Hi everyone, I have a fairly new-to-me 1920 touring. Ran great til a longer drive this weekend which included a parade where I was forced to go in and out of high at slow speed a lot.
Anyway the car had what seemed to be a misfire by the time i got home. I was pretty convinced i had a coil or timer issue or possibly a carb icing issue (no heat pipe and a humid day) Cleaned plugs (sooty) and timer and checked points gap. Fuel flow good, spark seems good, coils are clicking away and the car runs fine in low and reverse.
But, when I shift into high at low RPM, about 9-10 mph, the car shudders, bounces, chugs and doesn't want to accelerate. The RPM doesn't seem to increase which I would expect in a slipping clutch. If I power through this it eventually gets up to speed and smooths out somewhat.
So thinking it may be the clutch since it runs so well in low. I opened up the trans and set the clutch fingers one half turn tighter. Everything else looked ok. This made no difference in driving. Here's the weird thing. One clutch screw was harder to turn 1/2 turn, and the other 2 were easy.
Any thoughts to stop my car from hopping? Clutch or ignition issue? Thanks
Possibly a dry u-joint freezing up?
Suggestion; set your parking brakes so they are off with the lever straight up and down setting it in neutral and full applied when pulled 4-6 click back from there. That way you only have to touch the low pedal to move ahead. Any parade I have been in there is no reason to even go into high.
Maybe also one of your bands is not fully releasing.
@ Jim. Good thought but wouldn't that affect low too? I will check anyway.
@ Mark. I've driven a number of T's in parades. This was less a parade than a slow roll, 10-15 mph. Too fast for low. And too slow apparently for high. Do you think this affected the car somehow? It seemed to chug similarly during during the parade, and now does it all the time.which is why I thought it could have have damaged the clutch. Bands were loose when I opened the trans and pedals function normally. Thanks
Sorry really don't know without being there. What clutch are you running?
Ken-possibly not. Low gear has enough torqe to overcome the stiff u-joint.When you get the rpm up in high, it either vibrates less, or dissappers altogether. Fought this one, myself. Also heat of parade, friction of low band may have built up to shove it over the edge. Put a modern grease fitting in where the u-joint cup is, and give it to it. Non graphite grease only. I may also have had to run oil into one. Let us know.
Ken, once you turn one clutch screw even 1/2 a turn, it usually pushes in the clutch pack enough that the other two will be easier to turn. One thing to check is to be sure all 3 screws are contacting evenly with the same amount of pressure. Sometimes you have to dress down the end of the screws to achieve this and have the slots line up for the cotter pins. Hope this helps.
Narrowed things down a little. While I am getting spark at cylinder number 2, shorting the plug or even removing it doesn't change anything. I don't have a spark plug adaptor to do a compression or leak down test, but I suspect a stuck valve or something worse. If I remove the valve guide cover on the side of the engine to visually check, do I need a gasket to reseal it? It leaks anyway so this is on my list of things to do.
The condition that you are describing sounds like every Model T I have ever driven. Too bad Henry didn't give us a gear between Low and High.
Shifting at 9 mph is what I call lugging, and the stuttering scared me on my first drive, too.
Depending on the gear ratio in the rear axle, yours could possibly be worse than most. Try winding low a little higher, or better yet, have another Model T owner drive it for a second opinion.
Ken, the key word I worked from is 'hopping'. Is the car indeed hopping up and down, or is it 'lurching'? A u joint binding up is the only thing I can think of that could cause it to run good wound out in low,then do this in high. Humor me and put some lube,maybe 80/90 in the u-joint housing and see what happens before you do anything else. I would also get the rear wheels off the ground and see what the car does then. If it lopes up and down, etc.
I had a hopping T, and my problem was the coil boxes running slightly upwards out of the box and out of contact, causing one or two cylinders to not fire. Now I check the coils everytime I go out and don't have the problem anymore.
Thanks for your input. I have driven many T's and owned one previously. This condition started in one day. So something definitely changed.
Thanks, I will try this tonight. Its sort of a lurchy bounce. I thought about jacking it up to see if it goes away with no load on the wheels.
Thanks, I did swap coils around this morning and cylinder #2 still seems dead. I am picking up an adaptor tonight and will run a compression and leak down test.
thanks everyone for your input!
Ken, I committed what I consider to be the cardinal sin of forumdom.i did not pay close attention, and missed the part of your having a weak #2.while you may still have an issue with something big binding up, the probability decreased.
How does the car run in neutral? Do you find it lopes at idle but runs better at faster speed? If you have problems in neutral, the problem would not be in the transmission or universal joint. It would either be a fuel mixture problem or an ignition problem, or possibly a valve problem. If it idles smoothly at all speeds, your problem might be in the universal joint or transmission.
Ignition problems tend to get worse when pulling hard, which would be the case right after shifting from low to high.
I borrowed a good coil and a plug adaptor. Tonight's testing results:
Compression test: 40 psi on all cylinders cold and dry.
Leak down test on #2. Valves are sealing completely.
Swapped the good coil in all positions. Runs the same, a little rough/lopey.
I did notice a cracked insulator on one of the plugs down near the electrode tip. They are auto lite 3095. I am going to try a new set of plugs and wires next. They will be Champion X. The plugs are very sooty.
My friend pointed out that spark is harder to achieve under compression so I'm looking more closely at ignition. The car drove a little better after i cleaned the plugs a bit.
@ Jim: haha I did not have the right size zerk for the universal. So I packed the cup twice and screwed it down. The car rolls well in neutral and I don't feel binding. Rocky brakes are cool. I did not drive it after packing.
I'm also considering trying a new timer. The one in there is an Anderson.
If the plugs were sooty and you cleaned and it ran better, are they sooty again? If so, you might try leaning the fuel mixture just a quarter turn. A rich fuel mixture will also make the car lope as it runs.
Here's a thought, possibly low voltage from the magneto. Now follow me, if you used low gear excessively there may be a collection of band fuzz at the mag pickup causing low voltage and the miss firing of a couple of coils, hence the poor firing of a couple of spark plugs.
This may have been addressed above, but I don't see it.Could the timer contact for #2 be so bent or worn or loose it is causing 2 to fire late?? You'd still have spark, just too late to get any power out of it.
Or, conversely,I suppose it is barely possible that if the spring contacts in the Anderson are so bent or out of position that 2 is actually firing a lot earlier than the others, particularly at some lever settings. I forget the details, but somewhere along the line I fought a T that with everything set the way it should be, it was way advanced and kicking against itself, so to speak, sometimes.
Sure, with an Anderson timer it's a good idea to do the test Terry describes here:
I would also check the gaps in the spark plugs - some plugs runs better with a small gap, like 0.025".
@ Norm: thanks I sometime find I can lean it slightly when warm, but frankly it doesn't seems to make much difference. I wonder if the auto lite plug isn't hot enough. I ordered champion X plugs and new wire last night.
@bcg: thanks, thought of that and cleaned it when I had the trans open. Car run the same on batt or mag. In any case it was clean. I didn't look closely at the bands but they might be wood. Didn't look woven.
@jim and Roger: I think you may be onto something. I will check this out more closely. So when adjusting the Anderson contacts, if a firing occurs later in rotation , I want to bend the contact towards the flapper? How much advance should I do this at? I assume normal driving range?
Thanks all, we'll get there!
All, I made adjustments to the timer this morning. it wasn't too far off, 2 and 4 were early by about 5 or 6 degrees. I now have 2,1,3 aligned perfectly at 50% advance. 4 is still slightly early by 2-3 degrees but that was as close as i could get it. Cleaned the timer but it was already pretty clean.
If anything the car now runs worse. I can hardly accelerate in high.
Adjusting mixture makes little difference. Once again i took the good coil and swapped it into each position with no change either. At this point i am running out of ideas and will wait until the new plugs and wires arrive tomorrow. Those are the only things that remain unchanged.
This is truly a hair puller. So, now it runs worse at idle and in low?
Did you re time the spark advance? If you changed the timing of the contacts inside the timer, you might have changed the overall timing.
Are sure you have a good fuel flow? Did you open the drain valve on the carb to see if it would flow good for more than a short while?
@ Jim: sure is! Yes I now feel the rough running at both idle and low and it's harder to start.
@Norman: not sure I understand. Some points of timer timing were not changed. I just delayed the 2 that were hitting early.
@ Roger: yes, I have good flow out the bottom of the carb. I drained off about 2 cups. I have a full tank of 93 octane.
Is the tank vented somehow? I haven't tried running it without a cap, but then I wouldn't have good flow out the carb either.
Yes, the tank is vented via a hole (or two) in the cap. The early cap has one hole, the 24-up cap has two. I always open up the hole(s) to the next drill size before I install them.
I don't believe i have the correct cap. it is a loose fit and has no hole.
I just tried it and it doesn't run right even with the cap off. It has also gotten very hard to start. Before it was one quick pull and go. I just cranked it 10 times and finally had to use the starter.
There is no way that the cam/crank timing could have gotten off, is there?
If it has one of those older repop crap timing gears I suppose it is possible for it to have a bad spot, but I don't believe it could jump a tooth. Wish I was there to help you cuss!
If you delayed two contacts, half of the sparks would be delayed. Since the others were at the same timing of those two, after your adjustment, you might need to at re-check the length of the timing rod. For a T to be in good running condition, you must have good compression (between 40 and 50 on all cylinders and all should be approximately the same compression). You must have the spark correctly timed and the fuel mixture correct. In addition to the above, The coils and coil box should be in good condition and the spark plugs too. Note, the spark will jump at the spark plugs very well when you are running at higher speeds, but when you are pulling, the compression rises and the spark will jump the easiest gap So if you have a carbon path in the coil box or in the coils it could jump there. One way to check for this would be to start the engine after dark and look for sparks jumping in the coil box or wiring. The gas supply to the carburetor should be good flow.
"While I am getting spark at cylinder number 2, shorting the plug or even removing it doesn't change anything."
You may have a problem w/the coil box. Try switching timer and plug wires at the coil box and see if the problem moves to a different cylinder.
All, new spark plugs and wires arrived today and a set of reference coils arrive tomorrow. I will start with coils first and see what happens. Hopefully the car will be running by the weekend!
An update: one coil was bad. Changing the spark plugs, wires, adding a hot air pipe was all good for driving but the car was becoming harder and harder to start and ran poorly at idle.
So today i took the carb off and lo and behold, I think i found a problem! It doesn't look like the plugs have ever been drilled in this carb, but the jet seat unscrewed fairly easily, and the gasket below was torn. So far so good... that would certainly cause bad running.
Here's where I'm puzzled. the seating surface inside the carb body sure looks bad. It almost looks like theres the remains of an old gasket in there, at least i hope so. Either that or the mating surface is very chewed up. Trying to get it out with a pick is making me think its not a gasket. What do you all think?
I bet your timer needs servicing
Looks like you got the gasket out, but the carb surface where the gasket fits is corroded. Perhaps Stan Howe will see this thread and comment on how he cleans up the surface.
I see that your carb has a Grose jet in it - they have a bad reputation for leaking. You might want to consider replacing the Grose jet with a stock needle and seat. Be aware that you may have to polish the new needle to get it to seal, I have heard that the finish on the new reproduction needles is too rough.
Sounds like you're making progress!
You're experiencing the same exasperating thing I went through a couple of years ago. -After checking all my electrical leads and polishing the tarnish off all the contacts, getting the coils overhauled and tuned, checking the spark-plugs and having a compression test done by one of my forum brethren, it turned out my timer was shot. -I should have known because every time my engine had misbehaved up to that point, the culprit always turned out to be that stupid pig of a timer.
On the forum, I've read good and bad things about Ford roller-timers, Anderson timers, New-Day timers and a few others, but I've never, ever heard a single bad word said about the new TW-timer. -Had I been aware of its reputation, I'd have bought one instead of investing in a newly rebuilt Ford-roller (which works smoothly enough, but without the zippy acceleration possessed of its predecessor before it went bad). -My next timer will be a TW. -Maybe you're due for one?
@ James and Bob,
The timer is a fairly new Anderson. I don't THINK that's the problem because now the car runs great at speed, just doesn't want to start, idles poorly and runs rich no matter how i set the carb.
The coil I tested with previously turned out to be bad, but getting the reference coils from Ron Patterson helped isolate that issue. I do plan to try a TW in the near future.
@ Mark, i see that, although i didn't seem to have a problem with it leaking. I did order the new one last night just in case
So now after employing the Stan Howe method of polishing the sealing surface it looks like this.... better although i am still skeptical. Im not sure how much i should grind away. Can i use some type of sealant instead of the hard o ring? what about a copper washer? A fuel proof o ring?
I'd go a little farther; I don't think you yet have a good sealing surface. You will probably have to stack gaskets to get the float in the right position.
I see a problem:
Also, the carburetor has been full of water. I would go through the entire thing.
I have cleaned out the passages. I will go a little further on the sealing surface. Im probably going to end up taking about .025 off.
I checked the grose jet with air pressure and it seals well. it wasn't leaking when it was on the car, but I did order a regular one just in case Do these go bad over time or are they just susceptible to dirt? Seems like it would be a good design.
I'm going to try an o ring on the main jet to better conform to what will still be a poor surface. I'll report back how that works out.
Susceptible to dirt, much more sensitive to it than the standard set up. Remember though, the repro ones do need rework to function! I doubt an O ring will work well here, there is nothing to constrain it from squishing out. Squishing is a technical term!
PS Also, the O-ring has to be alcohol fuel resistant--modern gas is lousy with stuff! (another techno term!)
If it were me, since the Grose jet is working fine now and you have a stock needle and seat as a backup, I would leave it in for now. If the carb starts leaking, you can swap in the stock needle and seat then.
My two cents.
Well, if it still isn't running right, then there's a good chance the Grose jet is at fault..?
Rebuilt carburetor, installed the new fuel float jet too. Of course it leaked and overflowed. Pulled it apart again and polished the tab on the float and ensured the hinge wasn't binding. Didn't leak after that. but....
Car is still very hard to start and runs rough. Just ordered a TW timer. If this doesn't fix it I will have to take her out back and shoot her.
On a happy note, I did get lots of nice compliments on her at a local car show today.