Is there any reason I should be getting a reading of continuity to ground on the starter post the cable from the starter switch to attaches to?
If I read your question correctly, there should be continuity to ground on the starter post. If there isn't the starter wouldn't work. If the cable to the starter post isn't attached to the starter, the cable should not have continuity to ground.
So the post the positive cable attaches to should have negative continuity? I feel like I cam causing a dead short there - is that wrong?
The starter is just a DC motor. It needs positive voltage at the post and Negative from the ground (frame). When you step on the starter switch you complete the circuit and the motor turns. You are just reading through the winding's to ground.
Let me add that if the winding's are shorted you would still read to ground and the starter would not work. A starter in good condition will read continuity to ground. That does not mean your starter is good.
I did put a rubber grommet between the bottom nut on the post and the starter housing. The starter is apparently not working. It was before it sat in a barn for 15 years. I did, however get power to the terminal block and got the headlights and buzz coils. Making progress.
A better test would be to read from the negative battery POST to the starter post. It should only have a few ohms resistance. If it shows more than a few ohms then your ground path is bad and needs to be corrected.
Terry, welcome to the forum.
Your not going to draw any good electrical conclusions with an Ohmmeter around an assembled Model T starter or generator. That is a trap for logical people with little experience working on Model T starters or generators.
Your description of the problem (starter totally dead) sounds exactly like the classic symptom of the most common failure with the Model T starter and that is a failed connection inside the case between the terminal bolt and the field winding buss bar.
Take the cable off the terminal bolt, remove the thin washer and the outer case insulator and try to wiggle the terminal bolt. If you can feel it moving you have got a problem. If on the other hand it feels solidly connected to the internal buss bar it should be a good connection.
If you have this problem I can probably help.
The bolt is solid. I ran a jumper cable from the positive side of the battery to that bolt and it sparked like if you had put positive and negative cables together - like a dead short and the starter did nothing. I wish there was an easy way to spin the starter a bit. I have considered just using a 12v jumper pack on the starter, but have not done that yet - not sure it would even be strong enough to break it free.
Bendix drive jammed with the ring gear?
Possibly! Didn't think about that. Will it work as with other cars, put it in gear and push it backwards a few feet or does the starter need to be removed? I appreciate all the help - this is a huge learning curve for me, but that is one of the reasons I got the car - to learn.
Not need to push far...just "rock back and forth" a few inches,,,maybe.
Hopefully it's the bendix or something simple, but if you do end up buying a starter try and wait and get one of Ron's. I just installed one and when I picked it up I got a 'tour' of his shop and tooling. You won't regret the purchase, it's well worth the wait and cost.
At Ron and others prompting I also ran 1/0 cables, including a direct ground run from a pan bolt beneath the hogs head and from the battery to my solenoid, and solenoid to starter. Put all that together and it turns over extremely well and starts immediately.
Actually should push the car forward because the starter gear winds back when the engine starts going forward.
Terry, what Vern said above. Welcome!
You could also go at it this way. Remove the Bendix cover to be sure all is OK there. If OK, try to turn the starter shaft by hand or pliers or... If it turns easily, that buss bar sure could be grounded out on the motor frame like Ron's pic above.
Ran into that when I was getting the handy electric starting working on my 18. Sometime in the past, the starter was used so hard when TRYING to start that engine that the solder melted and the buss bar came loose and grounded out like Ron's pic.
Rocking it might be very easy compared to those consarned Bendix cover screws for a next trial tho.
Note about the 4 Bendix cover screws IF I have my head on square: Remove the easiest first and see if the holes in the cover are slotted.
There's a screw or two that are a bit trying to get started and screwed back in but there are ways around that too.
Slotted cover screw holes is an easy way.
Now that I've smarted off about the Bendix cover, are all covers slotted or is it just 4 holes? I don't recall.
No one has mentioned that the armature may be fried and needs to be tested on a growler but you will need to remove the Bendix first then the starter.
Let me be a bit more positive. On our 53 Ch3vy, the starter would not turn but it got power and the wiring was good, it sparked but just could not crank the engine over. I removed it, disassembled, and cleaned it, with no failure of components. It was just that dirty but I did go ahead and replace the brushes.
Can you crank the engine over with the hand crank?
The starter armature is either physically jammed (Bendix drive to flywheel) and won't spin or there is another internal electrical failure causing high current flow but no work being performed.
The others are correct that a jammed Bendix drive can usually be corrected by leaving the car in gear and rocking the chassis back and forth by hand.
The second highest starter electrical failure is faults on the brushplate. Apply power to the terminal bolt for about 5 seconds and then quickly feel the outside of the brushcap. If it is warm or very warm to the touch that is a clear indication of a brushplate fault.
The starter has a loose brush holder. Is there a way to repair that or does the entire brush assembly need to be replaced? It was wobbling and grounding out, but I was able to slide some insulation under it to keep it from grounding out, but I know it won't be long for this world. The bendix is toast, but ordering one this weekend. Other than those issues, the starter seems sound.
Second biggest failure mode of the Model T starter.
I will be home 9/25 and will help you fix this. Call me then.
NICE - Thank you, Ron!
I put some gasket material under the loose brush holder as a temporary patch and it works. Hope it hangs in there a couple weeks Also ordered a new bendix from Snyder's. It appears to be the original fields, bendix and armature, so would like to keep this starter going as long as possible. Anyhow, the car now starts - plan to drive it for the first time tomorrow.
Mark, wish mine was that easy to work on - they are riveted on the starter.
Remember that the starter is only a convenience, not a necessity. There's a reason these cars have a hand crank.
Steve - I have tried and tried the hand crank and have yet to be able to start it that way. I think now that it has run a while, I might be able to - will try again today.