Has anyone ever used a motorcycle rear wheel starter to start an early T? I would guess I would need to purchase two of them and chock the front wheels. I have searched for several and the one with the angled rollers appears to be the best.
Please don't offer your opinions on how I should add a T Starter to my 09, 10 or 13. The engine in the 13 is brand new and almost impossible to turn over by hand. Towing is also not an option.
That doesn't look like a good idea. Probably better to figure out what's wrong with the engine...
I use Time Saver to adjust bearing clearances and the engines are easy to hand crank.
I would think one would do it if you chocked the other wheel. Looks like a lot of trouble to me, but if you dont mind, i dont.
What oil are you using? I like 5w-30. Makes hand cranking a lot easier.
I just purchased a fully restored 13 with a rebuilt engine and I'm not about to tear the engine apart. The engine has 4 hours of shop run time on it. I can almost get it to start with the crank, but don't want to have a heart attach trying. I jacked up the rear end, but it's not quite enough.
Again, my question is "Has anyone ever used one of these rear wheel starters"?
Thanks for the suggestion of using 5w30w oil.
(Message edited by Rod on December 17, 2017)
Probably not, don't recall ever seeing any postings on using one. Do you start on battery or are you trying to start on magneto.
Starting on battery. I am very familiar with stating a T with the hand crank. I am actually using my foot and pushing down of the crank instead of pulling up. As it is cold and rainy here, I am looking for an alternate solution to start the 13 in the shop.
I will probably purchase two of these from France and post the results.
Rod, I think those starters are designed for speedway bikes which are direct drive- no clutch.
If the engine is that tight I wonder if it would be safe to engage the rear wheels to start the engine? You wouldn't want to damage anything...
Hmm, looks like an old tread mill would work, have one think I'll try it. KGB
Hey, Rod! I'm so glad you made that post! Finally I have found a compadre' on the issue of starting a T with your foot!
I NEVER hand-crank. I always use my foot. Not only is it safer, but I can give it a lot more oomph, and I don't tire out by leaning over.
There is a whole litany of other small reasons why I foot-crank, but those will do for now.
I used to kick-start a T that had a direct drive outside magneto (no impulse). Sometimes it would get "cranky" and kick starting on the hand crank gave it just that bit more oomph.
A fresh tight engine can be tough to hand crank. The good news is that just a few hours of careful driving will usually loosen things up enough to make a whole lot of difference. I have had a few that had to be tow started the first few times, but within a few days were okay with the hand crank.
All that aside. I have never used one of those wheel starters, nor have I seen one up close. I would think that as long as safety precautions were properly taken, they could be a good way to get a tight engine going. I don't know what such a thing would cost? It sounds like it could be an expensive short term fix.
I would be bit concerned about the differential and housings, especially on an early T. Lifting without damaging the rear end could be an issue. Two of them, one under each rear wheel, might be better for the car, but twice the cost, and a little more effort to use.
Are those things designed to allow the engine to continue turning the wheel once it has started? And, of course, once running, one should be able to pull the hand brake back and let the clutch do its thing to let the engine idle.
Just a few thoughts and questions to consider.
Well I had a stiff motor in my 1912 torpedo. I would never tow a T to start. Could not get enough torque by hand cranking,
Soo came up with the perfect and safest way to start it.
I got a spare crank dog and mounted it to a piece of cold roll steel the correct diameter, then made it long enough to extend past the front crank hole. I squared the end and used my Milwaukee 3/4" hole hawk drill. I screwed 2 1/2" pipe handles and braced those so to stop the drill from spinning the handles.
Then I hit the switch and wella it turned the motor over with ease. It started right up.
That is the easiest and safest way to start a fresh tight T motor.
Joe Bell also has a strong drill he starts them with.
Vintage racers here us rollers to start their cars, only need to put it under one wheel and chock the other wheels. The electric drill type starter is common on modern racers.
You could use an old style spin wheel balancer. They were used to spin the wheel on the car. You would just have to find one. Dan
I am no expert, but would jacking one of the rear wheels off the ground might make it easier to hand crank.
I am no expert, but would jacking one of the rear wheels off the ground might make it easier to hand crank.
Wayne it certainly does make it easier and I do it on all cold starts because I have a bad back. My cars start easily so with a rear wheel off the ground a 1/2 pull on the crank and they come to life. Unfortunately, with a real tight engine the difference is not enough so I almost always have to pull my T's to start after a rebuild and have never had any issues doing that. If the car is set up right it usually doesn't take more than 10 feet creeping behind a tow car.
I like the big electric drill idea. Better have a big handle on it though!
You mentioned buying two of those units. It would be best to use only 1, for this reason;
With one wheel driven by the roller, and the other wheel chocked, you'll get a gear reduction through the differential gears which will multiply the torque applied by the roller AND reduce the speed that it will spin the engine over. Both are a plus for what you're trying to do. I suspect that roller turns pretty fast, which you don't need for a T.
Great advise. I will buy one only.
It's not like Ford didn't use the same method after all...
I think Jerry has it wrong way round. When I jack one wheel off the ground and Block the other, the wheel off the ground rotates twice as fast as it would normally. Therefore the differential increases the speed of the unloaded wheel. So if both wheels rotated the engine will rotate 3.67 times for each wheel rotation. If one wheel is blocked the engine will turn 7.34 times for each wheel rotation.
Iím going thru the same problem on my 09.....
No, I don't have it wrong. The differential increases the speed of the wheel when the engine is driving the wheel. When the wheel is driving the engine, it's the other way around.
I would not recommend kick starting a T. If the engine kicks, you might have a broken knee and jaw!
If you use the roller starter I think one is all you would need because one wheel off the ground would turn the crankshaft is you are in high gear.
Be sure to chock all the other wheels.
You can pull start with a long rope and tie tie to the spring next to the frame so the pull is not on the wishbone. After driving it a few days, it should start with the crank. The reason for tightness is the rings and cylinders are roughed up so the rings can seat. That roughness causes friction. It is not the bearings (or should not be) which caused the tight engine. Also with colder weather there is more drag on the clutch when the engine is cold, but that should be resolved by jacking up one rear wheel and put the lever in neutral.
I guess i don't understand why a simple tow is not a option? When we rebuilt the 15 i cranked until i could not hardly walk and all i got were farts and wheezes! A simple tow got it started and the hard part was rigging up a pull for the choke from the drivers seat.Bud.
I think he doesn't want to take it into the nasty cold & wet outdoors.
i have a tow bar that clamps to the frt axle that way i dont have to steer the car. you can ride on the ruining board and make adjustments. charley
I could certainly see using one of these (or a home-built equivalent) for doing compression tests on non-starter cars. Otherwise, I'm with Tim - find out why the engine is hard to start, and fix that.
It's just hard to start because he can't twist it over fast enough. Seems to just be a new rebuild that's set up a little bit tight. Some are like that, as they say.
Jerry, stop and think about how the differential works. With a 4to 1 gearing, the driveshaft turns 4 times for 1 turn of the ring gear with the engine turning the driveshaft. When the differential is driving, for each 1 turn it spins the driveshaft 4 turns.
The 4:1 ratio, (or 3.63:1 for that matter), makes no difference here, since that's a constant, no matter whether both wheels are turning, or just one wheel. Think only about the differential itself. Holding one wheel still and turning the other will make the ring gear also turn, but it will turn slower than the axle that's rotating. It's a planetary reduction. This is where the added torque comes into play. Now, if you rotated both wheels at the same speed, the ring gear would also turn at that same speed, (in other words, with no reduction and no added torque). By whatever means you make the ring gear rotate, it will then make the driveshaft turn 4X faster, as you indicate in your example.
You probably have a spare rear end laying around. Give it a try.
Oops Jerry , I should have read the complete thread. Did not realize you talking about one wheel still on the ground and using the spider gears.
No problem Jim. Have a very Merry Christmas!
I'm with Tony and Jim on this one. No explanation necessary. It is what it is.
I would not tow a T by the front axle even with a tow bar. The early T's are especially to problems when towed by the axle. One problem would be pulling the ball out of the socket under the crankcase. The other on the earlier cars would be bending the spring perch and putting the front caster out of alignment because it is only supported at the top. Best place for tow would be the frame or the spring where it is attached to the frame.
Anyone wanting more information on the roller starter. http://americanelevatorinc.net/Files/Presentation_12_V_2017_anglais.pdf
I am purchasing the highest end model because it only weights 43 lbs. I can carry it in the car and use it while on a tour.
The way I see it is it's cheaper than a Heart Attack. I'm sure that in time the engine will loosen up, but until then I will use the roller starter. Heck, maybe I will take up GP Motorcycle Racing
I will post a video once it arrives.
if that pulls the ball out it was junk anyway.plus only about 10 mph. charley
I hope it has enough power and traction to turn over the tight engine. Time will tell.
Rod, The Henry Ford uses something like this to start the replica Sweepstakes race car. I'm not sure if they built the starter or bought it. You can call Matt Anderson at THF for more info. He could put you in touch with Glen Miller who built and drives the Sweepstakes.
Hope this helps.
Rod, I have not tried a motorcycle roller starter on a Model T.
There is an interesting portable starter used on a 1921 Elfe Cyclecar in this video at around the 55 second mark. Something similar might work on a Model T?
When i was young and fearless i used to race Speedway bikes, a had a cheap and simple device , made from a flat rectangular steel frame with two steel rollers about 3ft long and a foot apart. we used any car or other bike, put one rear wheel on the rollers, put the bike on the rollers, pop the clutch of the running car or bike and so start the speedway bike. it was a common way to do it with dragbikes and other racers also. it would work with a T with the other rearwheel chocked too.
here is a rig i made to start a new 1911 overland. uses 350 chev parts, it will start any old mod t you hook it up to. as is it fits 1910 to 1918 overlands. charley
The goal here is not to find out how many ways there are to start a Model T without a built in starter, but rather to achieve the following.
2. Self contained power source
3. Light as possible
4. Rear wheel spinner or front crank spinner without removing the hand crank
While many of the responses will work, I don't see how any of them would work on a tour.
The unit I ordered weighs 42 lbs and has a self contained 12v Lithium battery as seen in the first post. It should arrive sometime in January. I will post the results on YouTube, good or bad. As previously suggested, I will block the other wheels and spin one rear tire.
Try some rollers like these. I put the T on one side with the plugs out, and my old diesel Merc on the other and left it running on tickover for an hour or so. It loosened up the tight engine nicely!
after they are loosened up if everything is right you dont need any help. my girls can always get mine going.ha.ha. charley
Clifford, thats exactly what we used ! simple, universal, indestructable !