So my son and I got the car back together, the bendix works, and I have compression. Gas is at the carburator.
I cleaned the contacts in the coil box (may have to do it again, tho) and I can hear them singing, so I have spark.
But the car will not start.
Grant unfortunately just because you hear the coil buzz it doesn’t mean you have current running to the plugs. If all things being correct with the valves, piston compression and fuel, you can take the plugs out and lay them on the head. Be sure to connect the wires back to the plugs and hand rotate the crank. As you rotate stop when one coil is buzzing to see if you are actually getting fire to the plug. Repeat until you have checked all plugs. If you do have spark to all 4 that’s a start. If they have not been rebuilt you may want to have the coils done by one of the excellent coil restorers in the club. Good coils are the heart of the model T. Air, fuel, compression and spark will cause combustion. Good luck!
Does it at least pop? Is the timing fully retarded (spark lever fully up)? How far out from closed is the carb mixture needle?
Double check the coil box and timer wiring per the diagram below. If it all looks good, pull the spark plugs, set them on the cylinder head next to the holes they came out of, and with the ignition switch on battery, slowly crank the engine over with the hand crank to verify that each plug fires in the correct order, 1 2 4 3.
If all looks good, put half an eyedropper of gas in each cylinder, then put the plugs back in and try to start it. If you have spark, it should at least pop a few times on the eyedroppers of gas.
If it then runs for a second or two and then stops, I would suspect a fuel delivery problem to the carb. Rig up a temporary fuel supply to the carb with a tin can and a hose and see if the engine will run on it. If the engine runs well on the gas in the tin can, start looking at your stock fuel system for restrictions or sediment. If you have a modern fuel filter in the line, get rid of it!
Well, assuming nothing is wrong with the engine, you need two things for the car to start: The correct ratio of air to fuel, and a nice, big, juicy spark. -To check for spark, you can use the screwdriver test (While cranking the engine with the ignition switch in the on position, touch the blade of a screwdriver against the spark-plug's metal top and bring the tip of the screwdriver blade close to, but not touching, the engine's head and see if a spark jumps the gap). -Now, some people recommend against that as being harmful, but for just a couple of seconds per plug... eh, it should be okay.
Once you know you have spark, the next thing is to adjust the mixture. -Close the mixture completely by turning the knob clockwise (very gently). -Do not tighten it down! -Then, unscrew it three full turns. Use that as a starting point and keep varying the mixture till the engine catches. -Then adjust it to the point where the engine runs smoothest. -From there, fine-tune it to give the best acceleration.
If you still can't get the engine to fire, you may want to do a compression check.
Like Mark asked, any sounds or anything? I had a bunch of trouble getting my 27 T to start because the carb was clogged. It would start for a second and die.
Make sure your mixture is open. Mine is strange and my T likes 2 turns open. You may want to also hold the choke open for a second or two while cranking the starter.
I have spark, and I have compression. I was missing the gas portion. I discovered looking in what passes for an owners manual that the gas cap has a vent hole. When I cleaned the cap to get rid of the mouse droppings, I did not see a vent hole, so I scrubbed vigorously w/ a stiff brush and I could see where the hole was. A #54 drill bit cleaned it out.
It should start this afternoon.
Thanks for the update, please keep us posted.
Have a friend run the starter while you hold your hand over the carb inlet. Strong suction it should get fuel in the cyls.No suction no run.Bud.
Mark asked if the spark was fully retarded. Ron Patterson (one of our resident electrical gurus) has commented that the spark should not be fully retarded. My '27 will not start with the spark fully retarded. I followed Ron's suggestion and "advanced" it three notches (It's still retarded, just not as much) It starts beautifully that way.
Hmmm, I knew that the spark needed to be advanced a few notches when starting on magneto, never heard about advancing it for starting on battery.
Please talk to Ron again. I believe that one or the other of you were not communicating. If you are advancing your timeing at ALL when starting on battery, your timeing is off (rod needs bending). If, on the other hand, you are non-stock and using 12V, then you may be spinning the engine so fast that you indeed need to advance the spark (however on 6V is should NOT be necessary).
If there comes a day that your battery is too low to crank and you have to use that handle-thing out front, you could rue the day that you tried to start it a little "advanced".
Have you cleaned or replaced the gas bulb filter screen ???
Scott is correct. If the timing is set properly the lever should be all the way up for starting on BAT.
Bob mentioned opening the carburetor three full turns. That may work, and it may not. There's a wide variation among carbs. The one I'm currently running prefers only half a turn. On many of them one to 1½ turns is about right.
Ron (in a lengthy post on this forum) Went into great detail about Model T Ford timers, timing, and starting. I don't know how to research on here, but essentially what Ron said was that with the spark lever against it's stop the timing is very much retarded. You give up much of the compression stroke when attempting to start the engine that way. With the spark lever "advanced" two or three notches, the spark is still occurring after top dead center, just not as much after. Based on the way my '27 starts, I suspect that he is correct.
What you say is correct when starting on mag.
If the timing is set by the book, unless I am badly mistaken, it is 15.5 degrees ATDC when starting on battery.
If you think of the crank pulley as a clock face, at TDC the pin is pointing at 3 and 9 (horizontal). Timing should be set to fire when the right end of the pin is halfway between 3 and 4. That's 15º ATDC. The entire clock face (circle) is 360º. So each of the twelve numbers on the clock represents 30º. Halfway between the numbers is 15º.