O.k., this is probably elementary stuff but I assume you're supposed to retard the timing prior to shutting off the engine? I have done it both ways, and when I don't retard the timing it can be really hard to start but when I retard the timing it starts on the first or second pull.
It doesn't matter when shutting the engne off, to retard or not. But, upon starting always retard the spark! You can risk an injury by not doing so!
Bill -- Yes, retard the spark every time so there's no possibility of an accident when starting next time. Then, as you turn off the key, pull the throttle down for a second to charge the cylinders with fuel/air and it'll be easier to start.
Seems to me I read somewhere that whereby one retards the timing, lets it idle for around 5 seconds or so, it results in some unburned fuel left in the cylinders. This is why it usually starts easier after doing that, but naturally it would be within a "reasonable" amount of time afterward, and not like hours later. I do know, like Bill, it does the same thing for me, although I've only forgotten to bring the spark lever to retard once, on my '20 and yes, it grunted when I pushed the starter button. Let it go, pushed lever up, hit button again and zoom, lit right off. Just sayin.
Retarding the spark should be a compulsive habit, regardless of whether it changes how easily the car starts. I just returned from a tour which included nine Model Tís. After a lunch stop, I came out to the parking area early. I did the usual Q&A with visitors who stopped to ask about the cars. In the process, I wandered around and found seven of the nine Model Tís with the spark lever down. I put them all up. (Sorry if I infringed. Who knows? I may have prevented a broken arm.)
My mother always taught me, flushing the toilet is a two-handed operation. The left had pulls the lever, and the right hand closes the lid. Well, turning off a Model T is similar. The left hand retards the spark, and the right hand turns off the switch. Just my 2Ę.
Just make it a habit to retard the spark. I killed my engine while fine tuning the carb once. Without thinking (did not retard) I went around front and pulled the crank. After this 300 pound man stopped rolling around on the ground crying like a baby, I had a cast put on my arm.
So when the spark/timer lever is down the pistons fire on the upstroke, which causes the engine to kick back? Timer lever fully up, retarded, causes the piston to fire on the downstroke; so no back fire or kick back on the crank??? I just timed my so #1 fires just past TDC, on the downstroke. This engine is newly rebuilt and never been started. Tomorrow may be the big day; although I have said that before?
Chuck: RETARD THE SPARK. opps I had it on capitals, that was so you could hear me from Redding, Ca. I always do and a few times I almost made the mistake.
When I have forgotten and start to pull the crank up and feel it is really hard I know I am about to get hurt. I crank only with right hand, however I see guys use the left hand but to me it seems awakward(spelling)
Have fun and go out and enjoy the first start and ride!
I always fully retard for 5 secs at low idle before turning off, it was suggested on another forum to aid crank starting my vaporizer. It makes cranking quicker if it hasn't been too long a time frame so I do it on both my T's now out of habit.
i tried to start this T two days ago in the late PM. Starter turned over about 3 times and QUIT. No juice anywhere. I suspected a poor ground; as frame had been painted, battery bracket all painted, and so little bare metal contact. It was in low 90ís and my quanset shed gets really hot, so figured the next day. Ground the negative ground down to the frame. Put in gas/oil; it started right off after a new build. First time it ever ran. I am a happy camper!!!!
I'm with Kevin. Retard the spark and let it idle for just a bit. Maybe 10/15 seconds then off.
Congrats Chuck, sounds like you got it all right. Happy T'ing.
I agree that retarding the spark before turning off the ignition is a good safety feature for the next time the engine is started. It does not make any difference as far as getting the engine to stop, and should not become such a habit that one assumes it is retarded before the next start. One should still check to retard the spark before starting.
Next thing Mike walker. Opening the throttle to draw in some fuel mixture might be OK if you are planning to start the engine again soon or if you want to get a "free" start, but this habit can wash the oil off the cylinder walls and rings which will cause earlier need for rebuilding due to "dry" starts.
Another precaution when parking the vehicle for a longer period than just a few minutes or an hour is to Shut off the fuel valve and let the engine run until it starves for gas. This will drain the carburetor and make it less likely to drip on your garage floor. Note: Even if your carburetor does not leak now, they have a tendency to do so and it could happen when you least expect. If you do this be sure to check the carburetor when you turn on the fuel again to be sure the float did not stick open.
I second Mr. Kling's ideas about turning off the fuel and running the fuel out of the carburetor. It is most important if you trailer the car, as bouncing around on a trailer causes the float to bounce up and down, thereby allowing drips of fuel to overflow the carb. One time, on a trip from Louisiana to North Carolina, I wasted most of a tank of gas on the floor of my trailer that way. What a mess! And when I opened the trailer, there was a highly explosive mixture inside.
Another reason to run the carb dry when putting the car away, is that you really never know how long it will be before you start it again, And, fuel that evaporates from the carb leaves a residue that can build up and cause problems.
Oh, and I have had the float stick open a few times, as he suggested. A moderate 'thwak' with any tool or handle of a tool I have handy, does the trick.
Don't be the retard and not retard your T.
I had a similar issue to Peter with my Coupe, filled it up to the top and parked it in the garage. Next morning I could smell fuel when i walked out the back door of my house and thought strange. I decided to go to the garage and opened the door to find it swimming, every last drop run out! What a mess, 4 weeks later the garage still stinks of fuel. I don't know why it stuck open....I normally remember to turn the fuel off, I have a 12v auto shutoff ready to fit.
You should time your engine so when the lever is all the way up it fires 15 degrees after top dead center, not "just after" as you stated. You can use the TW tool to do this. http://www.twcomponents.com If you are setting the timing by feel or guessing you run the risk of a broken arm! JMHO, Rod
Rod: Thanks for the info. I have seen this tool as it was in the Anderson timer instructions. So I will get one. My first goal was to get this engine running, as I knew very little about it other than it was Ďoverhauledí. It looks pretty good so far? Now I will put a body on the frame, rewire, and fine tune it. Lots more to do. I supposed most of us have started our Tís with the timer lever down? Sometimes you just forget? How many times have I started the T and run down the road, only to have forgotten to open the gas valve and run out of gas. Or crank the engine over and forget to turn on the switch? Chuck
Nonsense! Just make sure you retard the spark before you start the car. In fact I have a slightly different method for my non starter T's. After I prime the cylinders, 3 quarter turns, with the key off, I then put the switch on battery with the throttle lever about 4 or five notches down and then retard the spark. It usually, but not always starts on compression.
Larry what do you mean retard the spark?do you advance it with key off? I am afraid to blow the muffler. I was getting a lot of free starts by advancing the spark with key on but sometimes it would back fire now I just advance it 3 notches if it dont start I pull the crank
Paul, when I shut off the engine the spark lever is already advanced. It stays there until I have primed the engine three quarter turns with the key off. Then I put the key on bat, and then retard the spark. Normally it will start on compression, but not always.