Starting a Non-Starter Car

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2009: Starting a Non-Starter Car
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William Naquin on Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 01:26 pm:

My '23 Touring has a starter. When I go to start it, I have to be ready to lower the spark lever as soon as it fires to get it going. If I didn't have a starter, how would I zip around from the front of the car (especially in a closed car) and lower the spark lever so to nurse it to life? Is my Touring maladjusted?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harry A. Daw on Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 01:54 pm:

Could be several things. When I start mine I open the carborator adjustment a quarter of a turn if the engine is cold. Other wise I have to play with the choke until it warms up a little. Could be a dirty timer or the coils may need attention. Generally if everything is in order you can crank start it and have plenty of time to get to the spark lever.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick - (2) '26's - Bartow, FL on Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 02:05 pm:

Fully retard the spark but do not fully retard the gas. Pull down some on the throttle lever so it will keep running.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Grady Puryear on Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 02:18 pm:

Mr. Naugin, I have the same problem with my current car ('25), it has new "all of the above", and I feel I know enough about one that it is timed and etc. correctly. I just chalk it up to one of the idiosyncrasies of a T. Fortunately I have a good, working starter, but if I want to show off and crank it, one must be quick. I also get a lot of "free" starts. Back to the Christmas music, and it has started snowing here in Fredericksburg, Texas.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Friday, December 25, 2009 - 04:14 pm:

You can richen up the mixture by opening the main jet knob on your dash board inside of the car an eighth of a turn to the left, (counter-clockwise) with the throttle advanced and the spark just after t.d.c. to get it started. It will take a little time for it to clear its throat, that is when you run around to advance the spark.

Then lean out the main jet as it warms up by turning it to the right. The Model T carburetors are very simple and require adjustment at different speeds as you go in order to run well.

Richen them up at speed and lean them out when you slow down. It is a thing you must learn to do.


The main jet needle should have a very long taper on it much like a spray gun needle and not a short taper on it like a sharpened pencil. Also check for an anular groove around the needle which will make it difficult to adjust for the correct mixture. Swizzle the needle on a piece of #200 or finer oiled wet or dry sand paper to dress it up to perfection. Good luck and keep us informed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 09:02 am:

If you learn to use the forward choke properly, all that wearing-out of the mixture needle isn't necessary. I had my speedster for three years and never turned the mixture needle. Swayback NH on a stock 1919 engine with 0.020" OS aluminum pistons.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harry A. Daw on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 10:15 am:

Wondering if it could be firing past TDC rather than firing TDC with the spark lever fully retarded causing the problem? He stated that it runs fine if he can get the spark advanced soon enough after it starts.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Lee Crenshaw on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 10:30 am:

William, I have found if you "feather" the choke
using the front control until the engine warms up a bit, you will then have time to get to the spark.
I would also echo what Harry and others have said about the spark and TDC. There are many threads covering the bending of the spark rod; but personally, I have found no other adjustment that
has as profound an influence on starting.
Lee


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 11:39 am:

William,You can and will hear allmost anything on the forum from people the world over! Where iam located in central Mi it is Necessary to adjust the carb richen from hot to cold or cold till warm. I guess with many years of stemwindind two model T's and one model A i think if you think you do not need to adjust your mixture you are mearly talking instead of driveing model T's or model A's!! Believe what ever you will but i have driven our 14 at +7 degrees to proably 90 degs,and i have to adjust my carb richen!!!!!!!!!!! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andy Clary on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 11:41 am:

I find that I have to open my main jet 1/2 turn but I think that it is due to this particular carb, I haven't opened it, the float may be low or the needle worn. I pull 1/4 turn with the choke closed. Spark up, throttle 3 clicks down, turn to batt and 1/4 pull starts it. This is cold, warm I don't adjust the carb or choke and it will start on mag. 1914 roadster all stock except brake light and battery.

Andy


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 10:15 pm:

Bud,

Mr. Naquin lives in New Orleans so his weather is a whole lot more like mine than yours. I told him what worked for me. I rather doubt he's going to ever have to worry about getting his T started at +7 degrees and if it ever gets that cold in New Orleans, I rather doubt he's going to think that going for a ride in his T will be fun.

If he does, I guess he can just wear that mixture needle a little bit like you Yanks always do.

Seth


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 10:45 pm:

Seth,It sound good seth.Years ago both model T and model A clubs were at a Ford dealer and the T's were giveing rides while the A's just sat! Hours later when two young women started the model A to leave it barely ran! In short order the usual experts gathered and when help ranged from a swift kick to a overhaull a old fat guy reached in and richened the mixture! The model A started to run smooth as silk and in about 2 minn it was warmed and leaned out ready to run! Would 15,000,000 model T's and well over 4,000,000 model A's had a mixture adjustment if it was not needed???????? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Saturday, December 26, 2009 - 10:56 pm:

It may be needed in the great white north. But it wasn't needed on my speedster in the three years I had it. Sure, on the cold days (50F!) I had to feather the choke. No big hairy deal, that!

But I'll concede - you win because you've been messing with Ts and As for about 400 years and I haven't. :-)

Happy New Year


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David_Cockey on Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 12:03 am:

The NH on our T needs to have the mixture openned a 1/4 turn from optimal position for running when starting on a nice summer day in Michigan, even on a warm summer day. And that's with also using the choke. If I don't open the mixture it is extrememly difficult to start no matter how little or much the choke is used.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul Mikeska on Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 12:43 am:

Here in mile high Denver I have to open the mixture 1/4 turn on my bone stock 14 in order to start it. Pull the crank through 2 quarter turns with the choke pulled out and then turn on the spark. Most times it will start on the first or second pull after that. If it is really cold you have to feather the choke in order to keep it running long enough to get to the spark advance. It will crank start equally well on battery or mag. The car has a Holly G carb. After 20 or 30 seconds you can start leaning the out the mixture and start driving from a cold start. My 26 Coupe starts the same way with the hand crank. It has a Z head and a stipe 280 cam. I bet I haven't used the starter on the Coupe twice this year and I usually drive the car at least twice a week. I am old enough to remember the heat tubes that ran from the exhaust manifold to the choke bi-metal spring on the carb of cars. That automatically richened the mixture so that you could start your pre-fuel injected cars from a cold start.

Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul Mikeska on Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 03:33 am:

William,

By the way I have open the gas lever about a finger width from full idle position in order to start any my T's with the hand crank. I have only been doing this for about 40 years but the guys that have been doing it for 400 years will confirm that you will not wear out the mixture needle unless you are bottoming it out against its seat on a regular basis.

Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 07:30 am:

Grin!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis on Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 09:29 am:

I've tried choking while pulling through anywhere from 1-3 cylinders and not richening. Turn switch to BAT and pull the crank. In warmer weather, this usually works. Even get a free start sometimes. In colder weather, it usually burns out the prime and dies. Yes, I can keep it running by fiddling with the choke (Some folks call it feathering. I call it fiddling. ;-) No offense intended. You gotta see the movie), but it's hard to fiddle with the choke while running around and advancing the spark. If you are so inclined, I suppose you could fiddle with the choke until it warmed up, but how fun is that? I've also found that choking can easily lead to flooding, so it's best to only choke while pulling through one cylinder unless you find you need more. (At least if you flood a T, it clears quicker than a Farmall tractor. All the gas stays inside the pipe between the air cleaner and carb rather than running out the carb like a T)

I've also tried richening the mixture 1/4 turn and pulling through 3 cylinders (No choke) then turn the switch to BAT. This seems to work well in warm weather, as well. In cold weather (30 deg), I've found it works better to richen 1/2 turn and spin the engine around through 2-3 full revolutions before turning the switch to BAT. This does two things. It pulls some gas into the engine, but it also helps loosen up the stiff oil between the clutch plates so it is not so hard to pull and doesn't tend to creep forward as much. One pull and she usually fires right up. After only a few seconds, I can usually lean it right back where it was. For me, this works better than choking and not richening. I suppose in really cold weather like some of you have, a combination of both might be in order.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 10:23 am:

Every time I move to a different part of the country I find the mixture control is necessary to compensate for altitude and different levels of ethanol mixed in the fuel.

Like Hal says, the combination of things you do has to be found through experimentation. Your T will start easily on the first or second pull of the crank. You just have to figure out what combination of things makes it happen.


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