I've only had my Model T Touring for a couple of months, and know little about the mechanics. It has been running great, but today, I've had backfiring/stalling problem. At first the car ran good in low gear, but would backfire and stall if put into high gear. Then it began backfiring and stalling in low. I'm wondering if any of the following could be causing the problem.
1. I retard the spark to start the car, but now sometimes increasing the spark does seem to work. There is no difference in sound as it is increased. 2. My husband left the gas turned on overnight. Could this make any difference? 3. The time I drove it prior to this, I tried to go up a steep hill. I retarded the spark as I was told to do, but the car did not make the top of the hill. It cut off. I did not try again (rolled backwards and went a different route.
Leaving the gas on overnight would not cause a problem unless it drained out and is now low.
You might be having trouble with the timer. They can be a bit finicky at times.
There are numerous books about the mechanics (and electrics)of the model T that make for good bedtime reading but it would be best if you connected with some T people in your area - there is nothing like hands on help.
A very common problem is that vibration can cause the fuel mixture adjustment rod to screw itself inward (clockwise) while driving, especially at high speed. It only has to move a little bit to cause the engine to get too much air and not enough fuel which will cause backfiring and shutdown. When this happen, you can turn the rod to the left just a bit while driving and the problem will immediately go away . It you look under the hood at the other end of the rod, you will see a brass nut that can be tightened ever so lightly so that the rod is a bit harder to turn. This should prevent it from walking in the future.
Of course the problem could be something else entirely.
I agree with Fred nothing like an experienced "T" person there to help and teach. This could be a bad ignition switch, a bent pin in the roller or brush in the timer, or because you said there is no difference in sound when the timing is advanced something may be amiss in the spark linkage.
Sounds like a fuel starvation issue to me. It could have low fuel in the tank or it could be a clog in the fuel line. It is quite common for a little rust or sediment to work it's way into the float needle in the carburetor. This partially clogs the passage and will allow fuel to get into the bowl when the car is parked, and it will start and run fine until the float level drops due to the partial blockage. Then if you are increasing speed or pulling a hill it will start to backfire and stop running. If you let the car set for a few minutes it will start again and repeat the process. Too low fuel in the tank will cause similar problems but it won't start again until more gas is added to the tank or the car is moved facing downhill.
The low fuel problem is easiest to fix. Just add more. The clogged line will take some disassembling and blow out with compressed air. Frequently draining the sediment bulb to remove sediment will also help prevent the problem. Sometimes a new gas tank will be the solution if the inside is full of rust.
If I were trouble shooting this problem I would first check the fuel level in the tank and add more if it is low. If that doesn't fix the problem I would check the ignition system to be sure you are getting good strong spark to each cylinder. If your ignition is good, then I would next check the fuel system for clog.
Annette, You haven't said what year your Touring is. If it's a late '26 or a '27, and if it has a Vaporizer Carburetor, the carburetor could be your problem.
I had a Vaporizer carburetor on my '27 Fordor when I first got it, and if often backfired at mid rage to higher speeds. I just took it off and put an NH carburetor on and that fixed the problem. Vaporizers are known for being troublesome. Does your car have a Vaporizer carburetor?
Check the easy things first.
A failed coil or malfunctioning timer can cause the trouble you describe.
Ron the Coilman
As others have suggested, I also believe the problem is most likely in the timer or perhaps elsewhere in the ignition. Let's start with the timer first since, as Ron states, it's the easiest place to begin. Since you're new to Model T's, do you know where the timer is and how to remove & inspect it?
Keith Gumbinger, my Touring is a 1924. As far as I know it is all original except for a valve added to the fuel line so that you can turn on the gas without going under the car. It has new spark plug and a new battery. Thanks to everyone for your suggestion.
Annette - Thank you for advising that your Touring is a '24. That means it did not come with a Vaporizer and it is very unlikely that anyone would have put one on it, so that's not your problem.
You state that there is no difference in the sound when you increase the spark. There should be a big difference. It should run smoother and speed up some if you increase the spark. I would head to the timer and look for problems.
No, Jerry VanOoteghem, I do not know where the time is or how to remove it. Are there online instructions?
Norman Kling, you may have hit it. The fuel is not low, but if I let the he car set for a few minutes it will start again and then repeat the process. I for got to mention that the coils have been tested and one coil replaced, so I'm guessing that is not a problem.
You really should find a fellow T owner in your area Annette and I hope you weren't saying in your initial message that you were starting with MORE advance. That will cause a backfire when starting and one of two things can happen: the starter will be damaged and require replacement which is roughly a $300 touch to your wallet (or) if you are hand cranking, you can end up with a broken forearm ... you must ensure your ignition system is properly timed to prevent either situation from happening. Again, find a local T owner in your area to help you learn about the T's ignition system.
Happy T-ing !
Annette, I second folks' recommendations that you contact an experienced fellow Model T'er in your area to take a look at your car.
If you want to look at the timer yourself, it is mounted on the front of the engine, near the oil filler pipe, see the attached sketch. First, there is a rod that goes from the steering column to the top of the timer, it will be retained by a cotter pin. Remove the cotter pin at the timer and pull the arm out of the fitting at the top of the timer. Then loosen (don't remove) the bolt shown with the red arrow and let the spring arm swing down out of the way. You should then be able to pull the timer cover out of the way (it will still be attached to the four colored wires that go in a harness over by the frame rail). Take a picture of your timer setup before and after you take the timer cover off and post the pictures here so that folks can look at them and make suggestions.
Remember to resize the pictures to a file size under 250 KB before you post them.
I had a similar problem a week ago. It turned out to be the 12 volt battery. My first thoughts were timer etc. I switched to the Mag and it was smoothe no back firing. When I measured the voltage it was 10.2 so I pulled it from under the seat and found that several of the cells were very low. As this battery was older I replaced it with a new one.
If you do anything with the timer, it depends on what timer you have. The original ones or reproductions of original have a roller which makes contacts with metal segments around the rim of the timer. This area needs to be cleaned and greased.
There is a New Day timer or other similar which has a brush contact, not a roller. That type needs to be clean but doesn't need to be greased.
There is also an Anderson or Anco timer which has a flapper which makes contact with segments on the outside edge of the cover. That timer needs to be clean and a small amount of grease applied to the flapper. There is a special grease available from the manufacturer which is best to use. Vasoline will also work.
When you install the timer cover be sure to rotate it and look at it in all positions that the wires are tucked behind the tension spring and that none of them are grounded to any part of the engine and also that they are not in contact with the fan belt.