13T - Starting trouble

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Darin Hull
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13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Fri Jun 05, 2020 4:36 pm

Gentlemen,

I know this is hard to describe and troubleshoot over a discussion forum but I would like to ask ideas related to getting the T running. The engine will sometimes start for a second or so and then it’ll stop. It isn’t smooth when it’s running except one time when it ran maybe eight seconds and I advanced the spark a little and it gave that beautiful T idle sound before it stopped.

General description - I choke the carb at first and crank the engine around three times with the coil box switched off. Turn the switch to battery, spark fully retarded, gas down maybe 5 notches. I crank the engine and it sometimes will sputter for a few seconds then stop. I can crank repeatedly but usually it won’t start back up, again. If I choke the engine again and switch it to battery, I often get a free start but it quickly will stop running again in a time frame of less than a second to the most I had was eight seconds.

It seems like maybe the carb isn’t delivering enough fuel to keep the engine going since I can generally only get it to start up after choking the carb.

I had some initial issues when it would start as I could tell all cylinders weren’t firing. The coils were a little loose in the coil box so I secured them better and they appear to be working properly... though sometimes they will wiggle loose. I currently don’t have the coil box top on but have had the same issues with the top on.

Some other details - I run a 6 volt system, coils were recently rebuilt and don’t have a mile of run time on them yet.

I set my timing using the attached guide and a simple system suggested by Steve Jelf. Have a Kingston L4 carb. It appears to be getting gas to the carb fine but I have a bit of a gas leak due to old gaskets (have some on order). I don’t have the carb adjusting knob set where I want it yet because I need to have the engine running to find the sweet spot, I figured; however, I’ve tried it in different positions from turning it clockwise until it stops then backing it off a full turn to maybe four turns.

If you guys have any suggestions, I’d be happy to try them.

Also, are there any T guys on this forum from north Georgia? Might help to see if I can get a knowledgeable tinkerer to help in person.

Thank you for any guidance. I don’t know a lot but everything I’ve learned about Ts has been from this forum and reading various T books. I appreciate all the knowledge here.

Darin
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Rich Bingham
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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Rich Bingham » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:00 pm

What carburetor are you running ?
"Get a horse !"


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by R.V.Anderson » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:32 pm

First, make sure your sediment bulb valve is in the ON position (handle pointing straight down or straight up). Next, open your carb drain valve. You should get a good flow of gas that lasts longer than it would take to empty the carb bowl. If not, you have a fuel flow issue that could be caused by a problem anywhere from the tank to the carb. I once had a T with a very similar problem; it would start right up and then quit, either right away or after a few miles. The problem was that a tree leaf was in the tank and it would drift over the tank outlet and block the flow. Once there was no more pressure from the draining fuel holding it there, it would move off and drift away, only to come back and block the drain again. You may have something similar, perhaps a mouse nest in the tank or maybe an insect cocoon in the fuel line.


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:05 pm

Rich, Kingston L4

R.V. I’ll check the carb bowl in the morning. Thank you for the suggestion.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Piewagon » Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:34 pm

Darin:

Model T's are all updraft carburetors and as such you DO have to choke them to get the flow of air/fuel going to get them started. If you know how to post pictures here then that would help us a bunch since mainly at this point I am wondering which coil box you have on your car. Could be the last of the wood box type or a later box might be on there with later coils. If the coils were setup by any of the usual coil guys like Patterson, Mize, Conger or others then your problem is probably not the coils. A lot of people switch the carb to a later HOLLY NH which is easier to get going but you can always change back to the correct original later on. The usual adjustment for starter is to se the carb at 1-1/2 Turns "out" which means 1-1/2 Turns CCW. The start point is to screw that mixture adjustment in all the way but do NOT tighten it up since it is a pointed rod that is operating into a small orifice to thus set your mixture. It should start at that setting and usually they fire right up if primed a few turns with the hand crank and ignition turned off. If the car doesn't stay running then maybe your float is way out of whack or you have a carb bowl full of "stuff". If you haven't done so - you can drop the float bowl down and clean it out and also see if there is any sediment in there coming from the gas tank. There should be a screen inside the large round fitting on the side of the gas tank lower sediment/shutout device. That screen could be clogged up You can blow it out with compressed air once you have it off and then put it back. DO NOT attempt to use any sort of modern fuel filter of any kind since they typically do cause problems like the type you are facing. Car should start and run on battery and then can be switched over to magneto if the mag is working.


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:35 am

The coils were redone by Mize. The gas tank was removed and a gas tank restoration kit from Lang’s used to treat it. The tank has a new sediment bulb and a new flexible copper gas line was installed. Prior to installation the carb was soaked in chem dip carburetor cleaner and then some parts specifically cleaned like the ball bearing the float pushes up against.

I’ve attached pics of my coil box and coils.

Thank you for your time,
Darin
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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by RajoRacer » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:05 am

Do yourself a favor and ditch the "the ball bearing the float pushes up against" - Grose jets are notorious for sticking closed !


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Jerry VanOoteghem » Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:37 am

Forgive me if any of this has already been suggested.

1. Push your coils down all the way in the box. See how the left end coil is sitting so much taller in the the box than the rest?
2. Pull your throttle lever down at least half way, if not more. Five notches is not enough, unless maybe the engine is warmed up.
3. Close the carb needle valve all the way, then back out 1 - 1.5 turns. (You can fine tune this adjustment later, but that should be rich enough to make it run).

Let us know how that works.

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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by RajoRacer » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:14 pm

Appears to be a loose nut on the 2nd coil from the left - maybe the photo angle ?


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:19 pm

Simply put, adequate spark, gasoline and correct timing, should run, even if poorly for other reasons. Eliminate one of the three, no go !
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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:45 pm

Tomorrow I’ll knock out some of these suggestions and give it a crank. Also, compression is around 45 psi (a little low but adequate, right?) and equal among all cylinders.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Scott Rosenthal » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:45 am

Hello Darrin:
I run an original 5 ball Kingston that behaves similar as you describe on start-up. Because I have no choke, I have arrived at the following starting protocol...

-Flip fuel on (I have a secondary valve shutoff at carburetor)
-open fuel mixture knob an additional 1/4 turn
-set both column levers 3 notches down from top
-press the carburetor tickler down for 3 seconds
-verify ignition is OFF...hand crank 2 turns
-switch ignition to MAG.
-Crank to start then adjust fuel mixture back 1/4 turn to normal position.

Starts reliably with 3-5 turns of the crank. It will start faster using the battery, but I don't have a charging system, so the battery is conserved for my tail light.

Hope this helps.
Regards,
Scott

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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Squirrel » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:14 am

I recently got my 27 going after it has not been driving for a while. It had the same symptoms as yours. I took the carb all the way apart, and removed the plug of rusty dirt that was keeping gas from flowing from the jet, and then it would run for more than a second or two.
Darin Hull wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:35 am
Prior to installation the carb was soaked in chem dip carburetor cleaner and then some parts specifically cleaned like the ball bearing the float pushes up against.
If you have not taken the carb completely apart yet, that might be the next place to look.


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:47 pm

I just re-read your post and finally noticed
specifically cleaned like the ball bearing the float pushes up against
A good start will be to get rid of that thing and put in a proper float valve that will not alternately stick open or closed at random.
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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Original Smith » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:37 pm

I've found a 12 volt battery works far better than a 6volt battery for starting. I have KW early style coils in both my cars. I think if you consider some of the other suggestions listed here, you might have a good starting car.


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by cwlittle » Thu Jun 11, 2020 9:22 am

Any progress?
Charlie Little, South Paris, Maine


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Norman Kling » Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:58 am

One thing I didn't notice as I skimmed down the posts is the fuel adjustment needle. Something you should try, if you have not done so yet, is to open the needle valve about 1/2 turn counter clockwise. Then do your choke, crank and turn on ignition and crank again. If it starts up and continues to run, you have found the problem. You have been running too lean. After the engine warms a minute or two, try adjusting the needle to find the place it runs most smoothly. If too lean, it will start to sputter and maybe stop. If too rich it will run roughly. But when adjusted to the "sweet spot" it will idle smoothly and respond to the throttle as you speed up.
Good luck.
Norm


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by cessna53195 » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:58 pm

Darin, I have the two screw Holly on my 13 and it is not as easy as the NH or model G... no idle circuit !! I set mine similar to your settings but a little more on the open throttle, maybe seven notches when cold...I still need to be ready to play the choke...then reduce the throttle and advance the timing...when you get frustrated or tired remember it can start on any pull...always be ready...make sure the float is high as opposed to low...


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by StanHowe » Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:26 am

Take the Gross Jet out.
Hold it firmly in your hand, pull your arm back all the way -- the one you have been cranking with -- and throw it as far as you can in to tall grass and weeds where no one will ever find it.
Replace with an original style float valve.
Problem solved.


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 13, 2020 3:02 pm

Long week at work so I just got back into it today. I took the carb apart and gave it another cleaning and replaced the gaskets. Reinstalled and fuel appears to be flowing into the carb fine.

I pulled all the spark plugs and verified they show a nice solid spark when the appropriate coil is buzzing.

I dropped a little oil in each cylinder to help with compression though I have had decent compression already.

Checked the timing again with the method I posted above.

Turned the carb adjustment needle clockwise until it was seated then backed off 1.5 turns CCW. Have the spark retarded all the way, have had the throttle from 5ish notches to halfway down at times.

Choked three times and cranked after switching to battery. And I’ve regressed. Now I won’t even get it to sputter for a second or two. I feel like fuel issue.

After I choke the engine, should I be able to take off a spark plug and smell gas in a cylinder? How can I determine the carb is delivering fuel to the cylinders?

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 13, 2020 3:06 pm

There’s a MTFCI chapter maybe 20 miles away, don’t know of a MTFCA chapter nearby. I was hoping to figure this out between me, some T books, and the forum... but I may need a knowledgeable guide to come look at the 13T. It’s probably something simple and I’m missing it due to a lack of experience.

This is frustrating because it’s such a elegantly simple vehicle... I’ve been happy with how far I’ve come so far but this simple vehicle is winning right now. However, this is how ya learn so I’ll keep working at it.

Thank you for your help, gentlemen,
Darin


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Darin Hull
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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 13, 2020 3:19 pm

Alright,

I tried something different. I choked it maybe five times to see if I could draw more fuel into the cylinders without, hopefully flooding it. I switched it to the battery and it had a free start. Ran for about a second and died.

So if the carb is delivering gas when it’s choked, then runs for a second or two before quitting... would that indicate the carb no longer delivering enough fuel after the engine turns just a few times? If that’s the case, what would that indicate? Fuel adjustment knob needs to be opened up more than the 1.5 turns I have it? Or something else?

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 13, 2020 3:31 pm

Hahaha I got it running! Using that last logic, I wondered if maybe my carb is just a little particular and needed the carb adjustment open more in order to provide enough gas once the engine started. Turned it but by bit then the engine started and ran with maybe three turns.

Very excited. Have other issues I’ve identified but that’s another step!

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:52 pm

Good for you

you'll probably never see another NH which needs so much enrichening, but if it works for you, then good. If the car remains operable and does not soot up the plugs, then you're golden. If you have further problems, then you're in line for a rebuild with at least a refurbished or new needle, and a new or refurbished jet. They are both so cheap and well made for the job it is almost unnecessary to put in the effort to renew them, though some folks do, and good for them.

If you think your performance is not up to par, once driving, I am going to bet that your float level is very low and the extra opening at the main jet is simply a bandaid to create extra area for the airflow to pull up fuel. This really is worth persuing anyway as it is such an easy adjustment, and if out of whack as much as I suspect, then you're going to have to go through the exercise again to find the sweet spot for starting and running. Assuming you're running an NH, it really is a very simple carb. All puddle carbs are, generally speaking.
Scott Conger

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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:19 pm

Scott,

Thank you for the advice and I’ll follow through with that. I’m running a Kingston L4 but I will check the spark plugs soon to see how they are looking.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:55 pm

L-4's rarely need choking in warm weather even for a first time start at the beginning of the day. I'd be looking for a flapper which may be missing or stuck "up" , or again, a float that is set very low.

And finally as I mentioned before, it sounds as though you have a Grose Valve and if so, good luck. They are problematic at best, and can all but ruin the hobby for you if you have continued agravation with carburetion and don't switch at least temporarily to a good carb and enjoy what your car can do for you.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:26 pm

Scott,

What would be your recommendation for a new carb if I were to begin looking for one? I also wonder if it is necessary to replace the carb. I don’t have grandpa here to ask him when he put it on but I know he’s toured all across the country, even internationally I believe. If it worked for him through all those miles and conditions, wouldn’t I be able to assume it would work alright for me? Maybe the issues I’m having is showing me why... maybe I don’t have it dialed in right yet because of inexperience. Don’t know but I’ll listen to suggestions any time.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Jun 14, 2020 12:21 pm

NH's are cheap and plentiful, and accept several versions of float valve, so you have your choice.

As to your grandpa's success, I am going to bet thet IF the grose valve was in place then, it was new, and now it is not; he didn't have ethanol laden fuel to corrode the brass in the valve and gum up the two tiny balls, you do...are you starting to see what the difference is between successful touring and not, with respect to carburetion?

The L-4 that I ran, I rebuilt with a refurbished original valve...I would not put a grose valve in. It ran fine, though was never economical for MPG.

The only problem with L-4's in my opinion, is that (to my knowledge), no one is making the correct float valve for it. My guess is because the marketplace does not exist in numbers large enough or knowledgeable enough to demand it and pay for it. Since grose valves exist for them, hapless and unsuspecting customers snap them up, install them, and 18-24 months later suffer interminable trouble that they are slow to diagnose; the carb hits the shelf and becomes another of a growing number of later Kingstons NOT on a car.

It's not a difficult custom job, but it's a custom job and no one is going to pay (lets say) $65 for a custom valve for a $70 carb.

Now, there are, in fact a small number of folks who have and still are running these valves with success (I have them in my Austin Healey and they were THE solution to my drippy carbs, but they were of a vintage of quality manufacture and they have never seen ethanol). Often in these discussions they will join in and offer their success as something everyone will enjoy and continue to muddy the water for the poor guy trying to diagnose his problem. To be sure, a grose valve will eventually stick shut, except when it doesn't, AND it will stick open, except when it doesn't.

I am not trying to be smart or sarcastic when I say that at this point, you would be well served by putting on a known good carb and watch your troubles disappear. Then it will be up to you to decide if you are one of the ones with a bad grose valve or one of the luck few with a good one. It will be an easy decision.
Scott Conger

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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Sun Jun 14, 2020 12:55 pm

Scott,

Thank you for the well laid out response based off you knowledge and experience. I’ll keep an eye out for a NH carb. Is there anything I need to look out for when purchasing a NH carb? Different styles or features which are must have or to avoid?

Do you consider a Stromberg OF worth the investment or unnecessary? I don’t currently have any plans to tour... the T would be more for driving a few miles with the family or to a car show.

Darin


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:50 pm

The OF is a vastly superior carb to anything that came with the car, and is probably the best all round carb you can put on the car, without having lots of speed stuff, cam, valves, etc that would make the engine want to digest more. They are a very nice carb on a stock T and when set up correctly will give some more performance and better cruising MPG.

Do you need one to enjoy easy occasional outings? Hmmmmmm......

An NH rebuilt by someone who knows what they're doing, and does NOT put in Grose Valves as a matter of course during the rebuild will cost somewhere in the $150+ range. You MUST inquire on the valve and DON'T set yourself up to go through this again.

A rebuilt OF appears to cost $550=600+ these days. It is a very technically sophisticated device for it's day

Both carbs' rebuild costs are in line with their scarcity and difficulty of core replacements, combined with the level of effort, tooling costs and skill required to rebuild them

So, if you want to haul the occasional plywood sheet home from Lowes, do you need a basic level F150 or a diesel dually King Ranch f350? Depending on what you like about trucks, and the depth of your pocket, either choice will do the job AND you'd undoubtedly be prepared to justify the purchase to anyone. Same with the carbs.

I own 4 T's and one of them just got an OF...so, there you go...
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Loftfield » Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:37 am

If your timer timing is "correct" try advancing the spark lever down five to six notches. I hand crank, have for the last forty years, and have never had a kick-back. The little bit of advance allows the engine to "catch"


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:26 am

Thomas

you will be very impressed when you DO experience a kick back. What you're advising is quite risky, assuming you're starting on battery.
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Jerry VanOoteghem » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:08 pm

Scott_Conger wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:26 am
Thomas

you will be very impressed when you DO experience a kick back. What you're advising is quite risky, assuming you're starting on battery.

Agree 100%!

Thomas,

Your car may be timed a bit too retarded with the spark all the way up, so for YOU a few notches down is great, I suppose. However, you can't know how Darin's timing is set, so for him it may be broken bones.


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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Darin Hull » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:40 pm

Loftfield,

I appreciate the suggestion but the 13T will crank and run now with the spark fully retarded and the throttle down a bit. It was the carb adjustment which made the difference.

I’ve got some follow up to do on looking for a NH carb without a Grose jet/valve though.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and time,
Darin

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Re: 13T - Starting trouble

Post by Mark Gregush » Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:47 am

Darin Hull wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:26 pm
Scott,

What would be your recommendation for a new carb if I were to begin looking for one? I also wonder if it is necessary to replace the carb. I don’t have grandpa here to ask him when he put it on but I know he’s toured all across the country, even internationally I believe. If it worked for him through all those miles and conditions, wouldn’t I be able to assume it would work alright for me? Maybe the issues I’m having is showing me why... maybe I don’t have it dialed in right yet because of inexperience. Don’t know but I’ll listen to suggestions any time.

Darin
RE build the L4.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :shock:

1921 Huckster
1925 Cut down pickup

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