Starting fluid. Yes or no

Discuss all things Model T related.
Forum rules
If you need help logging in, or have question about how something works, use the Support forum located here Support Forum
Complete set of Forum Rules Forum Rules

Topic author
Bobbbenner
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:50 pm
First Name: Bob
Last Name: Benner
Location: East Setauket, NY

Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Bobbbenner » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:11 pm

As the seller of my new TT. He used a lot of starting fluid. I’ve always heard that starting fluid is not good for use in the engines because it dries out the cylinder walls and can Score them. I realize that a finely tuned machine should not need that help but so far we’ve not been able to get the truck going. It could be associated with the previous post about the mystery switch??


mvweaver
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:09 pm
First Name: Matthew
Last Name: Weaver
Location: Arthurdale, WV

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by mvweaver » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:10 pm

I normally don't but there are two types of starting fluid available today. One has what is termed upper cylinder lubricant added and doesn't fire as hot as the normal starting fluid. It is designed to help prevent just what you describe as running the cylinders dry. If it has good compression, good spark plugs and coils firing, it should start without it. - Matt


Scottio
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:02 pm
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Lay
Location: California

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Scottio » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:07 pm

Using starting fluid is just masking a problem. You are right. A finely tuned, or even a poorly tuned, T engine should start pretty easy. Maybe the compression is low possibly due to a tight valve, cam timing off or a plain worn out engine.


John kuehn
Posts: 769
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:00 pm
First Name: John
Last Name: Kuehn
Location: Texas
MTFCA Number: 28924

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by John kuehn » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:19 pm

You don’t want to get an engine addicted to starting fluid. A “T” or any older gas engine that needs it to start needs work or it soon will.


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:28 pm

I would not normally use starting fluid. The bigger risk in a T is, I believe, tremendous stress on the crank from the very violent explosion that it causes. In reality, gasoline "pushes" the piston, while starting fluid smacks it HARD.

I have seen it used twice...the last one at my suggestion. The first was a tired car that was being pushed hard on a trip and wouldn't start one day. Starting fluid to the rescue. Then a broken crank 2-3 days later.

The second time was a T that came out of Yellowstone on a cross-country tour. When shut down in Cody, WY it would not restart...it had "0" compression on two cylinders and modest compression on the other two...it was a stem-winder and between 3 knowledgeable T owners, couldn't be coaxed to start...one shot of starting fluid and it lit off with a roar...it made it to my shop where it received two new exhaust valves and the owners went on their merry way...for 2 days... before the crank broke.

You tell me, was starting fluid the root cause of crank failure? I do not know, those cranks could have been sporting cracks for years...who knows? Regardless, I no longer let starting fluid be part of the equation.

Start with a compression check
New timer
rebuilt coil box
rebuilt coils
rebuilt NH carb

it will run
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!


hpetrino
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:14 am
First Name: Henry
Last Name: Petrino
Location: Modesto, CA

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by hpetrino » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:09 pm

I agree with the others. Starting fluid in a T is not a great idea. IMHO just getting it to start when it doesn't want to solves nothing. You should spend some time and diagnose the problem. It's really not that difficult to do. Fuel. Air. Spark. Check each.

If you need some help with the diagnosis process just ask here on the forum. There's LOTS of knowledge here always willing to help.

User avatar

Ruxstel24
Posts: 1756
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:25 am
First Name: Dave
Last Name: Hanlon
Location: NE Ohio
MTFCA Number: 50191
Board Member Since: 2018

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Ruxstel24 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:49 pm

Never been a fan of starting fluid...if it won't run on gasoline, you need to diagnose why.

I think using it on a two stroke is where cylinders get damaged, mostly. Obviously no oil in this type engine is bad.
I find it unlikely to setup a crankshaft failure with ether though, I would lean towards the poor running/misfiring prior to needing ether was the culprit.
But I don't recommend using it. I just don't think it's necessary either. Just fix the darn thing !! :)


Hal
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:08 pm
First Name: Hal
Last Name: Davis
Location: SE Georgia
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Hal » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:57 pm

I believe the "Washes the oil off the cylinder walls" thing is a wives tale. Put some oil on your hands and try to wash it off with starting fluid. It would take a gallon of the stuff to wash the oil off your cylinder walls. Who uses that much?

I agree, if you have to use it all the time, you have a problem that needs looking into, but I find that a bit of starting fluid will help get one started that hasn't run in a while and once you get it running and happy again, and run it regularly, it won't need it after that.

User avatar

Charlie B in N.J.
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:40 am
First Name: CHARLIE
Last Name: BRANCA
Location: Brick N.J.
MTFCA Number: 28967
Board Member Since: 2010

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:33 pm

You need to realise you have a problem. Fuel, electrical, whatever but something you need to start isn't there. Now I'll go to my usual rant about starting with a wet/dry compression test which will either reveal a problem or eliminate one. The T is a low compression engine as it is and if you're down to 20 LBs per cylinder or less you're going to have starting problems AND it might re start relatively easily when it's warm. The normally low compression ( as compaired to moderns) is the reason I prefer to take the comp test with a cold T engine. It gives you true cold start conditions where, possibly in your case, is too low to fire. Starter fluid can put a connecting rod through the block if not sparing used so be careful with it. I stay away from it as it's masking something else that's wrong.
Forget everything you thought you knew.


Jerry VanOoteghem
Posts: 155
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:06 pm
First Name: Jerry
Last Name: VanOoteghem
Location: S.E. Michigan

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Jerry VanOoteghem » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:22 pm

I believe you would have to run an engine on starting fluid for some length of time, (greater that just a start-up), to have any bad effects from it. Every once in a great while I'll use some. No problems. Many years ago, in the absence of starting fluid, I used model airplane fuel to get and engine going, (not a Model T engine. A ford 302 V8). Worked great!!

User avatar

HalSched
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:13 pm
First Name: Hal
Last Name: Schedler
Location: Sacramento
MTFCA Number: 16688
MTFCI Number: 19356
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by HalSched » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:59 pm

I almost never need it but when I flood my T, or whatever, I use carb or brake cleaner as starting fluid. It's not quite as explosive but works well. I used some today to set the bead on a garder tractor tire. A bit scary but it worked.

User avatar

Susanne
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:06 pm
First Name: Susanne
Last Name: Rohner
Location: Northeastern California
MTFCA Number: 49765
MTFCA Life Member: YES
Board Member Since: 1999
Contact:

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Susanne » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:22 pm

I used to be a starting fluid adherent until I lapped the valves, resurfaced the head, cleaned out the carb and readjusted it, and remembered that if you put a T ignition on Bat with a 12V behind it and let it buzz the spark plugs (and a couple healthy gasoline priming charges with the key off) and your timing isn't so far off you're trying to light off your exhaust stroke or break your arm, she'll at least bark if not run. Since then, I haven't had any need to mix ether and gasoline... for the past, darn, 10+ years... Actually, I usually flood the car, and have to start it with a WOT... :P


Chad_Marcheese
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:06 am
First Name: Chad
Last Name: Marcheese
Location: Upstate, NY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Chad_Marcheese » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:47 pm

Starting fluid? Yup, usually when its about 20 Degrees out and the oil is almost like concrete. Most of us won't ever experience that, but those that use T's in the great white north winter do. If I am at home and have the time, I have a lower hose coolant heater that makes all the difference. If it was like February and headed to the national Snowmobile meet, well, you don't have alot of choices at Zero degrees out--especially with no starter like me!

I have never tested Hal's statement, but I would be in agreement to that. And you also have to realize it is the vapors that are lighting off. The likely hood of you actually getting the liquid straight in the cylinders is pretty slim unless you have direct priming cups.

I don't believe it breaks cranks. I usually agree with Scott, but not this time. Strictly my opinion. If it was that violent, it would probably break ring lands on the pistons too. I believe his experiences are strictly coincidental. I work my doodlebug HARD and have yet to had any issues (knocking on some wood though). It is a very tired engine, but still has decent compression, but it gets lugged down regularly with the work I use it for. One day I'm probably going to lose though and have parts scattered everywhere.

But ultimately, if your using starting fluid in anything but below freezing weather, you have other issues that need to be tended to. I would start with a compression check to see what may or may not be going on within each cylinder. They should be within about 10 percent of each other. After that I would check timer timing. Then i'd look at the carb. You may just have to simply open the mixture screw a 1/4 or 1/2 turn for starting and turn it back in once started. Every engine reacts a little differently.

User avatar

Ruxstel24
Posts: 1756
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:25 am
First Name: Dave
Last Name: Hanlon
Location: NE Ohio
MTFCA Number: 50191
Board Member Since: 2018

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Ruxstel24 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:59 pm

I guess there's exceptions for The Great White North !! :D


Topic author
Bobbbenner
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:50 pm
First Name: Bob
Last Name: Benner
Location: East Setauket, NY

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Bobbbenner » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:22 am

Last night, thanks to Tom Pilz’s help, we got the truck to start, without any starting fluid! Seems the #3 coil wasn’t making good contact in the ‘box’. Add to the list of ‘things to do ‘.
Thanks Tom!

User avatar

Charlie B in N.J.
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:40 am
First Name: CHARLIE
Last Name: BRANCA
Location: Brick N.J.
MTFCA Number: 28967
Board Member Since: 2010

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:51 am

Yeah..That's what usually happens when someone with T knowledge shows up. Now toss that starter fluid can.
Forget everything you thought you knew.


d stroud
Posts: 729
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:45 am
First Name: David
Last Name: Stroud
Location: Mound City, MO. 64470
Board Member Since: 2011

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by d stroud » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:56 am

I have to agree with Chad, I to agree with Scott usually, but not in this case. I do think that using starting fluid does not "break" a crank, unless it has been cracked from use, as usually is the case whenever a crank breaks anyway. Now if a crank is subjected to repeated shots of starting fluid, that may make a difference, but I think it would take many, many shots. JMHO. Dave
1925 mostly original coupe.

User avatar

DaveD
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:35 am
First Name: Dave
Last Name: Dunn
Location: Lacey Wa
MTFCA Number: 50322

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by DaveD » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:20 am



L.I. Tom
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:20 am
First Name: Thomas
Last Name: Pilz
Location: Manorville, NewYork

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by L.I. Tom » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:03 pm

Bob's first ride in his TT

=0]20190428_180337.jpg[/attachment]
Attachments
20190428_180337.jpg

User avatar

rnkugel
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:52 am
First Name: Reuben
Last Name: Kugel
Location: Pewaukee WI
MTFCA Number: 49871
MTFCI Number: 24323

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by rnkugel » Wed May 01, 2019 11:59 am

For the first time ever my 15 did not want to start this Spring. After checking everything, I decided it might be a spec of something in the carb. Though I had starting fluid handy, I decided to pour a small amount of gas into no. 1 cylinder. A roll or two and she came to life. I would use starting fluid only as a last resort and for sure not as an everyday starting procedure. Just my two cents.
1915 Touring
1926 RAJO Speedster


Joss
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:46 am
First Name: Joss
Last Name: Sanderson
Location: Tucson AZ

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Joss » Wed May 01, 2019 1:00 pm

I would ask why it is needed. My 12 after I got it set up properly always started on three quarter turns. Even at 10 degrees. Sometimes needed to repeat but no starting fluid even.
Same with my 26.
Was in Fairbanks in February and the 26 started right up. Did need to jack up rear wheel As was about -30.


HaroldRJr
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:13 am
First Name: Harold
Last Name: Schwendeman
Location: Sumner, WA

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by HaroldRJr » Wed May 01, 2019 5:01 pm

I bought my '27 depot hack from the family of the late (R.I.P.) Pete Cosner of the L.A. Model T Club. There are no doubt at least a few folks here on the forum from the L.A. club that remember Pete and the depot hack, and shortly after I bought the car, a couple of the L.A. club guys told me that Pete always carried a can of starting fluid with him on tours and such, because the depot hack was hard-starting when cold. I know this to be a fact, because I found a can of starting fluid in one of the back seat storage compartments with some other supplies that Pete kept in the car. I really never used it, altho' I would agree that the engine did take a bit of "extra cranking" to start when cold, and I attributed this to the fact that, being a '27, it had a vaporizer carburetor on it. I would add that I believe the engine and vaporizer were in very good shape, because for several years, the engine was a very strong and smooth runner once started. Now then, I don't wish to start a heated discussion about vaporizer carburetors, however, I eventually made the decision that rather than rebuild the vaporiser, I made the rather common modification of installing the simpler and very well known to be reliable NH Holley carburetor. I can say that ever since, the ol' girl starts very reliably when cold with the customary two quarter turns choking, and she fires up on the third stroke,.....every time!

Now then, all of this usual (for me) "babble" really is leading to a point. I drove the car for several years before a complete engine/transmission rebuild (Steve's T Works) due to a sudden and unknown accidental loss of oil, and I certainly did not experience a broken crankshaft, which tends to negate the theory that repeated use of starting fluid will lead to a broken crank, because like I said, Pete Cosner used starting fluid regularly before I owned the car. And I really do feel that vaporizer carburetors are a very good design, and work well when in good shape, however, from accounts here on the forum that I have read in the past, I believe that even a "perfect" vaporizer equipped engine will require at least a bit of extra cranking to start when cold,....and, I don't think anyone would argue that they are a bit more difficult and expensive to rebuild. Now then,....whether it's a good (or bad) idea to use starting fluid to aid in cold-starting of a vaporizer equipped engine,....I really don't know,....but I personally would choose to avoid the use of starting fluid at I believe it does provide a considerably more powerful (violent?) explosion in the combustion chamber that ol' Henry and his engineers did not anticipate! FWIW,.....harold


Mark Osterman
Posts: 653
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:18 pm
First Name: Mark
Last Name: Osterman
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Mark Osterman » Wed May 01, 2019 6:16 pm

When I reassembled my chassis I bought a rebuilt engine block that had sat for a couple of years. It was really difficult to start. Eventually I poured some MMO in the spark plug holes to establish better compression and gave it a shot of ether. It started right up after that. After letting it run about five minutes I shut it off and did the same thing again. Subsequent starts were fine.


Topic author
Bobbbenner
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:50 pm
First Name: Bob
Last Name: Benner
Location: East Setauket, NY

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Bobbbenner » Sat May 25, 2019 8:49 am

A note about this post. Over the past month we’ve found all kinds of fixes for the TT. The last was the rod that connects the choke control in the cab with the carburetor. Seems when the carburetor was replaced with a Holley G, the rod was connected to the top arm and not only would not “choke” the carburetor but also wouldn’t open the butterfly completely! Also someone tried to sharpen the main jet and left it misshapen. After reshaping the jet and making a new rod to run from the choke control to the bottom arm, it now can choke completely and open completely and gives a lot more control of the main jet adjustment. Bottom line it now starts beautifully using the choke and purrs after adjusting the jet!
As I tinkered with the TT with the help of George Reamy and Tom Pilz I realized how much fun this ‘hobby’ and big toy is. I immediately called my thirteen year old grandson to book a week or so of refurbishment of the truck. Can’t think of a better way of hanging with him!


Scott_Conger
Posts: 2222
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:18 am
First Name: Scott
Last Name: Conger
Location: Clark, WY
Board Member Since: 2005

Re: Starting fluid. Yes or no

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat May 25, 2019 9:44 am

I immediately called my thirteen year old grandson to book a week or so of refurbishment of the truck. Can’t think of a better way of hanging with him!
Outstanding, Bob

And the other stuff about mechanical succes...kudos to you
Scott Conger

Full Flow Float Valves - deliver fuel like Henry intended!

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic