Today I bought my first ever model T. It's a nice 27 Tudor. Before closing the deal, seller gave me a ride. Car started up for him with no issues. I had it loaded on a flatbed and had it delivered to my house. For an hour, the car was rained on. When I got it home, family wanted a ride, but I cannot start it for the life of me. I'm devastated. Did the rain do something that would cause the car not to start at all? What do I do?
Wet coil box. Open it up, remove the coils, and dry it out. The try again.
Eldo. Welcome to the affliction. We in the Milwaukee club will be more than happy to help you and your car. We would love to meet you and the family. 414-403-0107. Dave Hjortnaes.
Nope. Coils were bone dry. I was able to get a nice hum, but that's it. No other action.
Dave, thanks for the note. I'd love to give you or someone in the local club a call for some help. I've had this car for 12 hours and I'm super frustrated. Car ran. Then rain. Now nothing. I love it, but I so so so want it to spark up!
Maybe the gas got turned off after the last ride? Believe me, it has happened to most every model t guy. Good luck.
First question: Is the fuel valve open? On a 27 the valve will be on the firewall above the carburetor. The handle points down when the valve is open and any other direction if it is closed. This is a very common problem, a person tries to start with the valve closed.
Second question: Is there a cover on the coil box? The box is located on top of the engine and there is a rain gutter on the right side under the hood hinge. If that cover is off, water can get into the wood and also in the coils.
The original coil box has wood on the side where all the electrical connections are located. When that wood gets wet it can ground out or short out the spark. Unfortunately, the spark will find the easiest route to ground instead of going through the spark plugs.
Try pulling out the spark plugs and lay them on top of the engine with the wires connected and turn the key to Batt. Slowly turn the hand crank. You should see the spark plugs fire in this order 1,2,4,3. If they don't spark, you have a problem, likely wet wood. This wood can be replaced with a plastic part made by "Fun Products" It looks like wood, but won't be affected by water.
I wish I were there to help you, but you live too far.
Did you drive the car or just ride? Have you driven a T before? Is there gas getting to the carb? Is the gas turned off by some chance? There is gas in the tank? You say "No other action" can we assume the starter is cranking the motor? If the coils are buzzing, check for spark at each plug. Always make sure there is a close distance for the spark to jump to ground. Too much distance can cause a coil to arc inside itself or the box. Damage can occur. When checking and or starting, always have spark lever in the top retarded position. I'm betting it's something simple, just overlooked? Let us know!
The gas handle has to be down? I was told up is off and horizontal is on. Ive had it horizontal. Do I need to put it down? Or is horizontal down?
Yes, the coil box has a top. The coils are all bone dry. I checked each one. With the timing lever up, I get a good hum.
I can't get my spark plugs out. They seem to be in there pretty good. Any thoughts on how I can loosen them up a bit?
Ditto what Jim and Norm said! I am slow on the keyboard.
The seller gave me a crash course on starting and driving, but I'm a total novice. Never had a t before. There is a crank and an electric starter. The electric starter will turn the fan slightly, but I'm not getting the car to turn over almost at all.
Give me a call and I can drive over tomorrow. Are you on the south side or north side of town.
Bayside - just south of Mequon
Now the suspense is on. Keep us posted as to what you find.. GAS IS THE CULPRIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Welcome to the club
The club will be at Maxfields pancake house on Brown Deer road next Saturday about nine and then touring to Schmitt Ford in Saukville. You are welcome to join us for breakfast.
Eido, give the battery a good charge, go through all the steps suggested here and by the owner..Gas on, spark up, a little throttle and i bet it will start right up for you. The coils will still buzz with a battery that is too weak to actually turn the starter enough to make it run. Best of luck, and congrats on your new T.
The car was in storage for 8 years. It ran this morning, but I'm thinking of getting a new battery anyway - just because. Can't hurt. Maybe it'll do some good. I'm hoping if anything was wet, it'll dry over night. I'm a bit sad I couldn't start her today, but I'm hoping to have a long relationship with this car. I'm really X cited about it. I'm sure this won't be the last of my frustrations.
How much did you choke it. A "flooded" Model T won't start very easy (or at all). The more it won't start the more you choke it etc. When cranking with the starter a quick pull and release on the choke is usually all the choking needed. When I hand crank I only choke 2 pulls and it starts 2 pulls after that.
My brother lives in Thiensville.
As we like to say on the forum, welcome to the affliction. Don't be discouraged by your non-start. Once you've learned the ropes it will be an easy starting machine. As long as there's enough battery to buzz the coils, if things are set up right you don't need the starter.
You'll get some help and you'll get it running, but you'll need information. Here's a start: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG80.html
Is it in neutral? You said the fan and starter are not turning fast enough. Neutral is set with the brake lever 1/2 way back not all the way back or forward.
Great looking car. Last night you said you had the valve horizontal. Should be vertical as shown in the pic at this link.
I hope I do not offend anyone by using a catalog pic but I did not have one handy...
Dennis, I've been trying to start her in both park and neutral. It's not that the fan doesn't turn fast enough, just that it's not turning enough at all. Fan is rotating just a bit on my attempts. To me, that's not even close to starting.
Peter, I don't believe I have a sediment bulb like that, but in any case, I don't see the valve in the photo.
Can you post a pic of what you do have? If you could take one of the passenger side of the engine compartment we could see your setup. Posting pics is tricky on the forum so another option is to take a video, post on YouTube and add the link here.
The silver part (left side of photo) is the valve lever. The sediment bulb is at the base of the fuel tank on the passenger side. Another option is to open the drain on the bottom of the carb bowl to check quality and quantity of fuel. Be sure to catch in a suitable container.
Have you had a chance to check spark at the plugs as suggested above yet?
This may help put it in context.
Image courtesy of Bob Jablonski found in this post http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/391601.html?1380651180
I guess I DO have the sediment bulb, and it's down. But I use that valve next to it to open and close the gas line.
Great looking car. I'm sure that when Dave gets there he will be able to help you get it started. You could figure it out yourself -- but it is a lot easier and faster if you have someone more experienced show you the things to check for.
As others have said, welcome to affliction/hobby. It takes a little while to get to know your car and what it likes or doesn't like -- such as how much to choke it when starting etc. Most of them are all a little different. You will also be able to sort out all the items that may need some attention. You commented the car sat for 8 years in storage. If the previous owner changed the oil, greased everything etc. that is great. But if the seller just pulled it out, washed it, and checked the fluid levels -- there is a good chance that it could use an oil change, and a good grease job etc.
There is an excellent article about removing a Model T from mothballs. The seller may have gone through most of that or not. You may want to check it out at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/8538.html It is the third entry down.
The first entry on that list also had a link to the Owner's Manuals and other T pamphlets. The 1926 Owner's Manual is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/books/1926Inst.htm It even has a list on the last page of common things that will cause the car not to start. For example water in the gasoline is listed as #2 and #4 mentions water in the commutator. What is a commutator? Good question. Many of us call it a timer and it serves to route the electricity to the coils where it is stepped up to high voltage and then goes to the spark plug. See question Answer 59 in your 1926 owner's manual. And recommend you wait for Dave to get there before you take anything apart.
Which leads me to the next question. What is your experience level with working on mechanical things? If we know that, it can help us when we answer questions etc. You mentioned this is your first T but have you done any work on cars, tractors, lawnmowers etc. before? Or are you like I am on my wife's new car -- it goes to the shop. You shared you are a novice and this is your first Model T. We were all a novice at one point. And most of us still are a novice for certain things. For example I've never worked on a 1926-27 "Improved Car." So you have more time on those than I do. The good news, many of the lessons are the same or very similar for the 1909-1927 Fords (and some apply to almost any car - such as is the gas flowing correctly or not?)
Finally there are some known safety issues with the Model T Ford. It came a long a little before OSHA. So it has several "gotchas" that a 2016 Ford etc. does not have. Recommend you review the safety item list located at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/576808.html
Probably the two most urgent ones are: 1. Do you have a gas fired hot water heater or other source of ignition in the same garage you have your T? T's tend to leak gasoline. I've never had my wife's modern car leak gasoline. (That safety thing again for selling cars in the USA.) But I've had my old Fords leak gasoline in the garage before. Sometimes my fault -- I forgot to turn the gas off. Sometimes failure of a part -- I turned the gas off but the valve started leaking. But I've opened the door from the house to the garage and had that smell of gasoline quite a few times over the years. There have been a few documented cases where the leaking old car and the gas hot water heater combined burned down a house. I had my gas fired heater changed out when I bought our current house for that reason. In theory the new style gas fired hot water heaters will sense that there are gas fumes and will not light off. But I don't want to risk that -- what if they have a recall for gas fired hot water heaters because they found the part was defective that was supplied?
The other item is what type of material is your rear axle thrust bearings made out of? If the seller was the owner for the past 20 years, they can probably tell you if the rear axle thrust washers were replaced with the bronze thrust washers or that he doesn't know. If the seller inherited the car, it is likely they will not know if the car has babbit or bronze rear axle thrust bearings (there are also some roller bearing ones). But the babbit ones will fail. Not might fail -- but "will fail." That was not a problem back in 1926. They tended to last for years and years and lots of miles. But if you still have the original ones in the rear axle -- you have already used up lots of those years and years and miles and miles. When they fail -- you do not have the normal brakes, no reverse or forward gears. You are in neutral. Good news the 1926-27 cars have a larger emergency brake than the 1909-25 Fords. But they tend to fail when the brakes are applied hard. And that is usually when you need to stop in a hurry. And that may or may not allow you time to grab the emergency brake. (Which is another item to check -- does it work properly?).
The T is a faithful servant and if you take care of it, it will bring you and your family lots of fun for years and years. For that matter -- it can bring lots of fun for generations to come.
Hap l9l5 cut off
looks to me like the fuel is off in that position. Handle should follow the fuel. See the arrow on the end?
Yes, it's off in the photo.
Get help. The kind that breathes. Reading is OK but you sound like you could really use a hand.
Thanks, Charlie. I agree and will be calling Dave in the Falls later this morning.
And Hap, thanks for the detailed post. I am definitely not a mechanic, but my father was and some of that rubbed off on me, for sure. I know my way around an engine and tools, but I have limitations. I can diagnose some things and feel pretty good about replacing certain things. I can work my way around a diagram. But I can't rebuild an engine - at least not yet. Part of my interest with this T is that it was in good shape and ran, but definitely needed some work. The electrical is not quite right, the magneto is disconnected, the dash light is missing, the carb was leaky, among other things. None of that scared me. But once I could t get her to start, I don't have the knowledge to go down a mental checklist of what might be wrong. But I knew enough to come here!
I've been super impressed by this board. You all have been awesome. I'm not even 24h into being a T owner, but I'm already 300% more excited about what I've gotten into. My hope is to learn, grow, and make this car a family heirloom. I definitely want my 10-year old son to work on this with me, catch the bug, and then pass this car to him some day.
Here's more info on Hap's last safety paragraph. http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG79.html.
Ya, really appreciate it. After I saw he puddle of gas yesterday, I surveyed the garage to see if I was risking re house burning down. I think I'm ok. I'd definitely like to fix that leaky carb, but aside from the odor, I think I'm ok. I threw some cardboard under the car and will work on it with the door up. But I really appreciate the safety tips, including about the car itself. Very important.
Thankful I like on a large loop street and can practice driving without risking the public safety.
Here we go again ready, fire, aim! the man said twice that the engine is not turning over. Low or dead battery? Poor connections to starter? Moisture could have caused corrosion at battery to starter switch/starter connections.
Eido, I didn't seen anyone mentioning this but a group 1 6 volt battery will work well. Also the T is negative ground. Be sure the ground cable makes good contact to the frame.
Likely the ride home on the trailer shook up the gas and carb, the simple Ford carb uses a single needle valve to control fuel level in the bowl.
That needle can be stuck by debris, or old varnished gas, and when stuck down lets the bowl overflow out the side of the carb.
The needle can also be stuck up, preventing gas flow.
Easiest to remove the carb, but you can also just remove the bowl, and wiggle the float, or remove the rivet pin holding the float and then the small needle can be removed and cleaned. Lots of carbs have plain needles, some have vitron plastic tips, and some are those pesky new ball type that are prone to stick in gravity gas feed systems.
Here is dirty carb from sitting with gas in bowl in storage, always drain the bowl if storing a T.
This one had stuck float needle causing dripping from carb.
Good cleaning and all was well.
(Message edited by Dan_Treace on September 11, 2016)
Eido, with all this help, and close friends, you'll be driving your "new" Model T in no time !
I can't say enough about the "community" here, ever helpful, always willing, it's the best forum I've found on any subject. My hat's off to "Model T Guys" - they're the best.
With enough "tech" information to solve your problems, I'd like to offer the metaphysical side of Model T ownership. Consider that in the day, the Model T owner's last mode of transportation was almost always a horse. The transition was fortunate, because somehow, the T's temperament and personality is often not unlike that of the equine. It's not unlikely your new friend is somewhat taken aback by the change of hands, environment, and situation, and needs a gentle hand and a little time to become acquainted with you, and gain the confidence she needs in order to obey your cues.
Make the right thing easy, the wrong thing difficult, don't lose your temper, and keep a gentle, firm hand. You have a friend for life !
There must have been a problem with the valve at the sediment bulb because another valve was placed in the line. So you need both valves open. The leak at the carburetor would probably not keep the engine from running, however, it should be fixed and it should stop leaking when the valve is off.
Assuming that the parking brake lever is all the way back, the starter should turn the engine. If the hand crank will turn it, but the starter won't, the next thing to do is clean all connections on the battery cables to the switch and to the starter. Give the battery a charge. If it still won't turn the starter, take it down to Auto Zone to be checked and buy a new 6 volt group 1 battery if needed. Eight years in storage would be enough to cause a battery to go bad. They usually only last from 4 to 5 years and if it had been setting without a charge for many years it could still go bad.
If the engine won't turn with the hand crank, I would suspect that the starter is locked. If so, put the parking brake all the way forward and rock the car back and forth to unlock the starter.
Unfortunately, a dead battery can also be so low that the coils won't have enough energy to spark with the switch to Batt even with the hand crank, especially if you have recently tried to use the starter, so start your trouble shooting with the battery and also fix the leak in the carb. I like to place a tin can under the carburetors of my cars when parked in the garage, just in case, because they can leak when unexpected.
Dan, thanks, that's really helpful as well. Yes, I figured between the rain and ride to its new home, something got messed up. I'd love to have a local club member take a look, but also help me assess what work I have ahead of me. Solid bones from what I can tell, but I definitely did not buy a show car - on purpose.
You have a good looking tudor Eido. Won't take long to get the bugs worked out and with a closed car, you have a couple more months of driving enjoyment too
Thanks, Gary. I am really looking forward to it. I wasn't at all expecting this car to also be my admission ticket to a new universe of friends. I'm thrilled beyond words. I'm 24h into ownership now and if this is any indication of things to come, my only regret is not buying a car sooner!