Foot starter switch question

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Foot starter switch question
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tt newbee Thomas R. Hicks Central Va. on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:02 pm:

TT has:

New Battery

Cleaned and reattached grounding strap

New cable from battery to the switch (#1 not #2, but it was working fine)

I did those repairs a few weeks ago and she was turning over strong.

Now, when I turn the key to battery the buzz coils get loud like they should, but when I push the starter switch the buzz coils go silent and the engine does not turn over.

So I decided to check the connections at the starter switch terminals. they are aggravating, someone put regular nuts on them, not the copper ones which are a slightly different size. This makes them difficult to tighten. I did not like the bolts holding the switch to the frame. I am not a purest, but it was obvious that someone just used whatever they had, so I removed the switch.

I notice that it has some type of rubber grommets separating the terminals from the switch base. They look worn. Also, I can check continuity and the switch does close when pushed, but that does not tell me if it will carry enough current to turn the starter.

I am guessing a new switch is in order, but I am asking for advice before I screw this up too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jack Putnam, Bluffton, Ohio on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:09 pm:

Take it apart and clean the internal contacts, replace the insulators as needed. It may be better than a new one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan B on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:09 pm:

I have the same problem you describe, which is that the coils will buzz when the key is turned to battery, but as soon as the foot switch is depressed, the coils stop buzzing and the starter does not engage. It's as if the all the energy in the system removed instantaneously.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Pat Kelly Montana on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:21 pm:

I put a modern Ford starter relay to pick up the starter and use the new foot switch to activate the starter relay. The new foot switches don't like high current. My old foot switch had a ground in it when pushed. A high current draw will cause low voltage and affect the ignition. PK


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tt newbee Thomas R. Hicks Central Va. on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:33 pm:

Took it apart. It definitely needs new insulators, $5 at Langs. Replacement switches are $15. I am leaning towards the replacement switch since I have to order and wait anyway.



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:35 pm:

The original switches as shown were pretty well made. You can carefully pry back the tabs just enough and take them apart. Clean the copper contacts and replace the insulators. It will last longer than you own and drive your T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:37 pm:

1.Several things could cause this problem. If the engine turns over with the crank, the starter is not locked. If it won't turn over with the crank, either it is not in neutral or the starter is locked. When you are drawing a great amount of electricity from the battery, the voltage will drop and the coils will stop buzzing.

To unlock the starter, push the parking lever all the way forward and rock the car back and forth. This will unlock the starter. When it is unlocked, turn the crank 1/4 turn and then try to start again.

2. Another possible cause would be low battery charge. Even a new battery can be low. In that case, put a charger on the battery for 1/2 hour and try again. Sometimes a new battery is a dud and will not hold a charge

3. The switch could be grounding when you push the button, it grounds the contact. In that case the switch and cable would get very hot. To fix disassemble the switch and replace the insulators and clean the contacts.

4. The problem could be in the starter motor itself. It might need to be rebuilt.

Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:39 pm:

Thomas,

Both of those terminals need to be insulated from the plate they protrude from. You show the terminals with no nuts on them. There should be a total of 4 nuts, two on each terminal. Under the first two nuts there should be an insulating washer. Then the wires go on. Then the last 2 nuts are used to secure the wires.

Make sure neither terminal is shorted to ground. Check it with the starter button depressed and with it "up", i.e. not depressed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:41 pm:

Do NOT order the cheap switch!!! There is a more expensive, but less original looking, switch. That's the one you want. The other is cheaply made and will fail early.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tt newbee Thomas R. Hicks Central Va. on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 04:53 pm:

If you look at the picture, you can see where one of the flanges(with the green paint) has been broken off. there are four of these which hold the switch together, I am guessing that the fact that it is broken indicates someone has repaired this switch before.

Plus, Each terminal had two nuts. the one which held the terminal on was copper and its threads match the terminal's threads exactly. The nut which held the lug on was not copper and did not fit well. for some reason these copper terminals have slightly different threads.

I will order the expensive switch. You will find this one at Hershey on top of an old TT tire leaning against the fence with a note "free to good home".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Sole - Castelldefels (Spain) on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 05:04 pm:

The original insulating washers are made of cardboard. It looks like one of your washers has been replaced with a rubber one too.

After I tightened the nuts holding the contact bolts in place on my switch it short circuited because the cardboard washers just squished away. I repaired it by replacing the cardboard washers with some fiber ones. Just had to pry the tabs open and with the round body off the flat plate you can easily change the washers. Mine had small fiber washers between the cardboard ones which insulated and centered up the contact bolts. Clean up the heads of the two contacts with some fine sandpaper and when you replace the round body turn it 90 degrees so the copper disc makes contact on new clean material.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Sole - Castelldefels (Spain) on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 05:07 pm:

I didn't see the additional pics till after posting. You won't be able to turn the round body for new contact area since it's not round. It'll still work great with a little clean up and new washers.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 05:32 pm:

When the switch is too far gone, save the mounting plate and a trip to the local Tractor Supply TSC store you can put on a new starter switch.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:23 pm:

One nice thing about the originals, is that with care, you can weld on new tabs. They are pretty robust things!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Hoshield; Oak Park MI on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:43 pm:

Ditto on the battery charge. I had enough juice to buzz the coils, but dead when starter was pushed. Even after a full 'charge ' on the 6 very battery. Might get 1/2 a grunt, then mothing. Finally took it in and had tested. Had 2 dead cells, so was only putting out 2 volts.

Since, I found I had a constant drain on the battery, so kept running it down flat. I put in a solid 12v battery, and a battery cut-off, to save the battery, till I find that pesky voltage leak. I'm putting on trunk signal and tail lights this weekend, so will ferret that out, before throwing a light kit in the mix!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:51 pm:

Those tabs should be annealed before trying to bend them open. Take a small oxy-acet. tip, 0,00, or 000, and carefully heat them cherry red and let them cool slowly. They most likely won't break when bent then. Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 08:54 pm:

I had the tabs break on mine too. No problem. I just put it together with four small tack welds.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tt newbee Thomas R. Hicks Central Va. on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 09:59 pm:

With encouragement from a local guy I went to Tractor Supply searching for some 0-rings and washers to fashion new insulators. He also explained about annealing so the tabs won't break.

I couldn't find what I considered a system to build good insulators. I know 6V won't jump far, but I want to make sure what I have will work into the future. so I bought a 6V tractor switch and made a mounting plate as suggested by another poster. They had #1 battery cables, so I also bought a new cable to go from the switch to the starter. The old cable was probably good, but it looks like someone took two cables and brazed them together, probably to get the correct lug ends.

So, battery less than 2 months old, fully charged, new cables, new starter switch, ready to fire up! But no, same problem. I guess that means it has to be the starter since everything else in the system going to it is new. I should have bypassed the switch by running a jumper cable from the positive pole of the battery directly to the starter before assuming it was the switch, but I have never seen a starter go from running strong to nothing like that. In my experience they get weak first, but you still get a lot of use before they die.

Do starters go bad that fast. It used to crank strong which is why I decided to keep the 6V system. Now nothing.

And repairing starters is something I know nothing about...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 10:45 pm:

Well, one thing; taking a starter off a model T engine is NOT like any other. First you have to start under the floorboards and take off the 'can" that the starter drive sit in, remove the starter drive so there's just the starter motor shaft on the starter, THEN you can pull the starter from the ending room side. Doing otherwise will damage the magneto windings!
Before you do that though, find someone who can loan you a load meter (I used to have a little round one just for measuring starter loads. You hold it against the wire while the starter is under load and it will tell you how many amps it is using--that will tell you if the starter is overloading the battery.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:19 am:

I like the earlier style starter switch which is screwed together. I rebuilt one for my '25, but when I put the body on the car, even with the extension, it didn't come through the seat riser plate far enough. So, I happened to have a NOS late switch which is still on the car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:20 am:

The terminal bolt on Model T starters can be really bent up inside, maybe so you get a short circuit?

Here's a post about replacing it if it turns out to be the problem - new ones are available from Ron Patterson.
http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/311861.html?1347901630


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tt newbee Thomas R. Hicks Central Va. on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:39 pm:

I pulled the starter. Notice the piece on the right of the bendex in the picture. It has a crack, I will order a new one. I don't think it is my problem, but it could give me problems in the future.

What is that piece called when I order it?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:44 pm:

https://www.modeltford.com/item/5021-1/2.aspx


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:49 pm:

https://www.modeltford.com/item/5021-1/2.aspx


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 12:51 pm:

Bill reads and types faster!! :-)

(Young people do that !!)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 01:15 pm:

Thomas,

O rings are not what you need for insulators.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kirk on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 01:51 pm:

I know some are going to get mad at this but I hooked up a 12 volt starter solenoid I had, made a bracket to mount a momentary key switch under the dash. I'm using a rechargeable 12 volt battery to operate the solenoid. They make a 6 volt solenoid, I should get one. It makes it easier and I can always go back to the floor switch and I used hose clamps to hold the solenoid so there are no holes to drill.

http://www.snydersantiqueauto.com/starter-solenoid


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 03:47 pm:

Peter,

You can use the floor switch even with a solenoid. Just use the floor switch to fire the solenoid. That way, you can even use the crappy, "correct looking", reproduction switch because you're putting far less amperage through it when you're simply operating the solenoid. (yes, a 6V solenoid would be best)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tt newbee Thomas R. Hicks Central Va. on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 04:50 pm:

A 6V solenoid would have a 6V coil and a 12V solenoid would have a 12V coil. So the battery voltage would determine which solenoid to use, right?

But, wouldn't the 6V solenoid also have contacts rated for higher amperage which would be needed for a 6V starter?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kirk on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 05:04 pm:

I would think the contacts are the same but using a 12 volt batt with a six volt solenoid would overload the coil and using a six volt batt may not be strong enough to power the coil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kirk on Friday, September 30, 2016 - 05:13 pm:

Jerry,
I never thought about using the floor switch to operate the solenoid, good idea, strange how the most obvious things don't always come to mind.
But I like having the ignition switch under the dash. It makes me feel comfortable when I start it.
It's bad enough that when I first drove the T I was trying to shift it into reverse by using the throttle.

I'm using a separate smaller 12 volt battery to operate the 12 volt solenoid but it would be better using the six volt batt and solenoid


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