Yesterday I headed for town in the 1915 roadster. It ran normally for a couple of miles, then started stuttering, then bucking, then died. I started it up again and headed for home. The car idled OK, but driving it soon brought on more symptoms of fuel starvation. It would run for a bit, then sputter, then die. The first time I got about a half mile before it died when I started up the hill from the river. Three more times I got it started, it ran at idle, but went only about thirty feet before it died again. A neighbor passing by helped me shove it off the road and gave me a ride home, where I took the NH apart and blew out all the passages for the umpteenth time. I really couldn't find anything wrong with the carburetor. No little bits of foreign matter that I could see. So I took the carburetor back to the car, put it on, started up, and headed for home. This time I made it to the top of the hill, down the other side, and was halfway up the next hill when the same old thing happened. One last time I restarted, and made it up the hill, and was able to drive the remaining mile and a quarter home without the car dying again, but it still wasn't quite right.
The only part of this car's fuel system I've never touched was the sediment bulb screen. I once tried to check it, but the flange was screwed into the bulb so tight that I gave up trying to open it for fear of wrecking the thing. Maybe, I thought, that screen has a lot of accumulated trash restricting the fuel flow. So this morning I drained the tank, took off the sediment bulb, and tried to open it up. After trying with several different wrenches, even a pipe wrench, all I was doing was chewing up the flange. So finally I brought out the heat wrench, turned the flange red, and let it cool. That got it loose.
I found some debris around the outer edges of the screen, but it doesn't look to me like enough to cause fuel starvation.
So now I'm up a row of stumps. This dying problem has me totally mystified. I used Heet to be sure there was no water in the gas, and there isn't. The last time I filled the tank I made sure I got non-ethanol fuel. During all these run-die, run-die, run-die adventures I tried all sorts of spray needle settings, and none of them cured the problem. I don't know what to try next.
Try bypassing the tank and lines completely - hang a (clean, vented) gas can filled with filtered, fresh gas somewhere above the carb with a rubber line going to the carb. If the car runs fine with the jury-rigged setup, then a problem still exists somewhere in the stock fuel feed system. If the car still acts up, then the problem is in the carb or maybe isn't fuel related at all.
I would imagine you have checked it, but is your gas tank vent open? Maybe try drilling the vent hole in the cap the next size bigger. Do you have a lid over the gas tank that sits on the cap and blocks the vent?
Keep us posted!
Steve, Sounds like maybe a float, needle valve issue. Im wondering if the needle is sticking almost closed ???? I have no good test for you to use. Have you tried another carb. If you can get one from a running car to try, it could rule out the carb as the problem. Also I would check the placement of the gas line to the exhaust. Its summer time in Kansas. It could be vapor lock. ??? Keep us posted ...
I have been following your problem on the forum and I can sympathize with you. I had a similar problem with my '13 Touring. I wasn't sure if it was dirt from the tank, some kind of restriction, or vapor lock.
Eventually I got so fed up that finally just ordered a new tank and sediment bulb. When I installed the new tank and bulb, I replaced the fuel line to the carb and made sure the line had a nice down hill slope to the carb. Over the years the line had gotten bent, spliced, and kinked in various places.
After doing that my problems disappeared. I have also incorporated a quick drain of the sediment bulb into my pre-drive routine while I'm under the car checking the oil.
I like Mark's idea as well!
Once you check the vapor lock, needle and float, then go back and check your manifolds against the engine. Sometimes at idle it runs cooler but when you open her up a gap or two against the block could expand and cause air to suck in and screw up your fuel mixture. Just an idea.
I had a similar problem once, it turned out to be a piece of debris that would occasionally cover up the opening just like a tub stopper. Is your tank spotless inside?
I agree with the bypassing the tank idea, process of elimination will see you through.
Maybe the fuel line is too close to the exhaust pipe somewhere? I usually run it across the exhaust as far to the rear as possible. That way the pipe is cooler and the line is separated by a couple inches from the pipe.
Disconnect the fuel line at the carb, open the fuel valve, there should be a good flow. Do this on the gravel or catch it in a container. When it is idling spray some water around the carb gasket and see if it sputters, this would indicate a vac leak
If you've got a good flow out the pipe at the carb + a decent amount of fuel in the tank after all you've done I'm going with vapor lock too. What's the fuel lines position? Just for laughs how's the tank vent?
This is far out in left field, and I'm sure the suggestions above are much better, but "I had the same problem" (as has been said above) a couple of years ago with my '17.
It started fine, idled fine, but would sputter and die almost the same place (flat road!) every time I drove it. Would restart fine, idle fine, and drive a little farther, then sputter and die. No hills, all flat road.
Every one said fuel related problems, I did all the things suggested above, no difference. Pretty much gave up driving that car. No fun.
Several months later on, car wouldn't idle when I switched key to magneto, but mag was fine. Took ignition apart, found short in ignition and a short in the coil box, both of which had been badly repaired in the past. Vibration of driving must have caused the wires to connect, separate, connect, etc. Rewired them and never had my so-called "fuel" problem again.
Again, out of left field, but just another suggestion. Good luck.
I had a similar problem in my '23. Turned out that there was a tree leaf in the gas tank. It would lie flat and drift under the bottom edges of the baffles, just out of sight when I'd look in the tank, then when running down the road (fuel sloshing around) the leaf would drift over the sediment bulb opening and shut off the fuel. Then when it had killed the engine and all was still, it would drift back out of sight under the baffles. It about drove me nuts.
How is your fuel line routed? It should be higher at the ends than in the center. There should be no high point in the line. The reason is if you should get an air bubble in the line, and this can happen if you fill a completely empty tank or if you get the fuel so hot it vaporizes in the line. The air or vapor will compress and rise to the high point in the line. If both ends slope upward from the lowest point, that bubble will rise either into the tank or into the carburetor and pass into the air.
All the above ideas are also worth consideration. I understand there is a screen made or a small standpipe made to fit to the end of the bulb which screws into the tank which will keep debris from blocking the line. Worth a try anyway. Keep trying, eventually you will find the cure.
I think we can rule out the trash-in-the-tank/floating-leaf theory. The sediment bulb has had a vertical screen on top for years. It would let water through, but not chunks of debris. Is I mentioned above, the gas I drained out today was remarkably unpolluted.
I doubt the vapor lock hypothesis because I installed the line so it goes under the exhaust pipe and is no closer to it at any point than 2¾". BUT I will hang clothespins on it the next time I drive, just in case.
I got sidelined today working on the sediment bulb. The valve needs fixing if I don't want to spend big bucks on a new bulb, and I don't. When I get that valve fixed I'll get back to the detective work and check out some of the suggestions above.
Is this the car you added the glass filter bowl on? If so check to see if the carb is taking fuel faster then the fuel line can refill the fuel bowl. If it is this would let air enter the system causing it to sputter. If you start up hill is the fuel running to one side of the glass fuel filter and not letting it reach the outlet line?
I've never tried one of those screen thingies. Interestingly, I have also never had the type of problems that Steve is describing.
Steve if you eliminate any of the things that are not like what came on the car originally you will find the car to be much more reliable.
You mentioned you routed the gas line UNDER the exhaust pipe. Proper routing of the gas line on 1915 cars with round gas tank is critical to maintain proper gas flow to the carburetor. Perhaps you should investigate correct routing of the gas line?
Ron the Coilman
Correct routing of the gas line means you'll need a correct exhaust pipe, and they're hard to find.. Vendors exhaust pipes lacks a couple of bends in the area, crossing with the gas pipe above a repro exhaust means it'll be too close. I'm crossing under the exhaust and it works fine.
I'm also voting for a try with a plastic extra tank hanging from the radiator rod to check if it is a tank/ gas pipe problem or not?
I read Bob's post and said "nayh" but you've done so much to the fuel system already that if it persists maybe a look at other things (read electrical) is needed. Coil box and timer wiring come to mind.
Steve, I'm just spit balling here but is your gas cap vented? I had this problem and it was a little spider nest in the vent hole. MG
I agree with you gas line routing ... heat rises and it should be much cooler 2" below the exhaust pipe than 2" above.
Can you temporarily remove the sediment bulb altogether and just use the strainer with the glass bowl? Suspect this will fix your problem.
I have a stainless fuel line (because I've had two copper ones break on me from vibration). Copper is a better conductor of heat so it could make the situation worse. I've had problems with vapor lock and have wrapped the line with insulation and some lagging. That sounds fancy but we were on the national MTFCA tour in KY 15 to 20 years ago and had vapor lock problems. We made a quick fix by going to the hardware store and bought some fiberglass insulation, like you would use in your house, and wrapped it with some aluminum foil. It was "quick and dirty" but it solved the problem. Keeping the tank full should help too as it will keep a little more pressure in the line.
If you are running an NH, you might want to check the needle and seat. Some of the old replacement seats had a .100 orifice. They should be .125. Been there done that. Lastly, doesn't a '15 still use a brass sediment bulb?
Judging guidelines say cast bronze sediment bulb. This one is cast iron, so it's 1916 or later. Don't tell anybody.
I would first try the fuel flow test, but put a container on the ground under the carb,
open the carb drain and see if you get a steady flow for AT LEAST a quart of gas.
That will prove the fuel flow through everything from tank to float valve.
I have seen two seldom driven cars with a build up of gray crud in the float valve that just will not come off with air or carb spray. It looks similar to the crud that I've seen cause intake valves to stick open but then that's our lovely CA. gas I suppose.
A good way to check for vapor lock is to drive without the exhaust system.
This morning I fixed the boogered-up sediment bulb valve and put the bulb back in the car. I decided to start with basics and go directly to Aaron's suggestion. If there's sufficient flow at the carburetor, then all the theories about why there isn't don't apply. So I hooked up the line just as it was, with no changes, and opened the carburetor drain valve. I let it run for several minutes until there was over a gallon in the pan. It looked OK to me, but I'd like the opinion of more experienced hands. What do you think?
Steve, please reset your video so that it isn't private, thanks!
Video is private. You have to allow other users to see it Steve.
Forgot to click Publish. Try it now.
Looks like enough flow to my untrained eye, but let's try a calculation.
Assuming a peak HP of 20, and a BSFC of 0.6 lb of fuel flow per HP-hour, it would take 12 lbs of fuel to maintain 20 HP for an hour. At a typical gasoline density of 6 lb/gallon (rough estimate), that would be 2 gallons per hour, or half a gallon in 15 minutes.
Did I do that right?
Of course, you don't drive your T at full HP for an hour, so the actual fuel flow required would be less.
Sure looks like plenty of fuel flow to me. I would try insulating the gas line next and if that doesn't work it's time to change out the carburetor. I have never encountered a vapor lock situation in any of my Model T's and I live in Florida where it gets hot enough to nearly boil the gas in the tank but I am told that it's not just heat but the existence of dips and bends in the line that can cause it.
If the car acts up again, a way to see if vapor lock is the culprit would be to wrap suspect areas of the fuel system with a cool, wet rag (poor man's cool can). Don't run it too long, or the rag might dry out and catch fire!
There is not enough flow.
Steve, believe your issue is that sediment bowl, the screen over the big brass nut you got loose, there is plenty of stuff stuck in that screen and caked in place. That screen has to be fully open.
Should be new or fully open.
To test this, since you relay more on that round up right tube of screen in the bore of the inlet of that sediment bowl. Remove the big nut again, and remove the entire old screen on that nut.
Then do your bowl test under the car!!
I've soaked those screens in carburetor cleaner, and blown compressed air from both sides, and eventually gotten all the bad stuff out. I've been able to reuse the screen again, after cleaning it real good with lacquer thinner. I've seen correct brass sediment bulbs for under $50.
Steve, you don't have a Grose valve in the carby do you? they are renouned for this sort of problem.
It must be contagious. When a friend stopped over and wanted to go for a ride we took the '27 Touring out last night for a run and only got about 1/4 mile down the road when it started bucking, sputtering, and coughing so I turned around nursed it home and we grabbed the '22 Coupe. So today after work I will look into the problem starting with all the suggestions above.
The Model A screen on top is probably sufficient. I've used those before and eliminated the bulb screen. Each screen will reduce flow by about 50% so I wouldn't use both. Also, the Model A screen is basically self cleaning of debris as the fuel moves in the tank.
Take seat out of carb and try that again. Looks like flow is not very good. What kind of needle and seat is that? Looks like one with the ball ( grose jet). They won't work. Been there tried that.
That screen is OK (certainly not "bad enough), and the flow looks good too. I'm with the float/needle valve/ move the fuel line guys.
I'm a bit slow this morning. Haven't dug into it yet. But I can eliminate the Grose jet theory for you. It's an NH with original type needle. Going to work now. I'll report later.
Steve, sure looks like previous owners have used pliers instead of a Crescent or open end wrench on the fuel line/screen's 'bung'.
I feel your pain. My 1926 Tudor is giving me fits also by not revving up/no top end. It starts and idles fine. Today I am replacing the fuel line between the sediment bulb and carb to eliminate a fuel filter that has been in there for years.
I'm a little more than frustrated at this point as I have already done most of the above. My gas line is no where near the exhaust pipe so vapor lock in my case is highly unlikely.
I'm running a dizzy and have replaced all things electrical EXCEPT the distributor itself.
OK, here's what I did so far. I had my doubts about the screen(s)-restricting-flow theory but I checked it out. I took the flange off the bulb again and gave the screen a very close examination.
It looked very clean to me. I wasn't able to find any debris clogging the mesh of the brass cloth.
There were differing opinions on the flow test in yesterday's video. Some thought it looked OK, and others didn't think it was enough. So I repeated the test, but without running it through the carburetor. Here's the flow from just the tank and line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NccVvn6U-GQ
That looks pretty good to me.
So I moved on to the carburetor. Consulting the carburetor book, I found that the brass float should be 3/16" to 1/4" from the carb body.
I found it more than 1/4", more like 9/32".
So I closed the gap to the minimum recommended setting, 3/16".
At this point it was time to take a test drive. You don't want to do several things, find the problem fixed, and not know what fixed it. On a drive around the block (two miles), the car ran OK for a bit then started its familiar stuttering and sputtering. I didn't find any spray needle setting that cured it. Opening the needle a little might help a bit, then back to stutter and sputter. Closing the needle a little might help a bit, then back to sputter and stutter. I did make it home without the thing dying, but it's definitely not right. I'll try more of the suggestions above, but I'm starting to suspect that my fuel problem might be electrical.
Steve: Measure with ruler setting on the machined flange & 15/64ths" to float
Steve- check for shorts in the coilbox or a floating coil that bounces when you drive and loses contact.
The image below is what I was referring to. The screen does NOT need to be clogged to reduce flow. The mere presents of the screen itself reduces flow when compared to "open" state. Depending on the size of the wire and mesh size, the restriction can be considerable.
Could be you have some bad gas. Try some fresh. you might be chasing the wrong problem. Gas flow to the carburetor looks OK to me. Maybe you have an electrical problem.
Your timer could be bouncing. Fabricate yourself a lamp bank with 4 lamps attach each lamp to a timer wire and the lamps should flash on a regular interval. Make the wires long enough to place the lamp bank on the floor. While driving observe flashing interval, if irratic you may have an electrical problem
You don't reckon there might be something wrong with the vent in the gas cap? Drive it with it loose or off and see.
The last 3 out of 4 posts are my suggestion too, I would look towards the electrical side as well as the gas, timer, coils, key switch, the key switch hitting and mostly missing was my carb problem. JD
OK, the presence of the screen reduces fuel flow. Does it reduce the flow enough to be a problem? Better yet, did it reduce the flow enough to be a problem in 15,000,000 Fords? Let's go back to junior high. A=pi(r²). I'm not going to take things apart and measure, but I think I can estimate the measurements close enough. I'd call the little opening that lets the fuel out of the bulb ¼". It may be slightly smaller or larger, but that's pretty close. Using the area formula I get .049 sq." for the area of that opening. How big is the screen? I think it's bigger, but I'll call it an inch. Again using the formula, I get an area of .7854 sq.". I have no idea what the mesh is in this screen, so I'll assume the worst and say it reduces the open area to 33%, cutting the flow by 2/3. That's equivalent to an open area of .259 sq.", letting through a little more than five times what that small outlet can take. That bit of simple math, plus the obviously plentiful flow shown in the second video, suggests to me that in this case the fuel supply is not a problem.
So what is the problem? Unless there's something in the carburetor that I've missed, at this point I'm leaning toward electrical. So I took out the timer rotor, which had a brush that didn't quite fit its space and wobbled around, and put in one that seemed more stable. I cleaned the inside of the timer cover with steel wool so there would be full contact everywhere, and reinstalled the timer. Trying it out, I started the car once on BAT. I switched to MAG and adjusted the carb to where it ran best, 1¼ turns out. I shut it off and started on MAG. I shut it off and restarted on MAG ten more times. No problem. So it was time for a test drive around the block. About half way around the sputtering and bucking started again, and no carburetor adjustment stopped it. There were even a few backfires, making me lean even more toward an electrical malfunction of some kind. Maybe this is the same problem Bob Bishop described. I'll check it out.
Switch the carburetor with another known good one and take a drive. That way you can cross the carburetor off the list.
Steve, i have an Anderson timer that is basically new and i know works perfectly, if you want it to rule out a timer problem, you can have it if you want. That way you can at least rule that out also.
I may take you upon that, John, but first I'm going to check out the box, the switch, and all the wiring.
I'm with Ken, remove the vertical screen on top. Possibly to much restriction with both. Also, the float level looks like it is set to high. Set the float so the side opposite the float needle is about 1/8 to 1/4" higher.
Not a problem Steve, PM me if you want it.
Backfire is caused by improper spark timing or a lean condition.
As for the flow requirement from your gravity feed system I say it's good. Your model t could not use enough fuel under the conditions you've driven it to cause an issue. The flow restriction in your fuel system would be the main jet and needle.
My bet is electrical gremlin somewhere.
Steve after reading your analysis of potential flow evaluation I noticed that your formula is incorrect. You have A=pi(r²) and that is the fallacy , A PI are not square they are round, a corn bread are square. On the solve side of my attempted humor, you may do two things, by pass the switch with a toggle switch from power to coil box, that will take out the switch as an issue on the battery side, once challenged and resolved you then disconnect the battery from the coil box and then connect a wire from your mag post to the coil box direct. Challenge that and solve. If all those result in the same issue I would think you have a cracked valve and as the engine heats up the gap widens causing the rough running and back firing . Just a thought
Steve saw your other post with the floor board upside down and noticed your coil box lid and it reminded me of a time when I was having an issue with the motor firing and running rough while driving down the road. After going through everything like you are doing I took the lid off and found that the metal bar that holds the coils down in the box was missing so as the car was going down the road the coils were bouncing and loosing contact.just a thought.
(Message edited by Jtt3 on August 11, 2015)
I'm inclined to go with Ted and Philip on fuel flow for two reasons.
1 This sure looks like plenty to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NccVvn6U-GQ
2 Why would those two screens, both of which look perfectly clear, suddenly become a problem? They were both in there when the car ran normally. How have they changed?
I also doubt the spray nozzle and needle theory. Has the opening in the nozzle shrunk? Has the needle changed in some way? After the car has run normally for half a mile, do they suddenly change somehow?
On the other hand, I can easily see how a loose wire or other intermittent electric bug could cause random changes in performance, especially changes that produce backfiring. A 1915 doesn't have a lot of electrical connections, so it shouldn't be a major undertaking to check them all.
To add to this, if you put one of those tank screen in a Model A, you have now 3, one in the sed. bulb, one in the carb and one in the tank.
Steve, have you tried switching out the coils with known good ones? A bad condenser on a distributer ignition can drive you can drive you nuts. Maybe a bad condenser in a coil? Just a thought. Dave
If it ran normally before, the problem is caused by something that happened since. Make sure you don't have any low spots in the fuel line. It needs to go over the exhaust pipe, or you can route it so far forward that it goes next to the hogshead, but in no case should the fuel line be lower than the exhaust pipe's straight run.
I think you can forget the fuel flow thing. I watched your video and I defy anyone to push that much flow through that little orifice in the carb.
I agree with your assessment, look elsewhere. I'd start with the timer.
Loosen the fuel cap and take it for a drive.
I found an article, circa 1922, from the period of changes in fuel, where it was discussed that the "new" antiknock fuels had an effect on certain metals. Metals such as copper and brass would corrode decreasing the inner diameter of fuel lines and create flaking in fuel tanks. "This 'effect' was in the form of a combined corrosion of metal and a deposition from fuel, the total deposit being in the form of a tacky residue." The discussion concluded that the antiknock additives were detrimental on copper and brass lines. (Investigation of the effect of doped fuels on Fuel Systems, pp 1-6, Air Service Information Circular, 15 March 1922)
Steve do you have SS VALVES or reused some good ones. If used valves & it's not electrical and not fuel to the carb I bet it's valves that are burnt a bit causing the rough running backfiring . When you first start it should run ok but as the engine heats up the valves will not seat correctly causing fuel to escape and continue the damage to the valves just a thought, I'm no expert but if you're still looking could be it
People have suggested using another fuel source, like a small lawn mower tank hanging off the radiator support rod, to eliminate any supply issues up to the carb. Have you done that?
If you still have trouble after that, swap out the carburetor with a known good one. Have you done this?
Either test will give you your answer.
You have a weak ignition spark on 1 or more cylinders. Probably a short in the coil box or wiring.
How does that happen only after a few miles but not before?
Nice chart Ken. What is the proper mesh for the sediment bulb that will pass gasoline but not water?
I'm taking a break from yard work to check in. Valve trouble is very unlikely. This is a fresh engine with new valves. Probably less than 200 miles on it. Back to work now. I'll do more of the suggested checks and report later.
Get rid of the two extra screens go to a 3/8 inch gas line tapered to 5/16 inch at ends.
modern gas boils easily. you will never be sorry.
This doesn't have anything to do with fuel flow, but the picture of your screen appears to be far more coarse than the original. I'm looking at a NOS one that I have, and the mesh is way finer than yours.
That's what's bothering me Jerry. Classic fuel supply problem. Starts/idles OK they c**ps out when just getting warm. He's done all I'd do. Front to back. Only difference being I know my re-built by me carb would be OK. The warming up is affecting something. Either we've all missed some item or it's another system entirely.
A bit OT, but I used to own a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda that had a Chrysler electronic ignition retrofitted to it. I could drive it for 20 minutes, then it would stop dead and I would have to pull over. I would open the hood, let it cool down for 10 minutes, then it would start and I could drive it home. Turned out to be the pickup coil in the distributor would go open circuit when it got hot, then it would reconnect when it cooled off. Drove me crazy!
Maybe one of Steve's coils or something else in his ignition wiring is doing something similar?
I have been following this with interest.
Steve you have my sympathy, gremlins can drive you crazy.
For what it's worth I have to start looking at ignition. Unless there is a vapor lock issue somewhere somehow.
I remember the old saying 90% of carburetor problems are electrical.
Could be a short that opens up when warm. I would try all new coils and or timer and see what happens.
Keep us updated with progress.
Run it in the dark and look for shorts or carbon tracking or tiny sparks.
The sediment bulb should be called the water bulb. Any water in the fuel system will seek the lowest point before it moves it on to the carburetor and the sediment bulb is built to hold a couple of ounces. Back in the day i believe it was common practice to crack open the drain and let a little out before starting. I believe this could true for the carb drain also. Gasoline was usually filtered thru a chamos skin on the way into the tank. I don't believe its a fuel problem. I think one of the spark plugs has a crack in the ceramic, and if you take them apart you will find a carbon track. But-- I would first replace all four with known good plugs and see if the problem goes away. What the heck---we are all guessing---Len
Your symptoms sound like vapor lock to me. Does it do it when its just started and the engine is still relatively cold?
Your first post said it did it after you had run a couple of miles. Was the engine hot after that distance?
Is your gas cap vented? Maybe the gas line is to close to the exhaust pipe and the line is getting hot.
My old Ford 54 NAA occasionally does what you T is doing. I tried everything. I checked the new gas cap I had installed and found out that the cap has a spring loaded valve in it to allow it to vent. And by the way the tractor didn't act up till I put on the new cap!
Now I slowly remove the cap when it happens and wait a bit and the tractor starts right up. Maybe I will just drill a small in it instead of buying another cap.
I think you have a fuel starvation problem and maybe this will help.
I like Leonard's idea.
Steve, has anything been done to the coil box? Does it still have the wood liner? I fought my 25 coupe for quite a while and spent quite a bit of money to solve the same issue. Now, I am a "modern day" mechanic and consider myself a pretty good one, but my simple little T really tested my ability. This may get a little lengthy, but maybe it will help you or someone who is struggling.
When I bought my car, it had been restored in the 70's and driven yearly, but not a lot. So I brought it home, learned how to drive it and started using it. It ran like a top and was alot of fun. One day my sister was visiting from NC and we went for a nice drive. First couple of miles it ran like a top. Then every once in a while, a little misfire, then it would cough, lose power, then die. It would start back up, but couldn't get much more than an idle out of it, any more and it would pop back in the intake, jump, jerk, then quit. SO we made it home idling along and letting it cool off when it would quit. We both had a good laugh, but inside I was not happy. So the QUEST began!!!!
So my mechanical brain thought must be fuel, yep, that's gotta be it! So I looked in the tank, looked clean. Drained, flushed and refilled. No change. Well Must be the carb. Took it apart, didn't see much inside, but heck, it's old, maybe it was just worn out. So I jumped on the internet and ordered a rebuilt one. It looked like new. Boy I was sure it was going to run like crazy now! Wrong, had to have it hauled home. Grrr! So then I found out about the screen in the sediment bulb. Opened it up and it was dirty. I couldn't get it clean so, well, I took a razor blade and cut it out. I put a screen type inline filter on it and a carb shut off. No change!
OK, so now about this time, I was pulling my hair out. I talked to a few people and they said have you checked the timer. Hmmm, Interesting and in all honesty, what the heck was that? So I carefully took it off and the little brush inside fell out in three pieces. Boy I thought BINGO!!! The wiring harness looked rough too, so I bought a timer and harness and put them on. Took it for a drive and it was a lot better. Not good, but at least I had seen some progress!!
So then I thought, well if that helped, surely new plugs and wires would help. Changed them out with champions and new wires and it was worse. Talked to a few more people, they said the new champions were junk so I put in Motorcrafts and it was the best it had been. I was able to drive it more, but still didn't have the power or smoothness.
Then I thought, what about those mysterious coils ans points. So I ordered two new coils, because two looked rough and I put new points on the other coils. I had never heard of a strobospark or HCCT. I put the coils in set the point gap and it would barely run. I bought one of those Buzz type coil testers and set the coils to 1.3 amps and honestly, the car ran very good. Once again, I was sure I had finally got it!!! Nope, acted up while at the local county fair. (I know now to have the coils set and it has been done)
At this point, it must be mechanical. I was thinking valve, valve spring, timing gears, cam, something!!! SO off with it's head!!!LOL It still had two piece valves and a seeping head gasket so I figured it was time for a valve job. So new valves, springs, keepers, clean the coolant holes, intake gaskets, checked the cam, set the valves using the tool to check for cam wear, made sure the timer was in time and put it back together. Boy, I figured she was going to go now! Went for a drive, worked great, hadn't been this good ever. Went for a drive next morning, didn't make it back.
By this time I was ready to get out the sawzall and welder and put in the 5.0 that was sitting in my other shop. So I let it sit for awhile----a long while. I was at an auction and telling my sob story when this fellow said, did you check the wood in the coil box? Hmmm, well, I thought it looked good and heck what did I know? Right, I mean I was getting no where fast! He told me to put in the fun projects plastic kit and see what happened.
SO I did and well it fixed it completely!! I was overjoyed and yet very "T'd" off at the same time. He said, well heck, just think how much you have learned and how good of shape you car is in now!! So this may or may not be the problem, but it just goes to show your not alone!! Good luck with your problem solving, Paul
Mark Strange addressed your fuel flow concerns very well, but perhaps used some technical terms that made it hard to follow. Let me simplify the example and demonstrate why your basic fuel flow test shows plenty of flow.
The question is: how much fuel does you engine need to run without starving ?
Let's say you travel 30 MPH and are getting 15 miles per gallon fuel economy. That means in the hour that it takes for you to go 30 miles, you can expect to use 2 gallons of fuel.
So you put your entire system together as it is when driving, and drain fuel to see how fast the fuel runs into the carb. It's common practice to require a 150% safety margin, so you really want to see three gallons per hour. And you need to be sure to drain the fuel out of the float bowl (rather than disconnecting the line at the carb inlet) because the carb float valve is usually the smallest orifice in the system.
We calculated that you needed to see two gallons per hour (three gallons with safety factor). You didn't say whether you timed the test or measured the quantity, but it looked pretty good to me. You might do a timed drain just to be sure. And be sure to have the cap on the tank and drain out at least a gallon to check for a blocked tank vent. The visible flow rate shouldn't change appreciably over the time of the test. Also, starting the test with only a couple of gallons in the tank rather than a full tank is smart, as it will demonstrate the lowest flow rate.
To do the test, I'd suggest just draining into a gallon can. If it fills in 20 minutes or less, you can put the flow concern behind you. Then you can move on to vapor lock and ignition troubles.
Oh yes, one more thing: It's good practice to ground the gallon can (or pan) to the carburetor just in case of a static spark. We just lost an airplane and hangar at the local airport because of static electricity while draining a tank.
15 million Model Ts didn't come with the additional Model A fuel filter installed in the bulb inlet. I mentioned in my first post that you should not use both filters (screens). Using both reduces fuel flow to about 20% or less.
Your "flow test" appears to add an extra foot of fall with siphoning action and doesn't reflect flow at carburetor level. One half psi can make all the difference.
Also, Have you wired the fuel line to make sure it's not restricted?
My firetruck had some similar issues as Steves, but not nearly severe. Discovered two bad coils, things got slightly better. Then I rebuilt the coil box with a Fun Projects kit, and voila...runs like a top. Just my two cents, adjusted for inflation.
Ken is right. The flow is one thing, the other issue is pressure at the needle / seat. Any slight dip in the fuel line creates a place where vapor lock can prevent flow, especially in warm weather. Adding redundant screens impedes flow which in turn affects pressure.
After thinking about it some more, I feel that the problem may still be a vapor lock issue.
If I remember correctly, going back about a month ago you were fighting a problem with dirt in the tank and water in the gas. To try and fix that problem you installed a glass bowl filter in line between the sediment bowl and the carb. Looking back you posted a picture of the glass filter installed and it appears to be very close to the exhaust pipe. Fuel will be sitting in that bowl warming up before it reaches the carb.
Didn't this new problem of the car running poorly after a few minutes start after you installed the glass bowl? From my experience it is always best to take a few steps back and look at what was touched last.
If it turns out to not be a vapor lock issue then I would have to agree with the others and recommend installing the Fun Projects coil box kit.
Not going to take long here, as I want to get some mowing done before the warmest part of the day. Just want to eliminate one possibility. The coil box has the Regan kit, not wood. Maybe a problem in the switch, but I'm going to try a couple of other things in the fuel department before I go to electrics. I'll report later.
Steve I know you know this but for any new person. You can take two 3 ft sections of wire with an alligator clips on each end and eliminate the switch by clipping to the coil box and mag post direct. Run for a trial and then remove that line and then run from the coil box to a battery with a line and run for effect that would help eliminate or confirm the coil box, switch as the issue
Steve, The other day you posted a photograph showing that you lost a manifold clamp. Are you sure that you don't have a leak at the intake manifold? When your car is cold it is running good as it warms up you are developing a problem, this could happen with the manifold being sealed when you start and open up as the engine warms causing the problems you are describing. I lost a manifold clamp on my 26 and the engine performed as you have described. I replaced the clamp and mine did seal again. Are you using the original style rings and glands? I would check for an intake leak after the engine is warm.
Here's today's thrilling episode in this exciting series.
Last night I thought I'd run the car with the lights out and see if there were any electrical leaks that would show up in the dark. I didn't get that far. The car would not start. Chuffed a couple of times, but absolutely would not run.
Ken didn't like my flow test with nine inches of hose hanging down because it might be siphoning out more gas than would be flowing without it. OK, thought I, let's try it without the hose. And I'll run it through the carb to see how well it gets through the float valve.
Not good. A quart in fifteen minutes means only one gallon per hour. So I did three things.
1 Check the Model T screen.
It still looks good to me.
When I drained the tank I did find there was still some very fine dirt, but I figured if it was fine enough to get through both screens it should be fine enough not to clog the carb.
There was also a little bit in the bottom of the glass bowl, but again I thought probably not enough to be a problem.
2 Removed the Model A filter.
3 Removed the fuel line with the glass bowl, just in case that was causing any restriction (don't see how it could), and installed another line. It goes under the exhaust pipe and is no closer to it at any point than 2½". That should avoid vapor lock if I ever get the car started again.
With those changes made, I checked the flow again.
A gallon in 26 minutes is more than double what I got in the previous test. That should be good enough at least to get started.
Both tests were done with only about three gallons in the tank.
Before we go off into the weeds about whether the fuel line going down and then up is a problem, I'll refer you to Norm's comments on Saturday, and this: https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/museum/themes/siphon.htm. The bottom line that applies here is that as long as the source is higher than the destination, a dip in between doesn't matter.
So, with fuel flow apparently adequate, I closed the carb drain valve and tried starting the car. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not even a chuff.
At this point I made a brief detour into Electricland. I laid the plugs out on top of the engine, turned the switch to BAT, and turned the crank. 1, 2, 4, 3. All four plugs showed what looked to me like a good strong spark. While I was at it I also rechecked timing. #1 fired halfway between 3 and 4 on the clock, exactly where it's supposed to.
So I put the plugs back in and had one more go at starting. Still not a cough. I took the carburetor off again, and found this.
Gas was dripping out and the bottom of the gasket was sopping wet. Obviously, at this point plenty of fuel is getting to the carburetor. So if it's flooding, I must have the float level too high. The float was ¼" from the machined surface. I reset it to 5/16", put the carb back on the car, and tried starting again.
So tune in tomorrow, and see what happens when I borrow the working carburetor off the touring.
I'll ask again, HAVE YOU SWAPPED OUT THE CARBURETOR?
Not trying to "yell" at you, just trying to get your attention.
If the float is cracked, it will take on gas and weigh it down enough not to work and flooding will ensue. Swap out the float, or submerge in fuel for a bit and see if its leaking. Also if a float has been soldered or repaired in the past, it may have solder inside the float causing it to weigh too much and lose buoyancy, thus the 1/4 measurement will not be correct anymore.
Steve, From the amount of "fine" trash you show in the pics, I can see it giving some problems. The main problem with the fines is not going thru the float needle, but "thru the small drilled passages" There are "corners" in the passages where the passages meet. The fines can collect in those areas and stop or restrict the flow thru the passages, You may also want to replace the lines, The fines can build up on the inside of the lines to come back and "haunt" you later. You may have already replaced the lines so that may not be an issue, as it takes a little while for the stuff to build up in the lines. If the new carb from the touring helps, I would "strongly suggest" to remove the gas tank and either replace it or clean it very, very well. Then remove the glass sediment bulb. I know it seems like it may not matter if it is there or not, but sometimes just a little change can make a big difference. The glass sediment bulbs do not really help with the "fines" that you are showing. One problem with the newer gas tanks seems to be they rust easier than the older tanks. The manufacture of the tanks said he can not get the good "tin plate" metal anymore to build his tanks with. All he can get now is the new cheaper thinly galvanized metal to build them with. He is not trying to go with a cheaper route, he just can not get the better tin plate. I do not remember if you said you are using "pure gas" or gasohol. The early/faster rusting of the tanks seems to me to be another bad side effect of the wonderful Gasohol. Just my thoughts for what little it is worth. Ill keep tuning in to the "continuing saga" Good luck ....
I don't see a 1/8" difference in the float setting preventing starting. Especially if the bowl is full and it's not pouring out the carb vent hole. Might effect running but not starting. Try a shot of starting fluid with or without the carb on. If it sputters or starts it's fuel delivery (carb). You appear to have spark so that's not your starting problem. There still seems to be a lot of fine junk in the tank. With the carb mounted does fuel run out the bowl drain? Is the carb vent clear?
Yes, Jerry, I have. That was my first chore this morning. I took the NH from the touring. It worked the last time I drove the car in June. So I put it on the roadster. It took a few tries with different needle settings to get the car started, but soon it was running fine and I even started it on MAG a few times. I was going to shoot a little video to show the improvement, but when I got back with the camera I noticed trouble in Paradise. The picture tells the story.
So I have two flooding carburetors, and no other that's together to try. Needless to say, my brief period of easy starting, or any starting at all, is over for now. I'll have to dig into both of these "good" carbs and see if I can figure out the flooding. Maybe leaking floats, maybe needle valves. While I'm at it I'll make sure all the passages are clear. More later.
Eureka! Well, at least for a bit anyway. Sounds like you're closing in on it.
I don't mean to bust your chops Steve but carbs don't seem to be your strong suit. You appear to be missing some thing. Maybe a second set of eyes?
I think I would sh--can that gas tank and start with a new one !!! ANY crap is too much !
Most carb problems are in the ignition.
Most carb leaks aren't.
I'm with Steve T. on this one. Any time I begin working on a T, I automatically figure that it will need a new radiator and a new gas tank. Trying to make the old ones work well just isn't worth all the headaches.
I like "Red-Kote" to seal old tanks. It's easy to use, and creates an almost Teflon like lining on the tank. It stops flaking and closes pin sized holes. Restoration Supply sells it. I also use it to seal brass lamp founts.
Steve, If you have not already removed the carb. Try "tapping" it with a small hammer. If it quits leaking, it may just have stuck "slightly" Then you can at least do a quick test drive before you do a carb tear down. But you will still need to get rid of all the "fine" rust and "gunk" before you will ever have a good long lasting fix. "carry on" we are rooting for you ..
1. Needle valve seat(ing).
2. Sinking float.
3. Cracked body.
These are about the only ways a carb can flood. Now that you have flow, a carb problem is manifesting itself.
It's easy to test a brass float. Just submerge it in a pot of hot water. If it's leaking, you'll see bubbles.
I don't know what you are using for needles and seats but the new ones from the vendors are crap. I have my valve grinding machine set up to regrind those and old ones that have enough steel to work. I do a lot of needles and seats and it is virtually impossible to get them to not leak unless they are perfectly fitted.
I see photos of people resurfacing them in a drill press or hand drill. I've tried that several times and I cannot get them concentric enough to work all the time. What happens is that the old trick of hitting the needle with a hammer seats the valve and it holds fine until the flow of the fuel and vibrations turns it slightly in the seat. The needle tip and the seat have to be perfect or it will seep gas. Today's gas is not like the gas of old. It is very dry, gas used to have a lot of heavier oils in it and that gas was not as hard to seal as today's gas.
Water is much easier to seal than gas. Gas is easier to seal than alcohol.
One drip a minute is a quart in 10 to 12 hours depending on the size of the drip, which is determined by a lot of things. If the N/S is not sealing perfectly it will leak more than a drip a minute.
Not that my system is better than what other people do but here is how I do them. I am grinding the tip on my Snap On valve resurfacing machine with the finest stone I can buy for it. Then I am further finishing the surface in my jeweler's lathe with the finest India stone I have, polishing by hand holding the stone with fine honing oil. I have a set of seat forming tips I made to match the various angles of the tips. I reform the seat with one of forming tips, then I insert the reground needle and hit it with a punch and a LBBFH. I then test the fit in a fixture in a tub of alcohol with air pressure against it. It works MOST of the time. Not all the time. It can easily take an hour or two to get a set that will hold. After I install the set in the carburetor I again test it in alcohol with 15 lbs or so of air pressure.
It is a PIA to have to do this. There are thousands of needle and seat sets produced around the world every day with ground tips and good seats but no vendor seems interested in producing them for the Model T Ford.
Back to the shop.
Maybe time to have a solid extra back-up carb? Here's a rebuilt from eBay- not mine, just an across it.
Charlie, you may be right. Perhaps there's something I'm not seeing. But I did see this.
Looking into the upstream end of the needle seat, you can see it's half blocked by a bit of trash. This is the carb that was on the roadster when all this trouble began. With this opening clear, when I had the carburetor back on the car I checked the rate of flow again. Instead of two gallons an hour it was 3¾. That should be enough if I could get the car started.
I suspect bits of trash like this of being the cause of the flooding problem. I checked the floats in both carburetors and didn't find any leaks. More likely the flooding is from float needles not closing.
I wasn't able to get the valve seat out of the second carb to see if there was any trash behind it, so I gave this one another cleaning out and put it back on the car. I tried starting multiple times, with various throttle and spray needle settings from ¾ turn out to two full turns. Many times the car started for one or two revolutions and died, and a few times wouldn't do anything.
These carburetors both have the original type needles in them, and and they probably need the kind of attention Stan described, but I don't have a lathe. I took out the ones with rubber tips when they stuck, and put these in. I suppose I'll go back to a rubber tip if I get more flooding, and see if that helps.
But it appears that the flooding isn't the only problem here. When I put the carb back on the car and turned on the gas it didn't flood, and during all my starting attempts it didn't flood, but I sure couldn't get the thing running.
I've had it. This is turning into a full time job, and I need to get some other things done. I'll come back to this later.
If you had junk in the float valve, you've got it elsewhere too. In the internal passages and spray jet most likely. The whole carb needs to be cleaned out.
Read the ebay listing closely. New style GROSE VALVE. IMHO that's just asking for a problem.
Yes but for a couple bucks you can install your own needle and seat.
Does it fire on a shot of ether?
The Buy It Now price for the one on eBay was $135. They're under $110 from Lang's.
I tried a shot of ether twice. Both times I got the same results as before. The engine fired for two or three revolutions and quit before I could get to the lever to advance the spark.
I think you've isolated the problem Steve. It's a rusty gas tank. I bet your carburetor works fine with a clean gas tank.
Back when my part of the world had radiator shops we could get a gas tank cleaned for $25. That would be the next thing I would do if I had that option.
Have you actually removed the gas tank and tried to flush it out?
If rust in the tank is the problem, then you can clean it by putting counted sharp small screws in or gravel, tie it to a cement mixer or a tractor wheel and let it roll for some hours. Very effective, hopefully no new leaks and then no need to buy a new tank
Might be a problem to get the tank out with the body in place, but I'm certain it can be done.
But - as has been mentioned several times already - check if it runs reliable with a temporary tank, then you'll know for certain it's the tank that is the trouble.
And if it still won't run - time to call for an exorcist..?
Steve---I`d bet that your fuel flow and Carb are now better than 80% of the Model Ts on the road today. Have you done this?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message By John T. Tannehill III, Hot Coffee, MS on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 01:12 pm:
Steve I know you know this but for any new person. You can take two 3 ft sections of wire with an alligator clips on each end and eliminate the switch by clipping to the coil box and mag post direct. Run for a trial and then remove that line and then run from the coil box to a battery with a line and run for effect that would help eliminate or confirm the coil box, switch as the issue
My experience leans toward a SWITCH issue--I had the same erratic performance on my `23 Runabout and went through the fuel issues before fixing the problem with the ig. switch--good luck--Paul
If you can put on a known good carburetor to check out a car, you can use a car that starts to check out two carburetors. They both start the touring with one pull. Dirt from the roadster's tank may still be a problem, but there's not enough of it getting into either carb to keep it from starting another car on the first pull. I'm moving on to the electrical department.
I fixed it. It started right up on the first pull, at least on BAT, and ran great. So I went out for a test drive. It came home like this.
I'm going to have dinner in town and forget all about this. Maybe take in a movie. Like Scarlet, I'll think about this tomorrow, back here at Tara.
You are going to have a steady diet of this until you ditch the tank. You can put in all sorts of strainers and they will work just fine - they will fill up and shut of the gas in a different place than the needle perhaps. I had this same thing going one with my 1923 when I got it over 20 years ago. I cleaned and recleaned and sealed the tank again each time but the result was the same thing each time out because the baffles in the tank made it impossible to know when the tank was in fact clean. Finally on a national tour a future best friend of mine asked me this question "is it worth $10 a year for the next (then) 10 years to have this problem go away forever?" I of course said "ABSOLUTELY!!!" and he reached behind the counter in his parts trailer and put a new gas tank on the counter. I took it to my car and cleaned out the carburetor one last time and put on the new tank. NEVER to this day have I had a gas flow problem nor a vapor lock problem nor a siphon problem and for the record I won't tell which of those is a fairy tale anyway but whoever said "put in a new tank" gave you the best advice and echoed what Don Lang told me that day. Tanks are more than $100 now but they are still worth swapping out if you aren't driving a 26/27 and have no choice but to spend the day flushing out the tank for the next upcoming "unsuccessful" tour day. I am thankful that my car has a tank that is being reproduced.
I agree about the tank. Get a new one and hang the old one from your rafters. But before you do, please take a nice clear picture of the insides so we can get an idea what you are dealing with.
Just a thought. Are the tanks vented at all? If so could it be a plugged vent. Again I am probably wrong.
I agree with John and Ed. After wrestling with fuel system contamination problems on several of my early Mopar projects, I got in the habit of buying a new fuel tank and lines as part of every restoration project I did.
A bit off topic, but can somebody tell me why no one sells reproduction Model T or Model A cowl tanks? Is it concerns about safety/liability? If so, is it really worse to have a fuel tank above your lap than it is to be sitting (or nearly so) on a gas tank?
My 26 touring tank was setting on its side under my work bench while I was restoring the body, and a big rat built a condo in it. I spent all day cleaning out his nest. I put fuel in and it ran fine for a couple a weeks. Then I had it running and all of a suddin it stopped. I tracked it all the way to the gas tank. I drained the tank and found rat droppings stopping up the tank on the inside up river of the shut off valve. That fixed the problem. Happy hunting!
Steve, It would be really easy to hook up a temporary gas tank above the carb. That would tell you if it is a tank or flow problem. If you still can't drive around the block then it's carb or electrical.
I rigged up a plastic tank from a weed whacker in less than half an hour. That was when I was investigating gas flow issues on hills.
Just to rule out the gasoline system. Next time run it until it dies, then find a safe place to stop. And check the gas out of the bowl ASAP.
I am wondering if your problem doesn't get activated by heat or vibration.
I also wonder if your T isn't what happened to millions: ran when parked)
I'm no expert as in reading all the good advice from everyone who owns a T of even thought they would like a T. I had similar problems with starting on battery and loss power when pulling on hills. The culprit was a weak mag. I had to take the coils out and de-tune them to about .08 to have the 1913 run smoothly. Lost power but didn't fail. Put new mag in and readjusted the coils to about 1.02 and ran like a top. I too thought it was fuel.
Has your car recently been washed or gotten wet? I had a similar intermittent problem. Car would sit for days or longer and run great. I'd give it a bath and it ran intermittent and poor. Ended up it was a carbon trace in the wood box; the Fun Projects kit corrected that.
I also had a problem that ended up being the carburetor. I can't tell you exactly what the problem was, just that the Stromberg OF that replaced the NH did not have the problem....
And lastly, I had it on my '11... The fuel shutoff valve was not tight and would vibrate partially shut, restricting the flow.
Sorry I didnt answer the question above to me sooner.
I learned years ago on a Briggs 23 D engine about weak spark. It is 1 cylinder of course.But I tinkered on that engine and had it idling like new.But rev it up, spit and sputter and cut off.
The coil was weak but had enough spark for idle no load condition.
I still feel like Steve could be chasing a ignition problem.Perhaps check the cap and roller on the ignition or the switch. I am still having switch troubles with my TT and it is very annoying.
If a carb is flooding,it can cut a engine off,but if the needle is about closed and some with messing around,it will buck and jump and still move.And Smoke would be black and plentiful. Plugs would be fouled.
A trick that was taught to me in regards to needles and seats involved a straw or coffee stirrer that looks like a small straw,a lighter and some ajax and oil.
You slide the straw over the top of the needle a little,heat with the lighter till it shrinks around the needle,then use that as a lapping tool and lap the needle in the seat with the ajax as if you are lapping valves.
Neat trick Mack, thanks for sharing.
Toothpaste is even milder. Used to use it on Pinewood Derby cars axles.
Since the roadster came home by trailer Sunday I've been busy with other things, but today I did take few minutes to have another look at the fuel situation. I opened the carburetor drain, and the gas that came out was perfectly OK. So next I opened the petcock under the sediment bulb.
The flow was somewhere between a drip and a dribble.
Shoving a piece of baling wire up through the petcock opened it up to produce a normal flow.
This is what came out with about a cup of gas.
The guys who have been saying Tank! may be on the right track. I think my next test move will be running temporarily with fuel coming from a clean mower tank. Looks like the tank that's in the car will be coming out for a thorough cleaning.
I believe they said "New Tank".
Yes, I know, but I'm not ready to go there ($150+) yet. Mister Thrifty will flush first. If that doesn't do it, then I'll bite the financial bullet.
We are all hoping that "this is the one", that will finally fix your frustrating adventure here, and end this little chapter for you. Wishing you luck. Keith
Steve, how much thrift is worth the aggravation? I have replaced all the tanks in my cars and poked a hole in that mesh screen. Also, replaced the gas line with a steel brake line for about $5.00 from NAPA the way it shows in the manual. With many, many, miles of touring I have never had a fuel starvation or vapor lock problem. Many I know who have tried cleaning or coating their tank have incurred even more problems. Go for a new tank and enjoy driving that nice Roadster without the headaches.
Steve, you can do a very good cleaning buy counting some very short drywall screws (3/4 to 1 inch)and put them in the tank. I usually use 50 of them. I also use a can of crystal Draino and 2 gallon of hot water as the cleaner. Then seal the tank and rotate it. A cement mixer works great. Tie it to the mixer, and let it rotate for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then change the position and do it again for 5 to 10 minutes. I like to change the position at least three times. Then dump everything out and count your screws. A magnet on a flex cable works nice for getting the screws out. The drywall screws are very sharp and will "pick" out the seams very well. I then wash the tank well and then dry it out. You should also acid etch the tank with some form of phosphoric acid and then seal the tank with a good gas tank sealer. I use POR brand sealer kits as it has everything you need. I have done several tanks , as well as my body shop buddy doing a bunch of tanks, with the POR product. Not a single failure yet. But it must be done properly. It costs about 1/2 to 3/4 the price of a new tank to clean and seal one. So with all that said, unless the tank is a special hard to find version, or you just want to keep the original, the best option is buy a new tank. There is one problem with cleaning a tank and not sealing it. By now most if not all the original galvanizing is gone or worn very thin, with bare metal showing. The new gasohol is prone to holding water in suspension. This causes your tank to re-rust faster. Even with pure gas, the area above the gas level is prone to condensation, so it starts to rust above the gas level. and then that starts your problem all over again. I suspect what you are showing in your pan is that type of rust. That type of rust has larger as well as very fine particles, The fines will actually go thru the filters. It can be held in suspension in the gas (similar to adding sugar to your iced tea) This rust will then slowly collect inside the carb body and to the walls of the small passages and restrict their flow. I believe there is a real good chance your carbs small passages are restricted. The only way to fully clean them is to remove the lead/brass passage plugs and clean them out with the proper size drill bits ran in by hand. Since it is not my money but Mr Thriftys money it is very easy for me to suggest to buy a new tank, new gas lines, and then have a carb checked as to the small passages. But that is my suggestion for what little it is worth. Good luck with the gremlins... Submitted with respect Donnie Brown ...
If your screen is as clean as you think it is...and your tank appears somewhat clean...the sediment bowl part of the potato by deduction is packed full of gunk....and the reason it ran when parked and burped now is that it dried out and packed up. Now, you let the gas build up around the crud...it runs at idle of for a while...runs at speed for a while but then starves or compacts again...
Swap the potato from the 23...put it on the 15...go for another ride.
I had a very similar problem once, when I was a pup...my screen was clean, but there was a Brillo pad circle up against it...I was too dumb and thought the pad belonged there...would always start fine, get me about 5 miles and stall, let it set 20 minutes and I could drive home
Drove me crazy until Dick Petty of Elgin IL felt sorry for the gang always leaving me and having me show up late for lunch on weekend tours. He opened the potato, had some colorful words for the gunk that looked like a Brillo pad, tossed it aside and from there it ran fine...Gee, I was 30 then...was I ever really that young? Better go hide the Medicare card and forget all these years in between.
Who here is willing to throw a handful of coffee grounds into their gas tank to see if we can duplicate Steve's problem?
(Message edited by Dan B on August 18, 2015)
When my '19 Touring arrived Michigan I was ready for it with a new battery and gas.
This video was taken minutes after it hit the ground.
Within an hour I couldn't keep the engine running due to fuel starvation.
The "new" gas, over a period of time, had dissolved all the old crud left behind by old gas.......that brown, sandy, deposit old gas forms after a time.
I needed to flush the gas line only once and have never again had that problem.
Take the potato off and plumb in the filter with the glass bowl. It will serve as a sediment trap and will let you see how bad the problem is. Cleaning out the glass bowl several times might solve the problem. It will certainly run better/longer.
I tried to play "Mr. Thrifty" with my original 16 gas tank and spent $80.00 to get it boiled out. Drove it 1500 miles to do this because in Kalifornia I couldn't find anyone to do it.
The results were less then desirable, so for $150 I bought a new tank. If you add the $80 plus the gas I spent I'd call myself "Mr. Stupid".
You will never get it as clean as a new tank.
I guess I am just hardheaded, but I've been quite successful using the 'in tank' 'stand pipe' type of screen after getting the majority of the debris out of the tank. Never another problem, and that is with two of my model T's, one of a friend, and numerous small antique outboard motors and small engines with gravity flow fuel systems.
If I remember correctly (I did NOT go back and RE-read this thread), Steve had one of those filters in the top of his sediment bowl. If so, how did all that crap get into the bowl? Was it there before installing the 'in tank' 'stand pipe'? Was the sediment bowl cleaned out when installing the 'in tank' 'stand pipe'?
My theory is that anything small enough to go through that screen is small enough to go through the carb. I'm not ready to change my theory just yet. I know a lot of you guys just get a new tank, and that is fine, but it's just not something I feel is a necessary expense as long as you can get the majority of the big stuff out of the old one (Coating them is not a bad idea, as long as the coating is alcohol proof and doesn't cost what a new tank does), and keep any new crap from getting to the carb (i.e. 'in tank' 'stand pipe').
Not a huge fan of the in tank screen. It's unreachable easily (found on the road dead) and now a second reason from this posting. IE: it didn't do a darn thing. Steve, honestly I'm a little disappointed. Really dirty Carb? You go back to the source. All the way back. Every piece & part. Especially if the system is new to you & hasn't been checked before. By you. I guess it's partially my fault too for just assuming this stuff was automatically done and then questioning other systems when the problem persisted. Hindsight is of course 20/20 but through this whole posting you actually haven't eliminated the fuel system although it looked that way a couple of times.
After an air disaster we often hear that the crash wasn't caused by just one thing, but by a combination of factors. That may be the case here. Perhaps other things are going on too. But the guys who have been saying new tank were barking up the right tree. I mostly drained the tank, took it out of the car, turned it over, and sloshed out the little bit of gas inside. I put in a little more gas and sloshed some more. Here's what I got.
If that was the only thing wrong, I'd try cleaning the tank and sealing it. But I'm not going to bother. Here's why: https://youtu.be/bEAUquQ1vTI
I bet you can guess what's making that sound. I plan on being in Iowa Friday, so I'll pick up a new tank from Bill Devine and save shipping.
After seeing this I'm surprised not at the failures, but that I was able to do any normal driving at all.
Even though it appears you have found the problem, is it the problem? Have you tried an external gas tank to confirm? I'd hate for you to spend the money on a new tank and then the same problem.
Run that through a sieve. Maybe there's some gold in there to help pay for a new tank. ;)
You're actually pretty fortunate. I had the same thing happen to a 1924 Buick tank, not easily replaced. It cost $250 to get it cleaned & lined at Gas Tank Renu. Works good though.
Hope this takes care of your fuel troubles.
Yuk! From the video it still sounds like something big is still stuck in the tank and sliding back and forth, if you dig it out, please let us know what it is, thanks and good luck!
It's the baffles which have broken loose.
I'm with Jerry on this, the baffles are mobile.
Yep, you got it. And I'm not going to cut it open to fix the wandering baffle. That would be the only way to get to it.
Here's that stuff out of the tank after the gas has evaporated.
It's rather mysterious. It's the wrong color and consistency to be rust or rusty metal flakes. It looks sort of like coal, but isn't hard enough for that.
Did you try a magnet on it ?
glad you found your problem Steve
I'm kinda wondering if maybe the gas pump at the station was going bad and dumped some of the pump packing in your tank. That stuff just doesn't look right, Don.
Or maybe a deteriorating hose at the pump? Sure does look strange. Glad you found it Steve. Dave
Actually that stuff doesn't look strange at all. It is exactly what was in my tank. Old old gasoline seems to have crystalized and stuck to the side of my tank and no amount of shake rattle and roll could seem to get it all out. The new tank did the trick. Don't send more good money after bad and just be glad you can get a new tank. One last cleaning and blow out of all the ports downstream of the tank is in order but I personally won't be surprised if this was the main culprit since any single one of those "chunks" could cause your problem and they are just impossible to get totally removed without turning the tank inside out and replacing baffles. By the time you get done you will have paid for 2 tanks most likely.
Please let us know and I am hoping you have the same result as I did those many years ago.
T's are one thing,easy to get a new tank etc.,,anybody have a suggestion on what to do with a Model A tank? Beautiful car that sat for 7 years.,.had white sand in the bottom of the tank...took the tank off the firewall, cleaned it several times with acetone, lined it with the Hursh "best there is tank sealer". Can drive about 3 miles before the filter clogs, and we stop by the side of the road. Been fighting the battle for over a year.
Possible the 1922 aviation article about fuel affecting certain metal fuel tanks was not to far afield. -- Metals such as copper and brass would corrode decreasing the inner diameter of fuel lines and create flaking in fuel tanks. -- "This 'effect' was in the form of a combined corrosion of metal and a deposition from fuel, the total deposit being in the form of a tacky residue." (Investigation of the effect of doped fuels on Fuel Systems, pp 1-6, Air Service Information Circular, 15 March 1922)
I assume you mean the filter screen in the top of the sediment bowl on the firewall? At the risk of sounding like a broken record (and having to hear it from the naysayers), I think the 'in tank' 'stand pipe' type of screen would solve your problem. It just fits inside the top of the shutoff valve where it screws into the tank under the dash. It is essentially a 'pipe' made from a fine screen. If there is sediment in the bottom of the tank, it might accumulate around this 'pipe' made of screen, but it can't go through. Gas can continue to come through at a higher level on up the 'pipe'. I could conceivable believe that there could be an inch of sediment in the tank and the car would continue to run just fine. Give it a try. They don't cost much. If it don't work, let me know.
I think Jon is talking about the Bill Hirsch tank sealer. It is the same product offered by Eastwood and others. My experience is that stuff only defers the problem then the sealant turns loose in the tank one fine day when you are miles from civilization. When it turns loose, the result is white gunk plugging up the fuel system in such a way that you have to replace the tank, lines, and rebuild the carburetor again.
In a Model A you need to do the tank right, just like a Model T, to avoid a lot of wasted time and unpleasant trips on a trailer.
Donnie's idea with the drywall screws really works well. I have reclaimed several motorcycle tanks that way and it does a good job of "polishing" the interior walls of the tank.
If the tank is rusty and has pinholes, some sort of coating is called for (I use a epoxy based coating with good results). But in this case the residue in your tank looks like something other than rust, and cleaning with the drywall screws might suffice.
BTW, not having access to a cement mixer I made a simple frame of 2x4's to rotate the tanks on. One I did with a hand crank and two more with a drill attached to rotate the tank. All junk I cobbled together, but it worked.
At the risk of getting involved in something I know zero about other than solving my problem years ago with a new tank, I am going to investigate once more the idea of cleaning out a tank insides. I am forced to do this on my 1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile. I am putting together a "tumbler" that consists of a gear motor driving a large round plywood disc to which I will attach some wood blocks as "tank locators" and also some eye bolts here and there to allow bungy cords to then hold the gas tank to the plywood disc. I have purchased some commercially made ceramic stones designed specifically for this sort of tumbler idea. The disc will rotate about 5 turns per minute and a slurry of water, detergent and stones will be put into the tank which will then have all holes plugged up and the tank tumbled for a time to be determined yet. A CDO club member who shall remain nameless has used this technique with success and I have no choice since my original unrestored CDO is NOT going to get a new tank or for that matter I have no intentions of restoring this car but just trying to clean it and keep it from deteriorating further. It DOES run and I drove it a whole 48 feet forward and then backward. I did that about 2 months ago and it was a great thrill of my life but I had borrowed a tank and carburetor for that event from a CDO friend who in fact started the motor for me the first time. Now I must make it run on its own tank and carb. I will report back but I will not be doing the tank tumbling until the snow flies most likely because I am too busy right now to do anything like getting this tumbler machine finished.
If you lived in the deep south, any notions of a tumbling machine would be quickly displaced by jacking the back wheel of your riding mower and attaching the tank with bungee cords. After about 4 beers and a sandwich the tank would be clean.
Everybody makes fun of rednecks until their car breaks.
And all of Gods children said Amen
Steve since this has become one of the longer threads I've followed or participated in would you humor a few of us by hooking up an auxiliary plastic fuel tank and taking the 15 for a spin just for giits & shiggles? Enquiring minds want to know! Please
Riding mower thing sounds like a good idea. Lot less trouble than cobbling something together!
Wish I'd heard the cement mixer idea about 25 years ago !
I had a bunch of old gasoline residue in my '53 Mercury gas tank. The carb clogged a couple of times before I realized what the problem was.
So I took the tank out (18 gallon size, if I recall). Put a pound or so of nuts plus a couple gallons of hot soapy water in the tank and then proceeded to roll & shake it vigorously by hand. Dumped out the soapy water through a paint strainer and observed lots of junk.
So I put in another couple gallons of hot soapy water and shook for another 10 minutes or so. Through the paint strainer and still more junk.
Long story short, I soaped, shook & drained all one Saturday. About 25 cycles, shaking for 5 to 10 minutes each time. By sundown the strainer remained clean. I gave the tank a couple of good rinsings, then set it outside to dry in the sun for a few days.
I went to bed tired but satisfied. Next morning I woke up and looking forward to a good day. Unfortunately, I hurt so bad I couldn't get out of bed. I made it to work on Monday, but it took pretty much all week before I was up to much more than walking from the parking lot to my desk.
Next time the job will definitely be done by some sort of motorized machine.
Get a 26 inch bicycle wheel and the axle. Mount it to the wall of your garage. Run some clothesline rope around the wheel and a little pulley on an electric motor. Bungee the tank to it. Turn it on. Go have a beer. The wheel is about the right size to run the right speed and the spokes and rim give you a lot of places to hook the bungees.
Steve has a small tractor and he could bolt it to a rear wheel!Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Or he could rig up a temporary CLEAN gas tank and gas line as John Tannehill suggested, to try to isolate the problem. That wouldn't cost anything, and I think Mr. Thrifty would approve.
As I mentioned before, I'll be in Iowa tomorrow and will pick up a new tank at Birdhaven while I'm there. I'd rather do that than cut the old one open, try to fix that detached baffle, and weld the tank back together. I won't need to tumble the tank, and I won't need to hook up a lawnmower tank as a test. I hope to have the new tank in the car Monday, then we'll see what happens.
For the guys who need to clean their tanks because of being rare or hard to find. The drywall screws are the best thing I have ever used to clean the tanks by tumbling. Their sharp points will "pick" any seams clean. Nuts bolts rocks ect will miss the seams ... As I stated above, we use POR gas tank sealer. Their kits come with the proper cleaner, and most importantly it comes with the proper "acid" etch. Between myself and my friends body/restoration shop we have done more than 30 tanks I know of. Not one failure yet, and some are getting to be 20 years old or older ... Steve, My last suggestion is to also replace the gas line and do away with the sediment glass bulb. You will not need it anymore. Simpler is always better ... Good luck with the ongoing saga ... but I believe you have found the "Gremmlin" Donnie Brown ...
Steve, Wow what a journey, I had some junk in my tanks and both would make the engines sputter or quit under power, with that said I have also had ignition give similar problems, It looked like you have had good fuel flow even before you dumped the last bit of junk out of the tank. When you said it wouldn't start, It either wasn't getting proper fuel or spark, as long as the engine has compression. My engine will flood easily and also won't start. So it is all a balance of fuel and air. Ignition problems show up with moisture ( coil box), heat, and age. Ignition switches can heat up and cause a lot of problems. Even just a loose connection. Switch or connection problems show up as a back fire out the exhaust. Hang in there and keep us posted. I do love all your postings. Just a bit of info, anyone needing a sealer that will work with gasoline Yamabond ,you can get it at the cycle shops. I had a leak on the side of my fuel tank and just smeared a dab over the hole. I use it on my fuel fittings as well. It is a great non- hardening gasket sealer.
I removed the fuel tank from my '27 as part of a full restoration. The car has not run for seven years. There was surface rust inside and a few small bits which had dropped in over the years but the car never suffered any fuel starvation problems.
After buying a "do it yourself" fuel tank sealer kit I realized that it could never work efficiently due to the fact that there are two baffles creating three chambers, only one of which is accessible through the filler hole. A second one has the fuel outlet in it but this is a very small orifice to work through.
After talking to a local company specializing in restoration of motorcycle fuel tanks I was convinced that my only option was to have the tank cleaned and sealed professionally. They cut a hole in each chamber to access all areas of the tank and then coat the inside with a gasoline, diesel, kerosene, alcohol, etc., resistant material. The cost was 290 Dollars but I have a tank that should not give me any problems for the rest of my life, and I hope I get my money's worth on that one!
Jon Crane - they do Model A tanks too which I understand have three baffles so the cost is closer to 340 Dollars for those.
So Steve you got the new tank what's the update?
Today I finally got the new tank into the car. It started several times, both BAT and MAG, with no trouble. I let the car idle for over fifteen minutes, again with no trouble. But I'm not declaring victory yet. Tomorrow will be the acid test, when I go for an actual test drive.
Got a vent hole on that cap Steve ???
Got cotter pins on the nuts for the tank brackets?
Glad to see you got a new tank! Throughout this thread that has been in the back of my mind, but so many seem to prefer sealing, I decided to withhold comment. I agree with Royce's 8/20 post. In a few previous threads I've said better to replace the tank and move on. Just like 90+ y.o. radiators, sooner or later they just have to go.
Anxious to see the results of your "acid test". I'm so fed up with my own fuel starved issue I walked away from it.
Again, mine is a 1926 so I don't have the "new tank" option...
John..those tanks aren't "replaceable"? A friend of mine had his out of the car to repair and I think it was a '26. Or do they just not make 'em?
The tanks on '26-'27 are not too hard to R & R but new ones are just not available.
This morning I drove around the block (two miles). No problem. So I drove around two blocks (three more miles). Still no problem. So then I drove the car into town to buy some apples and fill the tank (another ten miles). With fifteen miles of driving and not a single cough or sputter, I'm declaring victory on that. It still isn't perfect. Even with the engine warm, it takes me two or three pulls to start on MAG. But as long as it starts and keeps running, I guess I can't gripe.
George, yes. That was one of the first things I checked.
Keith, I cheated. Lock washers, not cotter pins. Actually, the brackets have square holes and carriage bolts. Wrong thread for castle nuts.
John, with your 26 I'd use Mark's suggestion of a temporary "new" tank in the form of a gallon can or a lawnmower tank. If that clears up the problem, then you can go to work on your 26-27 tank or try to find a better one.
Thanks to all for the good suggestions.
Glad to hear your problem appears to be solved, Steve!
Now, before you forget, either scrap that old tank, or, if you plan to keep it, take a marker or some white-out and write on it that it has a broken baffle and rust inside so that you or someone else doesn't install it in another car in a few years!
Oh, you know there's a loose baffle as soon as you pick up the tank.
Do what Robert Matheny did with his old tank
Steve. Sounds good, Your "not perfect" may be the small passages in the carb are restricted. Could be all the "trash" from the tank has left a little of the "fines" in the passages, or they may just be restricted with rust. I have found that the passages restrict similar to "hardening of the arteries" in us older folks. The rust will tend to "swell" the inside of the passages. I had a carb that I had rebuilt over and over. I could blow carb cleaner thru all the passages and it looked very, very, clean. But it still would not run right. Out of desperation, and just &*%$# off I heated the carb body till it was almost red, and thru it in a bucket of water. It sounded like it broke in a 1000 pieces. I took it out of the water and it all still looked OK. When I came back later, after it had dried, and I was a little less &%$$@# off I blew air thru the passages and a "big puff" of rust dust came out of each passage. That's when the "light" went on in my febble brain that the passages must have been restricted. I put the carb back together, and it ran great. It is still on the car going strong almost 15 years later. I have rebuilt several carbs since then. I always heat the carbs and throw them in the bucket. I have never broken one yet. But as they say "your mileage may vary" proceed at your own risk . If the passage plugs are made of lead the lead will melt out and I replace the plugs with short pieces of 1/8 inch brazing rods "peened into the holes. You can also take some small drill bits and run into the passages "by hand" I just use the largest one that will fit the passage and I can "turn it by hand" Your "not perfect" running may not have anything to do with the passages being restricted, but with all the trash you had in the system, I would put the odds fairly high the passages need cleaned out. Just some more of my two cents worth. Glad the car is going and you are able to drive it again.... Submitted with respect, Donnie Brown ...
Yep, I didn't want to take the time yesterday, but another carb clean-out is on the agenda. Both of these NH carburetors have worked great in the recent past, so a simple cleaning may do the trick without resorting to the heat wrench.
I'll add a note on the changing times. Apparently all the pipe smokers have died. I wanted to try some pipe cleaners for cleaning small openings and passages, but couldn't find any. I went to just about every place in town that sells tobacco products, and nobody had them. I tried some "fuzzy sticks" from the Wal-Mart crafts department, but those are unsatisfactory. Too flimsy. I could probably buy pipe cleaners online and pay more for shipping than for the product, but before I resort to that I'll go down to the reservation and try the smoke shop.
Riddle me this: (I'm using a politically incorrect term here just for laughs) Why do we get "deef and dumb" concerning our own cars? Every one here is full of good intentions and advice and Steve is more capable than most but with repeatedly finding loads of junk filling the carb & bulb the tank was not suspect until he got good and disgusted. Did he never look into the filler hole? Surely the tons of c**p in there would have been visible & probably the loose baffle too. I'm just wondering because I've done it myself. Plenty of times.
Charlie, "ME TOO" I think the term is "in denial" We just do not want to accept the facts... Sorry Steve for poking at you, but remember, If we are poking at you, we are leaving someone else alone... Im just glad everything is looking up in "Jelf Land" and you are on the road again... Submitted with respect Donnie Brown ...
Steve: Might try guitar strings. Regards, Tim
Seems to me Stan uses a guitar string Steve, and somehow plays Classical Gas at the same time!
Yeah, I use a guitar string too. But I thought a pipe cleaner might swab out the stuff it knocks loose. I suppose compressed air will do that too.
I really couldn't see much looking in the filler hole. I might have if I'd had a better light. But the baffle wasn't where I could see it. I didn't know about that until I had the tank out and heard it.
After finding all that crud in the tank, I'm mystified as to how the car ever ran well at all. With the new tank in and with another carburetor cleaning, I aim to do a drive of over twenty miles and see how that goes. If this thing is reliably fixed I may even go on a tour next month.
I have an extreme dislike for gas tank sealer. I wouldn't touch the stuff. I've cleaned a lot of tanks using carburetor cleaner and a handful of small lock washers, or even good clean pea gravel. They come out clean. Do what you wish, that's what I do.
The amount of crud in that tank was amazing, but there's something that doesn't make sense to me. If Steve had that additional stand up screen fixed to the potato, and the lower mesh screen in place as well (which looked very clean), how did any of the crud from the gas tank ever get to the carb to affect it? What was going on to make the car run bad?
The smaller stuff got through?
Ray, I don't know how all this stuff was getting past both screens, but it sure was.
Obviously this was fine enough to get through a pretty fine mesh in the tank and also in the sediment bulb. Maybe there was enough of it to clog up the works even if it was fine. Maybe it was clumping up in the carburetor. Anyway, from now on when I use gas out of a can I'm letting it settle in a pail before pouring it through a 158 mesh Saatilene screen.
"158 mesh Saatilene screen"
Steve, is 158 mesh the one that will pass gasoline but hold any water back?