I'm good at tuning a model T fuel / ignition system and yet ... haven't had one free start on my rebuilt '23 runabout. It's currently set up with an NH carburetor and a TW timer. Starts easily and drives ok with no problems. This is my first experience with these two variables. Is this characteristic in other peoples experience. Am going to try an Anderson when I get back from Hershey.
........rebuilt '23 runabout........
Perhaps after the engine "loosens up" a bit you will experience this joy
I think David is right. I can't prove this, but it's my impression that free starts occur mostly in well running but "loose" engines. A freshly rebuilt tight engine is not likely to give a free start.
I agree with Henry and David. I had a rebuilt engine in my former '15 touring. Wouldn't free start if it wanted to (altho it tried) the first year. Then it would give them after it was fully warmed up. The day I showed it to her current owner, she came sooo close to a COLD free start it wasn't funny. He reported to me that the day the car arrived at his place on FJ's trailer, she gave her first cold free start! Go figure. I get rid of her, she celebrates that way! Ha ha. Darn cars got a mind of their own.
I wonder how much difference ambient conditions (temp, humidity, barometric pressure) make to free starts ?
A "free" start happens when you don't expect it. sometimes after priming a cold engine, I turn the key to batt and it fires right up. Other times I can't even get it to crank start! With a starter, it will usually start right up.
This is how I get a "free" start. Someone comes by and asks me to crank start the car. So I turn on the key and get a free start.
Anyway, sometime you will get one if you are using the coils and a battery. It won't give you a free start if you use a distributor or try to start on magneto.
Ha ... yes .... that's true about when you want to show someone how to hand crank your car.
On my 24 Roadster I have to remove the key for fear of free starts. This car just wants to run.
There use to be an old guy at our local car show that would get his T to free start almost every single time. It didn't seam to matter weather the engine was hot or cold. I was young and didn't pay attention to how he did it but I seam to remember that he would retard the ignition and choke the care out to shut it down. I have tried many times on my T's and cannot get it to do it consistently. There must be some kind of trick.
Yes ... choking the engine just before shutting down charges the cylinders with gas. So if you are in just the right spot it will free start as soon as you turn on the battery side of the ignition.
I know of an engine that would bestow free starts on a regular basis, but then time went by and now it doesn't seem to happen anymore. -Some engines just don't free start at all, or at least very, very seldom. -And it doesn't seem to matter whether old or newly overhauled (and there's video to prove it).
A free start is sort of like when you're sitting in the back yard and a beautiful butterfly lands on your finger. -It sure doesn't happen every day, but when it does, you're glad for the pleasant little surprise. -As Alan Funt (host of the TV show, Candid Camera) used to say, "When you least expect it, you're elected."
The secret is the pin that holds the crank pulley in place.
That pin is exactly crosswise when two of the cylinders are at Top Dead Center.
You cannot see it then, as the fan belt hides it.
You can see it when it is straight up and down.
You first position it straight up and down.
Then you turn it 1/4th turn and just a little bit more to position the cylinder just past Top Dead Center.
Which cylinder is ready to fire then can be any one of the four and it makes no difference.
However, if that cylinder is not just past Top Dead Center, you will just have a back fire.
This system will not work with a distributor.
It may work by pulling the spark down just a little less than half way, if it does not work when the key is turned.
I have had a new TW timer on this engine since the rebuild. Even though I originally adjusted the timer to 15 degrees after top dead center on the first cylinder ... when starting on battery it likes to be advanced more than I would have expected, given my experience with other timers. Incidentally, starting on magneto the TW timer likes to be advanced as far as 9:00. So, I was wondering if this has something to do with it.
I dunno, my TT is a bit 'loose' now. I just turn him off while the engine still has some revs - sucks the fuel in to the cylinders.
When I am ready to go, turn him on and if he does not fire then, just pull the spark lever a bit further down.