I have a 26 speedster. She's been sitting around for 6 or 7 years. I have a new battery so she's turning over quite well. There's gas in the bowl I know because I see it leaking a little. I took a plug out, turned it and not sure if I should see spark. Not sure what to do next. Any ideas??
Give up and ship it to me. Do you have a stock magneto/battery ignition system utilizing 4 coils? If so, when your switch is on battery, your #1 cylinder is at the top of the compression stroke and your #1 coil is buzzing you should have constant blue spark jumping the gap between the electrode of your #1 spark plug.
Will---just a question---You have made two posts. From what you posted one is a model A , and the other is a 26 T. Do you have leaking carbs on both?---Len
Take the lid off the coil box and as you are cranking you can see if your getting any spark. You should be able to hear it buzz. If things aren't sparking or buzzing you've found your problem.
This is if you have the stock ignition system.
The leaking carb is on the speedster. I don't understand automotive electronics that well but I know this has a regular starter with no buzzing coils. Would pictures help?
If your car has been sitting for that many years some very good procedures have been documented on this site that detail step by step criteria for taking a model T out of mothballs. Ref. the dauntless geezer.
Yes Please post some pictures especially of the engine.---Len
Take the top off the coil box. Turn your switch on. Slowly turn your engine over with the crank. If you don't hear buzzing from any of the coils in the coil box during two full revolutions of the crank, you've got issues. The most likely spot for the issue could be coming from the switch area.
The car was my fathers. He passed away 6 years ago. I'm sure he would have known how to get this thing started. I guess I should have paid more attention!!
Some pics of the engine might help. Just for clarification does it have the 4 coils like the original setup that aren't buzzing or did you mean it doesn't have coils at all.
Distributor and coil. No buzzing will be heard there. Would check the carb - probably some sediment.
It appears you're dealing with an ignition system very similar to much more modern cars then the model T. It's using a distributor and coil. With the switch on, turning the engine over with the starter you should see spark jump from between the spark plug electrodes. Take the wooden block out of there and let the plug lay on the metal head. It has to be grounded on the block for the spark to jump.
Since it looks to be a customized ignition system the speedster guys who are on this forum will have to help you. Is it twelve or six volt.
Would clean and check the gaps on the plugs, clean the contacts on the distributor, drop the carb and blow that out, clean all the contacts to the starter and ground.
Model A exhaust and intake setup. Cannot see the carb - probably a standard a Zenith. If she has spark to the plugs, am thinking she's got crud in the bowl that is clogging a jet.
I wonder if he's dealing with distributor points or if he's got something like an MSD setup. Will, take a picture of the distributor with the cap off and post it.
That sounds like a plan. Thanks for the good information. I'm going to jump right on in. I'll keep you guys posted.
Definitely no spark!!
Is the condenser missing?---Len
Leonard has a point, it looks like the condenser is missing. Also, the plug that is out won't spark while it's sitting on a block of wood, set the plug on the cylinder head so that the body of the plug is grounded.
Agree on the condenser. I would also clean every contact - 6 years is a long time for corrosion to build.
Looks like a typical disturbutor used on modern cars after the T era. Do the test Mike described. If the plugs spark, move on to the carburetor. If you're lucky, it just has a bit of debris stuck in it and blowing out the passages with compressed air may fix it. But if that is the problem, the debris had to come from somewhere. So be sure the screen is in the sediment bowl, the fuel in the tank doesn't have dirt in the bottom, and that fuel is flowing freely to the carb.
Looks like it.
Bad condenser? What about the coil? That could be bad also.
I see a balist resistor in one of the pictures. Looks like 12 volt battery but 6v coil and distributor. Check the coil wire at both the coil and distributor cap make sure they are not loose
Everything is where you need it. Did you get rid of that block of wood under the spark plug and try it yet? Also, make sure your getting gas up to the carb. If there's a little plug screwed into the bottom of the sediment bowl on the carb and make sure your getting fuel to the carb. It may have been shut off below the fuel tank.
Mike - he's got a Model A carb setup on it. No drain plug on the bottom. He says it is leaking at the seam between the upper and lower assemblies, so there is fuel there.
Here is Will's carb - he had a picture of it on another thread about "leaking carb"
Will, I'm assuming everything is as your Dad left it the last time it ran. Did you put a 6 or 12 volt battery in it?
Thanks Ron. Does the car have a 12 volt system? I'm assuming, based on the looks of the components it's a 12 volt setup. So is the ballast resistor for the points to keep from burning them?
Carb is looking good. No sediment. Blew through the jets, all good. The gasket needs replacing.
I put a 12 volt battery in it.
I know nothing about what's going on with the fire wall!!
Well, that's it Will, it appears you're fighting a losing battle. My offer stands. Ship the car to me and I'll dispose of it accordingly. I probably don't need to say this but the things you need are spark at the right time, gas and compression. You've addressed gas and spark. I wonder about sticking valves. Because if the compression is good, the gas is getting where it needs to go and the spark is happening when it needs too your motor should be close to running.
I don't know what this is but I'd say it looks like it's in pretty sorry condition.
That's the ballast resistor. Unless the "spring" wire is busted it's likely doing its job. It can be checked with the continuity tester on your multimeter if yo have one.
That's the resistor that drops your voltage from 12 to 6 volts. It looks like it might have broken over on the left side. Local auto parts store should have one.
It's broken, fourth coil from the left. Where could I get one of these?
I must really type slow.
O'rielly's, Autozone, NAPA, National Bushing, Champion Auto, any tractor dealer parts department. And where all popular ballast resistors are sold.
Before we move on to compression, let's settle the electrical question. That resistor is needed to feed the coil, isn't it? Replace that, then see if the plugs spark. That may be all you need.
its a mid 60's chrysler products ballast resistor. used for many years, but the kid at the parts store will want to know if it has air conditioning? does it have an automatic transmission? what liter engine do you have? etc. after you get one, clean the points with some fine sand paper and then turn on the key, and open the points with a screw driver or your fingernail, and if it sparks, it'll run
Agreed Clayton. Will, ask for a ballast resistor for the ignition for a '70 Dodge Dart with a 318 engine. That should get you what you need.
Also, as an owner of a distributor ignition, I can tell you the spark lever setting on the steering column is pretty finiky. I have found the range of motion for the lever are greatly reduced I find when using a distributor. That may also be an issue after you get a ballast resistor.
Also, I would personally take the coil out of the bracket (the black round thing on the firewall), and see if it says 12v (volt) or 6v on it. I see it says "Made In the USA" on it---curious what is under the bracket.
Relooking at some of the pictures of what is going on, I think it is highly probably it is a 12 volt system, but I would still like to know for sure if possible. That horn might also say 12 volt on it somewhere too.
Do you have a volt meter? After you get the resistor there is a couple tests we can do if it still doesn't start.
Admittedly, I did not read all the posts in detail, but something I did not see in my scan of the posts was cleaning the points. Points can corrode in pretty short order from sitting up. Take a small strip of pretty fine wet or dry sand paper (320 grit is good), fold it in half so the abrasive is facing out on both sides and draw it between the point contacts a few strokes to clean the corrosion off of the contact surfaces. If current can't flow through the points, it won't ever fire.
Thanks for all the great advice. I should be back in the garage in another 8 hours or so. I'll pick up a ballast resistor put it in and cross my fingers. I looked at the points, (under the distributor cap right?) they look really good. One concern I have is that the ballast part must get really hot because there was hole burned through the firewall. Would it be ok to mount a backing plate of some sort to the firewall before installing the ballast resister?
When I had a Dart in the '70's I learned to always carry a spare ballast resistor with me in the glove box. Several times I had to change it to get home from work and a couple of other times I would help stranded drivers by opening my glove box and replacing the resistor in their car.
Your profile says Tracy Ca. I know there is a very active club around San Jose or Santa Cruz. Probably one even closer to where you live. You need to find someone with an analog volt-ohmmeter and or a test light, who is familiar with distributors, to look at your car. I'm sure the problem is something simple, but hands on testing beats forum guessing. Problem is we have to guess what the trouble might be, and you might not understand what we are saying.
Anyway, that ballast resistor might just be the cause of the problem. One quick way to find out would be to put a jumper wire across the resistor, bypassing it. If the problem is in the resistor, the car should start. Don't run it that way. If it starts with a jumper, just turn it off and replace the resistor, and you should be good to go.
Are you getting voltage at the coil. One side the one the ballast resistor is connected to should have DC voltage with the switch on. If so what is it? If no voltage there you probably have a bad ignition switch or connection somewhere.
"(under the distributor cap right?) they look really good. One concern I have is that the ballast part must get really hot because there was hole burned through the firewall. Would it be ok to mount a backing plate of some sort to the firewall before installing the ballast resister?"
Yes, the points under the distributor points. Make sure to polish those contact points with some fine emery. Even if they look good, they may still have a thin oxide coating that will not allow them to conduct. It's a common thing in a car that has been sitting a while.
Yes, you could put a plate under the ballast resistor. Just be sure it isn't shorting to anything!
Something to avoid is getting hung up on the shape of the ballast resistor. I've seen them round, square, rectangular and a few other shapes and sizes as long as the values of the resistors in terms of voltage, amps and resistance you should be okay. You might have to alter your mounting methods.
Anything electrical is my downfall, so, correct me (in fact, educate me) if I'm wrong:
Isn't it possible, in fact, preferable, to purchase a coil with a built-in ballast resistor?
Also, Norm Kling, asking a bit more about your statement that concerns testing by bypassing the suspected defective ballast resistor, but only to test and "not to run it that way". Isn't that because running with bypassed ballast resistor will quickly burn the points? Just trying to learn,......harold
I'm not sure that it works this way on a Model T, but the later cars with a ballast resistor actually have a circuit which bypasses the resistor for starting. The way it works is that when the ignition switch is turned to "start" the bypass resistor is bypassed, but as soon as you let go of the key, it goes into the running position which is through the resistor. The theory is that the starter motor drops the voltage from the battery and bypassing the resistor gives it more voltage for starting. It gives a hotter spark for starting, and lower for running. Most likely, since the coil and distributor is adapted from use on a later car to use on a Model T, the circuit would go through the resistor all the time whenever the key is on. The starter switch on a Model T is separate from the key.
Whew! Thanks Norm! I'll go pour myself another cuppa' coffee and try to digest your "words of wisdom". Gosh,....I wish I could understand this electrical stuff as well as a lotta' other old guys like me! ( And Norman Kling!).......... ( ; >)
Norm and Harold you are both right ! what we see here, and norms explanation is how chrysler did it, gm used a resistor wire to the coil which would slowly drop the voltage after the engine is running a short while, and ford used a resistor in the coil. all do the same thing
Will, the reason there is a hole burned behind the ballast resistor is it is flat against the firewall and has no way to cool. The wire resistor creates heat when it is working and if it can't cool , the wire resistor will over heat and burn in to. It should be mounted so the back is open to the air so it won't overheat. I hope this helps. Jim
PURRIN LIKE A KITTEN!!! I took apart the key switch and realized maybe I should turn the key to the left and the dial to the right. What do you know!! Now I gotta learn to drive this tin lizzy. Thanks for your help everyone!! Great information!!
Congratulations Will!! Best news I've heard all day. Nice that she was your Dad's speedster and you are her caretaker now. Good luck.
Doggone it Will. There goes any opportunity I might have had to get you to dispose it at my shop. That's really great news. Congratulations. That whole Bat/Mag switch thing can be a little perplexing. For some reason it doesn't seem natural to turn a switch counterclockwise. Enjoy your Dads speedster and keep us informed of how it's all going!
Great getting it running, Will
Did the resistor work even though it looks like it's broken in the coil?
Just remember not to press the "clutch" pedal all the way down when stopping with the engine running, then you'll probably be OK driving it Here's a video that explains how to drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0hQh_Ej_34
Since yours is a speedster, all the instructions may not apply depending on what extras you have. Any accessory transmission?
You have an interesting head on the engine. It looks like an old accessory "Waukesha Ricardo Head" with the plugged holes for priming cups and the oval where the company text uses to be - but there's no text?