Running poorly.

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ivaldes1
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Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:43 am

Hi all, My 1925 engine starts fine, while underway on both battery and magneto it runs poorly. Misses, hesitates, sluggish acceleration. Commutator is clean and as far as I can tell the commutator angle is correct. Was running fine for over a year, nothing changed recently. Coils rebuilt several years ago. How do I start troubleshooting? -- IV


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Dallas Landers » Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:42 am

Easy to check fuel system. Proper flow to carb. Open carb and make sure there is no dirt or anything in float valve. Have a look at the plugs for soot. If it has been running fine, I would suspect a fuel problem. After that if the problem is stiil there then you can check electical system and keep checking off the list.


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Jerry VanOoteghem » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:09 am

While the commutator might be clean, might it also be worn out? What style do you use?


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Norman Kling » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:21 am

If you have a good fuel flow, and good ignition the next thing to check would be compression. It should be somewhere around 45 to 50 psi on each cylinder and they should be close to the same compression. This measurement is with stock engine and at low elevations. The higher you are above sea level the compression will go down a bit. If you have low compression on two adjacent cylinders it could mean a leaky head gasket. Low compression on one or more cylinders could also be caused by one or more valves sticking open. If you put a few drops of oil in each cylinder and the compression rises afterward it usually means worn rings.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:37 am

I can sympathize. Mine lacks the zip on hills I think it should have and is hard to start. I've tried all the usual stuff and the few apparent improvements turned out really to be just temporary, or maybe wishful thinking. I haven't bothered trying to start the car again since last month. I'm doing other things until I work up the motivation to get back to work on it. Luckily I have plenty of other things to do.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:39 am

Original roller type. New brush type is currently back-ordered at Lang's.
Jerry VanOoteghem wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:09 am
While the commutator might be clean, might it also be worn out? What style do you use?

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Oldav8tor » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:48 am

I had the same symptoms - turned out to be a defective brush on my new day timer. Now I carry a spare.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by DanTreace » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:29 am

If you're running an original, might be the issue. Likely the roller rotor is now pitted and running poorly making for lack of proper timing to the coils and the fire to the plugs is reduced.

This one caused similar running symptoms at speed, during a tour few years ago, replacement with a newer one and troubles solved.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:44 pm

Plugs are all sooty. I cleaned them, re-gapped and put them back in. Running too rich?

-- IV
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:04 pm

YUP
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Jerry VanOoteghem » Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:38 pm

Don't worry a whole lot about running rich until you solve the misfire problem, (although the solution for both may be one in the same). A misfiring ignition, (versus carburetor or fuel issues), will in itself cause the engine to run rich. If a plug is not firing every time, as it should, fuel will build up and when firing actually occurs, the result will be an overly rich mixture due to the accumulation of unburned fuel..

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by MKossor » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:42 am


"Coils rebuilt several years ago."

Find someone in your area to test/adjust your coils for equal and consistent firing Time. Coil point adjustment drifts with use, more than many realize. Also make sure the coil box contacts are all tight and clean. Verify the coils are all seated and secured properly in the coil box.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by D Stroud » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:28 am

And, be careful how you remove the coils from the coilbox. Not that you would consider doing this, but a good friend of mine told me about fellow on a tour one time that would stick a screwdriver under the points to pry the coils out of the box. No matter what my friend said, the fellow wouldn't listen. Needless to say, his car didn't run very well. :shock: :shock: Dave
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Norman Kling » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:03 am

I don't know whether this has been mentioned, but if your spark fails to occur at the spark plug, the high voltage spark will find the shortest path to ground. Sometimes this path can be through the inside of the coil box. Especially if the wood is wet and it does tend to get wet either from washing the car or from rain entering. If it does spark internally, it can burn a carbon path and you will need to replace the wood inside the box.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by 24t » Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:44 pm

could be a number of things going on with running problems. look like everyone is giving good advice, but i noticed you have motorcraft plugs ? they were the first plugs i ever bought for my model t and didn't work for crap . other than a set of champion x plugs which are a little pricey . autolite 3095 plugs work in my engine as good as the champion x.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:59 pm

autolite 3095 plugs work in my engine as good as the champion x

They will be good at least for a few months and they cost only $12 a set, so they're worth a try.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Kaiser » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:16 am

Hey Ignasio, it seems from your symptoms you are simply running too rich, you have to richen the mixture to start a cold motor, but as soon as it warms up you have to at least turn the mixture a quarter turn in to lean it a little.
If you don't, you'll experience the stumbling and lack of power you have, so lean it as soon as the motor warms and try to find the 'sweet spot' where it runs best.
If you are confused about where you are mixture-wise, the Ford manual advises to screw the mixture needle down all the way in (with NO force, use your finger tips) and then back out 7/8th to a full turn, that should give you a good starting point, if the cold motor won't start, back it out another quarter turn, it should start now (don't forget to set the spark lever all the way up for starting and about half way down as soon as the motor is running )
If that won't work it might be that your gasoline has 'gone off' which is a real possibility with modern gas, it has a 'shelf life' of three months and even less in a warm climate, so removing old gas and filling up with fresh gas might help.
these are simple things to check, if they don't fix your problem try one of the things mentioned above in the other posts.
my grandfather told me to allways try the simple solutions first and if that don't work dig in deeper bit by bit.
Good luck in finding your problem !
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Norman Kling » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:31 am

One other thing I don't think was mentioned above, is the heat tube which runs up from the carburetor air intake to the back of the exhaust manifold. This will warm up the air flowing into the carburetor which will help to vaporize the fuel in cold weather. It even helps in humid weather when not freezing outside, because the evaporation of the fuel cools the intake manifold. This can actually cause icing up.
I don't know how cold it gets in Huston, but I do know it is very humid there.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Moxie26 » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:55 pm

Clean your plugs and GAP them to 0.025"

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:58 pm

I changed the timer and it didn't change anything. I am going to try testing the coils next. -- IV

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by RustyFords » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:02 am

Try shorting out each plug while the engine is running to see if one particular cylinder is misfiring. Get a long, rubber/plastic handled screwdriver and touch the end to the top of the plug and part of the metal shaft to a head bolt nearby. Be sure to keep your hand on the rubber/plastic or you’ll get a jolt.

When you do this to a “good” cylinder, it will cause the engine to labor, whereas a “bad” cylinder will have little or no effect. If your engine is heavily painted, you may have some trouble getting this to work, but it would have to be pretty thick paint. You can also achieve the same thing by stopping the points on each one of the coils while the car is running.

If you find a culprit, switch the corresponding coil to a different cylinder and see if the trouble moves to that cylinder. If so, it’s that coil that’s the issue.

Your plugs were pretty sooted up. They couldn’t have been giving good performance in that condition. I’ve found that my car likes to run at 3/4 of a turn out or even slightly less. I’d been running it at over one turn out because that’s what I’d been told to do and it was consistently fouling my plugs. I’d get about 30 minutes of good run time then it would start running bad.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by John kuehn » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:32 am

Rustyford may be on to something. All Model T’s are not exactly the same as far as carb settings are concerned. 1 1/4 carb turns may or may not be good for your T. Maybe bad gas or the carb has some issues? Could it be the choke is partially closed?
Good luck.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by RustyFords » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:40 am

John kuehn wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:32 am
Rustyford may be on to something. All Model T’s are not exactly the same as far as carb settings are concerned. 1 1/4 carb turns may or may not be good for your T. Maybe bad gas or the carb has some issues? Could it be the choke is partially closed?
Good luck.
Something I’ve been meaning to check on my car but keep forgetting is whether the adjustment needle is able to seat all the way or not. The outer fitting/nut could be tightened in such a manner that it would prevent the needle from seating when closed. That would, in turn, create a false sense of where “closed” is. It might also create a vacuum leak. I need to loosen the fitting then turn the needle to the closed position then tighten the fitting.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by John kuehn » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:38 am

Your exactly right about getting the correct needle adjustment Rustyford. I have to remember to keep the nut loose and then seat the needle. And THEN get the basic 1 1/4 turn adjustment as the manual says and go from there for the correct adjustment for your paticular T. Your car may like 3/4 turn out for good running. I have 3 T’s and the 21 Touring is best at 1 turn. The other 2 are a little more than that.
It very well could be that a to rich carb setting could be lveldes1 issue or at least part of it.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by 24t » Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:06 am

The way i adjust my carb fuel mixture , with engine running ,advance the spark 4 to 5 notches and the fuel about the same. then turn the mixture clockwise slowly until the engine starts to run rough and then turn the mixture counter clockwise very slowly to get it smooth running. after this adjustment you might find that the idle speed might be fast or slow. turn the idle screw to suit.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:47 am

Carburetor setting varies not only from car to car, but from carburetor to carburetor on the same car. I have one NH carb that's happiest at less than one full turn.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:09 pm

Thanks to all for the advice. I started it up and put a screwdriver on each plug to the head. It sparked and 'labored' on all 4. Looking to locate the club's tester and test my coils next. -- IV

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:29 am

It is the coils. I borrowed Space City T's club ECCT. All 4 pass capacitor test. Coil/Dwell test varies between Excellent/Good and poor on subsequent presses with it jumping around +1, 0 and -1 and double spark. Multi Spark shows poor. These were rebuilt about 3 years ago and up until recently haven't been an issue. The bending shown in the ECCT manual doesn't seem to improve this. What should I do?


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by DHort » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:49 am

I would purchase new points and ask the club to help you redo your coils, or send them to Ron Patterson or Brent Mize. Remember to include a note that the coils have new capacitors. Do you know which capacitors were installed?

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:20 am

I don't know what capacitors were installed. Ron Patterson 'winter special' :-) rebuilt these in 2017 so whatever he put in them.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by JTT3 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:44 pm

Ignacio, I think the coils might be a problem but I’m betting on your valves. Do a compression test to see if that’s the major issue. Remember you’re still running those old two piece valves. While your have it down you might want to go with aluminum pistons. It’s time you should replace the valves none the less. I know it’s a headache but pay the piper now than while you’re stranded. Best of luck, John

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:00 pm

Which size aluminum pistons? https://www.modeltford.com/pl.aspx?t=s& ... ton&page=1 I have new valves just not installed.
JTT3 wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:44 pm
Ignacio, I think the coils might be a problem but I’m betting on your valves. Do a compression test to see if that’s the major issue. Remember you’re still running those old two piece valves. While your have it down you might want to go with aluminum pistons. It’s time you should replace the valves none the less. I know it’s a headache but pay the piper now than while you’re stranded. Best of luck, John

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by JTT3 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:11 pm

You don’t have to do the pistons but if you did you’ll have to see what the bore is on each cylinder. That will tell you what you’ll need. To do that you’ll have to send it to a builder. Your still going to have to remove the engine because you’ll have to replace the lifters along with the valves. You time is more valuable than what it would cost you to have a competent model t builder do it. Best my friend, John

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:54 pm

Thanks brother, I did measure the cylinder in the past: Cylinder Upper measurement 3.7640 inches.
Cylinder Lower measurement 3.7525 inches.

Trip down memory lane: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/70 ... 1490898491

I also think the cylinders were standard. Do I need to send it to a pro builder anyway? Ross Lilleker is in College Stations.
JTT3 wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:11 pm
You don’t have to do the pistons but if you did you’ll have to see what the bore is on each cylinder. That will tell you what you’ll need. To do that you’ll have to send it to a builder. Your still going to have to remove the engine because you’ll have to replace the lifters along with the valves. You time is more valuable than what it would cost you to have a competent model t builder do it. Best my friend, John

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:09 pm

*pistons were standard.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by RustyFords » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:04 pm

Ross will do a "freshen up" on your engine instead of a total rebuild. He'll do valves and aluminum pistons and will check all the bearings and other components.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:14 pm

Just in from Ron Patterson:

The points were badly out of adjustment and the contacts worn.
I replaced the points and adjusted them and they now work fine.

So it sounds like once or twice a week use with a once a year 100 mile tour means you get about 3 years of use.

-- IV

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by RustyFords » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:31 pm

ivaldes1 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:14 pm
Just in from Ron Patterson:

The points were badly out of adjustment and the contacts worn.
I replaced the points and adjusted them and they now work fine.

So it sounds like once or twice a week use with a once a year 100 mile tour means you get about 3 years of use.

-- IV
Nice....glad you figured it out.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by MKossor » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:42 pm

Coil point adjustment drifts with use, more than many realize as I stated in my Dec 15 post; needing periodic adjustment using proper tools not unusual. However, coil points should NOT have worn to the point of needing replacement after 3 years with moderate use you described if the capacitors are all good and of the proper type. Something definitely seems off for that to happen.

The real test is how the car runs when you re-install the coils and take it for a ride. Be careful when re-installing the coils not to apply any force to the coil points which can easily throw them out of adjustment. Good luck and interested to know how it performs.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:03 pm

Have them back in and started it today. Sounded great, smooth and revved up to the normal range which it wasn't doing when the trouble began. I will take it to church in the am but I expect it to run great again. Will advise.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:03 pm

It is a lot better but it still detonates some at 27 mph and when I turn it off after driving it detonates once. Plug #2 was still sooted. Just to be sure I changed out the plugs for new ones. No change. Sounds like I have a valve problem and the head needs to come off to check? -- IV

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:07 pm

Head is off. The valves look ok except number 1 and number 2 are more heavily sooted, number 3 and number 4 are less. The two adjacent exhaust valves on 1 and 2 are sooted. Maybe I should have just kept driving it to clean it out after it had run poorly for awhile? Pictures below are with 1 and 4 up and 2 and 3 up. The engine top and head was scoured clean 3 years ago with a wire brush. -- IV
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by MKossor » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:07 pm

Thanks for the update. Good luck cleaning it up and re-assembling.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by John Warren » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:41 pm

Looks like you have burn't exhaust valves on 3 and 4, I suspect a bad intake gasket on 3and4.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by John kuehn » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:06 pm

I think I would replace all the valves and lap the valve seats while you have it apart. Looks like you have the original 2 piece valves. Not many folks still use those in a rebuild. If you keep driving your car and I know you will the valves might need to be changed. They may or may not come apart but after 90+ years something might happen.


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by 2nighthawks » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:42 pm

Ignacio - You've gotten a lot of good advice here, but I think John Tannehill in particular gave you some very good advice. I don't think you've got burned valves. In blowing up your photo of the engine with the head off, I think I see something that the wet & dry compression test that John T. suggested would have confirmed. It looks to me like you may have developed a compression leak between #1 & #2 cylinders. A blown head gasket between cylinders where the head gasket is very thin is a fairly common problem. I see just enough black (dark area) in one spot on the thin part of the gasket between #1 & #2 to indicate that possibility,...perhaps blown out on the under side of the gasket where it can't be seen in your photo, next to the engine block surface. Again, a compression test might have shown low compression on adjacent #1 & #2 which would have confirmed this, but I'm betting that you'll find the gasket burned out at that spot on the under side when you take the gasket off and examine it closely. If you just want to "freshen the engine up" a bit, I'd leave the pistons alone and just replace all those old (probably 2-piece) valves with new stainless steel valves after making sure you've carefully inspected and restored good valve seats. Cutting new valve seats with carbide valve seat cutters would be best, but carefully grinding new seats and lapping in would suffice, but being careful not to remove any more material than necessary as the valves look to be seated pretty low in the valve seats already. (...new valves might help that however!) Hope this helps,......harold


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by 2nighthawks » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:45 pm

John Kuehn - I got interrupted while writing my "epistle" above and didn't see that you had already just stated some of what I also said,....sorry,.....harold


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by 2nighthawks » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:56 pm

Well,....SHOOT! Egg on my face!!! Now that I look at the photo closer, that "dark spot" might just be a shadow! I didn't notice that when I blew the photo up larger for a close look. I'd still replace the valves tho' as others have suggested.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:35 pm

About how long does it take to take out the camshaft? The biggest delay is going to be finding out what size pushrods I need after I take the camshaft out ordering the new pushrods and waiting... Will I have to change the camshaft bearings? How would I know if I need to change the camshaft bearings? Probably need to change the cam too?


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:06 pm

Pull the valves, measure the guides. If necessary (and it will be), ream the valve guides to the next size up. Cut new seats with Neway valve seat cutters, buy new valves of correct stem diameter. Send new valves out to have seat angle reground (cheap insurance against shipping damage) and fit the valves. Everything else you mentioned, pushrods and cam bearings have nothing at all to do with how it was running, unless it was smoking like a bandit, and you never mentioned that.

I've seen this many times...if you don't define the problem and the specific solution to the problem, and then stick to your guns in fixing THAT problem, this engine is going to take you all the way back to a total rebuild. After you have the parts in hand, this should be a long weekend's work and be on the road after. If you start the "what if?" game, like I said, you'll talk yourself into tons of unnecessary work.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:58 pm

Thanks Scott, I know from previous adventure that the pushrods are dished. Replace?


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Re: Running poorly.

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:07 pm

Everything is worn. Changing push rods means fitting them/reaming the boss' to match. To do that, you must pull the cam shaft. It and the bearings are worn...replace them, too? The cam gear will be worn...replace? Probably need an oversize cam gear since the new gear will not mesh well with the crank gear. Replace the crank gear to match the new cam gear? Pull the engine and drop the pan. Only thing left is the main bearings and crank. Sound like an engine rebuild?

If the car is not smoking, the push rods are not overly loose. I'd leave 'em alone, replace the old valves and be done with it. Later on, the engine will dictate more work and by then, it will be a complete job. The valves look sunken into the block enough that the next time around, you're into valve seats anyway. Do that with the complete engine job...years from now.

Now, all that said, it is with the assumption that it is indeed a valve problem. With those valves, they need to go, anyway, and you'll likely find very compromised seats on at least 1 exhaust valve and probably more. I would also measure the total lift of each valve to ensure you have not for some reason (unlikely) wiped out a lobe on the cam. I would finish the job with new, quality intake/exhaust gaskets. I would not be surprised at all if that was the original and possibly root cause of your carbonizing in the first place.

It is too bad you did not perform a compression test when it was suggested. A vacuum test would have been useful too. At this point all you're left with is inspection and remediation, with some restraint on how far to go.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by RustyFords » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:33 am

Ignacio....if you're unsure of your abilities and have the funds, I recommend taking the engine to Ross Lilleker. It's an easy drive from Houston.

Ross can/will do a refresh on the engine without a full rebuild, addressing only the items that need attention. I took my engine to him after I'd done some work on it (because I was a bit unsure of myself and because my job was all-encompassing at the time). He corrected a couple rookie mistakes I made and installed new valves, aluminum pistons, rods, cam bearings, lifters, kevlar bands, turned the transmission drums (they look new now) and some other things.

I probably would've gotten it done myself given enough time, but he was faster and I have total confidence in the engine now. I still consider it to be a temporary engine for this car and will someday install a completely overhauled engine, but this one will last for several years instead of just the two or three that I initially planned for it.

He has my front axle now and is going to finish removing the old perches and will correct it for straightness and do the the reaming that it needs. During his initial inspection, he also immediately spotted a couple other issues with it that I hadn't noticed.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by John kuehn » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:17 pm

I also used Ross Lilliker to do a refresh on my 24 Coupe short block and rebush the transmission.
And as Rustyford stated I had him to replace only what actually was needed. After I picked up the short block and transmission I put it together and did the rest myself. Saved some money and time by doing it this way and all was good. I live only an hour from him so it worked out.

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by ivaldes1 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:28 pm

I put it back together and drove it around for about 20 minutes. It started running a lot better the more I ran it. My theory is that the coil boxes started the problem then that crudded up the valves. So maybe all I really needed to do was refresh the coil boxes and drive it. I am going to put off an engine rebuild for now until the $ummer $ea$on. -- IV

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Re: Running poorly.

Post by MKossor » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:16 am

Good news, hope that coil tuning is all it was and lesson learned.
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Re: Running poorly.

Post by RustyFords » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:21 am

Nice. It sounds Line your theory is correct.
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