First model t, not starting

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2018: First model t, not starting
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By eric schaefer on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 04:17 pm:

I am new to the model t world. just picked up a model t roadster. I have been trying to get it back on the road for the last week or two but I am just not very familiar with the technology of these cars.

I bought the car not running and nothing turned on. I have since put a new 6v battery in it. New oil, got power to the coils and I can hear the coil boxes kick on now when on battery setting. Car cranks fine and almost wants to start but just kind of sputters. I opened the timer and cleaned it out and put a little oil in that and it still doesn’t want to fire up.

On top of this I notice a decent sized crack in the engine head. What are my options for this is it repairable? Is it most cost effective to get a stock head from someone and put that on with a new head gasket? Would a high compression head be worth the expense? Would this loss of compression prevent the car from starting?

Iím in the Austin/ Round Rock Texas area and would welcome any help out there.

My plan was to get it running and now this cracked head has me nervous.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Annaian - Moultonborough NH on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 04:28 pm:

Just had an issue like this. Make sure your carb is clean. You might even have to take it off and blow it out with an air compressor. It's easier to just drain it with the plug (assuming it's a standard Holley NH or something like it) and see what type of junk comes out. Check the fuel flow. If there is very little you might also want to drain the sediment bulb and check the screen for clogs.

Also may want to check your timing. Lots of posts here about that.

Heads are common, I'd get a new one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith McGowan on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 04:29 pm:

A crack in the head does not help anything. Whether it would keep it from starting depends on where the crack is.
I assume the car has an electric starter. I would crank it a few times with the choke open, then shut the choke, turn on the ignition switch and crank it. If it does not run then you can try to open the carb a bit (make it richer) IF that does not work, you will need to check the compression. If that is good you may need to check the spark timing and see if the spark plugs are getting a good spark from the coils. Then you may have an idea of where to go.

An high compression head, such as a Z head, make a lot of difference in how a T performs. I think it gives somewhere around 6 to 7 extra horsepower, which is significant when you start with 20.

Post a photo of the head showing the crack. If it is really cracked you may be better off pulling the head first. Then you can check the valve timing, the condition of the seats, how worn the cylinders are, etc.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 04:34 pm:

Do a compression check. It should be approximately 50 psi on each cylinder. It could be lower but not very much lower. If one or 2 are very low, you have a compression problem.
Next fill the radiator and see if water comes out the crack. If you can get the car running, then decide what type head to buy. If the engine is worn it would be better to go with a stock head, but if rebuilt, you can get more power with a high compression head.
You should be able to find a used stock head at a swap meet or even some club member might have one for sale. If you have an early car the "low head" would be appropriate, for cars from about 1918 on the high head. Either head will work on any Model T. One thing which would bother me is whether there is also a crack in the block. Something caused the crack. One possible cause is freezing and another cause would be overheating followed by pouring cold water on the hot engine.
Anyway, I think if it were mine I would see how it runs with a Ford head before deciding on a high head.
One thing that gets my attention is that the engine sputters. I would suspect either you need to change the fuel mixture by rotating it counter clockwise about 1 turn and try again to start. If it starts, then rotate slowly clockwise till it runs fastest and smoothest. If the car has been parked for a long time with gas in the tank, you might have clogged fuel line and carburetor. Our present ethanol fuels tend to get like varnish when the set a long tine and that will gum things up. So if that is the case you will need to clean things out. Good luck
Norm
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By eric schaefer on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 05:04 pm:

that was my thought exactly is to get the car to run if possible then decide what head i would like to go with. ill check compression asap. do i need an adapter to go with a typical compression tester that screws into the spark plugs? im not sure if the spark plugs have the same thread as modern ones.

as for the gas, the tank was empty so i cleaned it out and put a new rubber fuel line in with an inline filter just incase there was some debris leftover in the tank. ive tried to choke the carb before starting and during and it just tkind of misfires. The valve to drain the carb to see if there is gas in it appears to be stuckso i cant open that to check.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Spadafore on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 05:30 pm:

Start with the basics before you tear too far into it. Are you getting fuel to the carb? Start at the tank and make sure you've got fresh fuel and the shutoff on the born of the tank is open. Open the drain petcock on the bottom of the sediment bulb and see that fuel flows out (you may need to dislodge sediment with a thin screwdriver first). If you've got fuel there, make sure the shutoff (if it's been added) near the carb is open. Open the carb bowl drain and see that you've got fuel there. These may sound overly basic, but I've found it best to rule out the simple stuff first.

Although it's not the case with every one, my roller timer doesn't like very much oil. If I just open the oiler cap and just squirt away, it will be hard starting, and when it does finally catch, it stumbles and balks until the roller has thrown most of the oil away.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 05:42 pm:

Eric,

Welcome to the hobby and the forum!

A good reference for getting a T going that has been setting for a while is called "Removing a T from Mothballs" by Milt Webb there are several posting with that listed. One is located at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/8538.html That same posting has some good information on how to drive a T but there are also several you-tube videos on that.

As a new owner I would also encourage you read up on some of the safety items. The T was produced long before the OSHA rules and with 2 wheel brakes no bumpers etc. it wouldn't pass the current requirements. But it also has several items that can damage the car, injure you, or in a few rare cases that can get you killed. (I.e. loss of brakes -- not a problem in a wide open area -- not so good if you are headed down a hill and the road is a T intersection, you have the stop sign and the traffic is fast and heavy.) It is similar to horses - Nothing to worry about -- if you don't run up behind one -- you won't get kicked. But if you have never been around horses -- you don't want to learn that one from personal experience. The same for some of the known T issues. Please see the safety items -- 11th entry at the posting at: www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/8538.html

Also recommend you check out the nearest local chapter. This forum is a wealth of information, but often having someone that is familiar with T's who can look at the car can save several days of posting questions etc.

And you didn't say what year T. A plastic in-line fuel filter with one of the 1909-1927 Ts with the fuel tank under the seat (different seats depending on the year) has been highlights as problematic -- i.e. restricts the fuel flow. For the 1926-27 "Improved" Ts that have the gas tank in the cowl, it should not be as much of a concern. See: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/131316.html?1269193700

and

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/90973.html?1241654331

Again welcome to the hobby, forum and I would suggest you consider joining the local chapter and national club. See: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/chapters.htm and https://www.modelt.org/chapter-listing.html for Chapters.

And: http://www.mtfca.com/clubpages/joinamember.htm for info on joining the MTFCA.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By eric schaefer on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 06:35 pm:

thanks for all the input.

i started with the basics. I have gas in the tank. I have gas at the petcock at the bottom of the sediment bulb under the tank. I can see gas filled in my inline filter in the gas line. i opened the shut off valve to the carb completely. and when i opened the valve on the bottom of the bulb of the carb several ounces of gas came out but then stopped. It seemed to only drain the bulb of the carb of gas. My question is is this normal? should the gas be free flowing out of this valve under the carb just like it free flows out of the petcock under the gas tank? or does it only drain that bulb? if it is supose to be free flowing then it seems my problem is the carb or maybe the gas isnt getting past my inline filter


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Annaian - Moultonborough NH on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 06:58 pm:

No that's not normal. That is indicating there is a blockage somewhere. There needs to be a steady flow. Sounds like it could be your filter or a block after it. Try removing the filter and see if the issue goes away?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 07:06 pm:

Ah, throw away that inline filter, it is 99% likely the cause of your problems.
Just another idiosyncrasy of Ts


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By eric schaefer on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 07:15 pm:

took the inline filter off. gas came pouring out of the carb valve. went to start it and it fired up for a couple seconds then died. and my battery was dead from trying all day with no gas apparently going to my carb. i think im really close to it running.

ill put a charger on the battery tonight and try tomorrow.

am i starting this correctly ive read several things on how to do it but just want to make sure. i put the lever on the "on" position and the key turned to the bat position and use the eletric starter switch to start the car. once running i switch the key to meg but leave the lever on "on".

what is the dim setting the lever can go to?

i havent tried to start on mag but just curious if i do do i have it on the "on" setting but have the key in the mag setting instead of the bat setting?

sorry basic questions


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Codman on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 07:24 pm:

It's probably not the starting problem, but cracks are bad news. You need another head. With 15,000,000 Ts built, they are out there. I doubt that you will have a significant problem finding one. As has been mentioned here, I would look at fuel delivery...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By kep on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 07:25 pm:

The "on" and "Dim" settings are normally for the lights. i have seen people wire them up as an ignition switch but it's not supposed to work that way.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem S.E. Michigan on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 07:48 pm:

I assume you have coolant in the radiator? If so, is water leaking out of the crack in the head? If not, the crack may have been repaired, but may still look ugly. Not a problem. If it just weeps out coolant, don;t worry about it for now, it can be replaced later. If water gushes out, you can still start the car, but don't run it for more than 2 or 3 minutes. Silicone sealants or JB Weld may also be used as a temporary band-aid on the crack, while you're trying to get it running.

Yes, "On" & "Dim" are your headlight settings.

No, compression will not leak out of the crack. The crack is almost definitely into the coolant jacket.

Try pulling the throttle down about 1/2 way when trying to start. It's common for beginners to not give it enough gas. Did you choke it a bit while cranking?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By eric schaefer on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 08:03 pm:




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown North Central Arkansas on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 09:29 pm:

Hi Eric

The head crack is not likely affecting anything as to starting the car. A crack in the top of the head is weldable. If you can weld it yourself then that is the way to go. If you can not weld it yourself, then finding another good head is the cheapest way to go. Original high heads are fairly cheap. I would worry about the crack later. Just make sure you have water in the engine or do not let it run for more than few seconds if it is empty of water. Also make sure there is no water in the oil.

The lever on the switch is for the headlights. The lever is the on/off switch as well as the dimmer switch. one way is bright the other way is dim and in the middle is off. Just leave it in the off position for now.

Sounds like you have gas to the carb, so I would move on to "spark". I would suggest to remove all the spark plugs and lay them on the head and hooked to the spark plug wires. Then with the switch turned to battery, use the hand crank and slowly crank it over watching to see if all four plugs spark. They should spark in the order of 1,2,4,3. It is probably wired correctly but watch the order to make sure it is. (strange things have happened to the Ts in the last 100 years or so).

If you have good spark, then I would add a couple tablespoons full of oil in each cylinder. With the plugs still out, spin the motor over a few times to work the oil into the rings and blow any excess oil out of the cylinders. If the car has sat a long time the rings may be dry and have poor compression. Adding the oil will bring the compression back up and help with starting. Make sure the plugs are clean and gaped to about 30 thousands. Re install the plugs and give it a try.

A good rule of thumb on the carb adjustment is to screw it all the way in till it seats. Be careful and do not over tighten it. Just lightly seat it. Then screw it back out 1 to 1-1/2 turns. This is a good starting point. You should not need to adjust it more than a 1/2 turn in or out from that setting for the car to start. Then adjust till the engine runs smoothly. (or as smoothly as it will run :-) :-))

Remember when starting to have the spark lever fully retarded or all the way to the top. If it is too far advanced it may kick back and break your starter bendix, or your arm if hand cranking. After it starts then quickly advance the lever to keep it running. The proper use of the spark advance is a whole different topic, to be addressed later. :-) :-).

Just keep at it, you will have her running soon.

have fun and be safe ...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Lloid on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 10:43 pm:

Gas,fire, and check the timing. It should run. I just replaced a cracked head and it just leaked a little on the rear by the firewall passenger side. I am just glad to get it fixed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 11:20 pm:

Among all the good advice so far, at the top of the list I would put ditch the filter.

Along with a clear fuel supply and good compression, you also want your ignition timing set correctly. Here's how: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG97.html

As you are new the the affliction, you will need this: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG80.html

And you should be aware of this: http://dauntlessgeezer.com/DG79.html


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Hjortnaes, Men Falls, WI on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 - 11:39 pm:

Find the nearest Model T club and see if they have anyone available to help you get going. Maybe consider sending Steve an airline ticket to Texas.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Shane Dare on Wednesday, July 04, 2018 - 08:04 am:

I too am new to the T world, but had a similar problem. Keep in mind the fuel is gravity fed so if you are on any kind of an incline sometimes they can be pretty stubborn. (I found this out the hard way and spent a week kicking myself for it not clicking) best of luck!


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