I'm so close to the first start of my 26 that I can almost taste it. Trouble is, I have no T experience and I just can't read what it's trying to tell me.
To recap what I'm starting with: everything is stock, I have all new wires, cleaned and oiled Tiger timer, timing set per instructions elsewhere on the forum, Holley swayback NH rebuilt and checked by the book, carb needle filed to a point then polished and seated, fibre manifold gaskets with rings on the intake (my exhaust sags - I'll deal with that later), new and clean sediment bulb, and about a gallon of fresh gas that I put in today.
I've had the carb needle between 1 and 2 turns open (in 1/4 turn increments) with and without priming, and with and without using choke when I pull it through. Best I can get is maybe three seconds of fast idle before it quits and I just don't know what combination of efforts are even getting me that far in the first place.
Does anyone have any suggestions or troubleshooting tips for a guy like me who just can't read the car yet?
Are you pulling the timing down once it is started?
Perhaps open the throttle a little more. Do that by pulling the right side lever down just a little more. Also, richen the mixture a little more. Do this by turning the carburetor adjustment rod counter clockwise.
1. Left lever up, right lever down about an inch (Switch ON Bat)
2. Adjust mixture to 3/4 to 1 turn open
3. Choke for 2 or 3 pulls on the crank or a count 1-2 choking as you turn with the starter
4. Mine starts on the 4th pull on the crank after choking
After the engine starts adjust the needle valve to where the engine runs smooth
To set the timing of your engine. (Switch OFF)
1. Spark lever up
2. Remove #1 plug
3. Crank the engine with the crank until air blows from the spark plug hole. (compression stroke)
4. Place a length of coat hanger wire on top of the piston and slowly crank the engine until the wire comes up, stops and just barely starts back down. This is the point where #1 coil just starts to buzz. Bend the spark lever push rod as needed to make this happen.
I guess the technical term for where the piston should be is 5* past top dead center.
Oh yes, in step 4 when the engine starts the spark lever has to go down.
Tim, Are you doing this by yourself? I find the first few starts after sitting for a while do what you describe. It quits before I can get to the spark lever and advance it (as described above). The second person's sole job is to advance the spark as soon as the engine makes those noises.
You did make sure the valve handle on the sediment bulb is full open. Right?
I have read all of the above posts and concur.
I will add: you might want to put another gallon or two of gas in the tank.
And, These cars are easy to flood; too rich a mixture and or too much choke (holding it open too long) and they will flood. If that has occurred, then pull the throttle full open and turn it over a number of times to clear the cylinders.
Good luck with your project, Bill
Don't let the model T intimidate you.
It is just a motor attached to an old car.
It just takes gas and air the in the right mixture and a spark at the right time to run.
To get the T out of the equation block the wheels and jack a rear wheel off the ground.
Then play with the motor.
Usually when my T runs for a few seconds and stops I open the mixture a little and choke it a bit as it is in the first stages of running..
but your situation my be different
Thanks guys. I should have mentioned that I did have a rear wheel jacked up. Timing was set as Hal describes and done a second time using the crank pin for reference to confirm. Triple checked when I found my existing timing rod plopped right in with no tweaking needed.
I'm getting the impression that I'm flooding it (I'm using 4-6 pulls on choke and typically at least 11/2 turns on the needle) and it looks like I'll need a helper to get the spark advanced as soon as it catches.
I'm nowhere near giving up on this thing, nor do I worry about the idea of it all being too foreign. I have plenty of experience prop starting and flying antique airplanes and I know it helps a lot to have a good feel for the machine to get best results (aka to keep your arms from falling off trying to start it). Tomorrow is a new day and I'll be back on it. With any luck I'll have news by dinner time.
I have to agree with Bill. 1 gallon of gas is not enough. Put in at least 5 gallons. Also check your plugs to see if you are flooding it.
Pull back hard on that emergency brake lever. If you have never started it, you can't be sure the emergency brake is adjusted to neutral or that it will not start to move forward once the engine starts, so it would be a good idea to chock the wheels securely until you are sure. If, when it starts, it begins to move forward through your chocks, be ready to turn off the engine as fast as you can as it may not be adjusted properly for the brakes to work. Jim Patrick
If it starts and runs at a fast idle for a couple of seconds then dies, that is a classic symptom of running too lean. It's burning the priming fuel then not getting enough fuel to keep it running. The normal solution would be to richen it by opening the needle, but if you are already as far open as you say, I'm thinking something else is wrong. 2 turns is a long way open to still be lean, and 4 to 6 pulls with the choke on would have a puddle of gas on the ground under the carb of most T's. It really sounds like to me, you're not picking up gas like you should. Mine will run with well less than a gallon in the tank. I'd be thinking carb.
Tim, Is this the machine you have pictured in your profile? If so, is the engine original or rebuilt? Ever do a compression check on it? If that's OK I would definitely look at the fuel system. Make sure there's a good unobstructed flow of fuel to the carb, then maybe go back through the carb itself. I suppose you could have some one tow you around the block to get it running too.
Kevin, the engine itself is assumed original. There's some flimsy evidence the car was rebuilt in 1972 but that may not have gone beyond a coat of paint. Compression feels good enough (compared to a couple 40hp airplanes I fly) but could stand to be checked properly.
I'll fight it out some more today, then I guess the carb comes back off for a re-rebuild.
Maybe a vacumne leak. You said that the manifold is warped. All that prime then the mixture gets to lean.
Getting more life out of it. Hal's directions were pretty well bang on so I guess I was flooding the poor thing.
So I'm happy to say that after one turn of the crab needle, two pulls on choke, it now starts on the next pull every time.
Looks like my next job is to figure out what's impeding fuel flow to the carb. I can get it to start very reliably but only run for around twenty seconds. After some thought, I closed the fuel valve and started it with the exact same results so I guess a bowl of fuel is good for about that long? To check fuel flow at the carb am I better off just removing the line or should I pull the plug on the carb itself?
I think you said you put a gallon of gas in the tank. If that is the case put a couple of gallons more in the tank. I had one of my cars do exactly what you are describing until I put a few gallons of gas in the tank. Gravity systems can be funny that way.
This may not be as important on a 26 as on earlier cars, but two gallons is plenty; one gallon is not enough.
You don't have an inline fuel filter on that thing, do you?
One gallon of fuel is not enough...sometimes 2" of fuel is not enough...try 1/2 tank or so before going on.
The T is gravity fed, BUT, gravity only works IF #1 the tank is vented, and #2 if the line losses due to friction are offset by the natural head pressure. Any restrictions, paper filter, kinked gas line, dirty metal filter in sediment bowl, sticking at the carb...all add to the backwards pressure resistance. Sounds small and is small, but when 1 gallon of gas only gives you about and inch of natural head pressure (~ 0.025 PSI I think it is) you don't have a lot going for you in the first place to overcome any restrictions!
Kind of like a starter and what happens when you get below about 5.9 volts at the starter stud...if just sits there and stares.
Makes sense. Since yesterday I threw another gallon in (I have a tiny jerry can at present) so more won't hurt. I'm also not thrilled with the state of my fuel line, it does have one spot visibly pinched, so I should address that. Otherwise, the sediment bulb is brand new and there's no paper filter to restrict flow.
Some evening this week I'll put in another couple gallons and try, then remove the fuel cap and try, then see if I can't unkink the fuel line.
The gravity feed problems are more common with the under the seat tank models. Since your car is a 26, chances are you have the cowl tank that should flow better. Test the flow by putting a bowl under the carb and open the drain - you should have a good flow that lasts more than a few seconds. If so, the problem is likely to be found elsewhere, like dirt in the carb main jet?