My 21 project that I am trying to finish is giving me a hassle now. After putting pieces all together it fired up and ran great each time i started it. 1 or 2 revolutions and it was running. Now it cranks over and acts like it wants to start but doesnt. I took off carb and cleaned it out. It has a distributor and Im just looking for what to try next. It has fresh gas in a brand new tank. Im new here so I appreciate your patience with what might seem like a question that you probably get all the time. I tried to search for related threads but had no luck. thanks.
Pull the plugs and look at them, are they wet and smell like gas? Maybe you're overchoking it and flooding it. If the plugs are dry but black, try running a little leaner mixture or get some hotter plugs.
2 gallons of gas is what I consider empty. How much gas is in the tank?
If the distributor has points, and you turn the key on for a few minutes, and the points happen to be closed, you can anneal the point set. Then the points barely open, and you have spark happening much later than it should be, which makes the car hard to start and run poorly if it does start. If it has a Pertronics, you can kill a Pertronics the same way.
Another common problem with Model T distributors is the gear on the camshaft becoming loose, which causes timing to be way off.
A third common problem is the Taiwan made coils failing. They normally last only a couple hundred miles. Once you have a good German or American made coil you won't have that to worry about.
Another common distributor issue on a Model T that is so equipped is the drive gears stripping out because no one ever greased them.
You need hot spark at the right time, a proper fuel / air mixture, and compression to run the engine. One of those things is wrong. I doubt it is compression.
If it starts good when it's cold but not when it's hot, it could be vapor lock.
It has 5 gallons of fresh gas in it.
I have taken out each plug and cranked it over and no spark on any. I guess I need to check for power going to coil first? And coming out of the coil. Sound like that is where I should be looking next? I did notice the plugs seem black. Could be i need new plugs also.
Start by figuring out if the points are opening and losing.
If so check for voltage to the coil when the key is on.
If so make sure that you get a ground to the coil when the points close.
If so then replace the condenser since it is cheaper than the coil. Again you want a condenser made either in USA or Germany, not China or Taiwan or Mexico.
The auto part store sells the points, condenser, and coil for 1967 - 73 Volkswagen beetle if the car is 12 volts.
If the car is six volts the coil will need to be for 1955 - 1966 Volksbuggen.
Dan, try pulling the Spark rod down a notch or two and if that don't help, move the timer back a little more by pulling the rod attachment area away from the engine farther before cranking the engine.
The fiber piece on the points wears slightly so the point opening is too close and that also shifts the spark advance setting.
You may have "cleaned" the carburetor, but did you drill out the plugs and really clean the passages? Many times its clogged or partially clogged carb passages that make an engine hard to start.
I checked the points and yes they are opening and closing. set gap to around 18. Voltage at the coil is 6. When I check the ground it seems to have some ground that moves the needle always and then when the points are closed it does does kick the needle up farther. After cranking it to start it I checked the plugs and none seemed to be wet with gas. Still scratching my head.
Does the distributor have a dedicated ground wire? If not you could try a temporary ground jumper to see if that helps.
This might seem dumb, but are you sure the valve at the bottom of the tank and if you have one at the carburetor are both open? Have you opened the valve at the bottom of the carburetor to see if you have a constant flow of gas? Sometimes a partially clogged line will allow gas to get to the carburetor and it will start and run for a short time until all the gas in the carburetor is burned up and then it won't start until enough seeps into the carburetor. From your description, the first thing I would check is for gas flow. Try some starting fluid spray into the air intake. If it starts for a moment but stops it would be an indicator that you are not getting enough fuel.
I hope you didn't do anything to the distributor until you are SURE you are getting enough fuel.
Next I would lift one spark plug wire and have someone turn the engine to see if spark is getting to the plugs. If it is, next thing would be to check the timing. It should come just after the piston passes top dead center with the spark lever up. If that is the case, your ignition system is working. Only work on the distributor if you don't get any spark.
The reason for taking things one at a time, is because you don't want to be trying to find two problems at a time.