Yesterday I got the runabout back together. Getting it started took an unacceptable amount of cranking. When it gets past a dozen pulls I lose count. The tank had only a couple of gallons in it, so I thought maybe a full tank would help. I went to town and filled up, and noticed that there was a drip from fuel leaking out around the sediment bulb. So when I got home I started draining all the gas out so I could work on it. When I got all the gas drained, I found this.
I hope the water was the problem. I bought a bottle of Heet and will add it when I get the leak fixed and refill the tank. I've read of ethanol causing water in gasoline, so maybe this means that's true.
The fun never ends. Some of my pre-ethanol sealer drained out looking like that after I used Heet. I presume you don't have old sealer in your tank but I am mentioning it in case.
T's continue to try our patients in so many ways.
I'm wishing you the best.
Here is the MSDS sheet for Heet:
Looks like the active ingredient is isopropanol (an alcohol).
Ya know, if you get animal fat on your hands it feels greasy. But soap can be made from fat, applied to the hands and the soap bonds with the fat for removal. I wonder if isopropanol is doing the same thing.
I could well be wrong but I don't think that's your problem. That small amount of water would have settled down in the sediment bulb and stayed well away from the fuel line.
Steve, The question is: Is there any water in the carburetor float bowl ? That's where it will eventually collect, and of course that's where it will begin to give trouble.
If you have free water in your tank, that probably means the alcohol in you gas has absorbed all it will take. Heet will absorb additional water, but you'd like to just keep the water out in the first place.
Water collects in the gas tank primarily as condensation forming on the inside wall of a partially filled tank. The two ingredients for condensation to occur are humidity and temperature change. Warm, humid air fills the empty space of the tank, and then is cooled by diurnal temperature variation. Just like dew on the roof of the car in the morning, the dew forms on the inside of the tank, runs down the walls, and collects at the lowest point.
Light airplane people are sorta paranoid about water in the fuel system. Something about the engine quitting on takeoff. The normal policy for light planes is to fill the tanks after each flight so there's very little air space left for humid air.
I have Model T's and A's and often leave them in the barn with a less than full tank of gas for several months. When one won't start I just drain the carb and sediment bulb and it always starts right up.
Water will settle to the bottom of the tank, so drain out some of the gas and try out again.
I suspect R.V. is right. Today I had to pull the sediment bulb again to deal with the dripping valve. I'll gas up again tomorrow and find out.
Water in the gas tank causes water in the gas, ethanol can not cause water in the gas if it is not already there. If you have that much water in your tank, I suspect you do not use ethanol gas, and adding heet, or gasohol would be the best way to get rid of the water. The reason I doubt that you have ethanol in your gas is when you see free water in the tank, it will have cause phase separation and you should see all of the ethanol separated from the gas.
I have found that too rich causes me more problems on starting than anything else, if my car does not start on the second pull, it seldom starts with out closing the needle a half turn and opening the throttle to clear the cylinders of excessive fuel.
Rich, I can't help myself sometimes. Can you tell me what crime your patients committed and how a T can try them?
Allan [ex grade school teacher] from down under.
Your post brought to mind a quip from a wag who wanted to know what crimes were committed by the dogs at the sheepdog trials.
Allan, over here we have these PETA types who think it's criminal to work dogs on livestock . . . !
My "criminal" in action
Steve Jelf - So Steve,.....don't keep us in suspense! On the 3rd, you said,...."I'll gas up again tomorrow and find out."
So, did you have to hand-crank again until you lost count of how many "pulls"?
I've gone thru' the same "hard-starting" problems on a normally, good running and easy starting engine, and have my own "theories" about the reason, which, incidentally, involves my decision to now use only non-ethynol gasoline. (....think I spelled that wrong.) Anyway, let us know Steve,......harold
Here's an article from "The Auto Channel" laying the blame for the "ethanol absorbs water" story at the feet of the fossil fuel industry:
Ethanol doesn't actually absorb the water, it breaks the water down so that ignition and combustion of the gasoline can take place. The water molecules are then expelled in the exhaust. In other words, ethanol aids combustion, not inhibits combustion...
Rich, you've got it all wrong!
(P)eople (E)ating (T)asty (A)nimals
That quote is actually wrong, it does not break down the water, that would mean it would separate the oxygen from the hydrogen. It does absorb the water, and alcohol will readily mix with gasoline as long as it does not have too high of a water content. When the percentage of water gets too high, the alcohol will separate from the gas.
The way to test to see if you have gasohol is to put about an inch of water in a glass jar, set it on a level surface and mark the water level, the fill the jar with gas and put a lid on it and give it a good shake. Set it on the level surface again and let the water settle to the bottom. Check the mark, if the water level is the same, the gas had no alcohol in it. if the water level is higher, then it was gasohol, but the gas above the water is now free of alcohol.
Alcohol will absorb water, but it must be in the gas tank to be absorbed. If you have water in your gas tank, the best thing you can do is fill it with gasohol.
Harold, that was the plan. But Mice and Men dictated otherwise. I was sidetracked by the leaking sediment bulb and fought that for a couple of days. I described it a little bit in "What Have You Done..." Now I'm in Michigan for You Know What this weekend, so any more work on the car will wait until sometime next week.
Ahhh,.....I certainly know about "plans of mice & men" Steve! Glad you went to the "OCF",....anxious to hear about it when you get back,....depending on those "mice & men" of course! That's certainly something I want to do some day,....but it's sure a "long haul" from Seattle!
Hi Gustaf - Although I took the subject in school, I am, by no means, a chemistry surgeon. As I read it, this guy is refuting the belief that alcohol draws or absorbs moisture right out of the air. I don't think he's saying that alcohol breaks down the water to an atomic level, but a molecular level allowing water molecules to "wick" or disperse throughout the solution permitting combustion. I could be wrong but I think that what he's saying.
I'd have to experiment to be sure, but I'm thinking if you put a bit of water in a jar and filled it with E-10 "Gasohol" as long as the bit of water you put in to start with was less than 10% of the volume of E-10 you put in there, you'd see no separation at all.
Also, if I understand Steve correctly, he believes the alcohol in his gasoline absorbed water, so he's putting in some alcohol to fix it? I would think that our current E-10 "gasohol" is kinda like buying gas with HEET already in it.
Hey Hal, you are right, when people say gasohol is bad because it attracts water, and then they add alcohol to remove the water it is a bit ironic. I had thought that as long as you stay below 10% you would get no separation, but I think it is actually less. But if you put an inch of water in the bottom of a quart or pint jar, it is going to be more than 10% and separation should occur.
Jesse, that explanation is better.
Time for an update on this. On last week's tour the difficult cold starting continued. I thought that tightening the manifold nuts improved it but didn't cure it, so I suspected a manifold leak. Yesterday I pulled off the intake and reinstalled it with new copper washers and hi-temp sealant. After letting it sit overnight to cure, I tried starting again this morning. No improvement. So then I pulled off the NH and put on another one. I primed twice, flipped the switch, and started it on the first pull. I primed four times, flipped the switch, and it started with no pull at all.
Now the question is whether the problem was in the carburetor or the air filter. I'm leaning toward carburetor, because the filter looks mighty clean. I'll have to inspect that carb closely and see what I've missed.
Glad you fixed it, even though you don't know why the other carb was acting up yet.
OT, but I used to own a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible with a 340 six pack engine (three two barrel Holley carbs). The center carb would occasionally start acting up for no obvious reason, so I always had a freshly rebuilt ready spare on hand so that I could do a quick swap and troubleshoot the misbehaving carb at my leisure.
I think I wrote this incident up here before, but here goes. I restored a 1925 Touring for a friend 30 years ago and it was always a hard starter from Day One. For years my friend had to allow extra time and jumper cables to get the engine started, especially when cold. Spark plugs were changed, coils tested, carb cleaned, the whole routine. It remained a hard starter.
My friend's son wrote this website about 15 years ago, asking for advice. The usual answers were forthcoming, but nothing helped. I was living in Arizona at the time and the car was in Iowa. I only saw it once a year on vacation. I worked on it every year, but couldn't seem to improve starting capabilities. When it did start, I always thought it lacked power. Finally, after I had moved back to Iowa, I put the carb from my '24 coupe on the Touring and it started immediately and had good power. Even though I had soaked the Holley NH it in carb cleaner, put in a rebuild kit in the Holley NH and blown out passageways in my friend's carb, the problem had to have been inside the carb.
I disassembled the carb for the umpteenth time and finally ended up drilling out the plugs. Sure enough! The bottom passageway was completely clogged with accumulated gunk. It took a drill bit to uncompact it and clear out the passageway. Once cleaned and blown out, it started easily and ran great. Although I see many posters on Model T websites claim it's not necessary to drill out the plugs and clean the internal passageways, in my case it WAS necessary. I wonder if Steve isn't experiencing the same problem with his carb, perhaps enough crud had finally accumulated to make starting difficult? Even if he tried other carbs, there's no guarantee they weren't clogged, too, unless they came from a good running and starting car.
Marshall, the answer is no. In this carb the plugs are 8-32 set screws you take out with a 1/16" hex key. All the passages are clear and it's still not right. Digging into it to find out why will be a later project.
Too bad. A nice, simple answer like a plugged passageway would have made life easier for you.
Keep looking. Since a known good carb works fine, the problem still lies inside yours somewhere.
You're sure that the needle is allowing fuel into the bowl, and the float is set at the right height? Not too much else inside an NH can go wrong to cause the symptoms you are experiencing.
You've eliminated bad gas as a possibility. Is there someone locally with a good running Model T? Try putting your carb on his engine. If it won't start, you know absolutely the problem is your carb (which you have apparently established).
Didn't you change plugs in this car before and it started?
John, that's correct. The Autolite 3095's that were in it were only about a year old, but a set of new ones seemed to be the cure, at least for awhile. That was august 26. I have trouble believing that they've gone south in only two months.
So you changed the plugs and had a marked difference for the better. What did the plugs look like when removed? Even a mild case of soot can be a problem. Don't care about what you might have a problem believing swap them out again and check your problem and their condition. I had what I thought was a carb /no-start problem but it was sooted up plugs that caused it and learning how to properly adjust the carb (& swapping out those plugs) cured it.
Been watching this Steve and will patiently wait for your AHA! moment...
Charlie, they weren't badly sooted but I cleaned them anyway and checked the gap. No difference in starting.
I think I mentioned in another discussion that today's carburetor switch seems to have made a difference. I primed twice, flipped the switch, and pulled the crank. The car started on the first pull. I shut it off to try again. This time I primed it four times, flipped the switch, and it started instantly without the crank. I drove the car to town for a couple of errands. After the first stop it took one pull to start. After the other stop it took three. I like that a lot better than a dozen or more. Now I have to figure out what's wrong with that carb that was on the car until today.