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Old 07-30-2021, 10:09 AM   #1
philcobill
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Question Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

This past week we changed the timing gear in our Special Coupe. I have only been able to start and idle it three times and drive one time since then. The following is a list (not exhaustive) of things I have done so far.

1. Changed out carburetors (three of them). There is adequate fuel flow at the carburetors.

2. Put in new "modern" points and the condenser, and set them to 0.018-0.019.

3. Cleaned and re-gapped the spark plugs to 0.035.

4. Set the timing according to Les Andrews in the Model Mechanics Book. I also consulted various YouTube videos on the subject. While setting the timing, I made sure I rotated the cam clockwise before tightening the screw. I used an indicator light which was off at notches 0 and 1 on the spark advance lever, and on at notch 2.

5. Double checked, and cleaned and tightened all wiring including the coil to distributor wire and the wiring in the terminal box.

6. The distributor has "modern" Nu-Rex plates in it. I checked the wire between the plates for shorts, there were none.

7. The three carbs are a Tillotson, a loaner Zenith, and the original Zenith that came with the car. I know the Tillotson may have clogged jets.

8. I have tried various GAV setting on the carbs.

9. There is the perfunctory 6.3 volts at the terminal box, the red wire, the starter, the alternator, and the points.

10. When we installed the timing gear three people checked, double-checked, and triple check the meshing of the timing gear and the crankshaft gear.

11. The ignition cable is turned into the distributor the correct amount. (I have no reason to believe otherwise because there is spark at the points, is this a correct assumption?)

12. The timing gear was not shredded, and the fibers were intact. So I imagine that nothing from the timing ended up elsewhere in the engine.

Behavior

1. The engine turns over all right, but I am running down the battery. I was able to start the car one time and drive it around the block using the Tillotson carb, but I barely made it back home because the car was sputtering so badly. I imagine the sputtering could be from the clogged jets in the carb. Additionally, I was able to start it for about 30 seconds using the loaner Zenith and the Tillotson, but not yet with the original Zenith.

2. The engine backfired so loudly it sounded like a gunshot, and stopped. I could not restart it right away after that.

3. The engine sounds like it can catch, firing a couple of revs and then stopping

4. Before driving the car around the block on the Tillotson and while idling it, the engine sound was the best I have heard out of it. The idle was much quieter than before.

I wonder what am I doing wrong. Is there a something I am missing? Is the above behavior indicative of a timing gear not in sync with the crankshaft gear (off be a tooth)? I don't imagine that is possible because I have been able to start it and idle it at least one time.

I want my car back. Before the timing gear went out, the engine would fire almost instantly after I pressed the starter button. It is darn frustrating not being able start it.

Bill

Last edited by philcobill; 07-30-2021 at 10:29 AM. Reason: wording change
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

What happens if you try setting the spark control rod at different settings while starting? Does the behavior change at all?
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Check compression and post results.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

The cam gear can be off 1 or 2 teeth and the engine may start and run but run poorly. Recheck the timing gear alignment.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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The cam gear can be off 1 or 2 teeth and the engine may start and run but run poorly. Recheck the timing gear alignment.
You want him to quadruple-check the timing gear alignment?
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Do you have a spare known good distributor to install?is the battery at full charge?
Carbon tip in distributor cap good?ground to engine with an auxiliary cable?
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Compression is between 70 and 73.5
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Originally Posted by Brentwood Bob View Post
Do you have a spare known good distributor to install?is the battery at full charge?
Carbon tip in distributor cap good?ground to engine with an auxiliary cable?
No, yes, yes, and yes.


The car ran just fine before the timing gear went out
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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The cam gear can be off 1 or 2 teeth and the engine may start and run but run poorly. Recheck the timing gear alignment.

Just for a sanity check, is there someway to check before taking the engine apart in case it ends up being unnecessary?

Last edited by philcobill; 07-30-2021 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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What happens if you try setting the spark control rod at different settings while starting? Does the behavior change at all?
I did not have it running long enough to determine this well. When I drove it around the block, I concentrated on just keeping it running when it was sputtering, and was playing around with the GAV control mostly.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:20 PM   #11
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

When looking down #1spark plug hole find the spot that both intake and exhaust valves are slightly open( put in 3 rd and move some till one valve opens other closes, move till they are in "balance ", at that point the piston should be at top center---- this works for most internal combustion engines----- if cam is retarded power will be low, usually a lot of intake noise, and the ignition has to be over advanced
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:20 PM   #12
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Red face Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Originally Posted by alexiskai View Post
You want him to quadruple-check the timing gear alignment?

That may end up being what we do. However, I would like to fully explore other options and eliminate other possibilities before dismantling things again.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Originally Posted by philcobill View Post
I did not have it running long enough to determine this well. When I drove it around the block, I concentrated on just keeping it running when it was sputtering, and was playing around with the GAV control mostly.
I'm talking about adjusting the advance lever while you're trying to start it. If the timing is off, either due to a bad gear or something else, you'll sometimes see it start easier if you put the advance lever in a position where normally you wouldn't put it. Just something to try.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Phil,

There is a way to check the valve timing without taking the engine apart. Also the ignition timing without depending on the timing pin in the front. You have to go back to the basics of how an engine works. Here is how.

Take the spark plugs out. Turn the engine over by hand until the timing pin inserts into the dimple in the cam gear. Now, verify that the number one piston is actually at top dead center by inserting a piece of wire or wood to reach the top of the piston and then rocking the engine forward and back with the crankshaft pulley. Depending on how stiff your engine is you may need a wrench on the crank shaft pulley nut.

Once you verify that the #1 piston is actually at TDC then proceed to check the valves on #4 cylinder. Both intake and exhaust valves should be just barely open.

If the timing pin did not accurately indicate TDC or the valves were not both barely open when #4 was at TDC then the cam timing is off. This could be due to a number of causes, perhaps a manufacturing flaw.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Something with your new timing gear doesn't sound right. Why did you change it?? Was something else starting to go south leading you to change the timing gear?? Compare the old one to the new one. Any differences?? Do you have a nice blue spark out of the coil when cranking the engine?? The spark may look good when flicking the points but cranking the starter might be dropping the voltage too much to provide sufficient spark.
Good gas??
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:31 PM   #16
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I did computer programing for much of my professional career. Often when I was helping someone fix their program they would say "it was working yesterday but it stopped working today". I would ask them what changes did they make since it was working. At first they would say "I did not change anything". But after more questioning they would finally would admit that they did change something but the change should not have caused the problem. Almost all of the time the change that they made caused the problem.


Since the car was running fine before you worked on it, I think that whatever you did caused the problem. So it is highly likely that there is a problem with the cam gear alignment.


Bob
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:04 PM   #17
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

One other thing. Do you have good fuel flow into the carburetor??
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Originally Posted by philcobill View Post
Compression is between 70 and 73.5





I asked this to help without having to remove front cover again. Tooth mis-alignment will affect compression.

70# is high. I think too high for a stock engine/cylinder head.

Is there a chance that the crank was turned while the original gear was off, before the new one was put on ?

There were some gears quite awhile ago with the dimple in the wrong position.

Try removing the sparklers and confirm TDC in #1 with the dimple in place. You see feel the piston top with a piece of wire stuck in the hole at an angle. Just be sure to not feel a valve moving instead.[ that has happened]

Last edited by Patrick L.; 07-30-2021 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:49 PM   #19
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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I did computer programing for much of my professional career. Often when I was helping someone fix their program they would say "it was working yesterday but it stopped working today". I would ask them what changes did they make since it was working. At first they would say "I did not change anything". But after more questioning they would finally would admit that they did change something but the change should not have caused the problem. Almost all of the time the change that they made caused the problem.


Since the car was running fine before you worked on it, I think that whatever you did caused the problem. So it is highly likely that there is a problem with the cam gear alignment.

Bob
I too have been there. 38 years and at least once a week. My favorite one was a very cute young female. She looked up at me with her brown eyes and said, "But Rob, it can't be looping. I tested it." To which I replied, "But Vicky, a loop can be data driven too." Her face took on that Aha moment, and she turned and ran from the room.
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:56 PM   #20
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

. Before driving the car around the block on the Tillotson and while idling it, the engine sound was the best I have heard out of it. The idle was much quieter than before.
That's the clue I think....Timing off doesn't come and go. Does this engine fire right off with starting fluid? You changed carbs, but if it is fuel the thing will fire on starting fluid....Nice voltage at points, I would (because it's easy and can cause your symptoms) change the cap and rotor. If you can't replace them clean the top of the rotor where it contacts the cap. Be sure the plugs are sparking by removing each one and cranking motor with it grounded to the head.
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Old 07-30-2021, 02:03 PM   #21
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Are you sure that you didn't slip the fuel line brass seal too far in up the fuel line so the end of the fuel line is up against the inside for carb when you were changing all those carbs? Ed
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Old 07-30-2021, 02:41 PM   #22
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Philcobill, why did you change the timing gear? What made you come to the conclusion that you needed to do that?

And, did all items you listed in your initial post, 1 - 12 occur after you dismantled the front of the car and installed a new timing gear? None took place before?

My car has a high compression head on it. I can pull the #1 spark plug and shine a light into the cylinder and see the important part of the piston in its cylinder, perhaps it's not possible on a stock head, but I think it is. It is easy to see that the piston is at top dead center on my car. I suggest you try looking directly at that small part of the piston and cylinder when the timing pin is in the dimple. If you miss your dimple while hand cranking, put the car in third gear and use the front right wheel to adjust it until the pin is all the way seated. Roll the car back, then come forward through #1, TDC again.

I may be confused, but I believe you should look at the valves in #1 cylinder and that they should both be closed at #1, TDC. If the in-cylinder timing is correct, then take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, car out of gear, all 4 plugs out of the cylinders, etc. ground the #1 plug and see if it sparks as you crank the engine through top dead center. (key on)


As an afterthought, I also have a $20 endoscope/bore-scope that works on my cell phone that comes in real handy for looking in a cylinder or into the throat of a carb to see if the jets are leaking fuel at the bottom.
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Old 07-30-2021, 02:50 PM   #23
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I have had this identical problem and did all what you have done . It finally turned to be a faulty ampmeter which had an intermittent open circuit and sometimes voltage drop across it . A roadside breakdown was cured by dropping the dash and connecting both ampmeter wires to the same terminal , an instant fix . The ampmeter was replaced later . The meter was an older USA unit not offshore . We had been working on the car with no electrical involvement so just a coincidence maybe the same with you . A quick job to jump the meter give it a whirl .

John in heavy rain Suffolk County England .
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Old 07-30-2021, 03:35 PM   #24
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Well now if others are looking past the timing (as I think I did) I'll go a little further: First starting fluid, then check plugs against a ground like head while cranking, then as John says above just jump the two terminals together on the junction box won't hurt a thing, and then I would try this to POSSIBLY bypass the condenser as was posted elsewhere by Jackson:"The easiest way is using jumpers. A lot of people mount a condenser on the fire wall, that grounds it, then an alligator clip to the pass. side of coil." A crap condenser will cause backfire, intermittent spark ....or change the condenser.
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Old 07-30-2021, 04:14 PM   #25
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodcar View Post
Something with your new timing gear doesn't sound right. Why did you change it?? Was something else starting to go south leading you to change the timing gear?? Compare the old one to the new one. Any differences?? Do you have a nice blue spark out of the coil when cranking the engine?? The spark may look good when flicking the points but cranking the starter might be dropping the voltage too much to provide sufficient spark.
Good gas??
I changed the timing gear because the metal spindle part separated from the fiber outer part.



Yes, the spark looks good.
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Old 07-30-2021, 04:17 PM   #26
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Quote:
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One other thing. Do you have good fuel flow into the carburetor??

I am using the non-ethanol gas 90 octane sold by the local service stations. I am not using the regular ethanol gas.
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Old 07-30-2021, 05:42 PM   #27
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick L. View Post
I asked this to help without having to remove front cover again. Tooth mis-alignment will affect compression.

70# is high. I think too high for a stock engine/cylinder head.

Is there a chance that the crank was turned while the original gear was off, before the new one was put on ?

There were some gears quite awhile ago with the dimple in the wrong position.

Try removing the sparklers and confirm TDC in #1 with the dimple in place. You see feel the piston top with a piece of wire stuck in the hole at an angle. Just be sure to not feel a valve moving instead.[ that has happened]

Great suggestions!


Yes, the cylinder head is made of aluminum. I am not sure what is the compression ratio, but it is certainly higher than the stock 4.22 to 1, perhaps it is about 5.5 or 6 to one.
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:05 PM   #28
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Good afternoon....The condenser is a good suggestion...also the little fuse holder on the side of the starter...if it is an older one, can have a loose rivet which will cause the backfire and such also if the little fuse holder has weakened...the same problem can result...Ernie in Arizona

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Old 07-31-2021, 03:23 AM   #29
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Okay, there is quite a bit to digest here. Everyone here has made some wonderful suggestions.

I will attempt to try out the suggestions and go from there. I am loathe to take the engine apart, but we may end up doing that anyway.
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Old 07-31-2021, 06:04 AM   #30
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Before you take the engine apart, verify that the timing pin is indicating TDC first, as many people have suggested. It may not be necessary to take the engine apart.

I liked the suggestion to try a new condensor.
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Old 07-31-2021, 06:21 AM   #31
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Question Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Okay just a quick question. From what I gather above, it might be possible to start and run the engine with the timing gear and the crankshaft gear out of sync by one or two teeth. My first thought is that this would be difficult. But is it possible?

Going out right now to check to see of the engine is TDC with the timing pin in the indentation.

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Old 07-31-2021, 07:44 AM   #32
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Put your finger in the #1 hole feel for compression ! You can have TDC twice !
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:00 AM   #33
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I can't tell what is going on. The only thing I saw was the intake valve popping up. It looks I need a partner to help out.
More later.
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:23 AM   #34
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

To check for consistent strong spark, lift all of the spark plug straps so there is about an eighth inch gap then in a darkened area run the starter while watching the spark on each strap. It should be strong and steady. Its an easy to do test that really tells you a lot when troubleshooting an issue. The biggest challenge is usually separating a problem into fuel vs spark. In your case you also need to verify timing but that's not hard, I'd pull the valve cover and watch the valves in conjunction with TDC.
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Old 07-31-2021, 10:48 AM   #35
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I would pull the #1 spark plug and look in to double check that the valves are opening and closing at the right time in the stroke. I installed a new timing gear in a Model T engine once and could not get it to run right afterwards. Turned out the new gear was marked wrong from the manufacturer. I found the problem by looking at the valve timing. If it ran ok before you changed the gear, that’s where I would look first before I started introducing a lot of other variables.
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Old 07-31-2021, 12:00 PM   #36
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Quote:
When we installed the timing gear three people checked, double-checked, and triple check the meshing of the timing gear and the crankshaft gear.
Quote:
Before driving the car around the block on the Tillotson and while idling it, the engine sound was the best I have heard out of it. The idle was much quieter than before
It sounds like your timing and gears are spot on, so the problem is either electrical or carburation. Have you tried replacing the condensor?
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Old 07-31-2021, 01:00 PM   #37
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I ended up taking off the timing gear cover. There is a "0" on the crankshaft gear opposite the indentation on the timing gear. Is this where the timing gear should be placed? If it is correct, then I have some other issue. Is it possible that the indentation is off? I think someone mentioned that possibility in this thread.


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Old 07-31-2021, 02:56 PM   #38
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

That looks correct.....

Here are a couple of pictures. Do you still have the old cam gear? You can compare dimple locations....it being in the wrong place seems like a long shot but anything is possible.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2015_0814modelajeep1489.jpg (71.3 KB, 96 views)
File Type: jpg 2015_0814modelajeep1532.jpg (65.5 KB, 88 views)
File Type: jpg 2015_0814modelajeep1536.jpg (54.4 KB, 87 views)
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Old 07-31-2021, 02:59 PM   #39
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Looks correct to me too. The two holes in the cam gear that the pins on the camshaft go into are offset by a slight amount so that the gear can go on in only one orientation. If the cam gear was forced on with the holes not oriented incorrectly then you can still be out of timing. Another thing to check. Unlikely that this is your problem.

If you have not done so, replace the condensor, as others have advised.

You have tried different carburetors but not an entirely different distributor including the rotor, cap, and housing. Can you borrow a known good one from a different car?

Sorry, another question: Is the spring for the thrust bearing for the cam shaft to spec? It should be 35 to 38 pounds when compressed.
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Old 07-31-2021, 04:17 PM   #40
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Here is a page from the red book. It looks like you did the timing correctly assuming the gear went in smoothly as the book mentions the alignment pins are off center. Not being a jerk but we all said try checking spark and fuel as you said it did run for a short while and ran as smooth as silk. Did you try starting fluid, grounding the plugs, changing the condenser, jumping out the amp meter across the junction box....these are all very valid and fast checks? I know you're probably pissed off so don't take this the wrong way. It's just a lot of fuel problems are electrical, and a lot of electrical problems are fuel and....you get the point.....we need to trace this out logically. They are just lawn mower motors on steroids'.
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Old 07-31-2021, 04:28 PM   #41
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

It ran fine for awhile... your problem is somewhere in wiring as you must have moved a ton of stuff to open the timing cover.....bad ground, shorted wire...are you using a fuse, if not you may have a direct short in old wiring you moved to access timing cover...if no fuse put one in see if it blows. You don't have a timing problem...in my often mistaken but cocky opinion.
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Old 07-31-2021, 04:28 PM   #42
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Exclamation Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Originally Posted by 1955cj5 View Post
That looks correct.....

Here are a couple of pictures. Do you still have the old cam gear? You can compare dimple locations....it being in the wrong place seems like a long shot but anything is possible.

Compared the two gears as you suggest, and the placement of the pins and the indentation are the same as far as I can determine.

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Old 07-31-2021, 04:37 PM   #43
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

The only problem I still have is why does nkaminar's car grow red hair and fly through the air....that is definitely a mechanical problem not fuel related. I do see Les Andrews addressed red hair growing on the exhaust pipe in chapter 3 (preventative maintenance). !!!
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Old 07-31-2021, 04:39 PM   #44
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Any chance of addressing my questions in post # 40?
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:09 PM   #45
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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I ended up taking off the timing gear cover. There is a "0" on the crankshaft gear opposite the indentation on the timing gear. Is this where the timing gear should be placed? If it is correct, then I have some other issue. Is it possible that the indentation is off? I think someone mentioned that possibility in this thread.


That is an odd-looking mark on the crankshaft gear - unlike any Iíve previously seen. The marks are usually deeper or more pronounced.

If you hand-crank the engine around, do any other marks show up on the crank gear ?

Jim
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:27 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by jg61hawk View Post
Here is a page from the red book. It looks like you did the timing correctly assuming the gear went in smoothly as the book mentions the alignment pins are off center. Not being a jerk but we all said try checking spark and fuel as you said it did run for a short while and ran as smooth as silk. Did you try starting fluid, grounding the plugs, changing the condenser, jumping out the amp meter across the junction box....these are all very valid and fast checks? I know you're probably pissed off so don't take this the wrong way. It's just a lot of fuel problems are electrical, and a lot of electrical problems are fuel and....you get the point.....we need to trace this out logically. They are just lawn mower motors on steroids'.

No problem. I know that the Model A's are renown for being mechanically simple, but I am still behind the learning curve. I am a 65-year-old retiree who is an "old dog learning new tricks." I feel like I am a 20-year-old when it comes to understanding Model A's. Anyway, I fully appreciate your understanding and your suggestions to help me learn how to get my car going.
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:32 PM   #47
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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That is an odd-looking mark on the crankshaft gear - unlike any Iíve previously seen. The marks are usually deeper or more pronounced.

If you hand-crank the engine around, do any other marks show up on the crank gear ?

Jim

I am not sure what my dad did with this car. I imagine he tried to pick up "new" stuff at swap meets etc to make the car more modern. I will check out the crankshaft gear as you suggest.



The car also has a "higher" compression cylinder aluminum head. I believe its compression ratio is 5.5 to 1. I would love to ask him what all he did to the car, but he passed away 5 years ago.


Bill
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:39 PM   #48
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Here is a page from the red book. It looks like you did the timing correctly assuming the gear went in smoothly as the book mentions the alignment pins are off center. Not being a jerk but we all said try checking spark and fuel as you said it did run for a short while and ran as smooth as silk. Did you try starting fluid, grounding the plugs, changing the condenser, jumping out the amp meter across the junction box....these are all very valid and fast checks? I know you're probably pissed off so don't take this the wrong way. It's just a lot of fuel problems are electrical, and a lot of electrical problems are fuel and....you get the point.....we need to trace this out logically. They are just lawn mower motors on steroids'.

I am systematically going through the checks you mentioned. At this point, I imagine that the problem is electrical. So, I will be working that angle the next day or two.


Bill
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:47 PM   #49
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

This might sound too simple but one item that wasn't mentioned is the behavior you describe might happen if spark plugs are terribly fouled. I dealt with similar symptoms this week on one of my Model 'A's. Tried to fix and adjust everything in the world until I realized the plugs were fouled. After replacing the spark plugs it runs sweet again.
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Old 07-31-2021, 06:33 PM   #50
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

One problem I had somewhat similar to yours that drove me crazy for awhile was the metal covering over the wire that goes from the switch to the distributor was intermittently shorting out. That metal cover goes to ground. If it touches any of the connections in the junction box or any other "hot" wire the engine will die. On mine, bumps and vibrations would short it out intermittently and the engine would die and miracously come back to life. Wrap that wire cover with black electrical tape to insulate it. You mentioned screwing the connector into the distributor so I assume you moved that wire in some way,

Also double check that the "button" on the end of the wire from the switch does not push the metal tab that the "button" pushes into contact with the frame of the distributor. I put a piece of tape behind that "button" contact tab to insulate it.

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Old 07-31-2021, 07:49 PM   #51
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Originally Posted by Conaway2 View Post
That is an odd-looking mark on the crankshaft gear - unlike any Iíve previously seen. The marks are usually deeper or more pronounced.

If you hand-crank the engine around, do any other marks show up on the crank gear ?

Jim
Thatís an ok mark, and itís on the correct tooth. One to the right of the keyway.
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:07 PM   #52
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

First is it fuel, electric or mechanical.... Shoot it with starting fluid with the gas OFF. See if it fires. Then see if it runs...then turn on gas and fire it again. No fire...ok it's spark....Fire Ok ok it's fuel. Come on ....Think it through this thread is jumping like a toad.....I said what I would I do several times.....I don't mean to sound like a jerk believe me...but it's only one of three things: Fuel, spark or timing. They each can be separated and tested relatively easy if they are not mixed together......and you don't have a timing problem if it ran like described.
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:18 PM   #53
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Look at rotor as you hand crank with ignition off. The back fire could have shreded the gear
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:20 PM   #54
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

hand crank and watch rotor
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:21 PM   #55
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

You said it ran for a short while as smooth as silk? It isn't timing gear misalignment. That won't ever run smooth one moment, not so the next. Simplest next step is starting fluid. If it won't start with that, stop looking at fuel and pour all your attention on the spark and electrical. Change the condenser first. I'm betting it is that, but know from experience that the wire from the switch to the distributor is notorious for shorting out, so that's my second bet, doubling down to get my money back.
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:21 PM   #56
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Be careful with starting fluid, a tiny bit is ok but it'll short out the plugs and then you have another issue.
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:09 AM   #57
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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Look at rotor as you hand crank with ignition off. The back fire could have shreded the gear



I took the timing gear cover off and the gear looks just fine.
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:17 AM   #58
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I believe that the problem is not fuel, at least from a flow aspect. I disconnected the fuel line with the under the tank valve off at the carb and placed a container under the end. When I turned the valve back on, the fuel spewed out like it was supposed to.



Also, I tried three different carbs.


1. Tillotson - This one may have been partially clogged. Got the car started but the engine sputter (from a clog?.) Was able to drive it a bit.

2. Loaner Zenith - Got the car started but it backfired and quit after idling for less than a minute. Was unable to re-start


3. Original Zenith - Unable to get car to start at all. It catches for a few revs and quits.


So, I am going to concentrate on electrical for now.

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Old 08-01-2021, 07:03 AM   #59
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

In your first post you said you had put in new modern points. Did you do this at the same time as changing the timing gear?

If that is the case I'm thinking you should go back with the original style points.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:20 AM   #60
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In your first post you said you had put in new modern points. Did you do this at the same time as changing the timing gear?

If that is the case I'm thinking you should go back with the original style points.



Yes, I changed the points at the same time. The points on the Nu Rex upper plate were modern and needed to be changed.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:29 AM   #61
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

For future reference, and this pertains to anybody who is working on a Model A, change one thing at a time.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:30 AM   #62
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Just FYI, I've seen it happen where timing the Nu-Rex upper plate with the Nu-Rex wrench produces the wrong timing. Not severely wrong, just slightly off. It happened because the plate positions the points at a slightly different angle from stock.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:32 AM   #63
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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For future reference, and this pertains to anybody who is working on a Model A, change one thing at a time.
Earlier this year I changed the valves, head, carb, plugs, and distributor at the same time. Felt like winning the lottery when the engine fired up.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:33 AM   #64
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

The wireless 'modern' upper plate is troublesome. They are fine if a wire is added.
Check for voltage to the open point arm, should about 6v.
Check for voltage when the points are closed, should be 0v
Make sure the points power lead is connected correctly and not open or grounded.
Same for condenser lead.
The primary cable insulation could be bad and grounding, and, it could be screwed in too far and grounding.
There could be a problem with terminal box wiring, jumper across the terminals.
Sometimes a key switch can ground against the fuel tank.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:33 AM   #65
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I'm with nkaminar here .............. one thing at a time. While we all have good intentions, continuing to focus on other than the original problem (or operation) may be problematic. Start at the source. The car ran OK but the timing gear was coming apart. Back to that operation first. Yes, I know the orientation of the cam & crank gears appear to have been checked several times, one more time is not anything but time well spent. As they say on cop shows ........... "Sorry, we have to ask these questions to eliminate you as a suspect."

Rather than coming up with more things to work on, it's often more prudent to work backwards to eliminate problems that might have come up along the way. So, first on the list here is changing the cam gear. Once that is eliminated, put back the carburetor the car ran on BEFORE changing the cam gear. Next thing to attend to is points and condenser .............. and so on down the line. One thing at a time, with nothing new thrown into the mix unless there is something wrong or questionable with a specific item. And, if you do replace something, don't do it with an item you just happen to have laying around but don't really know the condition of. We're up to 3 different carburetors in this case with no assurance that any of them are any better than each other. The car ran on carburetor #1 before changing the cam gear. Put that carburetor back on and leave it on. Proceed from there with assurances of quality instead of guesswork fixes.

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Old 08-01-2021, 01:48 PM   #66
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I’ve just read all the comments. I’m agonna say the trouble lies with the NuRex and modern points, and suggest you pull all that out and install an original distributor with original type upper and lower plates and new points and condensor. Before you throw money in that direction, see if you can borrow a known good dissy, and swap it out with your modern system. If you have a local Model A club find someone there who can help. Keep us informed.
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:53 AM   #67
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We're up to 3 different carburetors in this case with no assurance that any of them are any better than each other. The car ran on carburetor #1 before changing the cam gear. Put that carburetor back on and leave it on. Proceed from there with assurances of quality instead of guesswork fixes.

Good luck, Bob Bader

I was in the middle of testing the carbs when the timing gear broke. The Tillotson was not working right when driving around before and after. I left it on and was able to start the engine but driving the car around was problematic. So I switched to the Zenith carbs to see if that made a difference. It did not, if anything it made things worse. I switched back to the Tillotson, and the car does not start even with that one on. So.... I don't think the issue are the carbs or fuel flow because none of them worked (unless they are all bad).
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:58 AM   #68
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Iíve just read all the comments. Iím agonna say the trouble lies with the NuRex and modern points, and suggest you pull all that out and install an original distributor with original type upper and lower plates and new points and condensor. Before you throw money in that direction, see if you can borrow a known good dissy, and swap it out with your modern system. If you have a local Model A club find someone there who can help. Keep us informed.

Yes I believe it is indeed the electrical system, and likely the distributor. I will be putting everything back together later today and we will go from there.


I just want my car back. 40 years ago when I drove it all the time, it run great and was almost major maintenance free.
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Old 08-02-2021, 04:28 AM   #69
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Jump the ampmeter I have had two cars with the same problem . The first one years ago the second one a few weeks ago so I had forgotten the first . I had changed everything as you have took hours of my time as we were getting his coupe ready for the Pendine speed week . Bad starting etc etc eventually died with still 300 miles to go in a biblical cloud burst . By passed the ampmeter with a jumper from the alternator to the fuse on the starter and back in business . At the next service station with no rain dropped the dash and connected both wires to the same terminal . Checked the USA made meter later and found intermittent continuity .

John in Suffolk County England .
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:04 PM   #70
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Please post the "FIX"
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:25 AM   #71
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Jump the ampmeter I have had two cars with the same problem . The first one years ago the second one a few weeks ago so I had forgotten the first . I had changed everything as you have took hours of my time as we were getting his coupe ready for the Pendine speed week . Bad starting etc etc eventually died with still 300 miles to go in a biblical cloud burst . By passed the ampmeter with a jumper from the alternator to the fuse on the starter and back in business . At the next service station with no rain dropped the dash and connected both wires to the same terminal . Checked the USA made meter later and found intermittent continuity .

John in Suffolk County England .

Thank you John, I did that, Now I need to test the ammeter out and see if I need a new one.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:28 AM   #72
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

SUCCESS! At least partially.

Let me give a caveat here.

I was able to get the engine started and it sounds pretty. The engine idles quietly and smoothly, in fact the best since we shipped it here to New York from Spokane, and since I drove it 40 plus years ago. I went through every thing and discovered it had no spark from the coil-to-distributor wire. All the perfunctory voltages check out at 6.3 V +-. I then looked at the points using an indicator light which I connected from ground to the points arm in the distributor. It stayed on with no flickering as the engine turned. Volla, the points were not completely closing on the low spot of the cam. Yes yes yes, a rookie mistake, but I am still behind the learning curve. I adjusted the points and it fired right up.


The reason I say this is a partial success is because I still have the sputtering issue. I think I will start a new thread for that. Before I do that, I will make sure the timing is okay and the carburetors are okay. At least it starts up and idles beautifully. Obviously, I will be making some fine tweaks and re-double checking everything.


Bill
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:54 PM   #73
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

Thanks for the update...most fuel problems are electrical!!!
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Old 08-23-2021, 04:05 PM   #74
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

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I have had this identical problem and did all what you have done . It finally turned to be a faulty ampmeter which had an intermittent open circuit and sometimes voltage drop across it . A roadside breakdown was cured by dropping the dash and connecting both ampmeter wires to the same terminal , an instant fix . The ampmeter was replaced later . The meter was an older USA unit not offshore . We had been working on the car with no electrical involvement so just a coincidence maybe the same with you . A quick job to jump the meter give it a whirl .

John in heavy rain Suffolk County England .
Curious, does it matter what side of the meter post that you attach both wires to?

I also don't understand. What is actually happening when you join both wires on a single post?
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Old 08-23-2021, 04:54 PM   #75
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Curious, does it matter what side of the meter post that you attach both wires to?

I also don't understand. What is actually happening when you join both wires on a single post?
You're just bypassing the ammeter in the circuit. Moving one wire from its post to the other post (doesn't matter which) will route the current straight from one wire to another, so if the ammeter is the source of the problem, that will cure it.
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Old 08-23-2021, 06:30 PM   #76
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SUCCESS! At least partially.

Let me give a caveat here.

I was able to get the engine started and it sounds pretty. The engine idles quietly and smoothly, in fact the best since we shipped it here to New York from Spokane, and since I drove it 40 plus years ago. I went through every thing and discovered it had no spark from the coil-to-distributor wire. All the perfunctory voltages check out at 6.3 V +-. I then looked at the points using an indicator light which I connected from ground to the points arm in the distributor. It stayed on with no flickering as the engine turned. Voila, the points were not completely closing on the low spot of the cam. Yes yes yes, a rookie mistake, but I am still behind the learning curve. I adjusted the points and it fired right up.

The reason I say this is a partial success is because I still have the sputtering issue. I think I will start a new thread for that. Before I do that, I will make sure the timing is okay and the carburetors are okay. At least it starts up and idles beautifully. Obviously, I will be making some fine tweaks and re-double checking everything.
Bill
I congratulate you on your success. I like your approach with a new thread for the sputtering.

I bought my coupe at the beginning of March and it took 2 months to get it to run right. So frustrating. It has now been running nearly every day, 40-140 mile drives and has 2848 miles on it. Keep the faith and read everything on this forum multiple times.

Once, during my debacle, I had my points maladjusted to the extreme of not closing at the low sections of the cam.

When you do finally get the engine running (you will) and are driving the car, recheck your point gap at 50, 100, 200, 500 miles and keep the distributor cam lubricated. I failed to do this as warned and nearly got stranded. (the point arm was about to ground on the cam) My points were at .011 when I checked after 250-300 miles. They wear fast at first, then stabilize. I replaced those points and followed the above warnings and yep, they seem to have stopped wearing so rapidly after a few hundred miles.

Good luck to ya, and go Ford Barn!
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Last edited by Rob Doe; 08-23-2021 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 08-23-2021, 07:03 PM   #77
Synchro909
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

As I read through all of this, junk in the fuel tank and check the rotor button kept going through my mind. Now that it is running, though poorly, it seems the fuel supply is OK but I'd like to see you try a known good rotor button. They are notorious for shorting to earth and you can't see where. Ask me how I know.
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Old 08-23-2021, 08:13 PM   #78
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

It's been my experience, on a few occasions, when the rotor fails the engine won't run at all.
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Old 08-24-2021, 11:05 AM   #79
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Default Re: Can't get engine started after changing timing gear

I also chased a no start to find a bad rotor.
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