Today, my Dad and I made a 3 hour drive to Calgary to see a fellow named Al who has a 1917 Touring for sale. It had been sitting for about 4 years, and largely unrestored. It has been worked on mechanically over the years, but the interior, upholstery, top etc. are all original. It very well could be original paint, too.
We went to start it, so we put new gas in the drained tank, put a new charged battery in, jacked the rear wheel up as the weather was a little brisk, and tried to start it. We had good compression, a strong buzz from the coils, and even a few kickbacks and coughs. We knew we were close, so we kept on going. After about an hour of cranking and a couple of sore arms, we finally called it quits.
We are not sure what to do. We tried both mag and battery, the coils were buzzing good, we tried a couple turns with the choke out every now and then, and had compression. We think the fuel was fine, because it was dripping around the carb. We even had to top up the fuel after about a half hour of cranking because we didn't put much in the tank, as it was going back in storage for the Winter after the showing.
Once it was all tucked away, he suggested perhaps there was some blockage in the line or some debris somewhere in the fuel system.
Any thoughts on what it could be?
Could be lots of things.. I would have tried with a little spraying of starting fluid in the intake while someone else cranked, had it started on that and then died I would have suspected the carb and studied the gas flow and other possible issues. If it wouldn't cough on ether either, then I would have started to check the ignition system in more detail.
Sometimes stubborn old vehicles needs a little more persuasion, like by pull starting with another car..
I would bring a known good carburetor and a known good set of coils. Either clean the timer or install a known good one. Install a clean set of known good plugs.
Check the intake for mud-dauber nests. Take the side cover off and check that the valves are opening and closing. Carb might have some blockages in it.
Side question - when you drain the fuel tank, what do you do with the "bad" fuel? My dump / recycling center has a spot for old oil, but not gas. I'm thinking about draining my tank (fuel 2 years old). Considering just transferring it to my 2002 Ford Explorer where it might mix in, burn off and go away?
I'm not the kind of guy to go out at night and pour it in the sewer.
Charlie, if it isn't really foul, it'll probably mix in fine with the fuel in your Explorer if there's already about half tank of fresh gas in it? Then nothing is wasted
because it was dripping around the carb
Many have said that Model Ts have distinct "personalities"...
My '15 does NOT like to be choked - ever.
Don't know why, but whenever I want to start the engine I just crank it. After sitting for several months, it does need several quarter pulls, but once it has run (in the previous month or two) it generally starts with no more than 3 quarter pulls
Perhaps the Calgary engine acts the same way?
Others have and will share more thoughts...I think the engine was flooded.
Mine was doing that, gas coming out carb. Shut the gas off and open the throttle about halfway, maybe drain a little out of the carb and then try to start it. It may take several pulls then when it starts turn the gas back on. That's what I did. I think my grose jet was sticking letting in too much gas.
Dripping around the carb or out the carb intake? dripping from the intake usually indicates flooding if the carb's OK & it's been over choked. Constant fuel from there or from the vent means the float or needle valve's stuck open = flooding also. If you dumped in say a gallon or so and needed more fuel in the tank after an hour it must be going somewhere. Did it all hit the floor? How "up" are you on T's? I ask because it sounds like something simple especially if you have spark. As Roger suggested: a little starting fluid but use it sparingly.
Remove the side cover and check that the valve is open and closed?12 Memory Foam Mattress
Thanks everyone for your input.
Unfortunately, the car is back in storage for the Winter, but if I have the opportunity to see it again, I will definitely see if we can troubleshoot it based on some of these suggestions.
Seems like it could have been a problem with the carb. All of these suggestions will go to the memory bank, for this car and for future ones .
Corey, get rid of the Grose jet! That is one very appropriate name for 'em, cause they're gross!! Ha ha. Royce, funny you mention cleaning the timer...yesterday afternoon I wanted to get Pete the '12 off the lift and moved over to the corner of the barn to use the lift for another car and he absolutely wouldn't start for nothing! Pulled the timer and voila!...there's the problem. My neoprene cam seal started to leak oil, and for as much as I do (still) like TW timers, they do not like oil! I'll get a new seal on it this week and all will be good again I'm sure.
Tim, that would be nice but it's a 4 ball Kingston and I really don't know how to swap it back. It's different the way it works and more of a problem because the weight of the float pulls the needle up. With the grose jet the fuel has to push the ball up. I try to start it at least every other day so it's no problem but if you let it sit, then it gets tricky.
I've never had a T that was easy to start by cranking.
My truck barely turns over with the starter and it's running, but if I try to crank it I'll give up after 10 minutes when I can't feel my arm anymore. Sometimes it'll sputter but that's the best it will do. The coils were rebuilt by Ron and it runs great on mag.
The '15 I used to have had no alternative. Sometimes it would start after a few tries, but if it didn't that meant it didn't want to run that day. There were a few times where it would not start no matter what unless I pop started it. After that it would USUALLY start anytime I wanted while it was still warm.
I have 2 chassis restored with engines by different builders. Can't wait to get a body on each of them and see what it's like to start with everything rebuilt. If it works like I've heard then maybe I'm just used to weak mags and or loosey goosey crank to mag clearance.
I used to have that problem also...then Mike Robison published the following...I complied and have been very happy. (Yes, others have published something similar and I don't disagree with the others - I just found Mike's to be easier for me).
Good Luck....and hope you experience some "free starts" as I have.
1. Turn crank shaft around until crank pin is horizontal
2. Turn key to Bat.
3. Retard spark
4. No coils should be buzzing
5. If coil buzzes go to step 8
6. Advance spark rod 3-5 clicks on quadrant a coil should buzz; If coil doesn’t begin to buzz go
to step 9
7. Retard spark, coil should stop buzzing everything okay!
8. The timer control needs to be lengthened return to step 3
9. The timer control needs to be shortened return to step 3
10. Coil should buzz and quit buzzing every time you advance and retard the spark!
And if the spark timing checks out OK like in Dave's post above, then remember to advance a few clicks if you're trying to start on "Mag". On "Bat" the lever should always be fully up when starting.