Hi Folks, I never seem to have problem starting my T but I have noticed that if I crank it more than like 7 seconds and then stop, you'll see a bit of smoke coming from the starter..
any thoughts or advice? It's never failed me and the smoke goes right away but I'm sure this isn't normal.
As always, Thank you, Dave
It should not take more than just a touch of the starter for the engine to fire. 7 seconds is way too long. I make sure that it turns over 4 times with the choke cable pulled, about 2 seconds. Then it just takes a touch to start.
Anything you would suggest to have it turn over faster? Sometimes the car sits for a month or more without being started which I'm sure doesn't help but I don't get my classic cars out as often as I should. My bad...
It ain't about fast. It's about fuel, spark, compression.
An old starter full of 90 years of oil, 7 seconds of 150+ A current, and brushes and connections are going to get hot. Smokin' hot? Well apparently for you it's that hot...
Find out why the car doesn't fire over very quickly as Steve has suggested.
During a cross-country move, my main T sat for over a year. Had just enough battery to buzz the coils. Two chokes and 2 pulls and it was running. After 5 minutes, I had enough battery to start and it never fails to fire off quickly since then (5 months).
Good to know, mine never fired that quickly so I thought 5-7 seconds wasn't unusual. I'll have to do a bit of digging. Anything you can suggest to check first? Plugs and wires are new and fuel is fresh.
One more thing...I advance my spark lever about 1/2" and about 1" on the throttle, any advice here? I don't have years of experience with this T as I've only owned it for a little over a year and probably haven't put more than 100 miles on it. Thanks again.
Every timer is set differently, Start with your spark lever all the way up and very slowly bring it down to where your engine likes it. I had 4 model T's and they were all different as to where they liked to be run.
To actually answer your question. You should be able to run the starter for a very long time with no smoke. Smoke indicates a loose connection or a short. Both should be corrected before more damage occurs.
Most starters with this problem smoke.
Nearly every T I've seen that was purchased from someone who did not drive their cars much, had the following: poor intake gaskets, worn out carb, and coils that needed rebuilding.
You probably have one or more of those 3 things working against you. Peck your way past those 3 things and your car will likely perk up considerably. All are easy to remedy, though will take a little bit of dough. If you do not get results with this, then you may have some valve work to do, but I'm betting not.
I advise folks who come to me to plan on spending about $500-$1000 making their car just right (for them). Low end $$ if they do all the work and higher end if they hire it out to someone else. There are myriad of little things most folks like to do, from making it run better to adding accessories, to touching up paint.
When I say "come to me", I mean for advice, as I am not taking in any work, and am concentrating on my own projects these days.
Good luck...you'll do fine (and drive it more...the rings will appreciate it and if for that reason only, it may perk up)
Thanks for all the tips, I'll start checking things out.
Will, where can I buy wire harness smoke?
I see that you have a 23. It is old enough to smoke!
Will, that is funny!
Here is the treatise that goes with it:
A Treatise on the Importance of Smoke - by Joseph Lucas
All electrical components and wiring harnesses depend on proper
circuit functioning, which is the transmission of charged ions by
retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as "smoke".
Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work. Don't be
fooled by scientists and engineers talking about excited electrons
and the like. Smoke is the key to all things electrical
We know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of
an electrical circuit, it stops working. This can be verified
repeatedly through empirical testing. For example, if one places a
large copper bar across the terminals of a battery, prodigious
quantities of smoke are liberated and the battery shortly ceases to
function. In addition, if one observes smoke escaping from an
electrical component such as a Lucas voltage regulator, it will also
be observed that the component no longer functions.
The logic is elementary and inescapable! The function of the wiring
harness is to conduct the smoke from one device to another. When the
wiring harness springs a leak and lets all the smoke out of the
system, nothing works right afterward.
Starter motors were considered unsuitable for British motorcycles for
some time largely because they regularly released large quantities of
smoke from the electrical system.
It has been reported that Lucas electrical components are possibly
more prone to electrical leakage than their Bosch, Japanese or
American counterparts. Experts point out that this is because Lucas
is British, and all things British leak. British engines leak oil,
British shock absorbers, hydraulic forks, and disk brake systems leak
fluid, British tires leak air and British Intelligence leaks national
Therefore, it follows that British electrical systems must leak
smoke. Once again, the logic is clear and inescapable.
Sometimes you may miss the component releasing the smoke that makes
your electrical system function correctly, but if you sniff around
you can often find the faulty component by the undeniable and
telltale smoke smell. Sometimes this is a better indicator than
standard electrical tests performed with a volt-ohm meter.
In conclusion, the basic concept of transmission of electrical energy
in the form of smoke provides a clear and logical explanation of the
mysteries of electrical components and why they fail.
Adrian that's funny.
Ron of course has the most likely correct answer.
Dave, if turns veeeeery slooowly, check your starter as Ron suggests
If I understand your picture correctly: there's a loose connection. The loose connection that causes a voltage drop. That increases the current which in turn increases the heat on the motor wiring which causes the smoke.
I am currently working on a starter and appreciate this discussion.
Matt, the stud is riveted to the bar that feeds the two field coils. With 90 years of mid-use the rivet comes loose and causes a poor electrical connection which then get hot. With the lack of an oil seal, the starter has oil in the base, which heated causes the Lucas smoke.
Easiest fix is to solder the rivet solid or install new field coils and an oil seal.
About 75 % of the starter cores I receive have failed terminal bolt to Field buss bar connections.
For my rebuilt starters I built this kit to repair them.
The bolt is a modified GM starter terminal bolt. The inner insulator back stopping washer, inner and outer fiber insulators and original made to Ford print brass nuts are available from Lang's Old Car Parts. The special thin washer comes with the GM bolt kit and the pin is a hard a as hell nail.
The bolt to buss bar connection is then silver soldered.
I tried to damage one of my terminal bolts like an original Ford connection and the silver soldered connection will not fail the buss bar will break first.
That treatise has been around for a while. I had an instructor in a GM training center who read that to us back in the 1970's. I have been an adherent of that philosophy ever since. It has rarely failed me.
The assembly sequence of the replacement starter terminal bolt in my photo above could be mis-interpreted. This photo should clarify.
Additionally the buss bar used was harvested form an old starter field, straightened, annealed, formed in a tool I had made and annealed again before installation.
My starter does turn slowly as Tony asked here. I replaced the positive cable with a much heavier one from the battery to the starter button, old cable was a standard gauge used in most cars, still no improvement. Battery is on my running board in tool box so not so close. I did check the cable at the starter motor and I can move it back and forth a bit while the nut is still secured tightly? Is this an easy repair and is it difficult to remove the starter?
Removing the starter is not hard, but requires some gymnastics.
IMPORTANT!! DO NOT try to remove the starter until you have removed the Bendix from the starter. This requires removing the screws holding the cap on, which is nestled between your transmission pedals (this is where the gymnastics come in) then removing the bolt at the end of the starter's shaft and removing the Bendix.
Then you remove the bolts holding the starter to the engine, and it falls out on your foot. Ouch!
Taking the starter apart is easy. Putting it back together after securing the bolt to the buss bar is a little harder because you have to hold the brushes retracted until it's together. Most use some dental floss, which you can remove after it's back together.
You WILL find the connection between the terminal bolt and the buss bar kis loose. How
Oops! Hit SEND instead of backspace.
How much more you have to do depends on what you find, but I'm sure most of your problem is in that one connection.
Can you tighten the terminal bolt from the outside or do you need to remove the starter? Just want to ask before attempting this as I don't want it to spin and break away inside.