Hello all, My '26 open touring is extremely difficult to crank start when cold and I was looking for ideas to find out what the problem could be.
every time I try to start the car for the first time on any day (doesn't matter what the temperature is outside) I have to hand crank with the choke pulled out no less than 6 times (sometimes more), I then wait for a couple of minutes,turn the key to batt, and she "may" start with one turn. Sometimes I have to repeat the procedure a couple of times because she will start but stall out before I can get to the spark advance! A lot of times after I repeat the procedure, I will turn the key on and get a free start! Once I have got her started and run for a few minutes, she will pretty much start with a couple of cranks everytime thereafter unless I let her sit for a couple of hours and then will have to repeat the "6 crank" process again! I have an electric starter but cannot use it until I replace the ring gear! I believe it may be a carb problem and was considering buying a rebuilt Holley, but would like any opinions before I do. thank's
Do you have a vaporizer carb on your 26? I have one on my 27 TT and it is a hard starter. I attribute this to the distance the fuel must be sucked up from the bowl, thru the heating plate and finally to the manifold.
My technique is to turn the needle open 1/4 turn and hold the choke closed while cranking with about 5 clicks on the throttle arm. After about 30 seconds I can return the needle to its normal position. The extra throttle gives you some extra time to get to the timer lever.
I have the holley NH carb on the T, I think it is the original one that came with the car.
Is it idling smoothly when warm? (If not, I was thinking maybe you have a leak in the intake manifold)
Yes, she runs great in a couple of minutes after she starts, runs better when I switch to mag though! I was thinking that it is almost like losing the prime on a lawn mower engine, but I don't know too much about how the T carb works compared to that.
Dennis. Model T's are all different.
The original motor in my 19 liked full retard, 3/4 needle open, throttle down 1/4, 2 pulls with the choke pulled, and it took one pull with the key on or I got a free start.
We changed the motor and it liked the spark down 2 notches, 2 1/4 turns open, throttle down 1/2, 4-5 pulls on the crank with the choke pulled, and it might start if I did't wear myself out first - thus I added a starter.
When using the starter a bit of choke with the throttle at 1/4 and the spark being pulled down works great.
When I switched to the old carb it worked best at 3/4 open.
All this to say my T has a personality of it's own and can be finicky
On my 26 is running a NH, here is the best method I've found that works on mine.
Fuel on and wait a minute
Key off & hand brake on
Throttle half way down retard all the way up
Pull choke wire all the way and give 2 cranks
Turn key on
Crank again without touching choke cable and it will either start or splutter. If you have trouble keeping it running when it starts you can leave hood open and attach vise grips to retard lever to allow a quick timing adjustment by reaching the grips and turning without taking any steps.
My 27 runs a vaporizer and is totally different.
My TT has an NH and I do just as Kevin does, as long as when he says, "give 2 cranks" it means 2 full 360 degree turns on the crank. Works every time, and about one quarter of the time produces a free start.
Try spraying some starting fluid into the carburetor before you crank it. This will usually allow you to start up and then you can keep it running by advancing the spark. Another thing which you might need to do is to turn the fuel adjustment rod one quarter turn counter clockwise just before you attempt to start it. That will give you a richer mixture. Then after it runs a minute or two, turn the rod back clockwise to the point where it runs smoothest.
thank's for the suggestions, I have tried quite a few of them already to no avail, the problem only seems to happen on the first start of the day and it doesn't seem to matter whether it's cold or warm outside! once she finally does start, she will start with one crank as long as i don't let her sit for over a couple of hours without starting.ie; if I go somewhere,shut the car off and come back in a couple of hours, then I would have to do the 6 to 10 crank process again, if I let her sit for less than an hour, I can start her up with just one or 2 cranks! I have tried starting fluid, but it doesn't seem to have any effect, I always have the spark lever fully retarded and have not tried starting it with it advanced at all because of the possibility of kick back.
This sounds like a question of fuel mixture adjustment, but have you checked to be sure the timing is right?
Henry, no I just 1/4 turn when choking it,
i.e 2 1/4 turns to prime.
Ive never tried the 1/4 anti clockwise on the mixture knob first but will do next time.
6 to 20 cranks when cold sounds like normal starting for me.
If I cranked mine 6 turns with the choke on it would flood. I pull two 1/4 turn pulls with the choke on then turn on ignition and one or two more pulls with no choke.
As others have mentioned, every car is different, here's what works well on mine. I shut off the fuel at the carb (I run a Kingston L4) and drain the bowl after every drive, so the carb bowl is empty at the start of this procedure. I also store the car with the brake lever in the high gear position and with chocks on the left front wheel.
1) Open the fuel shutoff at the carb and wait a minute or so for the bowl to fill (this is a good time to fill the suspension oilers).
2) Turn the carb mixture screw 1/4 turn rich.
3) Set the emergency brake, remove wheel chock on the back of the left front wheel (leave the chock on the front of the wheel in place).
4) Doublecheck that the spark is fully retarded and the throttle is 1/4 of the way down.
5) Walk to the front of the car, pull the choke ring, pull the crank up twice with the choke on.
6) Release the choke ring, walk to the passenger side of the car, turn the key to battery.
Yesterday when I did this, I got a free start, but usually the car starts on the first or second pull of the crank.
As soon as the car starts, I advance the spark to about 1/4 of the way down, adjust the throttle to a nice idle speed, then start leaning out the carb in stages as the engine warms up until I have removed the 1/4 turn adjustment I made at the beginning of the procedure.
I'm thinking flooding too. 6 cranks w/choke and possibly opening the needle valve too. Do you see fuel leaking out of the carb inlet after all that choke? I would think you might unless there's a partially blocked passage problem but I'm not there either.
Another possible problem would be if the choke is not fully closing when you pull the wire at the front. That would not be giving you any extra gas when cold. The other would be as mentioned above, flooding, that is getting too much gas.
By the way, you say you have a 26 touring. Most of the 26 tourings came with starters. Is yours one without one or is something wrong with yours?
i don't see any gas leaking from the carb after cranking, and I do have a starter but cannot use it right now due to ring gear teeth damage, I recently rebuilt the bendix for the 4th time with a new spring,gear,counterweights and bolts but it keeps landing on the bad teeth so I have been using the hand crank. It is not a major problem, because once she starts, she is pretty good for the rest of the day starting and stopping with only a crank or two, it is just frustrating (and tiring),on first start and i was wondering if a rebuilt carb would help.
Dennis - There are others that can give you better advice than me, but for what it's worth,right or wrong, here's what I would do to at least determine if your problem is ignition or fuel/carburetion at this point:
Next time the engine is completely cold, do absolutely nothing with it except pull all four spark plugs and put about a teaspoon of gasoline in each cylinder. Replace the plugs, retard the spark, open the hand throttle a couple notches, turn on the ignition and hand crank to start. If the engine immediately starts on the first pull (which, if all is well with the ignition, it will start) and gives one smooth burst of rpm, whether it continues to run or not, that immediate burst of power will be a strong indication that all is well with the ignition system, and you can then concentrate on the many good suggestions you've received concerning possible fuel/carburetion problems on this forum thread.
Do the smart thing first. turn the mixture control counter clockwise one half turn. With key off give two quarter cranks with the choke out, Then turn the key on and crank.
I think Norm is right - not flooding after six quarter cranks with choke must mean it's not fully closed when you pull.
Use a small mirror or feel with your finger if the choke is fully closed when you pull the wire?
Your starter ring gear will wear in two spots, 180 degrees apart. Your motor will tend to stop with either of those 2 areas somewhat aligned with the starter bendix. So, when you attempt to use the starter, it's in the worst worn areas and won't engage. Try this. Before trying to use the starter, crank the engine 1/4 turn. Then try the starter. The 1/4 turn should bring a good patch of the ring gear into alignment with the bendix. This is not a real fix, but it may beat cold cranking.
How many turns is the spray needle opened when you start? (From being closed.)
Thank's, I wasn't able to try out some of these things today, but will be able to tomorrow and will post the results as soon as I do, Thank's for all the responses, I really appreciate the help.
ok, Before doing anything, I checked with a mirror and the choke is closing when the ring is pulled. I checked the mixture/choke knob and it was 2 and 1/2 turns open before I closed it and reopened it 1/2 turn, gave 2 cranks, turned the key to batt (almost got a free start because she jumped for a split second), then cranked 4 times, no start, not even a putter!
I then tried my normal procedure of pulling the choke and cranking 6 times (noticed flooding gas dripped from carb), waited about 1 minute, then gave 1 crank and she kicked over, but died before I reached the spark advance.
I then gave 3 cranks with the choke pulled out, noticed flooding, waited 1 minute, but this time I put the vice grips on the spark advance as per above, and gave it a crank, she started and I was able to keep her running with the vice grips. I smoothed her out with the mixture knob at about 1 and 3/4 turns from closed.
normally I switch to mag at this point and she runs even better, but this time, I turned the switch to mag and she immediately died. Now, can get her started, but she dies immediately every time I switch to mag .This afternoon I will try pulling the mag post and see if it is clogged up.
I should add that once she did start, she was smoking more than normal (i think because i had the mixture too rich)
Dennis - I notice that you didn't take my previous suggestion, but that's okay, as I am now inclined to believe that part of the problem is flooding, when you said,....."choking for 6 cranks" (strokes). Two things you just said me to think "flooding". First, you said you have determined that the choke IS in fact fully closing. Second, this is further verified by your statement,....."noticed flooding gas dripped from carb". Normal procedure for all of my "T's when hand cranked is,....only 2 cranks (strokes) choking, and maybe, if very cold three, but NEVER more than three. FWIW,.....harold
harold I didn't have the time this afternoon to pull the plugs so I tried as many of the suggestions as I could and was planning pull them this evening. It almost seems like I have to flood it first before she will start, which sounds crazy! I didn't think it would be the ignition system because I get a fair share of free starts when messing with it!
I'd check the timing. That sounds exactly like one will do if the spark is retarded too far.
I tried the 1/4 anti clockwise turn on the mixture prior to cold start today. much better, ran smoother when first started when normally I have to be really quick to advance the timing to prevent stalling.
Thanks for the tip Guys
Why wait a minute after cranking with choke?
The minor flooding when choking is expected and helps start a cold car with an updraft carb. Shouldn't be any problem to crank to start with the ignition on right away
for some reason, she seems to start quicker if I wait a minute or so after the 6 or 7 cranks. I just thought of something, somewhere down the road, I lost the large tube that runs from the manifold to the carb throat, I bought a new one, but have not installed it yet, would that make any difference in starting the car cold? (I think it is a "preheat tube".)
PS, I tried to order the rebuilt carb from langs but it is backordered, so I canceled it and am now searching for the best price on a rebuild kit!
I will try some of the other suggestions today!
The preheat tube won't make any difference for cold starting since the exhaust manifold is cold.
The tube was developed to help preheat the incoming air when gas was half kerosene back in the 20's. For most climates it isn't needed today. If it's very humid and calm weather you may get a little frost on the intake while driving - if that causes the car to run bad, then you might try the tube. If it keeps on running without symptoms, the tube isn't needed. It'll just rob power - and a T needs all the power it has
My TT does not have a "pre-heat" tube and hasn't for at least 65 years that I know of. I don't think the fact that you don't have one installed has a thing to do with your starting problem.
Looks like you've got a lot of combinations to try.
My 15 was like yours, always hard to start on the first start of the day.
What worked for me is to open the throttle about 3/4 of the way. Now she starts first crank every time. I'm using an NH too. Oh, and choke on for two priming pulls first.
I'm betting the reason you need to wait a minute after choking it 6-7 pulls is because 6-7 pulls WAY flooded it. They say they are all different and that is true, but I've never seen one that 6-7 pulls with the choke closed wouldn't flood like crazy.
whad a chance to pull the plugs today (champ X's), all were black powdery carbon quite a bit but not wet at all. I put some gas in each cylinder,put them back in and gave her a crank without priming and she sputtered for a second and quit. I then tried the 3/4 turn on the mixture screw, 2 prime cranks and turned the key on batt, gave her a crank and nothing! so I gave her a couple of more crank's and she sputtered once again and and quit, at that point, I also quit and will get back to it tomorrow afternoon hopefully.
I agree with Hal. I'd check the timing next.
When mine acts like that it's flooded. This works for me (after letting it sit for a few hours after I flooded it) : 1. Mixture open 3/4 to 1 turn. 2. Two quarter pulls on the crank with choke pulled. 3. After that it will start with 2 or 3 more pulls. 4. Adjust the mixture. A starter sure makes it easier.
It's hard to tell the difference between carburation or electrical problems. Your milage may vary.
That mixture setting is 3/4 to 1 turns from full closed, or 1/4 turn rich from it's last "running good" setting.
No reason to let one sit for hours to clear a flood. Just open the throttle, especially on a car with an updraft induction system like a T. Most of the raw gas will run back out the carb. Not like a downdraft where you could conceivably fill the whole manifold full of gas. 4-6 pulls with an open throttle will usually result in a start, if nothing else is wrong. Be ready to close it back, as running unloaded like that makes for high RPM, but not too bad as the retarded timing prevents it from getting too awfully fast.
Hal - Your post makes me think of something I quite often have to do. In my many years of fooling around with old Fords (Model T's & Model A's) it seems that quite often, I am confronted with a problem that I have not yet totally figured out. (And by the way, I am speaking of mostly "hand-cranking" here.) I am usually okay with starting up most any old Ford"four-banger" that's in good shape from cold. Also, as everybody knows, an engine in good shape will always start very easily when warm,.....like when you've just shut it off long enough to run into the post office for a few minutes at most.
Where I run into trouble, especially with an engine that I am not really that familiar with, is when an engine is somewhere in between totally cold and at, or near, normal hot running temperature.
To choke, or not to choke,......THAT is the question!
So, consequently, I seem to commonly have a situation where I have "over-choked", and consequently "flooded" a partially warm engine. So, my "fix" for that problem seems to nearly always work. I shut off the ignition, and crank the engine through a half dozen or so strokes with the hand throttle WIDE OPEN. Then set spark advance to full retard and hand throttle open two or three notches. Nearly always fires right up on one single upward pull of the hand crank,..... FWIW,......harold
Have you done a compression check with a real gauge, even a 200LB gauge will work? Generally anything under about 35LB will be hard to start. I have done hand crank compression checks. Take the plugs out screw in the gauge. I am not that strong and managed to spin the motor nearly as fast as my starter does with the plugs out, maybe faster.
I would have to say that when in doubt, don't choke. Try and start it. If it doesn't start. You can always choke it and try again. I always choke one pull on a cold engine, but that is all it usually takes (Coupled with richening 1/4 turn from normal operating position). We will take one of the T's to breakfast pretty regular. Most of the time, it will start back after breakfast without choking, but occasionally, it won't start. That's when I give it a pull with choke. Every now and then, I will mis-read its signals and choke when I shouldn't. When this happens, a few pulls with the throttle open results in a start every time. My opinion? It's better to err on the side of under choking rather than over choking.
update; Today I tried my normal procedure of 6 priming cranks, spark fully retarded, throttle 4 notches, turn key to batt, started on second crank, but ran unusually crappy, sputtering, etc. i revved it up a bit and she smoothed out somewhat but still idled rough, as soon as I switched to mag, she died instantly, (normally she would run better on mag) I did notice that the mixture screw had to be open 1 and 3/4 turns to run fairly smooth, 1/4 turn either way would make her run rough!
If I primed mine "6 priming cranks" I would NEVER get either of my Ts started. Two 1/4 cranks is about right for me, three would flood them. Your milage may vary.
for some reason, this car would never start with less than 5 priming cranks,(but i did usually use the starter until the ring gear got messed up) every once in awhile I would try different combinations to get her started, but found that the 6 priming cranks worked, so stuck with it, but recently it has become more difficult for me to crank it so many times at the beginning of the day, so I haven't driven her much this year and was trying to find out exactly what the problem was. The thing that baffles me most is that, once she has started the first time, she is great for the rest of the day unless I shut her off for more than an hour or so, and then have to repeat the procedure! It is almost as if she has to be flooded before she will start when cold!
Check your timing to make sure when the lever is up that you are firing at 15 deg ATDC or maybe a little earlier. I set mine to fire "Just After" TDC. If something has moved or the rod has bent, etc., you may be firing too late. That makes one hard to start. Just like starting on MAG and not advancing it a little. It will run there once warm, but probably will NEVER crank there. Same principle.
The other thing is that I believe you are flooding it. Your sooty plugs are evidence of running too rich. In fact, your recent rough running may be an indicator of a fouled plug. I know they say they are all different, but 6 pulls on a closed choke would flood the L out of any T I've ever messed with. Something's going on there.
After all these suggestions, and your work, ....when was the last time you cleaned and gapped the spark plugs ???? Engine in our '26 starts easily with a .025" spark plug gap.
thank's, I'll pull the plugs again and clean them over the weekend, they were really powdered up but I didn't want to mess with them until I found out if she would start faster with gas in the cylinders. I probably won't be able to get to them until Sunday, but I'll post what happens when I do.
all, well, I decided to pull the car and give it a good cleaning. i dis assembled it and the little rubber pointed tip on the float needle tip was just hanging by a thread so I ordere new gaskets and parts. while waiting for the carb parts to arrive, I cleaned and re gapped the plugs, cleaned the carb passages (yes, I drilled out the 3 brass plugs and replugged them, they were not clogged up at all so I am assuming this was done before I bought the car) The parts just came in today and I wanted to replace the choke spring because it was broken but I can't figure out how to get the choke shaft and butterfly out to get the new spring on (the old one is broken and there was an external spring being used on the choke linkage) the parts diagram shows a little "staple" type clip holding the choke and throttle butterflies onto the shafts, but mine doesn't have it, any ideas? thank's
oh and I also noticed that I had inadvertantly knocked the mag post wire off, so I assume that is why she would not run on mag before!
The late model NH carburetor throttle & choke plates did not use the brass staple - the plates had 3 "upsets" (for lack of the proper term) which the one closest to the opening (whether throttle or choke) needs to be tapped down towards the shaft and grab with a small vise grip - it will pull out.
I should add "to grab the plate" with a small vise grip !
update; I took the carb apart,cleaned it real good,reset the float, reinstalled it and then decided to check the timing. With the spark lever all the way up and clamped, I could move the timer cover about an inch before it engaged with the lever. There was a lot of slop in the linkage and particularly in the little brass fitting that is attached to the bottom of the spark lever, It appears that the cotter pin that goes through the fitting was worn out. I am in the process of replacing the fitting, cotter pin and will adjust the timing rod to see if all of this makes a difference when I try to start it.
I forgot to add that I removed the timing cover and found a small amount of oil in it so I cleaned it out and re installed it.
If the "little brass fitting that is attached to the bottom of the spark lever" is the spark rod lever (Part #3530), you have one of those "spurious parts" Mr. Ford warned us about.
The lever is steel, not brass, and is not just cotter pinned. It should be solidly riveted. The proper amount of play at the lever and at the timer is zero. Moving the spark lever should mover the timer, with no slop.
Sometimes the hole for the timing rod becomes worn and slop develops.
In that case you want to fill the hole (more neatly than I did), grind the fill flat, and drill a new hole of the right size. Or you can spend ten bucks for a new lever.
I had previously bought a new lever awhile back and just installed it, the old one was also twisted a little causing even more "slop". the old one was held on by a cotter pin and not a rivet, I put the new one on with a cotter pin which was very difficult to get at. how can I rivet it on?