I was always a skeptic of the Bad Gas Theory because I never had the slightest trouble in that department. But this recent experience is making me a believer. Again, my roadster became harder to start, even harder, then wouldn't. During this harder starting phase I was apparently misled by its starting on BAT but not on MAG. That made me think my recently rebuilt engine's magneto was going south on me.
But when I drained a little gas from the tank I found dirty water in it. So once again I took off the carburetor, took it apart, removed the set screws, and blew out all the passages. Then, just so I'll be able to see the problem coming if it recurs, I installed the glass bowl kindly provided by Justin Heim. That job took me a whole day, but eventually I Rube Goldberged it in.
In one of the parts stores a guy I've known for twenty years facetiously asked, "Why do you work on old cars?" I told him, "Because I like going into stores and getting blank stares."
Anyway, with the carburetor cleared and clean gas reaching it, I was able to start the car several times on both BAT and MAG, and even got a couple of free starts.
The last thing I did was add some Heet to the tank.I'm down to about three gallons, so I think my next step will be to take the car into town and fill up with some 100% non-ethanol gas.
Glad you're making progress Steve. Did you mention Rube Goldberg to your parts store guy? I'd bet that would get a blank stare from him too.<g> Dave
Despite those who think ethanol isn't a big issue, it really IS a big pain. It draws moisture! Plain and simple. Said moisture is in the air in copious quantities especially in the summer in the form of very high dew points. Ironically though, those same high dew points I will staunchly argue helps make at least my cars engines run better than on days of a low dew point. Extra hydrogen in the air? I say you bet! Last night my '20 purred like a kitten, wanted to fly like a bird. So I let her. Dew point was 67 degrees. Your glass bowl Steve should help separate the water some before it gets to the carb and certainly allow you to see it easier and drain it easy. Good thinking. Maybe we all need a Racor water separator/filter on our cars like I've had on all my diesel engines?
Speaking of blank stares at parts stores, a couple of years ago I went in to my local NAPA to some fresh plugs for my T. I was holding an example plug (always bring the old part with you) and the guy behind the counter saw it and said "You're working on something really old, like a tractor or maybe a Model T". I was impressed, but the kicker was the guy behind me was holding some bent up piece of fuel line and he took one look at that and said, "That's from a marine engine, older though. I'm guessing Greymarine" He was correct. This is my favorite parts store.
I have been running a glass bowl filter similar to yours since lizzy came back to life 3 years ago. Whenever I'm under the car I check the filter and so far, I've never seen any water or crud in it. I only use gasoline mixed with ethanol (E10) and it has never been a problem in our temperature range of about 20 deg to 100 deg.
All systems will pick up water from condensation, but if you remember we used to add alcohol years ago so the water would mix with the gas and burn harmlessly. (Obviously that only worked to a point!)
Crud is something else and usually gets in from where you buy the gas or a rusty tank.
I think you made a wise move with the glass bowl filter!
Is this the same car you had issues hand cranking until you removed the magneto post fuzz? You reported the fuzz appeared to be the root cause preventing ability to hand crank/start. Is that still true or did the problem return due to this issue excluding the mag post fuzz as the root cause? Interested to know if the mag post fuzz can degrade magneto performance. Thanks.
By the way, enjoy your many illustrated DIY projects. Thanks for taking the time to share them with the Forum.
A Rube Goldberg ?
I think we need a Steve Jelf.
Many of his fantastic ideas deserve to be categorized in a special way.
This is meant to be be with all due respect toward Steve.
In my opinion Steve is a Model T hero and when (if) I grow up I want to be like him.
I wonder if we can have a Steve Jelf day!
The fuel valve at the tank is fitted with a drain cock, why not open the valve at regular intervals and drain any moisture out? There is a tool available to reach under the same as opening the oil cocks. Every time I fly my airplane I open the fuel cock to check for water and every time there are a few drops. If not done regularly the droplets will accumulate. This is akin to draining the water out of a compressor at regular intervals.
Mike: Yes, same car. I thought there might be more fuzz in the mag post, but I checked it and all was fine. This time it was the fuel problem.
David: Yes, if I remember to drain the bulb that will work. If I forget and moisture gets past the sediment bulb the glass bowl will tell me. I do use my home made oil checker for the fuel drain. It's not beautifully symmetrical, but it works.
If your car has been setting a while and you are having a problem getting it to start, the problem is not water in the gas, it's more likely water under the gas. That fitting on the bottom of the sediment bowl, and also on the bottom of the carb will allow you to remove an ounce or two of fuel so you can see the the condition of the gas.if it doesn't look right, drain the tank into a 5 gallon gas container, pore in a cup of water and let it set over night. The water ethanol and dirt will settle to the bottom of the container and the pure good gasoline can go back into the tank. The ethanol and water you separate from the tank will evaporate in a short time. Remember NO SMOKING