free starts

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thom
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free starts

Post by thom » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:33 pm

I've got a free start from time to time with our '21 but today after I cleaned the timer and plugs when I got in it to go for a ride I got 11 free starts in a row. Then I "bumped" the starter with the switch off, tried it again and got 4 more. Several hours later I went out to the garage and got in it and got another free start. This is getting to be a habit. :shock:


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Re: free starts

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:34 pm

soundsl like a healthy, happy, and loose engine
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Re: free starts

Post by Norman Kling » Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:00 pm

Good. That will save the battery! However hard to make a demonstration of how to crank start.
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Re: free starts

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:28 am

It's fun when you turn on the switch, go around front and reach for the handle, and the car starts before you touch it. :D
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: free starts

Post by Adam » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:12 am

I think a “free start” puts an unusual and aggressive load on the crankshaft and bearing. I try to avoid it. The best way is to have your throttle completely closed and the engine at low idle when you shut the key off.

I also remember on a couple occasions hearing people that had T’s back when they were nearly new say that a free start meant the engine was pretty worn.


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Re: free starts

Post by Dallas Landers » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:30 am

My rebuilt engine has about 150 to 200 miles on it. It warmed up this week and I drove it alot. I got two free starts this week. I assume that its getting broke in and everything is set as it should be like timing, carb, ect...
It runs better every time I drive it. I will say I have never had a cold free start.


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Re: free starts

Post by tmodeldriver » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:03 am

Free starts are about the coolest thing a T Model can do. I even had one once when the car had set over night.


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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Bingham » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:58 am

Gosh Adam, don’t be a “fun sponge”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone, owner or bystander who hasn’t been delighted by a Model T giving a free start. There has been a lot of discussion on the pros and cons of the free start in the past. If you’re uncomfortable with it, by all means avoid it ! 😄

For argument’s sake, has anyone had the experience of a broken crank or other catastrophic failure immediately following a free start ? How does the stress of a free start compare with “souping up” your T with a high compression head ? What is the stress difference between a free start and the motor “catching” on a normal start ??
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Re: free starts

Post by Mark Gregush » Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:18 am

I was helping someone do a video of a car for sale, they wanted me to show it hand crank start. So I primed the motor with the key off, went around and turned the key on, she started. LOL not what he wanted, of course she got cranky when I tried to restart. :lol:
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

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Re: free starts

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:34 am

How does the stress of a free start compare with “souping up” your T with a high compression head ?

I don't know about stress from a free start, but I've sure heard that increasing the power on top without installing a better crank on the bottom is asking for trouble.
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: free starts

Post by John kuehn » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:50 pm

The 24 Coupe I inherited from my Grandfather was a smoker and ran fairly well. Years later I finally rebuilt the engine and driving it I had a ‘free start’ and it caught me off guard. It had never done that before with the loose and ‘smoky’ engine. It wasn’t bad but it did smoke.
I had never heard of a free start or had been in a T that did that until then.
Now that I have 3 and being around them for several years they all will do it since they have rebuilt engines.
The Coupe occasionally will free start after its set for a day or so and so will the 21 Touring but not the 1919 Roadster.
That engine was built up from 3 engines that I had with the best parts from the engines. It runs fine but probably not as tight engine wise as the others. It hardly ever gets a free start.

That’s my cars. Don’t know about anybody else’s.


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Re: free starts

Post by jbodkin » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:51 pm

The stress related to a free start is the fact that movement is being initiated abruptly through a connecting rod to the crankshaft and flywheel which is at DEAD REST. Using a crank or starter mechanically begins to rotate the crankshaft and flywheel prior to 'explosive' force being exerted through the connecting rod to an already rotating crank.


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Re: free starts

Post by mgarrett » Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:28 pm

It seems to me that in order for a Model T to provide a "free-start", the engine would have to be in good enough mechanical condition to maintain fairly strong compression for an extended period of time with the engine at rest, along with being in good tune on all fronts - correct timing, sound ignition system, and adequate fuel delivery at the right mixture. Unless I'm way off, you need all of these things to start normally, let alone a free-start.

Am I missing something? I guess I don't see how a free-start makes any difference about being hard on an engine as opposed to starting normally. An engine that can free-start tells me that compression is pretty good rather than worn out. Pretty amazing it can accomplish this feat at all considering the low compression that it was born with. Maybe there's something I'm not getting, but I suppose the opinions on this topic are legion, much like water pumps and Marvel Mystery Oil!!


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Re: free starts

Post by John kuehn » Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:42 pm

I was thinking the same thing but as noted opinions will vary as it always does!


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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Bingham » Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:56 pm

So, Jim, you conclude the abrupt force you describe is beyond what the Model T engine should have to endure, as opposed to whatever variable stresses it suffers in normal service ?

Not an unreasonable position, and no one should subject their Ts to any situations they deem harmful ! We’ll all sleep better at night that way ! :D
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Re: free starts

Post by Richard G » Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:18 pm

STEVE--HERE WE GO AGAIN, WHEN SOME ONE HAS A LIFE TIME OF WORKING ON MECHANICAL COCKROACH'S AND SEEING WHAT CERTAIN FAULTS IN THERE EVERY DAY USE CAN CAUSE, YOU ARE VERY RIGHT IN THINKING IF YOU BUILD PARTS OF ENGINE'S STRONGER IN ONE AREA AND NOT DO A COMPLETE JOB OF IT, THERE WILL BE A BREAK DOWN OF THE WEAKER OF THE SYSTEM'S, IT WILL TAKE TIME YES, BECAUSE OF THE MATERIAL THAT'S USED IN ITS CONSTRUCTION WAS BUILT IN, IN THE HIGH STRESS AREA'S LIKE CRANK SHAFT'S, THE VERY DESIGN OF A CRANK IS, ITS TO BE ROTATED EACH ONE HALF TURN BY THE FIRING ORDER OF THE FOLLOWING PISTON STROKE, THUS GIVING EACH POWER STROKE A EQUAL AMOUNT OF PRESSURE TO THE ENTIRE CRANK , WHEN A ENGINE IS STARTED FROM A DEAD STOP BY A SINGLE POWER STROKE WITCH IS WHAT IS TAKING PLACE WHEN THERE IS A FREE START OF A SINGLE PISTON, EVERY THING CONNECTED TO THAT SYSTEM MUST START ROTATING, UNDER A GREAT AMOUNT OF STRESS, TO THE CRANK, COMPARED TO THE MASS BEING ROTATED BY THE STARTER, OR THE HAND CRANK , ALL THIS DEAD WEIGHT IS ROTATING AND THE PRESSURE OF A SINGLE IMPULSE IS RELIEVED, THE MODEL T CRANK SHAFT IS TRULY A WONDER THAT ITS LASTED THIS LONG, IT HAS A VERY TOUGH JOB AND IT IS DOING IT WELL FOR WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO, THAT'S NOT TO BE STARTING A ENGINE WITH ONE FINGER. I OVER MANY YEARS HAVE BUILT MANY ENGINES OF ALL SIZES FROM SINGLE TO SIXTEEN CYLINDERS, AND HAVE SEEN MANY THE CAUSE OF FAILING'S THE CRANK IS BY FAR THE WEAKEST, BECAUSE OF ITS VERY HIGH STRESS JOB. EVERY THING DEPENDS ON THIS ROTATING SCREW TO APPLY PRESSURE TO THE ENTIRE WEIGHT OF THE LOAD ITS MOVING. OVER THE YEARS ALUMINUM PISTONS ,HEAVER RODS, STRONGER RINGS, WERE DEVELOPED TO GIVE THE T ENGINE HIGHER RPM'S MORE POWER AND THE CRANK STAYS THE SAME, THEY DID ALSO DEVELOP COUNTER WEIGHTS TO EASE THE VIBRATION TOO, THE CRANK STAYS THE SAME, THIS LITTLE CAR WAS DESIGNED TO RUN AT 25--35--MPH ON DIRT ROADS, WITH NON DETERGENT OIL, HOW MANY ARE DOING THAT TODAY, WHEN THE MODEL A CAME ALONG WHAT DID FORD CHANGE IN THERE FOUR CYL,ENGINE? WHAT ARE WE NOW PUTTING IN THE T BLOCK TO SOUP IT UP?? I THINK FOR WHAT WERE ASKING OF THIS MARVEL, ITS GIVING BACK TWO FOLD, I ADMIRE MY FORD FOR WHAT IT IS, AND WHAT ITS STILL DOING OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER , HENRY,--YOU--BUILT--A--PERFECT--LADY,


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Re: free starts

Post by Art Wilson » Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:34 pm

Lots of warm engine free starts may indicate that the carburetor mixture is set too rich.


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Re: free starts

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:18 pm

Mike Garrett

my first car was my '13, which could never be described as having "good" compression, and yet it has free started several days after running. Only once. Never again. Free starts during the day during regular use, but only once after several days. Had I not experienced it, I would have called anyone else an unkind name and not trusted anything they said again. Anyone feel free to feel the same about this and I will not feel offended.

I do suspect that unlike what we believe that we have been taught, compression is not necessary for an "oomph" which certainly if followed by similar "oomphs" would not constitute a running engine with any rated horsepower, but it can turn an engine over (and in my opinion that mild "oomph" is not much more agressive than a young man jerking on the crank). Compression is indeed necessary go get power, but not necessary to get ignition and all of those expanding gasses have to go somewhere (else all those garages burning down from gas fumes from faulty carb would never occur).

As far as being an indicator of a too-rich condition, I've rebuild hundreds of carburetors and this NH is one of them. A quarter turn open to start, nearly immediatly quarter turn back to run after starting, 20MPH and have not cleaned plugs in years...Too Rich is not something I would consider to be valid. Now, it may help...but it is not a necessary pre-condition. Others obviously feel different and will be just as certain of their position as I am. Such is the richness of life and variety of opinion.
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Re: free starts

Post by jbodkin » Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:38 pm

I am not at all saying that a free start will result in a 2-piece crankshaft. I was just responding to the question of how a free start might put increased strain on the crank. Having just spent $$$ on a rebuilt engine due to a 2-piece, I have been sensitive to all theories. Based on physics, this one does make sense to me. I love my occasional free starts (never got one before the rebuild) and the 'thrill' outweighs the perceived risk in my mind. It's similar to the 'thrill' of driving the T in relation to its danger on today's roads!!

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Re: free starts

Post by Richard G » Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:58 pm

yanking on the crank and a free start !-- the big difference being ---the crank shaft and every thing connected to it is rotating in one mass. THAT'S IT I'M DONE WITH THIS SUBJECT, ENJOY THE FREE STARTS WHILE THEY LAST.


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Re: free starts

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:46 pm

Richard

do you have a sure fire way to eliminate free starts and the risk they pose? Since it is a naturally occuring phenomenon in T's and it may pose a risk of damage, is there something an owner can do to ensure they do not occur? I don't think I've ever seen this discussed in all the years of reading the forum, so may be an interesting permutation of the original topic.
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Re: free starts

Post by Kerry » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:53 pm

Scott.
I don't believe in any reason to do so, never come across any thing violent in a engine free start. but to far advanced and back firing could be another story.


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Re: free starts

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:00 pm

Thank you Frank. I am in your camp, but I know there are a bunch of folks who believe it is a bad thing and thus cannot help but believe that if it was bad then the folks who are concerned about it must be doing something to mitigate it if firm in their convictions. I suppose that makes me a devil's advocate.

regards to all of you headed into Winter and wish you the best
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Re: free starts

Post by JohnM » Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:30 pm

The way to eliminate free starts is to get your engine spinning, then turn on ignition. Seriously though there is no doubt that free starts place stress on mechanicals, but so does hammering up a long hill. I suspect much more. Certainly there must be a mechanical engineer on this forum who could settle this with scientific evidence before it gets out of hand and deleted.


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Re: free starts

Post by Kerry » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:04 pm

A free start every time you "Stop & Go" function, on the Next generation Mazda has been in use for a several years now.

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Re: free starts

Post by Richard G » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:23 pm

SCOTT, THOSE EARLY FORDS THAT ARE CRANK ONLY STARTING, ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE, IN THAT THERE IS NO WAY FOR THE ENGINE TO BE ROTATING AT THE TIME IGN IS TURNED ON THEREFOR THIS SITUATION CANT BE AVOIDED, STARTER TYPE ENGINES HAVE THE ADVANTAGE IN THAT THE STARTER CAN BE ROTATING THE ENGINE BEFORE IGN IS TUENED ON, SET THE SPARK AND THROTTLE LIFT THE CHOKE STEP ON STARTER WHEN THE ENGINE TURNS OVER 2 TO 3 TIMES THIS GIVES THE GIVE THE GAS TIME TO REACH THE CYL;S THEN TURN ON IGN, I THINK IF I HAD BETTER EYE SIGHT I COULD DESIGN A REMOTE SWITCH FOR THOSE CRANK START ONLY, A SWITCH THAT COULD BE HANDY AT THE AREA OF THE CHOKE WIRE, A SYSTEM THAT WOULD OPEN THE POWER TO THE MAG--OR--COILS,ONE OF YOU GUYS THINK IT OVER I KNOW YOU CAN COME UP WITH A SOLUTION ----, FOR THOSE THAT DON'T HAVE THIS PROBLEM COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. THE ONLY OTHER WAY I CAN THINK OF IS TO TURN THE GAS VALVE ON YOUR CARB OFF AND LET THE ENGINE QUIT OR RUN OUT OF GAS ,THIS MAY JUST PREVENT A CHARGE OF GAS ENTERING AS THE ENGINE STOPS ROTATING, THIS IS WHAT IS CAUSING FREE STARTS IN THE FIRST PLACE GAS BEING DRAWN IN AFTER IGN IS TURNED OFF.


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Re: free starts

Post by Erik Johnson » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:28 pm

My dad's 1910 IHC Model F roadster has a low tension, Remy magneto ignition. The coil box has a push button on it. After priming the engine with the ignition off, you turn the switch to "BAT" and you can push the button to fire one of the sparkplugs and you MIGHT get a free start (or at least a "chug"). Remy referred to this in their literature as "starting from spark." See photo below.

My unrestored 1917 roadster has a very worn-out motor (the original owner drove the car for 30 years) and will free start all day long. It is equipped with an NOS Anderson timer, HCCT adjusted coils with new points but original condensers, new spark plugs and an overhauled Kingston L-4 carb.

My father's 1917 touring has a fairly fresh rebuild and will also free start.

The late Bob Schultz of North Branch, Minnesota had a 1919 touring that he would display at swap meets and car shows and he would demonstrate free starts all day long.

He also had adjusted timer so he could overly retard the spark and idle the motor so ridiculously slow you literally count the chugs.

Years ago, there was gentleman here in the Twin Cities who had an early touring that would regularly free start when he turned on the switch after three or four hours of sitting from the last time he had it running. The engine was probably not rebuilt, but just overhauled (new rings, valve job, tightened the bearings, etc.).

When you hand crank a Model T on battery, you merely putting everything in the proper position so internal combustion takes over. Note how slowly 91 year old Royce Peterson cranks his car in the video below. He lets physics do the work, not muscle. It's really no different than a "free start."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhEnNzv6LBM
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Remy.JPG


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Re: free starts

Post by Erik Johnson » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:31 pm

Here's non-Ford example of "starting from spark."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMa3_tT5mKA


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Re: free starts

Post by Erik Barrett » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:59 pm

There were quite a few cars like the Mercedes that were starter from a static condition. I think possibly the “Beast of Turin” Fiat race car does as well. Engines with raised compression ratios from performance accessories rarely give free starts because they bounce back from TDC before stopping so are never in the right position. That’s why you can get lots of free starts from tired engines, they coast past TDC with low compression. I once got a free start at the perfect time. I was selling a car from a club member’s estate. I had ready for the out of state buyer to test drive. About an hour later he shows up and I tell him about the car for maybe twenty minutes. I turn the key and it takes off. Car was sold instantly. My only problem with this is that it happens only if you leave a charge of unburned gas in the cylinder. This can eventually lead to oil dilution and other problems. I think it’s always best to turn off a T at low idle and not running rich.

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Re: free starts

Post by Richard G » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:02 pm

ERIC --YOU ARE MISSING THE WHOLE POINT,-------WHEN ROYCE IS CRANKING THE ENTIRE CRANK SHAFT AND EVERY THIN HOOKED TO IT IS ROTATING---- THIS IS NOT A FREE START---ADD YES THAT IS THE PROPER WAY TO START AN ENGINE, WHEN EVERY THING IS SET PROPER .

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Re: free starts

Post by Richard G » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:04 pm

ERIK WERE TALKING MODEL T FORD-- THEY WERE NOT MADE TO START THIS WAY,


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Re: free starts

Post by John kuehn » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:06 pm

To sum things up a called ‘free start’ is caused by the design of the ignition system. To my very simple mind anyway. I didn’t go to an engineering school.
That being said the Model T ignition is so designed that when the engine is turned off the timer could be in position for the next plug to fire.
So when you turn the switch for ignition the coil buzzes,delivers the spark to a cylinder of explosive gas and fires. Waalaa! A free start especially when the engine is still warm.

Modern engines don’t have a system that has a plug firing upon turning the switch on. Not the way a T ignition does. But it’s a 100 year old design. Things have changed since then.

Maybe somebody has a Ford publication by Murray Fahnstock, Fords engineer as I remember.
Did he write any thing about free starting? Hmmmm.

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Re: free starts

Post by Richard G » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:11 pm

I---GIVE---UP..!


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Re: free starts

Post by Erik Johnson » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:23 pm

Richard:

All Royce is doing is slowly moving the crankshaft so the piston that is in the compression stroke goes past dead center and ignition and internal combustion takes over.

He's not spinning the crank. He's not strong arming the crank. He's slowly moving the crank. That can't be much different than a free start as far as stress on the crankshaft is concerned.

Here's another example of slow cranking:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FojdrSmxkgQ

Yet another:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nhctdDSXH8


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Re: free starts

Post by fschrope » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:37 am

I wonder if anyone has ever checked the position of the piston before a free start?

Sometime when you're getting free starts every time you try, look at the crank pin. I'm betting it's about 10 - 4 o'clock. 3 and 9 would be top dead center.

Some time this summer when I get the '23 TT fired up, I may check into this. I played with it one time and found that if I set the idle up just a little and set the carburetor a little rich, I could get a free start every time. I normally wouldn't do that though and haven't since. Like was said above, don't wash the cylinder walls with raw gas before shutting down.


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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Apr 11, 2020 10:28 am

I’m willing to bet with you, Fred. That sounds logical. However, I think there’s a metaphysical aspect to the free start that depends on the car’s personality and mood at the time. Checking the position of the crank pin will probably result in a self-conscious reaction in the subject, and no free start.

I’m not superstitious per se, but I do believe there are mystical forces at work in the constitution of all operational Model Ts that defy logical analysis. I took delivery of my current Lizzie off of a cross-country transport a few years back. They were scheduled to arrive early afternoon but tire trouble and road construction en route delayed them. It was ten o’clock at night when Liz emerged from the belly of the transport under the street light. It was Halloween - portentous ? The driver remarked he hoped I knew how to operate it. Following the previous owner’s instructions for her care and feeding, I turned on the gas, set the spark and throttle levers, turned the switch to “bat”, and got a free start ! You could have knocked the transport drivers over with a feather. Maneuvering to pull into the back of the shop building I clumsily stalled the motor. I retarded the spark, expecting to get out and crank, but when I moved the switch from “mag” to “bat”, I got another free start. I reckoned at that point that Lizzie probably liked me. It was over a year before I got another free start. :lol:
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Re: free starts

Post by Adam » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:19 am

Here’s a little food for thought:

The Model T engine always stops in the same position probably 80% or more of the time.

With this in mind, any unusual stress caused by a free start has a large cumulative effect on the same piston, rod, & journal.

As a matter of fact, the T engine, when it is turned off, will stop in one of two positions exactly 180 degrees apart. It stops in one particular position most of the time and the other particular position only occasionally. This can be evidenced by looking at wear patterns on starter ring gears that are removed from engines that are very obviously original and have not been rotated 1/4 turn to expose a new wear surface as described in the Ford Service book.

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Re: free starts

Post by thom » Sat Apr 11, 2020 12:28 pm

Judging from starter ring tooth "decay" I believe most engines, at least all that I have ever had experience with tend to stop in the same place, give or take a few teeth. I've known of folks removing ring gears from flywheels, turning them to a less worn spot and reinstalling them. A lot of work, but you do what you have to do.


Norman Kling
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Re: free starts

Post by Norman Kling » Sat Apr 11, 2020 3:04 pm

I don't think a "free start" will do much damage to the crankshaft unless you are in gear when it occurs. This assumes that you have retarded the spark. With the spark retarded you will start after top dead center and it is just a little more pressure than the crank or the starter. But if you have the ignition advanced, your spark will come either before top dead center or at top dead center. That position would be hard on the crankshaft. Enjoy your free starts. You won't be able to prevent them, anyway, if you start on battery unless you are using a distributor.
Norm

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Rich Eagle
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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Eagle » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:16 am

I had an interesting free start the other day. I had the T idling while waiting in a parking lot and set the gas low. The engine killed so I turned it off to wait. When the time came I turned the key and it free started. I found it odd that if it killed it would have enough to start. :o
Rich
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Dallas Landers
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Re: free starts

Post by Dallas Landers » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:04 pm

I got a cold free start the other day. Never before has that happened. Lots of warm free starts tho.


NealW
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Re: free starts

Post by NealW » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:43 pm

Hot or cold, I never get any free starts when I have it set to magneto for starting! LOL :D

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Rich Eagle
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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Eagle » Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:09 pm

I'm sure that will be next Neal.
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Rich Bingham
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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Bingham » Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:34 pm

I’ve never gotten a free start on “mag” yet. :(
"Get a horse !"

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Rich Eagle
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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Eagle » Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:04 pm

Try parking downhill. :|
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Rich Bingham
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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Bingham » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:02 pm

Oh ! That’s different. That works every time. I thought one of the rules of free start was the car cannot be moving ? 😜
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Mountainrider
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Re: free starts

Post by Mountainrider » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:29 pm

Always weird when you turn to battery, go to the front of the car, reach down, and just as your about to touch the crank it free starts. Has happen to me three times this year.

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Duey_C
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Re: free starts

Post by Duey_C » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:58 pm

I told my riders "He likes you!".
Since I lost my mind mind, I feel more liberated


bud delong
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Re: free starts

Post by bud delong » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:31 am

Twenty years and one broken crank/overhaul ago our 14 did it often and i will not say how many in a row or how long sitting cold because most will say i"m full of crap!!! Now my health is poor and it seems to bind up and i either need my oldest grandson to crank it or a tow :oops: .I really miss the model T rides but in this day and age,we are both old and safer in the garage! So many friends i miss but i read the forum!!!!!!!! Bud. :D

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RustyFords
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Re: free starts

Post by RustyFords » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:30 am

I've discovered that I can set up my car for a free start by turning it off with the throttle advanced. If I do so, I can come back to it, even a day later, and turn the key to BAT and move the timing lever until it catches a coil buzz and it'll try to free start. It seems to work about 50% of the time.

If, on the other hand, I turn off the car with the throttle/engine speed at a minimum, the car will almost never try to free start. And since this is how I shut the car off 99% of the time, free starts are rare.

I'm guessing it has a lot to do with excess gas vapor left in one or more of the cylinders. I do tend to run my T a bit on the rich side and I suppose that's contributing to it as well.
1924 Touring

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RustyFords
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Re: free starts

Post by RustyFords » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:37 am

Rich Bingham wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 10:28 am
I’m not superstitious per se, but I do believe there are mystical forces at work in the constitution of all operational Model Ts that defy logical analysis.
I've been around old cars for most of my 51 years and have owned everything from stock Model A's to muscle cars and have never seen a car more apparently "alive" than my Model T. There are times when it seems more like a horse than an automobile.
1924 Touring

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Rich Eagle
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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Eagle » Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:05 pm

I will have to agree with both of you. My theory is that like a new baby, they were all the same at birth and from the factory. But as 100 years rolled by their encounters with humans, bad roads and everything they experienced has given them a unique personality and sometimes a will to seek revenge. The first revelation of this was my first T, a '25 Touring. I had pieced it back together from the ground up with paint. Acquaintances and relatives had dredged up old coils from their basements and I learned to adjust them by sound. It ran and I probably managed to put a couple hundred miles on it when the stars were aligned. One day I tried to start it. I cranked and cranked, choking adjusting levers and hoping. Occasionally it would fire once or even twice. At one point I sat on a box to rest. After a half a minute or more it went "CHUFF!!" as if to say "come on kid, let's see what more you got".
Often I see these signs and treat them with as much kindness as I can muster. I don't often comment on these things for fear of being locked up again.
Rich
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Rich Bingham
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Re: free starts

Post by Rich Bingham » Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:51 pm

RustyFords wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:37 am
. . . There are times when it seems more like a horse than an automobile.
I completely agree with that !! An uphill, down dale ramble at 25 per on a dirt road, top down and windshield folded is as close to a high lope on a good pony as one can get riding a motor contraption. More, like a horse, the seasoned Model T has an innate, well-developed sense of justice. Betray them, and resentment will follow. Consistent, firm handling tempered by patience and fairness will always yield the best results with either of them.

"It's OK for you to get mad at your pony (Model T), and it's OK for your pony (Model T) to get mad at you. Just don't both of you be mad at the same time."
"Get a horse !"

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