Go Back   The Ford Barn > General Discussion > Model A (1928-31)

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-01-2013, 11:07 PM   #1
Theo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Hackettstown, NJ
Posts: 190
Default Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Hey guys,

Went out for my usual drive with my friends today, was driving through a parking lot and all of a sudden the engine shut off. Tried to start it again, but it wouldn't fire. After it died, I noticed the engine seemed to be a lot easier to crank, like it had less resistance, and I was hearing a "chugging" type noise coming from under the hood.

Since I had to wait 2 hours for the tow, my friend and I started looking at some stuff. Its getting fuel no problem.

Heres where it gets trickey, my car has an aftermarket 6 volt electronic ignition system (not my choice, came with the engine) we took the cap off, when we turned over the engine the rotor didn't move at all. We then took the distributor off and noticed that the shaft was in the engine, not connected to the distributor anymore... is it supposed to be like that? It seemed a little loose, tightened it up and still no go, the distributor isn't turning. Towed it back to my house now its sitting in the garage waiting for my next move...

Any of you guys have any insight on this?

Thanks!!!
Theo
Theo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2013, 11:18 PM   #2
Chuck Sea/Tac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Between Seattle & Tacoma
Posts: 439
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Does the shaft in the block turn? If so then the broken connection to the distb is the problem. If not, then you have multiple problems, most likely caused by one thing.
Chuck Sea/Tac is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)
Old 06-01-2013, 11:25 PM   #3
Joe K
Senior Member
 
Joe K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cow Hampshire
Posts: 1,523
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Sea/Tac View Post
Does the shaft in the block turn? If so then the broken connection to the distb is the problem. If not, then you have multiple problems, most likely caused by one thing.
Sounding like fiber gear. The "chugging" is the clue. (One exhaust valve and one intake valve remain open, the other two cylinders just alternately compress and expand contained air.)

This not a hard fix but you'll need to develop a way to undo the fastener for the fiber gear. Aftermarket parts supplier sell a wrench adapted to modern tools for small money. And you may want to drop your oil pan and do a complete clean out if you find the gear in pieces.

The drive shaft remaining in the block is common for the two piece distributor shaft.

Joe K
__________________
Shudda kept the horse.
Joe K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2013, 12:02 AM   #4
Chuck Sea/Tac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Between Seattle & Tacoma
Posts: 439
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Joe: You could very well be right,re cam gear. He makes it sound as though there is no shaft on the distb, when they pulled it. The shaft should be pinned to the distb. ????? Guess we'll have to wait and see!
Chuck Sea/Tac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2013, 01:33 AM   #5
700rpm
Senior Member
 
700rpm's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,376
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Timing gear is stripped, or, less likely, the distributor drive gear is stripped. Put your timing pin in and press on it and turn the engine over with your crank. That will tell you if it's the timing gear.
__________________
Ray Horton, Beaver Chapter, MAFCA, Portland, OR


"Nothing worth having is cheap."
700rpm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2013, 02:31 AM   #6
H. L. Chauvin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,638
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Hi Theo,

Good advice above thus far; however, with your reported details it appears a bit difficult to understand exactly what you found with the electronic ignition shafts, or maybe connecting shafts ....... ?????

If you have to remove your timing gear, Mr. Tom McEachern, (who makes some of the best quiet metal gears) recommends:

1. Even though done very often, do not place a rag between the timing gear & the crank gear, because this method places great stress on both meshing gears & opposing shafts; but,

2. Remove the side timing gear cover & clamp a piece of wood to the timing gear with a clamp to allow the wood block to hit the cast iron engine block as a stop while removing and/or re-installing the timing gear nut.

3. The timing gear nut is usulally tightened to about 100 foot pounds.

4. Some Model A fiber timing gears almost last forever, & some, (even those provided on the 1970's cars), can go out & leave one stranded after a few thousands miles.

5. A new, top notch quiet metal timing gear from Mr. McEachern cost a heck of a lot less than one's next tow truck fee.
H. L. Chauvin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2013, 06:24 AM   #7
Joe K
Senior Member
 
Joe K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cow Hampshire
Posts: 1,523
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Sea/Tac View Post
The shaft should be pinned to the distb. ?????
Distributor drives are of two types.

The original type has about a 5" shaft which is placed loosely between the distributor bevel gear housing coupler and the bottom coupler of the distributor. It has only a "slot" at each end to match the "tang" at the bevel gear housing and distributor bottom. The slot/tang is oriented slightly off center which is how the timing/shaft positioning is kept from being inadvertently misplaced 180 degrees when the distributor is removed or replaced during servicing.

The aftermarket type has but a single shaft (no loose piece) with a collar instead of a coupler and goes down "deep" inside the engine block and contacts the top coupler of the bevel gear drive directly. Like the original version above, it relies on an off center slot/tang to preserve timing.

This sounding like original. As the distributor was removed, it left the short piece behind in the block. (that if you don't see an extended shaft from the bottom of the distributor.)

There has been discussions of the disadvantages/merits of both of these here on this board. In practicality they work pretty much the same.

Joe K
__________________
Shudda kept the horse.
Joe K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2013, 10:11 PM   #8
Theo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Hackettstown, NJ
Posts: 190
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe K View Post
Sounding like fiber gear. The "chugging" is the clue. (One exhaust valve and one intake valve remain open, the other two cylinders just alternately compress and expand contained air.)

This not a hard fix but you'll need to develop a way to undo the fastener for the fiber gear. Aftermarket parts supplier sell a wrench adapted to modern tools for small money. And you may want to drop your oil pan and do a complete clean out if you find the gear in pieces.

The drive shaft remaining in the block is common for the two piece distributor shaft.

Joe K
I tried to turn the shaft in the engine and it WILL NOT turn by hand. Its almost like its stuck. How do I replace the fiber gear?
Theo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2013, 10:40 PM   #9
Joe K
Senior Member
 
Joe K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cow Hampshire
Posts: 1,523
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo View Post
I tried to turn the shaft in the engine and it WILL NOT turn by hand. Its almost like its stuck. How do I replace the fiber gear?
Um. Not really understand.

If you tried to crank the engine over with the hand crank or starter and it didn't move - then maybe a piece of the timing gear has become wedged between the timing gear hub and the crankshaft gear.

If you tried to turn the distributor shaft by reaching down inside the head with a large screwdriver - this I can see. There is a bevel type gear that will drive the distributor shaft easily from the engine side, but you'll have difficulty to turn it "backwards." Plus you have to overcome at least two valves that want to change positions: the camshaft has the "lobes" that make it difficult to turn past the "hills" of the lobes.

Replacing the fiber gear is not that hard. Mr. Chauvin above has outlined the general steps to removal.

You will do best to remove the engine oil pan. Some view this as challenge by itself (those two or three bolts that are virtually inaccessible - plus those engine splash pans if you happen to still have yours.) And supporting the oil pump. You will want to do a full cleaning of your oil pan to remove any shards of gear material that may have migrated there.

You will have to remove the front and timing gear covers. Generator removal was mentioned since it hangs off the front cover. The "hidden bolt" was mentioned. Also putting a jack and gently lifting up the engine to allow removal of the front engine support. CAREFUL not to go too far and crack your flywheel housing - you might loosen the four rear support bolts that attach flywheel housing to support boxes to be sure.

You may do best to remove the hood, radiator shell, and radiator simply for access. There are (last count) about 6 bolts, two support rods, and two hose clamps to do this - and it will make your access SOO much easier. Be careful how you hold/fold that hood. You don't want to break the last (nearest the gas tank) tabs on that hood hinge.

And you will want the handi-dandi tool to match your timing gear fastener/nut. Vendors sell both an original nut style tool (which matches modern 1/2 or 3/8 drive socket wrenches) or a replacement nut and special tool which is similar but modern. Some here have opined that the new nut/tool is the way to go. But if you have the old style nut, you may do well (cheaper) to keep it traditional.

And you will need to pick out your new gear and nut - and determine if you need to replace the crankshaft gear (which requires a formal three jaw puller and removal of the front crankshaft pulley/ratchet nut.)

Were I to do any of this today I would simply buy the aluminum gear and a new matched crankshaft gear. Start fresh since it does involve a fair amount of your time and effort to make it happen.

H.L.'s other suggestions are apt. I've done this task once in the car like you have to do. H.L. sounds like he's done it several times.

Hope my quick review helps.

Joe K
__________________
Shudda kept the horse.

Last edited by Joe K; 06-02-2013 at 10:48 PM.
Joe K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2013, 12:14 AM   #10
Geo. H
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 374
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Do you have a crank? Turn the engine and see if the shaft in the block turns. If you don't have a crank, it's time to get one.
Geo. H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2013, 10:30 PM   #11
Theo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Hackettstown, NJ
Posts: 190
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe K View Post
Um. Not really understand.

If you tried to crank the engine over with the hand crank or starter and it didn't move - then maybe a piece of the timing gear has become wedged between the timing gear hub and the crankshaft gear.

If you tried to turn the distributor shaft by reaching down inside the head with a large screwdriver - this I can see. There is a bevel type gear that will drive the distributor shaft easily from the engine side, but you'll have difficulty to turn it "backwards." Plus you have to overcome at least two valves that want to change positions: the camshaft has the "lobes" that make it difficult to turn past the "hills" of the lobes.

Replacing the fiber gear is not that hard. Mr. Chauvin above has outlined the general steps to removal.

You will do best to remove the engine oil pan. Some view this as challenge by itself (those two or three bolts that are virtually inaccessible - plus those engine splash pans if you happen to still have yours.) And supporting the oil pump. You will want to do a full cleaning of your oil pan to remove any shards of gear material that may have migrated there.

You will have to remove the front and timing gear covers. Generator removal was mentioned since it hangs off the front cover. The "hidden bolt" was mentioned. Also putting a jack and gently lifting up the engine to allow removal of the front engine support. CAREFUL not to go too far and crack your flywheel housing - you might loosen the four rear support bolts that attach flywheel housing to support boxes to be sure.

You may do best to remove the hood, radiator shell, and radiator simply for access. There are (last count) about 6 bolts, two support rods, and two hose clamps to do this - and it will make your access SOO much easier. Be careful how you hold/fold that hood. You don't want to break the last (nearest the gas tank) tabs on that hood hinge.

And you will want the handi-dandi tool to match your timing gear fastener/nut. Vendors sell both an original nut style tool (which matches modern 1/2 or 3/8 drive socket wrenches) or a replacement nut and special tool which is similar but modern. Some here have opined that the new nut/tool is the way to go. But if you have the old style nut, you may do well (cheaper) to keep it traditional.

And you will need to pick out your new gear and nut - and determine if you need to replace the crankshaft gear (which requires a formal three jaw puller and removal of the front crankshaft pulley/ratchet nut.)

Were I to do any of this today I would simply buy the aluminum gear and a new matched crankshaft gear. Start fresh since it does involve a fair amount of your time and effort to make it happen.

H.L.'s other suggestions are apt. I've done this task once in the car like you have to do. H.L. sounds like he's done it several times.

Hope my quick review helps.

Joe K

Thank you very much! I meant I could not turn the distributor shaft by hand. I have a hand crank, and will try that next. Its hard to line it up though since something up front is out of alignment.

theo
Theo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 06:13 AM   #12
Tom Wesenberg
Senior Member
 
Tom Wesenberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Mpls, MN
Posts: 14,418
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Your distributor shaft and bushings need to be replaced and kept well lubed. The distributor should turn freely by hand with no discernable radial play.
Tom Wesenberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 09:30 AM   #13
Patrick L.
Senior Member
 
Patrick L.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Geneva NY
Posts: 2,511
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

A couple questions.
Does the distributor turn as it should by hand?
If you have the original type 2 piece distributor drive shaft, the shaft in the block should be able to be removed with a magnet or pliers. Check the drive tangs to make sure one hasn't broken.
Remove the timing pin in the front cover, insert it and turn the motor over and see if you can feel the timing gear turn. You probably will feel it. You can easily remove the 2 bolt side cover and turn the engine over while checking to see of all the gear teeth are intact.
You'll fine either
cam gear teeth are missing
A drive shaft tang is broken
oil pump/distributor drive gear is broken
Patrick L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 11:21 AM   #14
jkeesey
Senior Member
 
jkeesey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Glenmoore Pa
Posts: 1,541
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

With the dizzy out lean over the engine and press the starter rod while looking at the shaft in the engine. If it turns don't start removing the timing gear yet, start at the dizzy.
__________________
Check out my website to see some of my work www.ancientauto.com
jkeesey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2013, 05:32 PM   #15
Theo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Hackettstown, NJ
Posts: 190
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Pulled the timing cover off tonight.......... Found out that 4 teeth are completely worn out... Gunna need to replace the fiber gear.

How do i get this thing off?!!!!!!!
Theo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2013, 05:43 PM   #16
Patrick L.
Senior Member
 
Patrick L.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Geneva NY
Posts: 2,511
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Need to change the cam gear ? OK. First thing to do if you have never done anything like this before is to get a repair manual such as the one written by Les Andrews. These or others are available at any of the vendors such as Bratton's, Snyder's, Mac's ,etc.
The front cover needs to come off which will probably require removing the hood, radiator if you have a one piece front pulley. A special socket should be used to remove the cam nut. The crankshaft gear needs to be inspected for condition. The marks on the gears need to be properly aligned when installed. All is well explained in the repair books.
Patrick L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2013, 06:03 PM   #17
Chris Haynes
Senior Member
 
Chris Haynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: North Hills/Pine Grove, CA
Posts: 1,103
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick L. View Post
Need to change the cam gear ? OK. First thing to do if you have never done anything like this before is to get a repair manual such as the one written by Les Andrews. These or others are available at any of the vendors such as Bratton's, Snyder's, Mac's ,etc.
The front cover needs to come off which will probably require removing the hood, radiator if you have a one piece front pulley. A special socket should be used to remove the cam nut. The crankshaft gear needs to be inspected for condition. The marks on the gears need to be properly aligned when installed. All is well explained in the repair books.
Remove the hood, radiator, and pull the pulley? Why?
Although I didn't have the correct socket handy I replaced the timing gear on my '31 Sport Coupe with just the few tools i had in my car when it broke down miles from home. Fortunately a Ford Obsolete store was nearby so I walked to it and I bought a new gear. A box wrench removed the timing cover bolts. A hammer and chisel loosened the nut holding the timing gear to the cam. The hammer and chisel replaced the nut. The box wrench re-tightened the bolts on the timing gear cover. The hood and pulley stayed in place.
If I was doing it at home I would definitely use the socket for the timing gear nut as the hammer and chisel is Neanderthal way of doing it, but I had to do what i had to do to get home.
Removing the hood, radiator, and pulley is unnecessary.
__________________
AAA Member
Costo Member
I can't Re Member
Chris Haynes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2013, 09:34 PM   #18
Theo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Hackettstown, NJ
Posts: 190
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Haynes View Post
Remove the hood, radiator, and pull the pulley? Why?
Although I didn't have the correct socket handy I replaced the timing gear on my '31 Sport Coupe with just the few tools i had in my car when it broke down miles from home. Fortunately a Ford Obsolete store was nearby so I walked to it and I bought a new gear. A box wrench removed the timing cover bolts. A hammer and chisel loosened the nut holding the timing gear to the cam. The hammer and chisel replaced the nut. The box wrench re-tightened the bolts on the timing gear cover. The hood and pulley stayed in place.
If I was doing it at home I would definitely use the socket for the timing gear nut as the hammer and chisel is Neanderthal way of doing it, but I had to do what i had to do to get home.
Removing the hood, radiator, and pulley is unnecessary.

I didn't have to do that either. Just moved my alternator out of they way, un did all the bolts and now I can access it. I just ordered a socket for it and a new metal gear, so it wont happen again.
Theo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2013, 09:59 PM   #19
Phil
Senior Member
 
Phil's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bethany, Ok
Posts: 353
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Yep, it can be changed with disturbing the hood radiator ect. The model a vendors sell a socket that fits the cam gear nut. A good investment. Not a bad job a couple hors or so.
Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2013, 05:50 AM   #20
Patrick L.
Senior Member
 
Patrick L.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Geneva NY
Posts: 2,511
Default Re: Distributor not turning when cranking engine.

Yep, my bad. I wasn't thinking. The front pulley doesn't have to come off to replace just the cam gear, so that stuff can stay in place. Sorry. There is a socket for the cam nut which I would recommend using rather than a chisel.
Patrick L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Sponsored Links (Register now to hide all advertisements)


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:20 AM.