bad condenser and on the second the points had some type of ionized film that prevented the points from getting good contact. Funny thing about the film was that you couldn't fix it by filing or sanding them.
take a six pack and a rocking chair near to your car, take place in the chair and socialize with your car.
I just looked over the tread and saw you are using a Texas T distributor and coil.
The pin hole doesn't matter very much but the way the distributor gears are put together does. You can set your gear one teeth wrong. The engine will do all but will not start.
Set the first piston on TDC, starter pin on the crank pulley horizontal. Mark the position of the plug wires on the distributor house. Take off the distributor head and see where the distributor finger is pointing too. It should be to first or fourth cylinder, depends on which piston is on compression. if it is pointing between two wire positions your distributor is set one teeth off.
An easy way to set your ignition right. Set the first piston in the right position, connect a test light on the - coil connection and engine ground. Contact on and turn the distributor house left or right. As soon as the points opens, the light will light up. This is the exact ignition point.
Hope this helps
There are many reasons why a new engine will not start. You must attend to every detail. Assuming that the engine has good compression, and the camshaft is correctly timed with the crankshaft, The problem has to be fuel, air, or spark. If the valves are operating correctly, you can eliminate air as the problem. You must next eliminate lack of fuel as the cause, then determine whether the spark is occurring (at the correct time). When all things come together, It will run.
Here is something to have a look at. I have a Texas T distributor on my '14 runabout:
The coil that was supplied by Texas T with the distributor went out after two days! There are several reports like that on this Form.
In the picture above what you see now is a "Blue Bosch" coil that I got on Amazon for about $25. It has worked fine for about a year now.
Anyway, if you haven't checked the coil yet, do so!
With #1 piston at TDC and valves closed, remove dist. cap and see if the rotor is pointing to where #1 plug wire is connected in the dist. cap. When I first fired up my engine for the first time with a distributor.....I had the dist. set 180 deg. out. A simple thing to check to fix if not correct.
The first start day, I had model T friends over to watch me start our 13 engine for the first time. When the problem was quickly discovered by my friends......I quickly got the nick name of "180". Took a few years for the nick name to go away.
After spending the last 4 hours in the garage my saga continues. Tony Koester came over, he has been an auto shop teacher in the past, and is the one responsible with infecting me with the T virus. We went over everything one more time, to confirm every thing is correct, and it was. we did gain ground, the engine now is trying to start, but still will not catch, and run. We finally drained the battery down, and had to quit. Our verdict now is we think a couple of laps being towed around the neighborhood to loosen it up may be the answer, as every thing else appears to be correct, it is just a bit too tight. Thank you all for your input. It may be a day or so before we drag it, I'm tired of messing with it, and want a couple of days off.
Doug the first time you pull your car take the plugs out.