update Be careful cranking

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Model T Mark
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update Be careful cranking

Post by Model T Mark » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:03 pm

It has been about 75 days since I was kicked trying to start an newly rebuilt 1911 Torpedo. The end is near and the pain still is horrible. I have learned to manage it and have worked some with it on projects in the shop. Surgery is scheduled September 18 to repair a torn bicep tendon and a fragmented rotator cuff. I’m ready to see the end of the pain. Moral of the story even the most experienced Model T guy can lose focus. Never ever push down on the starting crank and let your elbow lock. If you do you may spend and entire summer in a sling and in pain. Accidents happen don’t get to familiar and stay cautious.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Kevin Pharis » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:30 pm

I’ve had a couple close calls... but have been lucky enough to walk away with only minor bruises.

The scariest one for me was starting a ‘14 runabout with a weak mag (and probably low compression), so had to get it spinning to start. Well I got it spinning alright... and it started!! But the crank didn’t kick out of the ratchet!! The hand crank pulled me down toward the ground then came around and nearly hit me on the chin on its way to whack me in the bicep!!! OUCH!!!!!!! If my arms had been any shorter... I would have been short a few teeth!

The hand crank eventually kicked out of the ratchet, but I had plenty of time to watch it go round and round till the world stopped spinning🤪

Take care of your arm... and look on the bright side...at least it wasn’t your face that took the hit!


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by ModelT46 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:36 pm

I watch where my thumb is. I crank with my rigthand. In the 74 years I haveowned a Model T, Ihave been wracked a few times.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Billdizer,Spencer In » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:18 pm

Mark, I hope you continue to heal, and the surgery helps you fully recover! Being in that kind of pain this long is very stressful, and adding in this virus stuff doubles it! I badly tore my rotator cuff about five years ago, when I was 62, but with the help of a skilled surgeon and a dedicated therapy team, I have fully recovered the use and strength of the shoulder and arm. It is not a fast recovery. It is very important to do all of the therapy exercises to the very best of your ability! It will still be painful at times, and gains will be slow, but they will come! I had to wear a sling for 6 weeks, sleeping in a recliner doing "range of motion exercises" to regain flexibility and movement. The sling came off after they were satisfied with my range, and then strengthening began. It is tough, and will take a long time, but you will get there! It took me two years to get it all back, to where I can do the normal things like thread a belt through the pant loops, scratch an itch behind my neck etc.! Keep plugging away at it and don't get discouraged ! You will make it! I'm 68 now, still working full time(I retired for a year, and they called me back) as a mechanic at a local State Park, where I maintain 18 trucks, big John Deere mowers, tractors, Gators, Kubotas, drive pickups all over the state for supplies, mow grass and do general park maintenance! My shoulder is holding up fine! A few age related aches and pains, but aleve takes care of them! Hang in there, this to will pass!


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Model T Mark » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:41 pm

Thanks for the advice, everyone I have talked to said to do everything the doctors tell yo to do. I said to the doctor when she walked into the room Monday that I was ready for her to fix it or cut it off. This has been the worst pain I have ever experienced. They are very apologetic about the the time it has taken because of this covid thing. It has tremendously slowed the process. After my appointment Monday I felt very worked over. I’m very surprised the short amount of time it took for me to lose almost all my strength in my arm and hand. I have run that 11 Torpedo some but my dad towed it with the Kubota. She said to plan for 6-8 weeks in a sling and l’m sending my wife for a new recliner tomorrow because she said to plan on sleeping on it for a week or two. I’m 50, where did the time go?


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Billdizer,Spencer In » Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:39 am

One thing about sleeping in the recliner in the sling that really bothered me was that the bottom part of the very expensive sling was too short, and didn't support my wrist. My hand stuck out and hung down, and my wrist became very sore because of it. I ended up getting a smooth piece of wood that I wrapped in a dish towel and slid under my arm for support. I also sat on a pillow for a while to raise me up to where the chair arm was the right height to support my arm comfortably while in the sling. My sling had a block of foam velcro'd to it to space the arm out, and then a waist strap to hold the elbow against the block and my body. The only time I could take the sling off was to do therapy exercises and shower! A long six weeks! But worth it! I don't remember getting old, it just snuck up and bit me! I try to stay active, and do as my dad did, keep projects to work on, and objectives to reach! He rode a fifty inch tall high wheel bicycle 100 miles in a day for the first time at age 73! He did it on Mackinac Island with our antique bike meet. Take care! My strength in that arm disappeared overnight, but came back once I got to the strengthening exercises. They stressed to me that you do not want to get stronger before you get the range of motion back! Told me the range might never return if I got strong too soon! I was given exercises to do every day, three times a day, 20-30 repetitions each. Started with one, then added one or two new ones each therapy session with them. I then would do all of them each time, 3 times a day. I quit counting after I reached 70,000 repetitions which sounds like a lot but really isn't over six weeks! And they worked! It gave me time out of that sling! Not trying to scare you, but to encourage you! I can lift and hold my arm up over my head just like the other one, without pain today!

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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by George House » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:45 am

Thank you for posting this very timely and important reminder Mark. I say timely because of the many recent new ( and sometimes young ) new Forum members. Model T s are inherently dangerous for “newbies” but are also the source of great fun when techniques are adopted. When I stop the T and turn off the engine I always retard the spark. And when cranking the original ‘14 engine, I always eyeball the spark lever position. One technique Royce taught me is to crank a fully choked engine over 4 times with the ignition off. Then turn the key to BAT and be ready for an engine start. If not, I engage the crank at the 3 o’clock position and kick it down with my right foot. It almost always starts.... be careful out there...
One of the biggest problems with today’s youth is they’ve never known the fear of hearing leather being rapidly pulled through seven Wrangler belt loops.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Model T Mark » Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:16 am

I knew better and just simply got lazy. I have noticed as I have aged I can’t do all the things I did when I was in my 20s although my mind thinks I can. I have been in this hobby my entire life. My dad has had Model Ts for about 15 years longer than he has had me. I want younger folks to learn from my mistakes. My wife keeps telling me that accidents happen and I could be a lot worse. It was probably the first time in probably 15 years that I locked my elbow and pushed down. I guess it only took one time to make me pay for my mistake.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by John kuehn » Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:45 am

We can thank Henry for willing to spend a little more money in 1919 to add a starter to his Model T to make it a little easier to start. This post does remind us though to respect older technology and not think of it so much in a nostalgic way as being’ cute’ when trying to hand crank a T.
I can definitely remember my uncle telling me when I was in my early teens to be careful trying to hand crank a T. He reminded me that it can really hurt you!!


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by bud delong » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:06 am

Sorry to hear it Mark,and if it happened to you it can get the best of all of us.In auto shop decades ago we were told the el starter was the result of a friend of Kettering as from a kickback.The kick broke this fellow"s jaw and back then it was something you died from. :D Bud.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by jiminbartow » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:00 am

I know how you feel. One broken wrist was enough for me. It has never happened again. Your injury sounds a lot worse than mine. I was lucky in that when my injury happened. The car did not start and I was only hit once and the backfire occurred at about the 10:00 point of the crank revolution. I can’t imagine how bad it would have been if the car had started.

It was on a beautiful clear Saturday morning in 1982 and I was storing my 1926 T coupe at a single car garage size storage facility. There was little room in the garage to work on it, so I was going to pull it out to have more room. I had just cranked the T and had run around and set the levers, but it died. Just as I was getting ready to reset the spark and throttle for another try, a most beautiful young 20 year old long haired blond walked by and stopped at my unit to look at my car. Of course I forgot everything I was doing to answer her questions and respond to her compliments on the car. After a couple of minutes I went to the front of the car to show her how it was done and hopefully, give her a ride. Things looked very promising... I think you know what I forgot to do. She didn’t see the backfire, or know that I was hurt, but through my blinding pain, I made an excuse, closed the garage door and left for the hospital. I’m sure she was confused as we were getting along so well. My right wrist was broken and I came home in a cast which I wore for 6 weeks. My only regret is that I didn’t get her phone number. We would have had a good laugh and some good times and she could have helped me with my physical therapy. LOL!

The moral is...stay focused on the task at hand, even in the presence of an angel and if the worst happens, salvage the situation by not forgetting to get her phone number! Jim Patrick.
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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Oldav8tor » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:07 am

I've met Mark and his dad and seen their shops. I doubt anyone does finer work on Model T's. That said, the fact that Mark can suffer such a horrific injury is scary and should be a lesson to all in the hobby.

My '17 didn't have a starter but I added one when the engine was rebuilt. Purists might object but having suffered my own horrific accident (tractor-related) not that long ago I'm always looking to mitigate risk.

For over twenty years I had to spin the propeller of my classic airplane by hand to start it. A lot of people find that scary but I find cranking a Model T to be much more intimidating. A number of years ago I got FAA approval to install a starter on my plane and only regret I hadn't done so earlier. It's obvious that our forebears were made of stern stuff!

BTW - just finished my plane's annual inspection yesterday so it's back to terrorizing the shoreline for me!
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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Model T Mark » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:31 am

It just hurts. The pain meds really don’t touch the pain but have let me sleep a little better. I don’t even remember pushing down either. I just put the crank in and straightened my elbow. It must have just about been ready to fire. I’m a bit freaked out to have to go into the hospital during this time of covid but it has to be fixed. I can’t wait any longer.

My dad always said to respect that starting crank or you will wear your arm in a sling. He was right.

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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by RustyFords » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:39 am

I always read, with interest, the stories from all of you who have suffered a T related cranking injury. It seems like there's no shortage of them. What's more disconcerting is that many of these injuries have occurred to Model T veterans. That's partly why I almost never hand-crank my T and am thankful that it's one of the later cars that came with a starter.

I'm sorry you're suffering Mark and hope your procedure goes seamlessly.
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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by George House » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:51 am

I’m very sorry for your pain and suffering Mark but I must seek the causation of it....spark lever advanced ?...incorrect commutator linkage causing a too far advanced timer ? You using a distributor ?
One of the biggest problems with today’s youth is they’ve never known the fear of hearing leather being rapidly pulled through seven Wrangler belt loops.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Model T Mark » Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:18 pm

Spark down. I had it kind of running but couldn’t get to the spark in time to keep it running. It had stopped before by the time I had pulled the spark down. It has about 10 min of run time in it. It’s a complete rebuild and is tight to begin with. It’s coils on a battery....I usually can start out cars on the mag after they break in some. My dad said something from the back porch on his house and we talked. Then I thought I would prime it thinking it was off and forgetting that I had pulled the spark down to try to keep it running. It’s all on me for getting too familiar with things.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Stephen_heatherly » Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:43 pm

I frequently hand crank my cars even though I've never had one that doesn't have a starter. There are times where I have to spin the engine over with the crank, but it makes me a little anxious. As long as the spark is retarded and the timer/ wiring isn't shorted out it should be fine, but shit happens sometimes.

Stephen


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by John kuehn » Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:56 pm

Jim’s post says it all! Keep your mind on things and DONT WRAP WRAP YOUR THUMB AROUND THE CRANK HANDLE!!
Give your wrist and arm a chance and let the crank spin out! Hopefully!


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by DHort » Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:50 pm

That must be one long selfie stick you have on that airplane Mr Tim.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by 2nighthawks » Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:24 pm

I feel like I can speak with a bit of "authority" on this subject, because I have been "hand-cranking" old Fords for over 60 years (....Model A in high school in the '50's) with never a problem! And it occurred to me that,....yeah dummy,....just start bragging about it, and guess what might happen to prove me wrong, right? Well, I never will have a problem, and I realize that THAT is REALLY a bold statement, but in this case, that's not a problem, and I'll tell you why. I have this personal rule, that I adhere to 100%,....."ALWAYS"! I never, never, NEVER do anything with a crank other than positioning the crank at about 7 o'clock, and PULL UP,.....ALLWAYS PULL UP, never for any reason or by any means, let the crank pass the point of twelve o'clock NOON!

Steven, a couple posts above, said words to the effect that "sometimes" he has to "spin" the crank. No, he doesn't,....ever! If he thinks he does, he's wrong! If he feels that he "sometimes" has to "spin" the crank, he's wrong! If his "T" will start by "spinning", it will also start by pulling up on the crank,....it might just take an extra "pull up". If the darn thing will only fire on one cylinder, you'll get to that one within four strokes! And if not, there is something wrong with his ignition timing or something. No offense Steven,....I just don't want you to get hurt, or encourage anyone else to get hurt. We should eliminate the stupid term,...."stem-winder"!


All this discussion in this thread has been gone over, many, many times before in this forum, and all it does is to scare some of the newer Model T guys, and it isn't necessary at all. Just remember,....the one basic and most important rule,....ALWAYS PULL UP ON THE CRANK! Never, never deviate from this and there's nothing to be afraid of, and for those that would say that a kick-back can still whip around and smack your hand or wrist. I would say,...Yes, that is possible. But on the rare occasion that THAT might happen, it will probably only result in a bruise, and even the extremely rare case where injury to your hand or lower arm could possibly occur, it certainly won't result in the kind of serious injury that was the start of this thread.

There is one other "personal" rule that I adhere to, and that is that I never, NEVER touch the ignition key without also touching the spark advance lever. Of course, I always "push up" on the spark lever to retard the spark when starting the engine, and I always "push up" on the spark lever when touching the ignition key to shut the engine off. This is a very good habit to adhere to, because it leaves the spark retarded, just in case I forget to check to be sure it's retarded next time I go to start the engine. This habit of ALWAYS touching the spark lever any time I touch the ignition key is a very, VERY worthwhile habit!

I realize that I have been much more "wordy" here than usual, but I feel very strongly about this subject, because these continual discussion about how dangerous hand-cranking is, has caused a lot of old Ford enthusiasts to become afraid to hand-crank-start an old Ford,....and it isn't necessary! Just don't ever, "EVER" do anything with that hand crank but "PULL UP"!

And by the way, I always hold my thumb on the same side of the crank as my fingers, only because that's the way my Dad taught me, and while Dad's intentions were good, he was obviously of the mistaken opinion that it's sometimes necessary to "spin" the engine with the crank! Well,...he was wrong! That is NEVER necessary,..."EVER"!

Sorry about the "rant" here, but I think it's important and I hate to keep hearing from (and about) so many people that have been made AFRAID to try to hand-crank-start a Model T or Model A. Hand cranking an old Ford does not need to be anywhere near as dangerous as actually DRIVING one! Just ALWAYS PULL UP,...no exception,......FWIW,...harold


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by 2nighthawks » Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:28 pm

......Stephan Heatherly,......sorry I mis-spelled your name, and again, please don't be offended, I realize your good intentions and I hope our "discussion" here will serve to prevent some injury and also maybe make some folks a bit less afraid of hand-cranking,......harold :)


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Model T Mark » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:13 pm

This was not posted to scare anyone off from Model T Fords in fact I’m not going anywhere and still will drive and restore Model Ts till the end of my days. I was me just saying think, do things correctly, or live with the decisions that you make like I currently have to. I left the spark down shame on me, I left the key on and I wrapped my thumb around the crank handle. Please just learn from my mistake nothing else should come of this thread. Sorry if I have offended anyone. It may be time to take this thread down even.


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by 2nighthawks » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:48 pm

No Mark,....It's probably me that might have "offended" someone! I appreciate that you have shared with everyone what happened to you. After re-reading all of this, I realize that I could have "worded" my post a lot better. I just meant that so many ways of "the proper way of cranking" (some right & some wrong) have been discussed so many times in the past, and you just emphasized, by your experience, WHY it's so important to do it safely. Proper cranking is a good thing to discuss,....it's just that there are those that emphasize that it's something to be afraid of, because THEY are afraid of it, sometimes because some of those folks were injured, simply because they did not know the proper and safest way to hand crank. Again,....I was just trying to help by explaining what I truly believe is the safest methods, but might be that I could have worded things a bit better,..... :? ....harold


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Model T Mark » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:00 pm

I simply got lazy. I know better....feel pretty stupid about the whole thing. I won’t ever make that mistake again and I’ll keep a clear head and not get distracted. If you know myself or my family we are big promoters of the hobby and will always be. I tell everyone the correct way but didn’t practice the what I was preaching to others. Really a stupid move on my part. As far as the injury not happening from that it it most certainly did, I wish it was a wrist or lower arm but it’s not. My body gave in my should and upper arm. Believe when I say I wish would have let go be it happened to fast and it was the twist that got me. Stay safe!

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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by RajoRacer » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:54 pm

I installed one of these !
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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by jiminbartow » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:43 pm

I used to work with an old timer carpenter who taught woodworking classes at the vo-tech college at night. He always told the new woodworkers...”Never lose your fear of woodworking tools. Be very afraid, for it is when you lose your fear that you let down your guard and lose your respect for the tremendous damage they can cause if you get too comfortable with them.” I think the same applies for the Model T. One can fear the consequences of letting down your guard and still respect them for the wonderful machines they are that had such a positive impact on the world, so, it’s okay and even smart to be afraid. When you are afraid, you are more alert to the dangers. Jim Patrick


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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by jiminbartow » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:46 pm

PS. Mark. It takes a real man to admit his mistake and use it to try and help others. You are to be commended, not condemned. Thank you. Jim Patrick.

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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by david_dewey » Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:53 pm

The woodworking story is TRUE. I once worked for a guy who has a radial arm saw with NO guard of any sort around the blade. I always run that saw very afraid--I check the work area, check the wood I am about to cut, make certain I have a sold grip on the carriage--then, after a second check, I turn on the saw. In some ways it might be safer for me the way he has it set up, as I am REALLY careful around it. Still scares me!
I did have a car kick back on me once--it was a Brush, one cylinder, and the spark linkage had come apart and I didn't notice that. Fortunately, it just whipped the crank out of my finger and stretched my arm a bit--being a one-cylinder car was probably in my favor too!
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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by ericmac » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:18 pm

I happened to spend last evening with Mark who helped me with my new (old) Brand X car for a while. I would echo his words of caution. I too have been in such a position. Harold made an excellent point earlier; these cars in proper tune should start with one quarter turn.

So what happens when the car fails to cooperate? This is where we get into trouble. We get frustrated; we get tired and we stop thinking about what we know. It is in that moment when a mistake can happen.

It's hard to walk away from the car in that moment because we want the blankity-blank thing to just run. That being said, by being respectful to the machinery and our own knowledge, taking a short break to stop and think is what Mark is trying to get all us to do.

I appreciate Mark's help last night and his willingness to share his words of wisdom here.
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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Craig Leach » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:53 pm

Years ago the club I belong to did a tour to some Assisted Living Homes around Christmas to visit & display the model Ts. While standing next to one of the club members very nice 1912 touring cars a elderly woman with a walker was in front of the 12 looking intently at the car, one of the members told her it was a 1912 model T ford. To wich she replied I know what it is and held out her arm that had a distinctive jog in it and told us she had taken the families model T for a joy ride when she was 12 years old and stalled it in a fast moving creek, scared the car would be washed away she got out to start it and forgot to retard the timing. The engine kicked back and broke her arm. she retarded the timing and started it with her left hand and return home without getting caught. She was afraid to say anything so as not to be punished and toughed it out until it healed on its own. How many kids today have that much grit?

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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:54 am

I did it trying to start a tractor. The pain was so excruciating I passed out on the ground. When I came to I drove to the hospital one-handed. Years later my right hand is still numb, stiff, and weak. It's a permanent reminder never to crank stupidly again. Having a non-starter car, obviously I hand start all the time. A few times I've had a kickback, but it's been harmless because my bad experience taught me always to follow the proper procedure.

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tiredfarmer
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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by tiredfarmer » Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:03 pm

A couple of years ago our Model T club's take apart T battery was low, so I crank started it. It started then died I tried again, this time the driver forgot to retard the spark, the T kicked back and thank God I was cranking with my left hand the crank pulled out of my hand came around and nicked me just below the thumb. No damage but I learned to crank from this forum, guys cranking with your left hand works to keep ones arm from being damaged.

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Re: update Be careful cranking

Post by Duey_C » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:30 pm

Craig, yep that lady had grit!
Mark, don't beat yourself up so bad about this. You've already been beaten up by the T with a mistake.
Two days ago I windmilled a much larger engine that just wouldn't come back to life with quarter turns. The helper engine couldn't do it for me so I reached down and spun him to life. Took three times. Third time's the charm alright. He cleaned out and woke up.
Way back when as the ZR-4's impulse coupler was wearing out this engine would bite at me some.
Yes, I was lucky. The darned T engines scare me worse. I set the timing so late the first time the 18 came back to life...
Keep us informed Mark. :)
Since I lost my mind mind, I feel more liberated

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