27 Roadster very slow to crank.

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: 27 Roadster very slow to crank.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jeffrey Yard on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 01:07 pm:

Even with a new fully charged 6 volt battery Lizzie is slow to crank and start. Then once she starts if I shut down and restart the speed of cranking is much faster.. Starter motor issue? Thanx....Jeff the Newbie.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 01:31 pm:

How's it feel with the crank? Pretty normal for a cold engine to be harder to turn than a warm one. What are you using for oil? I like 5W-30. Makes cranking easier on whatever's doing the cranking, starter or your arm.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jeffrey Yard on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 01:40 pm:

I'll check how that feels. I can shut it down right after start up and then crank again which seems normal fast cranking. engine still cold. Maybe I will hand crank through a few turns (ign off) and then see how she does on batt start.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Osterman on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 01:49 pm:

Jeffery,

I just finished the mechanical restoration of a '23 and have never owned a T with a starter motor prior to this. I only cleaned and inspected the original starter ... sanded the armature. Haven't installed the generator yet.

So far it starts my rebuilt engine pretty easily once I understood how much gas it needed with the NH carburetor. Also .. as the colder weather is coming I'm keeping the hand lever fully forward when I shut down the engine after driving. This seems to make cranking easier.

Now I start a cold engine as follows:

make sure the hand brake is pulled fully back

turn the carb adjustment 1/4 turn rich

pull the gas lever down about to 3:00

pull the spark to about 9:00 for mag starting

push on the starter for about three seconds with the ignition turned off and pulling the choke

turn the switch on mag

step on the starter and it fires almost immediately

play with the spark and gas until it sounds good and then lean out the carb


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Claverie, Memphis TN on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 02:12 pm:

It sounds like Hal has it right - something is loosening up as the engine warms up.

And no, it probably isn't the starter motor. But it could be in the starter circuit.

I would make these suggestions: With the engine cold and the key off, crank it for about 15 seconds. Then hand-feel every connection in the starter circuit.

Start with the battery terminals. Then run your hand along the ground cable, and pay special attention to its connection to the frame. Then run along the cable to the starter switch, and then feel the switch itself. Then the cable to the starter, and the starter post.

My guess is that you'll find at least one, and maybe two or three warm spots.

Electricity produces heat wherever it flows through a connection that is not able to handle the current. The starter draws many times more current than everything else in the car, and it is most susceptible to imperfect connections. And, the resistance caused by an imperfect connection causes the starter to receive less voltage than it needs to spin the engine at normal speed.

Every connection needs to be clean, bright, and tight. Every cable needs to be in good condition throughout its length, and where it connects to its terminal. Fix any warm spot you find, and you'll probably be surprised how much faster the starter spins the engine.

By the way, if you have to replace a cable, the ones they sell at the auto parts stores are TOO SMALL for 6 volts. You'll need to go to a tractor supply store, or an 18-wheeler parts house (or a Model T parts supplier) for the correct size cables.

I'm not ignoring the possibility that the engine loosens up when it warms up -- just suggesting an alternate reason the starter has trouble when the engine is cold.

If you find the connections are good and tight, or you make them clean and tight, and the starter still turns the engine slowly when cold, try this:

Jack up a rear wheel, and for safety put a jack stand under the axle. Put the parking brake lever forward (in high gear), and with the key off, crank the engine. Note the cranking speed. Then pull the brake handle back, and try again.

If there's a significant difference between the cranking speeds, it would suggest that your high-speed clutch is dragging. This clutch is a pack of discs, alternately attached to the brake drum and the rear axle, that get pressed together to give you High Gear, and relaxed and allowed to slip against each other for Neutral or Low Gear.

I'm not going to go in to the procedure for adjusting the clutch pack here, as it is only one possible causes for your problem.

If we've shown that your starter's electrical circuit is good, and the clutch pack doesn't have excessive drag, and you're not using too thick an oil, I suggest you have one or more internal cold-drag points in your engine. That's for a different set of answers.

Let us know what you find!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Howard ( Australia) on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 05:05 pm:

I ran an earth cable from the battery direct to the starter motor. Made a difference to the turn rate of the starter. I just wasn't convinced that it was getting a good earth through the chassis.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 05:26 pm:

I normally hand crank on mag, even in the winter and even on my TT that has a starter. Just because. It's a kind of self imposed challenge that rewards me with a feeling of accomplishment. I say that to say this. In the winter when the oil is thick, i usually give it several full turns with the switch off just to loosen it up. It's still cold, but turns easier after a few turns to loosen everything up.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By harold Chambers on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 05:39 pm:

Mine was like that I got a 8v battery. Starts good


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Claverie, Memphis TN on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 05:48 pm:

Tony, you're right!

If you trace the path of the "earth" as you call it, or "neutral" or "ground" as we call it, there are several places where it can encounter resistance.

We all know about the connection of the short cable to the chassis - that it needs to be clean, bright, and tight.

But then - there's the connection of the block to the chassis.

There are two main paths. One is through the "snout" in the front of the pan, where the crank is. But, it's supposed to have a pad, leather I think, under it. That makes electron travel difficult. And, once in the pan, there's the gasket between the pan and the block. There are bolts galore, but if the parts have been painted, that hurts.

Then there are the "ears" on the pan, that sit on the chassis. Typically, as part of a rebuild, the parts are again painted. Or even powder-coated. And the bolts themselves are not supposed to be thoroughly tightened.

Once into the block, there is the connection between the starter and the block. Again, there is often paint.

So, the idea of a separate path for the starter current is a good one. Personally, I think of this as 'augmenting' the natural path, so I use a 12 volt cable, which can't carry the entire load, but can certainly handle half of it. The made-up cables that are designed to go from the starter solenoid to the starter, and which come in a wide variety of lengths, are what I use.

I think the most effective path is from the chassis, which can handle many times the current we're talking about, to one of the starter's mounting bolts. This may mean drilling a hole in the chassis, or going a bit longer and using one of the bolts under the parking brake quadrant. Either way, clean and bright, and always tight!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Eubanks, Powell, TN on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 05:50 pm:

Extra ground is good idea, also file the frame under the existing ground connection. Feel the connections after starting for heat, that will tell you where unnecessary resistance is. Also check to see if the clutch is fully released when the brake is pulled back. Car should roll freely, if not, that drag will work on a starter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Claverie, Memphis TN on Monday, September 11, 2017 - 06:08 pm:

Jeff, I've been trying with little success to remember the details of something I heard or read about battery idiosyncrasies.

There's something about a "float charge."

And something else about "sulphating."

And something about "waking a battery up."

I'm fuzzy about it, but what I remember, leads me to suggest another test:

Find a voltmeter or VOM. Put it on a DC voltage scale. Jab the test prods directly on to the tops of the battery posts. This is important - you're measuring the battery ONLY, and not any of the connections.

The meter should read 6.3 volts. That's the 'resting' voltage of a 3-cell lead/acid battery. You may get a little more or less, owing to the meter and the 'float charge' on the battery.

Then, hit the starter. With the brake lever back, and the key off, of course. See what the voltage drops to.

Dropping to about 5 volts is normal for a cold engine. Anything much less than that, and you have a suspect battery.

Then start the engine. You should see the voltage go up to about 9 volts. That's the generator replacing the charge you've used.

Run it until it's warm. Then do the 'cranking voltage' test again, with the switch off.

Here's what we're looking for:

At rest: 6.3 volts.
Cranking cold engine: 4.5 - 5 volts.
Cranking warm engine: 5 volts.

If there's a substantial dip in the voltage when cranking, there's a fair chance your problem is a bad battery.

And, what I can remember about "waking up" a battery says that the syndrome by which it cranks slowly on the first try, but much better when the internals of the battery are 'shocked' into action, is real. I even think it was the subject of a Puzzler on Car Talk.

Doesn't hurt or cost anything to try!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jeffrey Yard on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 04:00 pm:

Found connection at starter very hot. Made it clean...bright and tight. Cranking speed doubled. Thanx everyone. Good info here. Jeff


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