I am on plan D or E now trying to get this car to start. I have no reference point, never having started a T before. Just how hard should it be to spin the hand crank?
You do NOT want to, nor should you have to
spin the hand crank...
read up on fuel & timing.
One well-timed spark to one cylinder should get the engine operating
Understood - going to make sure all coils are firing next. Was just curious, seemed harder to turn the engine over than it should.
Leave it in high gear, and jack up one rear wheel.
Make sure the bands aren't adjusted too tight. You want the clutch pedal to be firm at 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the floorboards. Same for the brake pedal. The reverse pedal should get firm before it drops below the low and brake pedals (keeps you from getting your foot tangled up between pedals).
Check the linkage adjustments to make sure you have as free a neutral as possible:
Just remember to put shocks at the other wheels to prevent it from falling off the jack should it shake alive. ..
The main jet can be opened about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 turns when trying to start. Sometimes it's easier to pull start it first time with another car.. (check so you have brakes)
I have fire on all four plugs. There is gas in the carb bowl - guess that doesn't mean it is getting through the carb, but a positive sign. From what I have see, I really don't want to take the carb off unless I have to! I guess I shouldn't have expected to get it started in 2 days after it sat for 15 years!
If you have been cranking it a lot and you smell raw gas, it's probably flooded. Let it sit until the excess gas evaporates, then take out the plugs and clean them if they are wet. Re-install the plugs.
Turn the carb mixture adjusting screw in just until it is just seated (not too tight, or you'll put a groove into the tapered needle!), then back it out 1 1/2 turns. Pull the crank once or twice with the ignition off and the choke closed (no more), then release the choke and turn on the ignition. If a coil starts to buzz and you get a pop, you're nearly there.
Try pulling the crank a few times (don't spin it). It should at least pop a few times and try to start. If you get nothing, then the gas in the carb bowl may not be making it through the rest of the carb, see if you can borrow a "good" carb from a buddy, or remove the carb and take it apart to see if it's plugged up.
Do you have fresh fuel?
Yes, fuel is fresh. I spent most of the first day I had it cleaning crud from lines, the tank and the sediment bowls.
In the "For what it's worth" department, I have an NH carb, and it floods quite easily. Usually I do not need to choke the engine...usually after being unused for several weeks, three quarter turns on the crank has the engine running.
Yours may flood easily also...try cranking without choking.
Adding to what David said, try something counter-intuitive. If you've choked it plenty and nothing is happening, I would close off the fuel supply and continue to try to start it. You will eventually get to a mixture/leanness that the car may "pop" or actually start and then die for lack of fuel.
This is what it took for me to start our '13 after sitting for years. Once started I quickly ascertained where the richness knob should be and subsequent starts were MUCH easier. It is also an easy trick to clear the carb when you flood it in front of an anxious crowd!
If you're still stuck this coming weekend (9/10 Sep) and IRMA doesn't have us in her sights, would be more than happy to swing by. Like Scott said, if all else is working properly, the carb mix can mess up a start. Just takes a little fiddling.
Ted Mahoney/Lynn Haven
Sounds like an offer I can't refuse, Ted! I am a decent shade tree mechanic, just having a huge learning curve with the T. It is actually more like working on a lawnmower than a car. I am so enjoying learning about it. I don't wish Irma on anyone, but sure hope it isn't headed our way!
Here Steve Jelf shows how a well trimmed Ford Model T is started with hand cranking:
I just wish mine would start, period! Had the carb off 4 times today - once to clean it, three more to get the bowl gasket to stop leaking. Up side is that I can remove and replace it in 10 minutes now. I have fuel and fire, but it doesn't want to kick over yet. For yet another day!