Why won't T start but runs.

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dloeber45
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Why won't T start but runs.

Post by dloeber45 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:15 pm

I have a 1926 model T coupe. It has been 3 yrs since I had it running. At that time it ran great. This year it won't start unless I push it. Then it runs perfect but if I turn it off and try to starting it with the starter it just cranks but doesn't fire. It is a 6 volt system with a distributor. Any ideas?
Thank you.
Dennis


Rich Bingham
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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Rich Bingham » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:36 pm

Same battery laid by three years ?
Push-start on bat or mag ?
Does it run on mag ?
Do you crank (with starter) on bat or mag ?
You cannot start it with hand crank on either bat or mag ?

Diagnosticians may need this info. Good luck !
(at least you can get it running ! :D )
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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Terry_007 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:37 pm

First thing I'd to is clean up ALL electrical connections. Sitting that long, there is probably some corrosion on contacts. Fresh gas, clean fuel system are essential too.
Terry

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Mark Gregush
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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Mark Gregush » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:43 pm

There would be a very slim chance it is set up to run off the magneto as he is running a distributor. (Yes it can be done) My first impression is the battery is not up to snuff and the starter (could need service) is pulling too many amps/volts for the coil to fire. I would check the battery voltage should be 6.4, if it is do a load test along with cleaning terminal etc.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Ruxstel24 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:13 pm

After the battery test, if ok.
I would check the point, clean and properly gapped. Turn the engine till the points close, you can usually rock the rotor back and forth then and open and close the points. Check for a good blue spark from the coil when the points open.

Then...what carb are you running ?


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Les Schubert » Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:20 pm

I have to ask, is there 3 year old gas in the tank?


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:44 pm

Mark posits a good question about battery and amperage. I used to own a '59 VW pickup which would crank until you let off the key, whereupon it would immediately fire. The engine was spun fast enough that flywheel effect would carry it over to the next "pop". The T may be cranking so slowly that no finegelling will help.

New battery and clean connections will likely get you past this (along with some fresh gas).
Scott Conger

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Charlie B in N.J.
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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:36 pm

No where near enough information to make anything like an educated guess.
Forget everything you thought you knew.

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Corey Walker » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:49 pm

This may be a long shot depending on how old your distributor is. I have a 1947 Hudson and a lot of times it wouldn’t start with the starter, sometimes it would and sometimes after I’d remove the cap and mess with the points it would start but it always started when pulled. I realized that there was so much slop in the distributor shaft that accurately adjusting the points was impossible. Once it was running it would stay running but I’d think twice before driving it. I replaced the distributor body and shaft with a good one and it solved the problem.
Corey Walker, Brownsboro, Texas


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by dloeber45 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:07 pm

Thanks to everyone for the info. Here is more info requested.
It has a brand New battery with 6.4 volts to the starter button.
I cleaned the battery terminals and cable and the ground connection.
It does not have a mag.
I have filed the points.
I emptied the gas out when I stored it 3 yrs ago. It now has new clean gas.
In addition it has a brand new carberator. I can open the nut on the bottom of the carb bowl and gas comes out.
When I use the starter it cranks suprising fast. Plenty fast enough to start. When it was running 3 yrs ago I could crank it by hand and it would start with just one crank.
What is most baffeling is remember; that if I push it 15 feet down a small hill or pull it, it starts and runs great. No popping or missing or lack of power. It will ide down very well but turn it off, push the starter button nothing. It will crank but not once will it fire. Let it coast down the hill and starts immediately.
Could it be the condensor?
Dennis


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:53 pm

Well, you teased us with what could have been an easy fix, and the obvious things have been checked. Now you'll need to provide a LOT more information.

You say it won't fire...what does that mean? Does it mean it doesn't run? Does it mean there is no spark ATDC when hand crank checking? Does it mean there is spark, but no fuel? Does it mean compression is too low when starting on battery? "It just cranks but doesn't fire" can mean a dozen things to a dozen people.

You need spark, fuel, compression. Methodically work those issues and you'll solve it yourself. For now, with no other info, everything is a guess.

It ran fine 3 years ago and now it won't. OOPPS, also just added a new carburetor! So now conditions are changing from 3 years ago to now and is more new information for the forum.

Spark - confirm it
Fuel - confirm it
Compression - confirm it

After those 3, it will be running and you won't need advice, you'll just tell us what it was.
If you do NOT have one of those things, then ask for advice.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Dennis_Brown » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:45 pm

Sounds like you may not be getting power to the distributor while using the starter and while pushing you may pick up enough juice from the generater.
If you can, hook the power lead to the distributor to a separate battery or run jumper wire fromyour battery to the distributor lead and try the starter. If it starts you will have to look for an open circuit somewhere along the line .


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Moxie26 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:09 am

Has a previous owner put a fusible link off the starter terminal?... Starter link or inline fuse?

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:42 pm

Good deductions from Scott & Morris. You're losing something when cranking. Most likely ignition,
Forget everything you thought you knew.


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by dloeber45 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:03 pm

I still haven’t got the T running. Either I wasn’t clear or I didn’t understand Dennis Brown’s instructions.

So, I connected a wire from the distributor to the battery. The only way I could see to do this was to splice into the wire that runs from the negative pole on the coil to the distributor. BUT when I try to connect it to the battery it sparks. So something clearly is wrong.
I put an ohm meter between the points and the base of the distributor (of course with the cap off.) I get 6.4v. The points are open at this time. With the points closed I get nothing. But I get 5.1v between the positive and negative terminals on the coil.
In addition to not knowing anything about auto electrical I don’t know what is normal.

No inline fuse.


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Norman Kling » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:16 pm

Have you checked to see if you have spark to the plugs with the key on and using the starter? If you have two people, you can hold a screwdriver with one end grounded and the other about 25 thousands from the spark plugs and a spark should jump. Or you could pull out the plugs and lay on the head and with the ignition switch on, hit the starter and each plug should spark in firing order. If not, you have something lowering the voltage at the distributor while the starter is engaged.
Norm

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Ruxstel24 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:37 pm

Dennis, you want the jumper wire on the positive side of the coil. The negative side should go to the points. You should have battery voltage go through the coil to the points (may be a slight voltage drop). It should only show voltage when the points are open and 0V when closed, at the points.
Hope that helps.


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:51 pm

1-2 different tests to be done to see if there is spark when cranking, and no tests done or information forwarded, but wires have been spliced, shorts introduced, and guesses being spewed... and all to no avail.

This thread is becoming painful to read.
Scott Conger

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Dan Haynes » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:17 pm

Whenever I've had a car that wouldn't start with the starter but would start after pushing or pulling a couple of feet, the condenser was bad.
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Ignition coil series resistor

Post by Novice » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:07 am

If Your coil has a series resistor going to it. check it with a ohmmeter should show very low resistance / short. Some distributor cars short out the series resistor for starting to get a hotter spark and if the resistor is bad or not getting voltage from the switch during starting it will run but wont start.
Good Luck


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by d stroud » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:10 am

Not saying Dan H is correct or not, but I do know that a bad condenser can drive you nuts! I have had some and know of some others that went bad over the last 50 years, and every one of them had different symptoms. I even had a new one(made in Mexico) about twenty years ago that would work just fine on one vehicle, but wouldn't hardly run on another one. Both were early '70's Fords, one a Maverick six cylinder, the other a ton truck with a 360. Just throwing this out there, don't assume that because it's new, it's good. JMHO Dave
1925 mostly original coupe.

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:59 am

Get some help. you're getting nowhere with a sticky problem. Betting the solution is quite simple.
Forget everything you thought you knew.

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Will_Vanderburg » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:05 am

I've got an Idea, but I'd get my hand slapped if I said it...
William L Vanderburg

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Norman Kling » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:02 am

I think I know what Will's idea is! Convert back to coils and timer! I won't slap him for that idea.
Norm

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by TRDxB2 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:48 am

There are several video's on YouTube showing how to test a condenser. Basically: with it removed, you connect your Volt/Ohm meter on OHM - not to test resistance but this will actually charge the condenser, then you test voltage and you should see the voltage drop little by little to 0. Be careful not to touch the contacts and zap yourself. What distributor do you have?

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by RajoRacer » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:59 pm

Would be quite economical to just do a distributor tune-up including a coil replacement - sure sounds as though it could be a "voltage" issue !


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by dloeber45 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:33 am

All my work and everybody's help has only proved one thing. I don't know what I'm doing. SO, I need to take it to someone. Does any one know if there is anybody in the Seattle area that can work on a 1926 model T?


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by DHort » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:06 am

Might help to call Antique Auto Ranch in Spokane. 509-535-7789

I know they are not close, but they should be able to help you find the right person to help you.


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by flatbroke3 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:27 am

dennis, I am in Seattle, I will help if needed.
Harold 206-601-9229


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by dloeber45 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:52 pm

Thanks Harold for the offer. Yes, I could use the help. I called and left a message but I thought I would also leave my # here too. 206-588-9833.
Dennis


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Moxie26 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:05 am

Easy to crank and doesn't start? I would suspect low compression due to worn piston rings or leaky valves. Pushing the car to start will turn the engine over faster to get compression to start engine.


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Piewagon » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:48 am

Since you mentioned a "starter button" twice I am going to assume you have a starter solenoid involved rather than the usual foot switch. On a stock T the power for the ignition and all other power is taken at the foot switch via a solid yellow wire. If you fiddled with the 2 smaller wires at the solenoid that are NOT the battery cable or starter cable then could you have connected the yellow wire to the same wire as the starter button is connected to rather than to the other solenoid connection that powers the inner winding of the solenoid. There could be enough juice coming through the solenoid wiring to allow the car to start and run by pushing but it would not have any juice to the coil if you push the starter button since that would ground the yellow wire and the cars electric supply would be zero. This is just a guess but it would explain everything. Also you very likely damaged the points when you jumped the hot side of the battery directly to the distributor points connection. That would really have put a ton of DC current through the points.


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dloeber45
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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by dloeber45 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:46 am

I want to thank everyone for your help in trying to solve my 1926 Model T starting problem. We did get it going. Harold Musolf who commented on this forum and lives in the area, said he would help me by coming out and taking a look. After trying several things without success, we replaced the spark plugs. That did it. Also, Harold was able to crank it (which I can’t) which provided more spark since it wasn’t being reduced with the starter. He also showed me some tricks to reduce engine drag.
However, there is an underlining condition that contributes to the difficulty of starting. That is a tight engine. Since the rebuild it probably hasn’t been driven over 60 miles. So it needs to be driven and starting problem should go away.
Thanks
Dennis

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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:37 am

would have been nice to know about the recent re-build & tight engine. there's still some thing going on electrically.
Forget everything you thought you knew.


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Re: Why won't T start but runs.

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:39 am

30 posts later: Oh, and I have a tight new engine

THAT is why I try my best to ignore these kinds of posts...not always able to keep my nose out of it, but I try...
Scott Conger

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