After many safe hand starts of the Model T I finally got bit. My fault. In a hurry. Great 55 PSI engine. Forgot to check that I had the spark advanced way far advanced after the last run. Ouch
Hand surgeon Wednesday for broken bones Luckily I was using my left hand, not right
Also they had to cut off a 40 year wedding ring
Sorry to hear it.
Absent-mindedness can be very inconvenient. It's also disappointing to leave the brake lever straight up and have the car pin you against the garage door when you start it. Don't ask how I know that. I guess it's best to memorize a checklist and mentally check off each item every time.
Hope it'll heal fast.
So now we know it's possible to break bones when cranking with the left hand, too
Did you do quarter pulls from 9:00 to 12:00 only?
A late friend of mine was pinned against the wall and his wife was home and came out and shut off his "14 T.
Several times mine has creeped forward but I was able to hold it for about 1 minute and it stayed in its tracks and after those incidents I pulled one more notch on the brake lever for good measure. One other time my '19 decided it did not like being couped up in the garage and when it fired it ran about 10 feet out of the garage and luckily the engine died. So the idea of blocking the wheel or jacking up one or making sure the brake is on is major thing to do.
Bummer, that looks painful.
Can you give anymore details of the event?
Where was the crank when it kicked back?
Did you have your thumb over the crank handle?
Were you just pulling from about 8:00 to 12:00?
Were you spinning the crank full circle?
Were you just positioning the crank for starting or where you actually on the process of starting?
Did the crank come back around and hit the face of your hand?
Sorry for all the questions but I have generally been under the impression that if you are using your left hand and only pulling on the up stroke that you are relatively safe.
Hope you heal fast.
What a bummer to have this happen to you and now that the warm weather is coming it's even more painful. Heal quick!
Somebody willing to reproduce this would make a lot of money...who's going to step up ...
Jim I did it as I have read and you can see me do in some youtube videos. Left Hand, palm up, thumb clear. I go from 8 o'clock and lean my body weight into it as I walk right and pull. It happened so fast. The ring finger was compressed, broken out of joint pointed 30 degrees towards the thumb and down 30 degrees. I pulled the finger back out straight, packed it in snow and headed to the Doc's. I do not know how it struck me. The funny part was my cell phone was inaccessible now in my left pocket. Had to ask a stranger to reach in my pocket to retrieve it for me ! Always need to laugh at myself
That's odd, logically and in theory the hand should be thrown clear without much harm when the engine kicks back.. But practice and life doesn't always follow logic..
Hind sight is 20 20 and there is no shortage of second gusessers!! The free start is the best start just retard the spark and count to 6 if your in a hurry,5 if normal,and 4 if you stutter. Shut off the switch! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I'm so sorry that happened to you. But thank you for sharing it with the rest of us to remind us that it could happen to any of us, if we forget to retard the spark properly or if their is a malfunction that causes the engine to backfire. Even if cranked left handed, only from 9 to 12 and with the thumb on the same side of the crank as all the other fingers.
We will be praying for a quick recovery for you.
I agree that some reproduction or even an E-non-kick-back device would be something many of us would want to purchase. The link you posted http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/182327.html gives a great explanation of how several of the devices work (or are advertised to work).
Hap l9l5 cut off
So all this interest, lets just see. Back in the era it was $2.50, which was about a days wages (unless you were working on the assembly line). But for your average "Joe" it was a days wages. So a reasonable average wage today is about $200.00 a day($40,000.00 per year, not poor but certainly not rich).
Is there a market with the T crowd at $200.00 for this???
Id be in at 150.00
Les; You must be on a 4 day week. $200 per day X 5 is $1000 X 50 weeks is $50000
David - So sorry to hear that this happened to you. I really have to believe that this was pretty much a "fluke" accident, but as "Hap" mentioned, "it could happen to any of us. Hope you heal quickly and that the injury doesn't slow you down too much. Actually, while I think it's better to type with all the proper fingers as was taught in high school, I hope you are one of many self-taught typists of the two-finger variety, as you are a frequent poster on the forum and we enjoy your posts.
This is something that won't help you much David, but perhaps there are some things that we could all learn from your bad experience. One of them has to do with the spark advance lever:
Ever since my first car, a '28 Model A standard coupe while in high school, I developed what I think is a good habit, and I have my Dad to thank for that. Among many basic things he taught me was to make a habit of ALWAYS make shutting down an old Ford (Model T or Model A) a two-handed job. While reaching for the ignition key with right hand to shut off ignition, use the left hand to shove the spark advance lever all the way up to full retard. I have to admit that with a Model A especially, it was an easy habit to develop, because I always like to hear that sweet, almost "melodic" ring sound of a Model A at idle and full retard. (Never could understand why Model "T's don't quite have that same sweet "ringing" sound to the exhaust, especially at idle and full retard). Anyway, it's a good habit to always leave the car with spark advance lever all the way up for full retard, and as an aside, it's also an especially good practice with an Anderson timer for reasons previously discussed on this forum.
Also, not trying to start another discussion about left-hand/right-hand cranking, as that has been discussed to death on the forum fairly recently, However, you made an interesting comment David, when you explained exactly your left-hand cranking procedure:
"I go from 8 o'clock and lean my body weight into it as I walk right and pull."
That statement got me to thinking that there is a big difference between left-hand and right-hand cranking that I never considered before. Most right-hand crankers (like me, because I've been doing it for 60 years and can't learn to change) anyway, my feet never move when cranking with my right hand. Videos of people cranking left-handed do seem to show them moving at least one foot which causes their whole body (including left hand) to move their whole body to the right. Wonder if this could have been a factor in placing David's left hand in harm's way??? Just a thought,FWIW,....harold
OK glad you were checking, but consider back then you wouldn't have been paying any (or at least very little) income tax. so realistically you lose about a day a week to the tax man.
Anyway I was simply trying to see what people would be willing to pay today.
Based on Ed's response it looks like it will have to made in China!!
It doesn't matter which hand is broken. Both will hurt when broken.
I wonder if maybe your ring was caught by the crank? It is very strange that that particular finger was broken. It is usually the wrist which gets it.
So I was looking at the device shown and I'm thinking that if a person set the dividing head at a angle (about 45 degrees) to the table on the milling machine and started with a blank that was somewhat cone shaped it might be possible to make one.
The ratchet shouldn't be that tough, mostly hand work on the bench grinder.
Well there goes that theory that left hand cranking doesn't result in a hand injury!
Ooh, ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch! And they had to cut off your wedding ring? What does your wife have to say about that? You will have it repaired? Right? (Someday they may have to cut mine off? It has not been off my finger in more than thirty years now.)
I believe, David K, that you are the first person I have heard specifically broke a left hand while cranking an antique automobile. I have personally known a few, and heard of many others (some on this forum), that have broken right hands. My sympathies, again and again. And, as others have said, get well fast!
As to the anti-kickback devices? I don't know. I have had a few really good back-fires. I have some doubts that these devices could survive a really good back-fire. It could even break something else, like a crankshaft. However, even one broken arm or hand would be worth it.
Do drive carefully, and enjoy it. W2
Ron Patterson mentioned in another thread that discussed this anti-kickback device that he would think that a bent connecting rod could conceivably result by this device preventing a kick-back.
That makes sense to me, because when a cylinder fires, and that piston starts downwards, I would think that a sudden and solid positive stop like that would more likely bend a rod than break the pawl on the anti-kickback device.
NO,....I don't think I'd want one on any of my ol' Ford's!
Ron evidently does not understand how these devices work. They disengage the crank within 1/8 of a turn. They do NOT stop the engine from rotating backwards. Look at the angle of the "ratchet gear"
There must be a reason why?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Soooo easy to forget ... just once. Hope your hand is better soon.
There is a device for airplanes called a pitot tube cover. It covers the pitot tube (obviously) to keep critters and dirt from blocking the all important airspeed indicator. Since its so important that it be removed before flight, it usually has a long red ribbon attached .. which is hard to miss.
A crank handle cover with a red ribbon with "retard spark" printed on it would be a great accessory for a non starter T. If the vendors sold them, I would buy one.
So David states that he used his left hand, palm up, thumb clear. And still got hit.
Anyone advocating for use of the left hand assumes that the crank will throw the left hand out of the way. Why is this assumed? What prevents the crank handle from spinning back around and hitting you on the back hand before it is out of the way?
I am sorry for your misfortune David and I wish you fast healing.
But in my mind, this incident proves that the left handed technique is more or less bunk and that the only real way of preventing a broken hand is to ensure the correct position of the spark lever.
By the way, I do agree in principle that using the left hand instead of the right reduces the risk of injury.
But I still think the probability is still pretty high that it's gonna happen.
Makes starting the car with my heel, sitting in the drivers seat, seem even better.
Sorry to hear you got hurt. I wish you a rapid recovery.
Les - Ron probably understands the device alright; maybe it's ME that doesn't understand!
After hearing from the left hand cranking police for so many years I agree with you. I have yet to see anything explaining the left hand from the period. To assume that based on a photo of "proper grasping of the handle" makes no sense. All that proves to me is the guy showing how to grab the handle was left handed. There was room after all to show (left hand) on the caption if that was the intent.
David, sorry for the injury. Hope it heals quickly.
David, I noticed you already blamed yourself for this but, I just wondered if you can clear up one variable. Do you have an Anderson timer?
Remember to look on the bright side. A hand cranking injury is a badge of honor, even if you didn't want it to happen. Even more so if your car has a starter that you could have used.
That's why ya got two hands, anyway. Most times they grow back. Nothing to get excited about, right ?
Interesting question Dave. I've had the timing 'auto advance' on engine roll back when using an Anderson timer. It could certainly lead to this.
Out of curiosity, has anyone ever had a T kick back while cranking on MAG?
I've gotten into the habit of putting a short piece of 2x4 in front of one of the front wheels for that 'just in case moment'!
Just in case it has that cold transmission creep up and cause me to get pinned and put a dent in my roll up garage door.
My T's are black era cars and I use the starter to crank them but I'm sometimes tempted to hand crank them.
I think Dan is correct. Left hand cranking doesn't eliminate the risk, but reduces it. Just like using the seat belt in your modern car. It doesn't guarantee you'll survive a crash, but it improves your odds. I don't find left hand cranking any more difficult than right hand, so I'll play the odds and continue down the path of sinister starting. For me it's not a big deal worth getting excited.
Hal's question about using the mag" I hand crank my '27 quite often on mag. Now I probably break ALL the rules (and have for 40 years) as I routinely SPIN the engine with a firm grip!!!
So far so good!! I'm Not recommending this for you
Is it hindsight to keep talking right hand/left hand when the position of the timer was at fault?? Will a starter help,or maybe a anti kickback device?? I think if the timer is in the wrong place you might break anything used!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
David, Looks like Lizzie bit you good! and left handed too, go figure!
Here's the Anti-Kick device I use on our 15 Roadster pickup. It works just as advertised.
Here's another Brand of Anti-Kick from our Accessory collection.
Now the "Catch a Kick" I think might put your crank at serious risk!!!
The "BEAR" looks like it could be the easiest to make and looks like it would disconnect the crank the quickest (least amount of back rotation)
I'm gonna have to admit, if I had one of those, I would HAVE to intentionally let it kick back just to see it work. I wouldn't be able to help myself.
.......you might not be able to help yourself if it didn't work!.....; >)
Ouch, to bad that got you. I sure hate to see an injury from our passion for these cars. I make myself slow down and run through my pre-flight check list for every start after having made to many mistakes. I also make it a habit to push both levers all the way up after each shutdown. This has saved my bacon several times just letting me take the time to not forget an important step.
The one time I did a hand start with the timing accidently advanced (in a hurry, didn't check it) I was lucky the correct technique saved my hand as the handle was ripped from my hand faster than I thought possible. It tossed my hand aside like a glob of saliva flung from a hound dogs jowls when he shakes his head. Sore hand, but no damage.
I wonder if a "kick start" kick could cause a broken leg and jaw too as the knee came up and hit the jaw? Just a thought.
Best to always retard the spark and pull up fast and keep the hand moving up and away from the orbit of the crank, just in case.
Norman - To tell you the truth, at my age, if I thought there was any way I could touch my jaw with my knee, I think a "kick-back" would be worth it! ;>)
I could easily see a foot slipping off the crank as it kicked back and it coming around and hitting the shin.
I don't foot start for the same reason I don't crank left handed. It just doesn't feel right. Same feeling I got when being taught to snow ski during US Army winter training. I was never comfortable with it and sure enough, I got a permanent injury which continues to plague me 30 years later.
A couple more thoughts from me.
I see several people commented about ALWAYS putting the spark and throttle levers into the proper (up) position when shutting off the engine. While doing so may be a good idea? Relying on that is a bad idea. Too many times I have seen "looky Lous" at shows, tour stops, and even the hardware store, play with the levers on parked model Ts. If you get into the habit of "expecting" the levers to be right? You may get a nasty surprise. I "always" check the levers before cranking. Sometimes, I can even get the crank handle engaged, then remember, and then look up to the steering column.
One of the Ts I had, I "kick started" often. It had a mag that seemed to need just a bit more push. It also retarded just enough, and could back-fire occasionally. I think it back-fired on me twice while kick starting, both times because of a weak kick. One time, my foot slipped off the handle before it fired. Both times, I did not get hit by the crank handle. I considered myself lucky both times. Don't count on that.
IF (there is that big IF I like so much), IF you have a good, solid, foot-hold onto the crank handle? I suspect (but cannot say for certain) that the likelihood of a back-fire would be reduced, but only slightly. A good forward motion coupled with the greater weight and mass of the foot and leg would tend to carry through farther than a simple hand grip. However, if the spark setting is way off? That kick-back could hurt. I never did have that happen to me.
Try to be careful, and enjoy, W2
My dad taught me to never ASSUME that the spark lever was retarded.
He said "Always look before cranking!"
My mantra is
Key off, throttle part way open, spark lever up.
Go to front, pull choke, give two quick pulls on the crank, make sure the choke is pushed in.
Go to the side, place a hand on the spark lever and turn the key to battery - hoping for a free start.
If no free start move the spark lever down a bit to see if that does it.
If no start move the spark lever up and proceed to the front.
In my old age I sometimes forget that I just retarded the spark and my dad's words ring in my ears so I go back and check the lever.
I once checked three times because I was talking with some folks -
At least that is what I claimed when my wife started laughing at me.
I regard that cast-iron serpent with a jaundiced eye and treat it like a loaded bazooka. -It hides its treacherous head in the leather thong, yet I always hear its silent whisper: “Did you forget to retard the ssssssssspark?”
I'm not sure I understood what you were saying. Are you saying that you have experienced a kick back while cranking on mag?
LOL Bob that's quite the sinister T you have. Does she act up in a fit of jealousy when you've been eye-ballin' other T's? =D
Here's a hand Pull start from the drivers seat accessory for non-starter cars that won't bite.
Better fix that antifreeze leak.
Jay - maybe a pull starter can bite too? Sore fingers or an aching shoulder, anything seems possible after this leftie crank accident..
Wishing you a rapid recovery to your finger! Sorry you got hot by the crank handle on that backfire.
Odd the finger only was hit but only can surmise the walking right dragged your hand toward the crank spin back circle when the engine misfired from advanced spark.
Left hand cranking is the safer way, had you been right hand cracking the wrist would have been hit as always causing the Hutchinson type fracture.
I crank left handed, thumb aside, fingers open cupping the handle, pull up standing to the left, and let my left hand pull away and up letting the handle go. Before grabbing that handle I look again at the spark lever position!
Get well soon!
Just when you though you saw it all, Jay makes another post.
Jay - Looks like you took the time to rig this up. Can you report of how effective it is? I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how hard you'd have to pull to overcome the compression.
The gear ratio looks like about 1:1 or maybe not quite that good. The moment arm looks to be approximately the same as a T crank, so I'm guessing the force required is approximately the same as using the crank.
Hope you finger heals quickly, Dan.
Regarding your comment about cutting off a wedding ring, and also Wayne's comments on repairing a cut ring.
Per my brother, who is a jeweler:
When your ring is removed in the emergency room, the patient comes first. The ring just get's sacrificed. Depending on the type cutter and the skill of the doc, the ring may be quite repairable or it may be totally trashed. Probably the repair or replacement costs will be pretty high.
But if you have the ring cut off by a jeweler and it's no emergency, he takes his time to do minimum damage to the ring. There's no discomfort at all in the removal process. It usually takes 30 seconds to 5 minutes to cut a ring and the charge is about $10. If you have the jeweler enlarge the ring for you, then the cost of removal is usually rolled into the repair cost.
Having a ring enlarged so you can remove it is no guarantee that it can be gotten off if you injure your hand. All enlarging the ring accomplished is to increase the chances of getting it off without cutting it. But overall, it's much safer to be able to remove a ring whenever you want to. Think about simple things like swelling due to allergic reactions, simple sprains, etc. When you finger starts turning purple you'll sure wish it was easily removed.
Sorry if this counts as thread drift.
Now I'd be interested in the Simplex type starter!
OK so I have most of a similar version. Is there truly a market?I'm Betting not as most people just convert to the later T starter!
Bob, you really should be a writer.
I'm not sure I understood what you were saying. Are you saying that you have experienced a kick back while cranking on mag?"
Well, yes, but it was not the Ford mag. It was a Bosch drive and DU4 magneto. The linkage worked well, but seemed a bit short on travel. Best performance at full advance put starting at full retard a bit close to the back-fire point. I never had much trouble with it. But twice when kick starting it did back-fire, and was somewhat memorable. It also back-fired a few times while hand cranking (until I got the adjustment dialed in).
I have been told that a Ford magneto is pretty tough to get a back-fire out of. But I do not believe it. If the spark is left in the running position, it should be firing a bit before TDC, and should therefore back-fire. The thing is, that because a bit more RPM is needed to fire the spark from the mag, people cranking the car usually pull just a bit harder and faster, hopefully enough to push it through the fire and keep running. That may be the idea, but I wouldn't count on it. Check that spark timing control lever before cranking!
A bit of a drift from back-fires, but still on magnetos. Dan H, one of my long-time best friends, likes to show how well and easily his '15 depot hack starts on mag. Fairly slow, quarter crank only. When the coils are properly adjusted, if the Ford magneto is decent, they do start with a slow pull.
Crank and drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Thanks Wayne. Yes, that's what I have heard as well. I wouldn't trust it not to kick back on mag either.