You can't imagine what a relief it is to come to the forum with a "nitpicking" question after what it took to get my first T started. Carb., valves, coils, wires, starter switches, etc., But, no now that it starts and run as good as I think it will, a minor question.
Doesn't matter hot or cold, but when I pull the choke wire and hand crank it a few turns with the switch off, when I turn the switch on with battery, if the cyls are aligned just right, I get combustion. A "poof" without touching a thing. And if it is hot, sometimes it will just start and keep running that way. No starter switch or hand crank needed. Doesn't matter where timing rod is set.
I'm presuming a timing question, but could be a carb setting? Valve setting?
For what it's worth, after I have the timing rod al the qay up on the quad, it seems to run "best" with the rod all the way down, not in the middle. I'm thinking of disconnecting the timing rod from the steering column at the lower arm and seeing if manually moving it helps with the "centering" of the upper arm and then bennding the lower rod if I need to.
But, if this is normal T stuff, then I can go on to other issues, like my bent wheel.
I'll hang up and listen.
Welcome to the "free start" phenomenon of model T Fords.
Most T owners wish they could get a free start every time. Don't change a thing
It means everything is tuned well and, while kinda freaky, is a good thing
It's called a "free start"; very desirable, just don't have your hand on the crank and have the crank engaged in the crank racket, to be safe.
Nothing wrong, that's a "free start" relax and enjoy the prosperity of not having to crank, but set your timer position at full retard as per the specs. I get enough free starts I'm kinda disappointed when she doesn't give me one.
Robert if it does that your T is operating properly and normally. Every Model T will do exactly that if it is tuned properly and has a good set of coils and fresh gas.
Pretty normal for a T engine to give you what we fondly call a "Free Start". Just times the planets align, and the T will start its self by switching on the ignition. The previous un-burned gas charge in one or more cylinders will fire up with spark, and away the engine will go.
Just be sure you have the T parked with the emergency brake lever pulled back!!
As for timing, you should get the spark lever adjusted (bending the timer rod) so most times the engine runs best about 3/4 down, most times all the way down at a good speed on the road will just cause thumping spark knock as the spark occurs to late and the pistons don't respond well to that!
My "new" '13 runabout arrived after dark on Nov.1, we rolled her off the transport by hand into the street and I had to drive her a couple hundred yards into the shop. Three days and more in transit and I got a free start right off ! Even better, I clumsily killed the engine backing in to the building, and got another ! I think she likes me !
Good reason to remove the key when working on 'em! If the key gets bumped or jiggled too much...with your head under the hood...I think you got the picture. Don't change a thing!
It's fun when you flip the switch, go around front to pull the crank, and the car starts as you're reaching for the handle.
In a way, I'm just a little concerned...
You wrote: "Doesn't matter where timing rod is set.".
In another post, did you say that you have installed an e-timer? If so, perhaps your experience with no engine reaction by moving the spark lever is normal, as the e-timer works the "advance".
If no e-Timer, I do believe something is amiss...perhaps those who operate an e-Timer will chime in and correct me...the spark lever position should produce a change in engine operation.
In the meantime, be careful...
Mine does it most often when someone asks me to demonstrate a crank start. When I turn on the key, I get a free start. It won't free start when I want it to.
Nothing wrong with your car. It's possible, however, that you might get a kick back if you don't have the spark lever retarded. In that case it would just kick and then stop. If the spark is retarded, it would keep on running if you have given it enough gas and the mixture is just right.
No e timer for me. Someone else. I'm the guy with the no start problem, timing off 180 degrees, then 2 cyl not firing, so valve job and timing, then 1 cyl not firing and it's only a crossed spark plug wire, now I'm in hog heaven. During the video shoot of my initial problems, I turn the switch on and it "pops" and startles me and my family thinks it's cute.
Now I'm running well and a free start every now and then is all good.
I'll still visit the timing rod thing as I think I've got some slop in the rod before it actually starts turning the timer housing and it's wasting rod travel on the quad.
And, now I've got engine splash pans to install after I restore the set I got from my new best friend, Dan Hatch in AL.
TO THE GARAGE!!
Steve I had that happen to me last year with my '15 even after it sitting a good 45 minutes at the local dairy's ice cream shop. Thought for sure I'd have to prime & crank but within 2" of grabbing the crank she started all by herself. Exciting!
I have had the occasion of just getting my hand on the crank and she would start, I call it the "slow burn free start"! Think it was just the bit of jiggle from putting my hand on the radiator and grabbing the crank was just enough to nudge the timer. There was the story about the guy that would have everything set so when he kicked the tire and the T would start. I think I saw it posted a couple of times in the past here on the forum.
After converting a '15 touring to battery and starter the car would free start almost every time within a few minutes of shutting it down.
Some years ago a poster on this forum said his T gave him a free start after sitting overnight.
My record is a free start after four days. Parked the car on a Sunday. Turned the key on Thursday morning and it started! No choke, no priming. Surprised the heck out of me. Of course, I also sometimes go weeks with no free starts at all.
To Rich Bingham - The best that I have ever done with my '27 is two free starts in a row. My T will not start (and will barely run) with the timing at full retard. Earlier this year Ron Patterson commented that two or three notches of advance is best for starting. The spark will still occur ATDC (After Top Dead Center), but not nearly as far after TDC as with full retard. He said that much of the compression stroke is wasted with the timing fully retarded. Based on my practical experience, I have to agree with him.
And now, almost 100 years later, the car companies charge hundreds of dollars for the optional remote start.
I'm thinking of a wireless remote for the ignition key power circuit. Leave the car set up to free start and while walking up to it with an arm full of groceries, press the remote button and she starts right up.
Although, admittedly, she might just take off down the parking lot as well. Hmmmmm.... never mind.
And, Robert, after you get some more experience, here is something you can do,with this T or your next one.
I tweaked the spark lever and quadrant so, while it would still stay up under normal conditions,it would fall down to free start position,if you rocked or shook the car.
I would put a little piece of wedge shaped wood (piece of clothespin works) for the lever to fall down.
So, you shut it off being sure it sucked in a good charge. Put spark lever up with little wedge under it.Switch to battery.
Then, go in the hardware(example.Denver Hardware, Denver, Indiana,my favorite spot for performing ) store for a minute for whatever.Come out, chat briefly with the loafers, kids etc. Then, say something like 'Start, ya bastard! And kick hell out of a front tire.Spark lever drops down to the free start point, and Away she goes! Get in, drive away.Even more hilarious if it's something that looks like the wreck of The Hesparus.
"free start" with a warm engine is fairly normal.
"free start" with a cold engine that hasn't run for several hours or more tends to be the indication of a "worn out" engine.
Friend of mine had a 1915 Rolls Ghost with a 1915 penny sitting on the cyl head. Start procedure was to lift the main jet lever, wedge the penny under it, turn the crank twice, remove the penny & put it back on the cyl head, close the bonnet (hood), sit behind the wheel, switch on and it started. Every time. And the penny stayed on the cyl head till next needed.
Adam, generally I would say, yes, except that the '15 I sold last month has a rebuilt engine with barely 500 miles on it, it's still fairly tight yet, and gave the new owner a "cold free start" right inside FJ's trailer. So who knows for sure.
Sounds like a normal Model T to me.
. . .and my four day free start was also on an engine with less than 500 miles on it.
Adam,or anybody, I am not disputing that a 'loose'engine seems to free start easier than a fresh tight one. Is that the only reason? I honestly don't know.But I would like to. The most cobbled up contraption that I and a friend built was a tremendous 'free starter'.Obviously, what compression it had didnt leak down. Might have had something to do with the Ajax Cleanser we let it snort a little of to seat used rings. We put this chassis together out of junk thinking we were going to enter the assembly races, or whatever they are called. And, I might add, thirty years later, last I knew, at least, that damn thing was still running.
Ajax to seat rings? That's a new one for me! How did you come up with the idea? Or even, who was sitting and thinking and said "this might work" It sounds as though this was done while it was running?
Yep, Dave, while it was running. Old mechanics trick back when they did a lot of improvising. Give 'er a quarter of a teaspoon or so snort right at the carburetor at idle.Run it for awhile, see what happens. Err on the side of less is best. Also, we re-tensioned the rings by making a row of punchmarks on the inside of the ring opposite the gap. Punch must be very sharp.Next,want to know how to make a leather rod bearing? I can almost feel the sphincter muscles of some on here tighten. No good or rare parts were used in that experiment.
Ajax or Bon Ami? Isn't Ajax just Bon Ami with some powdered soap added? I have heard of Bon Ami being used to seat rings before.
My TT often free starts, I often wondered if that was good or if it was just so worn out and loose :-) what ever it is fun when it happens
I imagine we used Ajax because that's what was on the shelf in the shop.
Decades ago my Model A had a freshly rebuilt engine in it, with about 500 miles on it. For a short time it would try to start when I turned on the key--never succeeded at keeping it running, but it would sputter once or twice.
A good running T will do just that. When your T has been running for a while and you shut it off, it should start when simply turning the key to the battery position. That's good news! It means that your T is tuned and running well!
And so, of course, now that I know it is perfectly normal and a sign of a good running T, it will never happen again.
But at least I'm prepeared for the eventuality that it might.
Jim, I did aprox the same trick you do. My grandpa taught it to me. I always set my timer to free start 2 or 3 clicks down on the quadrant. That way when I push the spark lever all the way up and turn on the key it will not free start. But pull it down 2 or 3 clicks and "free start" So grandpas trick was to make a lead weight that had a hook on it to hook to the spark advance lever. Then with the lever all the way up, make the weight just heavy enough to not pull the lever down when carefully hanging it on the lever. Kinda like setting a mouse trap. I had a little pillow in the floor for the weight to fall on when the weight did pull the rod down from kicking a tire. I used to do it at the car shows all the time. I would kill the car with the spark all the way up. Then get out of the car and hang the weight on the spark advance lever. Then carefully reach in a turn the key to "battery". Just make sure the park brake is set. I have a wedge I stick in the park brake handle slot as a safety when doing the trick. I have a strict rule of "ALWAYS" put the wedge in the slot when doing the trick. My cars start 95% or more of the time as free starts. If not I figure out why. Its just one of the things I take pride in. So with the trap set, its just a matter of time till a "victim" arrives. have fun and be safe, Donnie Brown ....
I feel no more sympathy for someone who
routinely gets free starts out of his Model T than
I would for a man who is constantly being
pestered by Julie Newmar for a date.
Bob, That looks like a high-maintenance accessory there.
>sigh< _I wouldn't know. _
Me neither. . . .
OTOH, I get to work on my cars & trains & pianos!
">sigh< _I wouldn't know. _:-("
Well, not being one to kiss and tell, I can't help you guys.
you mean like this? https://youtu.be/eKMI_nWiZ2k
The Broughs drove the T today! I found it over on Charlie's thread about the rear wheel spinning...
Bob, you're first time ever? Too cool.
You have to post something about this milestone.