Hi all....this is Malia....Bill Eads Srs daughter....I have been enjoying Ms Henrietta (25) to know end. My 3 year old took a pic of her to daycare to hang on the family wall. He is a T Nut in the making. Lol
Problem.....all of a sudden she won't turn over. Can't get her with the battery...even after we charge her... And hand crank gets a spudder but won't turn over
Thought a few things...gas line might be clogged? Spark plugs look very new.
Anyone have any trouble shooting we can do....my soul needs a trip around the neighborhood. Tomorrow is Noah's bday too....Big 3....he wants a ride in his model t. Help please.
The parking brake lever's not possibly close to, or even forward in the "high range" by any chance is it? This would cause you to try to start the engine "in gear" so to speak and probably would be very difficult to do. It's also possible that your battery is just plain shot, charged or not. You can have a dead cell or two in it and it still seems charged, but not enough amperage or "oompf" left in the battery to provide enough power to spin the starter. That's a good possibility, even in a fairly new battery.
Thank you so much for a reply. Parking brake is all the way back. I do remember that trick from Daddy as for the battery....shouldn't I be able to crank it to start???
If the coils are buzzing you should be able to crank start it. Sometimes even if the coils buzz it won't start if the battery is really down however. Try jacking up a rear wheel and move the brake lever forward so the brake is not set but it is still in neutral to make it easier and crank it with the switch off, full choke and the throttle open all the way for six cranks or until gas drips from the carburetor, whichever happens first. Then, close the throttle so it is down only a few notches, turn on the switch and give it a crank but be sure the spark lever is all the way up first.
When was the last time it was starting and driving fine?
When you say the engine will not turn over, do you mean you cannot turn it over with the hand crank (recommend having the ignition off while you are trouble shooting).
If it was starting and running fine and you went to use the starter and heard a "clunk" and after that the engine can no longer be turned over with the hand crank or the starter I would suspect the following: The most likely cause is the starter bendix is jammed against the teeth of flywheel ring gear. That will lock the engine up and prevent the starter and the hand crank from turning the engine over.
"IF" that is the cause, there is often an easy temporary fix. Have the ignition switch off. Put the car in high gear (emergency brake all the way forward). Rock the car back and forth by hand. When I was a very small boy I could do that by grabbing the spokes of the rear wheel and turning first one way then the other. You can also get a few friends and it makes it really easy. Going back and forth especially backwards will usually relieve the pressure on the starter bendix. It often sounds like something broke free. After that if you can turn it over by hand (again ignition switch off) then turn it 1/4 turn so you get a different set of teeth on the fly wheel for the starter to engage. On a four cylinder engine the starter engages in the same 4 general spots and will eventually wear them down.
If that is what caused the problem and the engine is now free, turn the gas on, ignition on, (be sure oil and water are at the proper level) and start the car normally with the starter. If that works remember it may or may not do that again. Usually it starts off doing it occasionally and then becomes more and more often. Another option is to turn the engine about a quarter turn before you use the starter and you should be on a new section of gear teeth.
Please let folks know if that is what happened or if the engine already turns over but just won’t start.
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Also recommend you consider calling the contact person for the Tennessee T’s and ask him if there are any T Folks near Atoka, TN. Gary Tillstrom is listed with his phone at: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm click on TN. And you may be closer to one of the other chapters in a near by state so check those also. The MTFCI also has chapters and their contact page is: http://www.modelt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=15 Your Dad did so much for so many in our hobby. I’m sure any one close by would be more than willing to stop by and give you a hand. It is also often much easier if you are there looking at the car rather than reading and typing.
Hopefully it is just something minor that can be fixed easily. Good luck and please let folks know more about when the trouble started, what you mean by won’t turn over, etc. And of course once the problem is solved please let us know what solved the problem. It may help us all in the future.
Some additional trouble shooting information:
The “Model T Ford Service” book “T-1” is available online at: http://mtfci2002.readyhosting.com/manuals/Model_T_Service_Manual/mtsm.html it is an excellent reference for the later Ts that have starters. For trouble shooting why the engine will not start (or turn over) go to page 231. It discusses the possibility of the bendix gear binding on the flywheel ring gear as well as other potential causes. By the way – is the 3 year old allowed to play in the car unsupervised? If so, look for evidence of items dropped into the oil filler location. I new some kids that one time filled up a Model T engine with sand – they were having fun watching it pour in.
Also on line you will find the 1921 Instruction manual which will be very similar to the 1925 Instruction manual. A copy is on the club web site at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/bookmenu.htm
The trouble shooting chart is in the back and has:
ENGINE FALLS TO START
1. Gas mixture too lean.
2. Water in gasoline.
3. Vibrators adjusted too close.
4. Water or congealed oil in commutator.
5. Magneto contact point (in trans. cover) obstructed with foreign matter.
6. Gasoline supply shut off.
7. Carburetor frozen (in zero weather).
8. Water frozen in gasoline tank sediment bulb.
9. Coil switch off.
And the Ford Instruction Course manual is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/Course.htm
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It was about a week and a half ago that she was up and running. I can spin the fly wheel with the hand crank. But we have only got a spudder once or twice but she won't start. She may need a little oil but she's by no means low. Water is checked too.
I appreciate all the suggestions and help. I am ready to get her out and show her....but I gotta know all the ends and outs....whew....I should have taken more notes over the last 20 years lol.
Val...what would the cause gas not to drip from the carburetor to begin with...causing the need to lift as you mentioned?
Hap...I am definitely going to contact Gary. He mentioned there were many here in Nashville area. I was hoping there was a common sense fix I could try first.
I will one day make Daddy proud....with all your help maybe. I promised on his last day that I would get Henrietta her Sr Grand National award....I just gotta get her started again.
I will keep reading and posting answers and will update with an answer as soon as I have one.
Malia, if the car was running just a week ago, i would start with the necessities, fuel and spark. On the bottom of the carb, there is a valve, unscrew the valve a few turns to see if you have fuel flowing into it, if you have a good flow, then i would move on to spark. When you turn the engine over by hand with the key on (and the parking brake fully on!) can you hear the coils loudly buzzing?
john, We will check the carb...yes sometimes we hear buzzing...sometimes we don't until we prime...and sometimes we hear a hum.
If you run the "trouble shooting" list in the “Model T Ford Service” book “T-1” available online at: http://mtfci2002.readyhosting.com/manuals/Model_T_Service_Manual/mtsm.html starting at page 231, you will most likely find the cause or causes.
Note if your T has the wiring set up for the starter and generator like it came from the factory, you can turn the lights on and quickly see if the battery is really low or not. I.e. if they don't come on -- and they were working before -- the battery could be dead, the connection to the battery could be loose or corroded, the headlight switch could be bad or the wires to or from it, the bulbs could be burned out (normally only one bulb would be burned out not both of them) etc.
Having someone who could stop by would most likely save you a lot of frustration and typing. One quick check to confirm it is not the ignition but a lack of gas, is to spray some starting fluid (others recommend WD-40) in the carburetor intake. If it starts and runs for just a moment, that is often a sign that it is not getting the proper fuel/air mixture. Be very careful as the car can back fire and cause a fire. It is a good idea to have the car
out of the garage and a fire extinguisher handy when you are using starting fluid etc.
Also double check that the gas is on -- many of us have forgotten that at one time or another. Note some cars have an on-off switch near the carburetor as well as the one under the gas tank. Unscrew the gas cap and listen for air rushing into the tank. If you hear a vacuum being broken sound that would indicate the air vent in the cap is clogged. If it is, clean the vent hole. And be sure there is at least 1/2 inch of gas in the tank. It can actually be less -- but having 1/2 inch makes it easy to see etc.
Good luck and don't get frustrated. It is supposed to be fun. If it isn't -- take a break.
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hap....it really is fun....mainly cause anyone who knew my dad knows he would be shaking his head and would go right to the problem and fix it lol.
I appreciate all the help and will try a few things first and make a call to see if there is a local near by.
Will keep everyone posted.
Malia, lifting a wheel is just to make it easier to crank. It has nothing to do with gas dripping. If you do what I suggested and gas does not drip you are not getting enough fuel either because the fuel level is low or there is a block in the line. You should be getting a decent buzz from each coil and if not the battery must be very weak or you have an ignition problem. Make sure the battery is good and the connections are clean before you do anything else. It isn't clear from your description if the starter turns the engine over but it doesn't start or if the starter does not spin the engine. If it is the latter the battery or the connections may be bad. But if the starter spins the engine the problem is fuel or ignition. If it is ignition it is probably the commutator or the coils if you are running a stock system. If you can remove the spark plugs and lay them on the top of the engine with the wires attached and you crank it over by hand with the ignition switch on battery each plug should spark. If not your problem is ignition.
A lot if good info here. Lots to try.
Thanks a ton.
Good luck Malia, let us know how you made out with all the suggestions.
I have enjoyed reading this thread, and although I have nothing to add in the suggestion department, however, I would like to say what a wonderful Forum this is. I am sure that Malia has the right attitude, and with the help from the forum, and/or some hands on help from someone nearby she will have her car running very soon.
Malia, you are obviously not going to let this little problem spoil your fun, and solving the problem will add to your learning about the car. I wish you lots of luck,
Malia...as I continue reading your posts as well as the excellent suggestions from others a thought just came to me from a long time ago from a former, excellent mechanic that worked for me. He always said "Tweety, (that was my nickname), ya always wanna start with the easiest things first". So that's why now I'll go back to your battery. Easiest to check, and if it's bad, easiest and probably cheapest to replace. First, just how old is it? 2. How long has it been since it was charged, be it by the engine, or a battery charger? A dead, and even very low battery can be brought "back to life", but oftentimes it has suffered irreperable damage to where it won't turn an engine over. 3. TEST the battery not just with a voltage meter, but with a load tester. This will probably necessitate taking it in to the parts store where they'll test it for free. Most people don't own a load-tester for batteries.
If it checks out 100%, then move on to the "other stuff" from there! JMHO!!
Dane, this is a great forum. My father was TNut through and through. I know he made a lot of friends here and would be smiling at he help you are all providing me. I watched him take a rusty beat down model t and transform her to the beauty he saw from the moment his father purchased her when he was a child. Blood sweat and tears went into bringing Henrietta to life. Now his life was cut too short. Now I will keep his legacy alive....yes I am a woman... Can I do anything he did. Oh yes. I am my Dads daughter....I just need to learn her. My husband and I are in it with our entire soul. We are honestly so nervous about doing anything in fear we will break her. .
Thank you all for all the suggestions.... And helping this new model t owner.
You have at least one of two issues. Follow Val's suggestion with the key off, hand cranking with the choke out to see if you can get gas to drip out of the carb. If you are unable to get gas to drip you are either low, line plugged or sediment bowl plugged, gas not turned on, or the float valve inside the carb is stuck. You can tap on the carb with a screwdriver handle a few times and often free a stuck float valve. That covers one of the issues (fuel delivery).
The other item is electrical related. We know for sure you have that issue. As suggested, remove the battery and take it to autozone for testing. Use caution and remove the ground cable first. This is supposed to be the - lead but many T's are backwards. The reason for removing the ground wire first is if you have a wrench on the hot cable and accidentally touch make contact with anything metal you will draw a spark and there will be hydrogen present. The results are not what you want. When you re-install the battery, install the ground cable last.
While your at autozone, buy a battery brush. Clean everything, the post and cables. When you put it all together apply grease of some sort to keep the cables from corroding.
Once you know you're getting fuel and know the battery is good, if it still won't start we can go from there but that will eliminate a lot of possibilities. Troubleshooting is a process of elimination.
The condition of the plugs after you have tried starting the motor will give you a idea of what's going on in the motor. If they look wet and black, you have fuel and no spark. Remove a sparkplug and looked at the porcelain inside the plug? If its all black and sooty the spark will use the carbon as a path and will not jump the gap. This build up of carbon in the plug can happen very quickly if the fuel mixture is a little rich or if the automobile is started and run for only a short period of time and not brought up to full operating temperature. If the plugs are the take a part type, I use a buffing wheel and buffing compound to clean the porcelain. Caution, a wire brush will leave fragments in the porcelain and provide a path even though it looks pretty clean. If not the take a part kind, a torch can be use to burn the carbon off, but this is real tricky and the plug must be heated very slowly until its very hot and still there is big danger of cracking the porcelain, best to replace the plug.
Could your problem be as simple as discharged 6 volt battery ?? Did you leave the lights on ?
Call me, my number is in your dad's phone.
The battery did not want to hold a charge well the day I was working on the car. I suspect you just need a new one. Be sure the new battery is not over charging. It looked like the car has an original old style cutout on the generator, you might consider one of the Fun Projects voltage regulators to protect both the new battery and the generator.
Please start with the battery condition. Do/change one part of the equation at a time before you change too many things and still have the same problem or more problems.
The Fun Projects regulator for the generator is a great electronic improvement for the Model T generator.
The original style generator cut-out is a mechanical electromagnetio switch that can fail by the internal points sticking, therefore dischargine the battery after the ingition switch is turned off.
If you left gas that is the kind that has alcohol in it has gone sour. Drain the fuel out and put fresh gas in it. The new gas with alcohol goes bad within a month. I have had the same problem a couple of years ago. I either drain the old gas and run it in a motor I do not care about. Or I use a product called Sea Foam to make the alcohol gas run through the motor, If you look on the network you can find stations that sell plain gas without alcohol in them. I think it's www.puregas.net
My correction, It's www.pure-gas.org
Didn't see this in the thread, but, did you or someone turn off the gas at the sediment bulb or at a shutoff by the Carburetor? I hear that is a common trick to play on people when Model T folks get together.
Wow....all it was..the battery. This beauty is perfect. Not a flaw. I love this sound.
thank you all for your help. I appreciate everyone's advice. Next time I will try the simple solution first.
now, I'm just trying her up and take her for a spin.
Woohoo, another happy ending!
If you do indeed have a cutout, the Fun Projects regulator is a very worthwhile update.
Be sure to get the correct regulator that matches your electrical system voltage and ground (stock T's are 6 volt, negative ground).
I’m glad you got Ms Henrietta your Dad’s and if I understood it correctly his Dad’s 1925 going again. I know your Dad would be proud of you for that! Quick question, is Ms Henrietta a touring or roadster?
And I would encourage you to contact Gary and obtain the names of some of the T folks near you. A “T” is simple enough that you can learn the things you need to know to keep it running from the owner’s manual, The Model T Service Manual etc. But it is a lot easier and more fun if you have others that you can share the learning experience with.
Also, it sounds like Ms Henrietta is tuned up and runs well. Assuming a relatively stock engine and not one that has a really high compression accessory head, you should be able to easily start her with the hand crank even when it the car is cold. No, not as easily as using the starter, but without too much effort either. Even with a very low battery, if it will make the coils sing, you could even turn the engine over with the switch off and choke pulled and then go sit in the car and turn the switch on and have the car start. Below is a short extract from the 1907 Ford Model N & R Runabouts owner’s manual:
At “3” Noah is probably still a little too small to hand crank the T. But in the “blink of an eye” he will be ready to do that for you. For a short story about a little boy cranking his T, please see the posting at http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/10844.html . That boy still has that T and a lot of good memories. It is never too early to start building those memories.
Again, we are so glad you car is running good again. Life is short, have fun with your T and your family.
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(Message edited by Hap_tucker on May 03, 2015)
You're welcome, Malia, I told you it was the battery!!! LOL ...and yes, like I advised from advice given me...start simple, go from there! Enjoy your car! Nice to see an enthusiastic gal behind the wheel of a T!
Lovely photo, Malia! Very glad the problem is solved, but think of what you have learned from the experience, and No1 would be that you can ask for help here and it will be generously given.