Spent some time today trying to get my 27 fired up. Background is it spent at least the last 10 years as a pool toy storage shelf at my parents estate. As far as I know it was running when put away. Supposedly my father put it away until he could fix a leak. Back to today, I've purchased a new battery and charged it, but it doesn't seem to crank the engine over very fast. Even with the plugs out. Is this normal? Do I need to invest in a new starter? I also noticed when I had the plugs out and turned it over they only seemed to fire once every 2 or 3 revolutions. Now some background here. A previous owner before my father had converted this to a reverse polarity system. (I intend to change this back when finances allow, hopefully this winter.) They also put in a distributor and coil. The only ID I can find is the coil is a Standard brand, model UC-12. The distributor's only marking is Atwater Kent Type-LA. Looking at the points the widest gap I can adjust them to is some where between .013 and .020 inches (Sorry with the gages I have it's the best I can do.) At this adjustment the spark plugs did spark the most frequently, reducing the gap reduced the amount of firing. Does any one have any thoughts on the above? BTW, took a best guess at the plugs and adjusted them to .035 inches, but they were really fouled. My current plan is next trip to town I'll stop and attempt to get new plugs, a point file, and some ether. I'd appreciate any advice anyone could give me as I didn't think it would be this difficult to get this thing fired up.
Clean the grounds and connections. Point gap is about right. Plugs I might go with .025. Clean the points too. Leave the + ground for now.
As a newbie, I would start with a compression test. Inexpensive, and I like to know that the valves and rings are good before getting into ignition and carburetion.
Use the hand crank to see how easily it cranks with the plugs out. If it's really stiff, their might be some rust in a cylinder. Peer into the plug holes with a flashlight. The plugs are only supposed to fire on every second revolution.
Went to town, couldn't get new plugs today, ordered and should be in tomorrow. Thanks for letting me know my gap may be too big. Regarding the compression test, it ran when it was put away for the leak my father wanted to fix, I'm thinking that should be fine. However rust may be a possibility, but one thing I found when looking for the leak, is it had a gallon of overfill of engine oil causing it to leak out just forward of the hogs head. With that much oil it must have been burning it as current plugs are black as coal, so I don't see any rust, just a lot and I mean a lot of carbon! I also will look at cleaning connections and grounds.
Sorry meant to add to above that the starter cranks the engine over faster than I could by hand. It just seems that the last time I drove this car 30 years ago the starter turned the engine faster, but that could be my memory playing tricks on me.
From the Standard brand coil number it sounds like you are running 12 volts, but with a positive ground, if so try this. But even if you are running 6 volts this check will work. The coil may be hooked up backwards because if it says "battery" on the coil that is for a negative ground system. After cleaning the battery cables and ground at frame, disconnect the high tension coil to distributor wire from the distributor, and hold it near the engine block with a insulated tool and have someone crank over the car with the starter. You should get a strong blue spark from high tension wire to the block. If not, reverse the coil distributor and battery connections and try again to check for strong blue spark.
Jack up one rear wheel and put the parking brake in neutral position. Be sure to chock the other wheel in both directions. This will relieve the drag caused by the multiple disk clutch. Many times if a T has been parked for a long time the clutch disks will stick together. After you get it started push the low pedal and then the reverse pedal. That should get the disks lubricated with new oil and it will turn over faster in the future.
You might also have some dirt or varnish in the fuel system. As gasoline evaporates it leaves behind varnish. You might need to blow out the fuel line and clean the carburetor.
If jacking the wheel doesn't allow you to start the car, try pulling it. attach a long rope from the frame in the front and pull with another vehicle. After you get it moving let out the clutch in high gear and it might start if the fuel line is not plugged. When you have someone pull you to start the car, you need to use some kind signal such as the horn if it works, or a hand wave Then when your T starts or if you want the pulling vehicle to stop you can signal your intentions.
I now have the engine/drive train freed up and motor spins faster when cranking. Thanks Norm. However I now have no reading on my dash board ammeter when I turn the key and no spark when I turn the motor over. Any thoughts any one?
It's hard to diagnose a T which is not running on coils and mag. Here's what you should have. There is a hot wire on the coil. It is one of the small wires. It should be connected to the battery through a switch. It might not be connected through the original T ignition switch, but somewhere there should be a switch with one wire connected to the battery and the other wire to the coil. The other small wire on the coil is connected to the distributor and through the distributor points it is grounded. When the points open the connection is broken and that is when you should get a spark through the large wire from the coil to the distributor cap. Remove that wire from the cap and lay it on the top of the engine. When you open the points you should see a strong spark jump toward the engine. The spark goes through the cap to the rotor and jumps from the rotor to the contacts on the inner edge of the cap. One is connected to each spark plug.
Inside the distributor there is also a condensor connected from the small wire which comes from the coil. The other side of the condensor usually the outer case of it is grounded to the plate on the distributor.
If you can find the switch which connects the battery to the distributor, turn that switch on and rotate the distributor to the point where the points are closed. You can manually open the points and a spark will be generated in the large wire from the coil. If so, your distributor is working. The wire to your distributor might not be connected through the ammeter, so it might still be making a spark without any change in the reading. You should get a good strong spark. Next thing is to check the timing. This would be just after top dead center for the cylinder for starting. Depending on the type of distributor you will either have an automatic advance when the engine speeds up, or you will have to use the spark lever as you would with coils.
If you have a hard time understanding what I have posted, I would suggest that you find someone in your local club who is familiar with distributors to help you with this.
Slow cranking with the plugs out could be a bad starter, a tight engine or most likely bad/dirty/loose connections. (they do not crank very fast under the best of conditions. Don't expect "modern" cranking. Ain't gonna' happen). If you have an original braided ground cable lose it. Their junk. Intermittent spark at the plugs with a distributor system could be bad/incorrectly set points. Their cheap enough to replace instead of fiddeling with old ones. Their usually VW parts. Get a new set with a new condenser. Guessing somewhere around .015 to .018 will work. Plugs: clean & cap to .030. The distributor might need a ground wire from the moving/upper part of the dist. body to a good ground. If it's losing the ground on & off the spark will come & go too.
So today I think I found the problem with the spark, it seemed to be in the points/distributor. I actually had the engine cough a couple of times when turning it over. So now I need to work on the timing and the carburetor.