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Old 08-30-2011, 11:06 AM   #1
nemw001
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Unhappy 1937 No start

Hello all - I am currently working on a 1937 Ford - it came into my shop as a crank-no start - it had no spark - I sent the distributor which was original out to be refurbished at VanPelts, had a condenser and rotor installed so I would not have any issues once I put it back on. I have spark now BUT still wont start - it backfires through carburetor. I checked spark intensity and it is a nice bue/whiteish - and I ohmed checked wires and they are like maybe (4) ohms resistance. I checked the timing gear/chain for looseness by barring engine clockwise marking a spot on cover then bringing it back in opposite direction, did this several times, and there appears to be no more than 1/2" play. I then took the caps off and inspected the halves and the contacts and they appear fine. This is quite a simple set up but right about now after hours of checking it out I am baffled. Any suggestions???? Thanks.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1937 No start

Are your plug wires in the correct order?
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:14 AM   #3
don's 37
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Default Re: 1937 No start

I'm guessing the spark timing may be off or the fuel mixture may be too lean. The spark timing should be set at 4 deg. I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:17 AM   #4
ken ct
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Default Re: 1937 No start

Are you running a stock Stromberg carb which is correct one for 37 #97 or a 94 ford carb. Stroms are ok with carb backfires. 94 on the other hand blow out the power valve in side the base with as little as 1 backfire. Thus you flood the engine with gas and possible engine fire.Fix the carb first.The carb probebly should be rebuilt by a competent rebuilder on here. there are a few on here. Charlie,ny,52 Henry,and yours truley Ken ct. You will get a good job done on it by any of the above. ken ct. and resonable price!
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:35 AM   #5
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: 1937 No start

Quote:
Originally Posted by don's 37 View Post
I'm guessing the spark timing may be off or the fuel mixture may be too lean. The spark timing should be set at 4 deg. I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions.
I understand your concern but shouldn't the timing have been set when the distributer was rebuilt? I thought it was one of the things you don't mess with once it is set on a machine. Of course, anyone can make mistakes.

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Old 08-30-2011, 11:56 AM   #6
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: 1937 No start

The Van Pelt site has a nice diagram of wire routing, useful given the odd layout and odd cylinder numbering system:
http://www.vanpeltsales.com/FH_web/F...ng-1932-41.jpg

Assuming good points set within specs, timing at center of scale to one line advanced should be close enough to start.
Ford published a ruler method for later field-expedient timing, and there is also one for your distributor.
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:48 PM   #7
richard crow
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Default Re: 1937 No start

take a compresion test make sure no vales are stuck onley takes a few min when they tow them in you never get the right story it coluld of sat for years. make sure wires are in the right place in the caps if timing & wires are right & conp. good it will start even without a carb if you put a little gas in the manfold .timing is wrong & i don,t mean buy a few degres or valve staying open.right bank 1-4 left 5-8 may be you got mixed up on cyl #
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1937 No start

you either have a stuck intake valve or your firing order is wrong, check van pelts site the link to it is in a post above this one
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1937 No start

This may be an unnecessary remark but remember that flathead cylinders are numbered differently than most. No 1 is right (passenger side) front. 1-2-3-4 on right side, front to rear. 5-6-7-8 on left side (drivers side), front to rear. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1937 No start

Thanks all - here is an update - I should have included this with initial post - but I didnt want to have too big a post - I had already removed plugs and watched valaves for proper operation, none were hanging up, so I ran a compression test and all were within 77 - 100 ish psi and thus i figured were OK. I had allready gone to VanPelts as they did the distributor re-build, wires are all as they should be with regard to firing order. I moved timing off of initial setting one notch at a time and had someone crank to see if it would start - it did not - I maxed out both ends and set it back were it was when I got it back. I pump the dickens out of it and it still will only backfire and not even give a hint of wanting to start and run. The carburetor is a Ford 94, even with enrichening it while cranking will only backfire. As I said earlier I ohm checked wires, and even checked to be sure none were grounding out to the metal conduit and none were. I took the caps off and inspected the two halves and they looked normal to me, but this is my first foray into this particular model and with the ohm readings I think thats not the problem, however I've been working on cars for 35 years and nothing would surprise me. The kicker is if it were carburetor related would'nt enrichening it overcome the power valve issue mentioned above? It has been my finding that up to a 1/2" play in timing gears/ chain is acceptable, does anyone know if thats the case with this 37 ? Again, thank you all very much for the information, ya just never know what piece will solve the puzzle -==
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:56 PM   #11
nemw001
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Default Re: 1937 No start

One thing I again forgot to mention is that when I take the plugs out, which I do after trying a few things to check them, they are never WET and show no signs of the dreaded blackness associated with a plug thats firing or trying to fire in a too rich system which makes me think LEAN hence backfire while trying (to try) to start -==
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1937 No start

ck voltage on to of dist should be about 3-4 volts even 6 volts for a quick start,don leave 6 volts there for long ,get to hot the coil will
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1937 No start

nemw001>>>I pump the dickens out of it>>>a 1/2" play in timing gears/ chain is acceptable,>>>[plugs] are never WET>>>

Peer down the carb throat for gas while pumping. If none, squirt a bit down. Then crank to see if you get more than a backfire. There's no timing chain so 1/2" slop would be too much. However, a tooth or so either way off the timing marks on the cam/crank gears should still allow it to run.

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Old 08-30-2011, 07:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1937 No start

I think your flooding it with a bad PV. Smell the dipstick for gas.Backfire kills them.Do you have fire at the plugs? ken ct.If no its in your dist.Possible dead short from cone shaped spring at bottom of coil not in the point cup and is caught behind it and grounding out the system.Also points MUST be set with coil screwed to dist. .015 gap. ken ct.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:48 PM   #15
DICK SPADARO
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Default Re: 1937 No start

If you have spark and you have fuel , it will run, this is a glorifed 8 cylinder lawn mower engine. Because you say the plugs are dry it would seem to indicate that you are not getting any fuel in the engine but my first look would be with the other posters, that you have installed the spark plug wires on the engine incorrectly. This engine is not numbered like a SB Chevy. Firing order is 15486372, in this case retrace the wires, number one is the most forward on the Right or passenger side bank and the right hand cylinders are numbered 1,2,3,4 front to firewall , the driver side bank is numbered 5,6,7,8, front to firewall. If you have the plug wires on correctly recheck the cap to see that the wire that you think is number 1 is actually coming out of the number one connection in the distributor.

If you are satisfied that the iginition is in order the next step is to check the fuel circuit. Attempt to start the engine on spray starting fluid. Open the choke and throttle and give the carb throat a good spray of starting fluid, replace the air cleaner and turn on the ignition switch and attempt to start the engine. If everything is in place the engine should fire for a short period of time and stop, that means it is capable of running but lacks sufficient fuel. You may attempt to refire the engine by again removing the air cleaner and respraying starting fluid own the carb throat and attempt to start the engine again. This time leave the air cleaner off and pull the choke to 1/2 closed and start. If the engine fires and runs apply short shots of starting fluid to maintain its run cycle for about a minute, this should allow enough fuel to be pumped into the carb circuit to now allow the engine to run at idle without assistance. If the engine stops or doesnt idle then there may be some further issues. At this time you can look down the carb to see if fuel is being supplied. With the engine not running open the choke plate and pull the throttle open one or two times and observe for a spray of fuel or droplets being pumped into the venturi opening, if there is fuel pumped in it should run , if not then there are other issues not timing.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1937 No start

i reckon you have a tooth off timing gear
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:57 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1937 No start

Some more info some the same slow typer.
I would take the dist out and test for spark by turn with ign on there should be a resister under dash about .5 ohns.ign on about 4 volts+-Look at dist drive think it goes in one way.look at it get TDC and see if rotor points to #1 check all wires to firing order.The wires maybe off one position.Put about 2 oz of gas down carb and see if it starts.Put the air cleaner on.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1937 No start

(Never done it myself, but could he have installed the wrong distributor caps? Early v. late? Too late to go out to the shop and try to see how they'd fit.)
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:13 AM   #19
nemw001
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Default Re: 1937 No start

Update - I disconnected the coil feed wire from switch and ran 6v temporarily to coil off of battery with a jumper wire and cranked - still no start - there is 2.5 - 3v feeding coil with switch on. I removed caps and checked firing order on both sides, I never removed them but figured ya never know - they were all correct - I then dumped (groan) 1/2 cup of fuel down carb installed air cleaner and cranked while holding gas pedal to floor, still just backfired and no start - I then checked coil / rotor output with #1 cap off and with a ground wire being held 3/8" or so inside of cap where #1 wire would be I had someone slowly bar engine over and checked for spark and verified it was pointing at #1 wire when it happened - did this several times - seemed good to me - with the compression being 75 - 100ish on all cylinders I had ruled out a "hanging intake valve" BUT even if one was hanging up I would think the car should start?? It does have about 1/2" play in timing gears, measured by rotating engine by hand until rotor moved then barring it back in opposite direction and marking and measuring, someone mentioned that was excessive?? But excessive enough to not even start the car?? I even had a 12v jump-pack I hooked up and had someone crank car then I hit it with 12v for about 15 seconds to see if it would start still no-start!!!! I'm at a loss now, very simple set up but I cant get it to start and I have exhausted everything I know of -= Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:31 AM   #20
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Default Re: 1937 No start

i would be curious to see if spray ether down the carb does anything....if you are getting a spark that will make everything come to life at least for a moment and we can verify the mechanicals are working as they should. do flat heads ever jump the timing chains?
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