It was running great in February. The timing was off before and I adjusted it by getting 1 past tdc a little bit and setting the coil to start to buzz there. I've done this and checked it many many times now..
So the issue is that I will turn the key to bat, spark lever up, throttle down a little, crank starter. Nothing. So then I tried choking a bit. It sounds like it wants to start, it runs for a second or two and dies, throttle or spark adjusting doesn't help. Then, I moved the spark down a little bit and tried the starter. This time, and ran for a few seconds but still died. Then I tried holding the choke open, with the spark down a couple notches and throttle down a bit, and it started, and as soon as it did I brought the throttle half way down and moved the spark down a little more. It ran a little rough (I think, haven't been around any other Ts), and after about a minute, I noticed the exhaust pipe was red.
After all this I tried closing the mixture all the way and opened it one turn (it was open to about two previously. Yes, I know it's a lot but it wouldn't start otherwise). Same thing, nothing.
What could I be doing wrong here?! It sounds like it's either the carb or timing is off somehow.
Carburator rebuilt by Russ, it's a Holley nh.
New copper (I am changing it out to steel, just need something for a week or two) fuel line.
Old gas tank that had a couple of small bits that I couldn't get out, but no gunk or rust.
New sediment bulb. (I will say,I opened the petcock drain and I saw a dead bug and a couple of little things drain out after it was started)
New exhaust manifold and ring gaskets.
I just don't understand... It seems like it should start. Everything is there. I must be missing something simple...
Also tried setting timing with the pin method, between 3 and 4. Nothing different than what I have now.
It's definitely better than earlier today when I tried. Before it would catch for a split second and die. Now at least it runs for a second or two.
It now dawns on me the gas cap, which is a repro, doesn't have a vent hole. I did , however have it loose. Does this sound like it could be an issue?
Red exhaust manifold at the tail pipe end is generally caused by timing being too far retarded. You didn't have it running very long as I understand it and yet you had the pipe get red - sounds like you have the timing too far retarded. The timing using the pin method is very accurate but if you set it so its half way between 3 and 4 then that is way retarded from ideal setting. You only want it to be slightly past the 3 and just so as you have a noticeable tilt to the pin so that it for sure is not horizontal (3-9 O'clock) but for sure a little slanted down on the right side. Check the firing order?
Firing order is fine, 1243. I'll set timing again in the morning and leave the gas cap off to see if it does anything...
John, after setting the #1 piston ATDC did you turn the timer clockwise till the #1 coil buzzed? If you went counter clockwise your settings could be way off.
I'm pretty sure I did clock wise, but I'll check again. That sounds like it could have been done backwards. I'll check in the morning.
Does this sound right?
Remove #1 spark plugs.
Turn on to bat
Crank until after #3 buzzes.
Slowly crank until #1 reaches top, look at piston and watch it start to go down.
Rotate timer CLOCKWISE until it buzzes.
That should do it. Good luck and let us know how you make out.
Think that's the issue... In addition I don't remember turning it as far counter clockwise as it would go first. Steve Jelfs site says to do that but I haven't seen any one else mention it.
Red exhaust also mean running too lean. open the needle more.
With #1 plug out put your thumb over the hole and you can feel the compression as it comes up toward TDC. Then watch the pin and stop it a little after 3 o'clock.
Mark it was open at least 2 or 3 turns...
Did you check the timer for good contact, dirt, etc. ? Do you have another timer to try?
Just checked the timer, wiped it out. No changes.
Did you check fuel flow from the tank? Old gas tanks do build up crud over the years and especially rust. That can clog the screen in the shut-off or sometime clog the shut-off opening itself. Anything that restricts fuel flow will give you headaches. If Russ Potter rebuilt your carb you can eliminate that though. He did mine last winter and my '26 runs better than ever.
Yes, checked it. Opened carb drain, flows nicley out. No dirt or anything with it. Gas tank is very clean with no gunk or anything.
New sediment bulb... Really don't think it can be clogged.
I've had symptoms similar to yours. I need to drain the gas tank in my '27 Touring about once a year. After doing this I remove the sediment bulb and always find that the tank exit fitting is clogged with something that looks and feels like chassis grease. I assume that this is tank coating that the previous owner used and that it is being dissolved by the 10% ethanol gas I've been using. The car was restored back in the 60's as I was told by his granddaughter. Luckily, the tank doesn't leak yet.
I removed the line from the carb and fuel shoots out, and continues to do so. I would think this means the sediment screen is good? And everything is getting gas?
Here are some additional ideas:
Bad plugs. Check by changing. New plugs can be bad.
Vacuum leak. Check by spraying carb cleaner at suspected places. There should be no change if no leak.
Bad coils. Check by changing.
Thanks for updating us on your progress.
Rebuilt coils by Ron.
These spark plugs worked when running last, and again, it started for a minute yesterday's ran but exhaust was red so I killed it.
I'll checks or a vacuum leak
If you're going to do the thing where you spray carb cleaner to find a vacuum leak, be sure you're using the non-chlorinated variety.
Hot engine + Chlorinated carb cleaner = Something akin to the Phosgene gas the Germans used during WW1.
Ask me how I know.
Would a leak let it run hot like it does when the mixture is really rich though? I just don't see how there's anything wrong... It really wants to start and does but something isn't "catching"
Red exhaust usually indicates a lean mixture. I would check for intake leaks. Also, I have learned to follow Ron Patterson's advice - with the spark lever properly set up, use about three notches of "advance" for starting. The spark is still slightly retarded, but you haven't wasted most of the compression stroke. My '27 starts very hard and sometimes not at all, with full spark retard. With three notches down, I have even gotten two free starts in a row.
You can also use starter fluid to check for vacuum leaks.
The more I think about it the more it makes since it's an intake leak... I'll reseat both manifolds when I get home today must be dirt or something in the block making the rings not seat.
Since it starts and runs for a very short time, I would suspect a fuel problem. Sometimes the jet in the carburetor can be clogged up and even though the fuel runs out when you open the drain petcock at the bottom of the carburetor, it does not get enough gas into the manifold.
You can take off the carburetor and blow out with compressed air each of the holes around the throttle plate and with the needle valve removed, blow up through the jet at the bottom of the carburetor. Then put things back together and try to run it again. Also if you have access to a known good carburetor, such as from your other T or a friend's T you can try it on your car and if it runs, your problem is in the carburetor. There is a booklet published by the club "Carburetor" which has descriptions of all the carburetors used by the Model T's over the years and how to repair them. It is really quite simple and except for fixing worn throttle shaft can be done with simple tools carburetor cleaner and compressed air. A problem with our modern gasoline, is that if it sets for a few months, especially when exposed to air, it will set up like varnish which will clog things up. You really need to run the car often enough to use the gas in the tank at least every 3 months to prevent this from happening.
Thanks Norman. That also sounds like it could be the issue. Once again, it's a rebuilt carb, however I suppose the tank being actually used for the first time in decades would clog it up a bit without a hot tank cleaning. I'll take it off along with the exhaust, clean the ports for the glands and rings in the block, and use an air compressor inthe carb. Hopefully it will get it running.
Well then folks...
Norman, thanks for your reply. I removed the intake and carband blew it out. Nothing that I saw blew out. I put it back in, turned on gas, let it sit to fill the bowl, and cranked her.
Vrrr vrrr vr- CH Ch Ch Ch
The sound of a happy T being brought out of rest!
Had the mixture open to about 1 3/4. Tried closing it down, but it started puttering and clunking so I turned it back and let it sit for a little while. I then tried lowering it and it would sputter with anything under 1 1/2. That seems to be the smoothest area. I think it needs to really be broken in some more before I do any other adjustments to it, as it hasn't been run for a long long time (besides the 5 minute run in February).
It also backfires I think a couple seconds after it has been off? I don't know what a T backfire sounds like, but it's like a big VROOOSH really quickly coming from the exhaust.
In addition, I think I just have to work on driving a T, but the radiator was really hot when I shut it off and touched it. I sprayed some water on and it steamed slowly off. Once again, I'd guess I just have to work on where to put the levers when I am driving.
Well, that wraps up this thread! Luckily it was a simple carb clog.