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Old 02-27-2018, 06:33 PM   #1
joshhirst13
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Default Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Hey guys,
I just picked up my Model A Coupe a few weeks ago & Im having issues getting it started. I can't even get it to turn over or make a noise. It's got a freshly charged battery on it, I removed the positive/ground cable & used a wire brush to clean up the contact. I also cleaned up the contact under the starter switch & negative battery cable connection to the starter switch. I turn on the ignition switch, push the clutch in, trans in neutral, push the starter switch pedal & I get absolutely nothing. The previous owner installed blinkers, which I get power to, as well as power to the headlights & tail lights. I'm not sure where to go from there. Maybe new battery cables? Maybe new ignition coil? I'm pretty pathetic when it comes to electrical stuff. I have a voltage tester, just don't know what to check. Any suggestions would help.
Thanks
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Also if you guys tell me how to post pictures I'd be happy to put a couple pics of my car.
Thanks
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

The starter may be jammed up. With the power off, Put the car in 3rd gear get out and push the car to get it to rock back and forth. I cant recall if you can hear the starter disengage or not. But if you can get the car rocken it should free up. Then try to start it.

PG
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Obviously issues with the starter. Is the battery fully charged? maybe to low to kick the starter.
Just to isolate the problem, have you try to remove the spark plug and lay one of them on the block and hand crank it to see if you have spark?
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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The starter may be jammed up. With the power off, Put the car in 3rd gear get out and push the car to get it to rock back and forth. I cant recall if you can hear the starter disengage or not. But if you can get the car rocken it should free up. Then try to start it.

PG
I've tried this, but for some reason I can't seem to get it into 3rd gear. When I think it's in gear I get out & push & the car just rolls like it's in neutral. Seems to slide into all of the other gears with no issues. Maybe I wrong. Maybe I should just pull the starter & bench test it???
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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Obviously issues with the starter. Is the battery fully charged? maybe to low to kick the starter.
Just to isolate the problem, have you try to remove the spark plug and lay one of them on the block and hand crank it to see if you have spark?
No I haven't tried this yet. I will. I've never ysed a hand crank so how fast do I need to crank it to get spark & how hard should it be to crank?
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

& yes the battery is fully charged.
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

If it won't go into 3rd try putting it in 2nd and rock it back and forth, then try starter. FWIW
Paul in CT
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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If it won't go into 3rd try putting it in 2nd and rock it back and forth, then try starter. FWIW
Paul in CT
Should I hear something or feel something when I do this. What am I looking for?
Thanks
Josh
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

You should hear a clunk when the starter releases. You may have to rock it 6-10 times. Did it start when you got it? Check to see if there is a master cut off someplace. Also, turn your headlights on. IF they work, it is most likely a starter issue.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:50 PM   #11
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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You should hear a clunk when the starter releases. You may have to rock it 6-10 times. Did it start when you got it? Check to see if there is a master cut off someplace. Also, turn your headlights on. IF they work, it is most likely a starter issue.
I put it in second gear & was able to push the car backwards with no clunking. Just sounds like compression of the motor turning. No the car didn't run when I got it. Still not starting. I was thinking the same thing about a cut off switch, but can't seem to find one. The guy that did have it before me did do a bunch of extra wiring. Front & rear blinkers, secondary horn, he has to coils mounted on the firewall. One has nothing going to it. Not sure what that's all about.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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You should hear a clunk when the starter releases. You may have to rock it 6-10 times. Did it start when you got it? Check to see if there is a master cut off someplace. Also, turn your headlights on. IF they work, it is most likely a starter issue.
And yes. Headlights, tail lights, blinkers, horn all work.
Thank to everyone for all of your help. I'm sure I'll get it eventually.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:25 PM   #13
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Question: If you turn the lights headlights on, so that you can see them from inside the car, do they dim when the starter button is depressed?

This would tell you if the starter is drawing any sort of load.

Some have said that if it has the fuse mounted to the starter, that sometimes the screws used could be too long, causing issues with the starter.

Just a thought...
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Time to either give it a jump with another battery or do a bench test. If your test device will show continuity or ohms, double check the connections and make sure the starter case is grounded well.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:56 PM   #15
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Another silly thought, if this is your first A... is the right pedal being pushed for the starter? It can be easy to mistake the accelerator or footrest for the starter button/pedal.
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:06 AM   #16
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Another silly thought, maybe the starter switch is faulty.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

I too think the starter switch may be the issue. Remove the switch (shiny piece on top of starter) and then jumper the battery cable to the copper disk on the starter unit. The starter should spin if it is alright.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:27 AM   #18
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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Originally Posted by joshhirst13 View Post
Also if you guys tell me how to post pictures I'd be happy to put a couple pics of my car.
Thanks
To post pictures, click on the Go advanced box, then click on the paper clip icon and you're in business. Simple.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:29 AM   #19
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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I too think the starter switch may be the issue. Remove the switch (shiny piece on top of starter) and then jumper the battery cable to the copper disk on the starter unit. The starter should spin if it is alright.
I'll be doing this with the negative cable/terminal while leaving the positive ground connected to the vehicle correct?
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:30 AM   #20
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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Another silly thought, if this is your first A... is the right pedal being pushed for the starter? It can be easy to mistake the accelerator or footrest for the starter button/pedal.
Yes. I know I'm using the correct pedal. Push rod goes through firewall & pushes on the starter switch.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:55 AM   #21
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Is there a battery cut off switch installed? Some guys would hide where they put the switch, like on the rear motor mount, or on the seat riser. Follow the paths of the cables coming off the battery to see if there is a switch somewhere.
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:03 AM   #22
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

AND be sure that the trans is in NEUTRAL before jumping the starter switch. Also OK to leave the ignition switch off. Separate systems.
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:07 AM   #23
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

No battery cutoff, head lights and horn work.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:13 PM   #24
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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I too think the starter switch may be the issue. Remove the switch (shiny piece on top of starter) and then jumper the battery cable to the copper disk on the starter unit. The starter should spin if it is alright.
Ok guys. I removed the starter switch & used battery cables to jump the starter. When I did this the starter made a very quote click & that is it. I would have to wait a couple seconds before getting it to click again. Like I said it was very very quite. Almost nothing. I've been keeping my battery connected to the charger & the charger says the battery is good and when I check the battery with my voltage tester it shows 5.99 volts & goes down to about 5.74 volts after 5 min of messing with it. Is it possible the battery is still bad ( Not enough juice) or is this a definite starter issue? I'm just trying to narrow down to the exact problem instead of throwing a bunch of money at the problem.
Thanks for everything.
Josh
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:45 PM   #25
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Good afternoon...Check with the 'Model A Restorer's Club and the Model A Ford Club of America and see if either club has a local chapter near you. If so contact them and they will always have a member come over and give you a hand. They will be motivated to get your car running and they will have a new member in you. Win-Win. Ernie
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:35 PM   #26
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

3 more bolts to remove and you can try the starter out of the car and see what is happening. You will have to remove it anyway since it is not working.
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:51 PM   #27
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

When you tried to jump the starter with the battery cable, did you notice if the copper strip in the starter switch and/or the button that the copper strip contacts is corroded? I have had a situation where they have been corroded and the starter would not turn until the corrosion was cleaned up.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:00 AM   #28
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

A 6 volt battery in good condition should show about 6.3 to 6.4 volts, especially right after the charger has been on it. You'll get a higher reading from the charger just being on it, but if you turn the lights on for 15 seconds, then turn them off and read the voltage, you should have 6.3 or close to it.


Try hand cranking the engine to be sure the starter drive isn't jammed in the flywheel teeth.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:07 AM   #29
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3 more bolts to remove and you can try the starter out of the car and see what is happening. You will have to remove it anyway since it is not working.
Very true. This is about to happen right after the headlight test. I might do it tonight since it will be dark & easier to see the lights get dimmer.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:10 AM   #30
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When you tried to jump the starter with the battery cable, did you notice if the copper strip in the starter switch and/or the button that the copper strip contacts is corroded? I have had a situation where they have been corroded and the starter would not turn until the corrosion was cleaned up.
I actually pulled the switch off & cleaned both with a wire wheel yesterday. I also cleaned all of the battery cable contacts to make sure I had a good ground/connection as wel. After putting it all back together I still had the same result.
Thanks
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:14 AM   #31
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A 6 volt battery in good condition should show about 6.3 to 6.4 volts, especially right after the charger has been on it. You'll get a higher reading from the charger just being on it, but if you turn the lights on for 15 seconds, then turn them off and read the voltage, you should have 6.3 or close to it.


Try hand cranking the engine to be sure the starter drive isn't jammed in the flywheel teeth.
I will try the light tonight on a fresh charged battery & report back. I have tried cranking the hand crank & it turns the motor freely. I'm assuming that if the starter were stuck it wouldn't crank freely. It basically feels like compression when I use the hand crank.
Thanks for everyone's input. It has all been great! I'm thinking I'm either gonna need a new battery or a new starter.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:19 AM   #32
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

I think the battery may be toast. 5.99 dropping to 5.75 Volts for a battery may be too little amps left to run the starter. as Tom said, you should have 6.3 volts on a fully charged battery. Check the voltage drop when you depress the starter switch.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:19 AM   #33
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I think the battery may be toast. 5.99 dropping to 5.75 Volts for a battery may be too little amps left to run the starter. as Tom said, you should have 6.3 volts on a fully charged battery. Check the voltage drop when you depress the starter switch.
Ok guys. I just finished up with the light test. I also installed a new positive cable because the old one was garbage. Here's what I found. After putting the freshly charged battery of 6.2 volts in the car & turning the headlights on for 15 seconds the bolts went down to 5.74. After that I tried pushing starter button & obviously I got nothing. I checked the colts it was still holding at 5.74. I then turned headlights on for 15 seconds again. They did look dimmer. The battery still held at 5.74. So no drop once it got to 5.74, but as you guys are saying that with that quick if a drop the battery is probably toast. Do you guys recommend a new battery first & if that doesn't work, then pull the starter & bench test it. It's prob not a bad idea to have a new battery anyways.
Thanks for all your guys help. I'm at work the next couple days so I won't be able to do anything else until Sat.
Thanks again for all of your help.
Josh
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:26 AM   #34
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Battery is what I think is wrong, so try another battery, or take this one to be checked.


If you need to replace brushes, the ground pair are easy to replace, and they usually wear out twice as fast as the pair connected to the field coils, which need to be cut and soldered.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:12 PM   #35
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

What is your voltage when you hit the starter with the lights on??

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Old 03-01-2018, 12:39 PM   #36
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I would remove and bench test the starter. While you have it out check the mounting surfaces to see the starter and flywheel surfaces are clean, as every bit of ground will help.
The three mounting bolts should be cleaned up as well. If you can get the starter to jump on the bench with a 12 volt, you can probably assume your six volt is toast and needs to be swapped out. One thing the starter switches hate is low voltage and will cause the contacts to weld solid if strained enough.
I think you're close, keep poking!
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:32 PM   #37
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Josh I think that you may be at the point it would be a benefit to have a shop that services and rebuilds starters take a look at it. I'm assuming you are near Los Angeles. I did a search on the internet and found a company that rebuilds starters and alternators. I don't know if they are anywhere close to you. If not I'm sure they could recommend a shop nearer to you.

T & M AUTO ELECTRIC INC.
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13110 Saticoy st. Unit A North Hollywood, CA. 91605

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818-982-6215 / 818-232-1325

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Monday - Friday 8am-5pm Saturday 8am-3pm
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:49 PM   #38
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Don't buy a new battery or take the starter to a shop until it is on the bench and tested with your battery and a separate battery of 6 or 12 volt. maybe you have a bad ground cable, battery, switch, or starter. You will soon at least have a direction to go. 3 short bolts are all you need to remove it! It sounds like the battery you have is not exactly OK but it should turn the motor on the bench.

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Old 03-01-2018, 04:52 PM   #39
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

For crying out loud get that starter off of there the suspense is killing me been watching this for 2 days

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Old 03-01-2018, 05:38 PM   #40
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

personally before I took the starter off id try boosting it
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Old 03-01-2018, 06:01 PM   #41
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Battery sounds questionable, but could be a bad armature or spot in the armature too.
I would bench check the starter with 12 volts (since it is already out), see if that will wake it up. If not, looks like the started is toast, and time to take it apart or take it to a rebuilder to be rebuilt.
If it was not running when you got it, could be any number of things...some as simple as lack of use for some period of time. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:20 PM   #42
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Hey guys. I agree & it looks like we are all in consensus about pulling the starter & bench testing it. I'm at work until Saturday, but I will be doing this on Saturday as soon as I've got a few spare moments. Sorry to keep you guys in suspense. Not my intention. Ha ha. Stay tuned for the next episode.
Thanks again for full of your help & interest fellas. It is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:18 PM   #43
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Good Evening all...I had this happen last week. I put a starter back on a car with one bolt that was slightly too long and when I tightened it up it jammed the fly wheel. I thought it was the battery, but then I took a crank and I could not turn the engine with the crank. I took the plugs out and still could not turn the engine over. I took the starter back off and the engine turned over just fine. FINALLY I compared the bolts for the starter and saw that one was too long. I put the starter back on with three short bolts, put the plugs back in, took the crank out and stepped on the starter and the damn thing started! Ernie
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:45 AM   #44
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Ok guys. Sorry for the long delay. I finally had a chance to pull the starter. Took a little bit more than 3 bolts. Ha ha. Had to disconnect to the switch & I also had to remove the coolant neck on the side of the motor. I couldn't get it out without doing so. Oh well. Anyways I finally got it out & tried it again with the "Freshly charged" 6 volt battery I have & it moved about an inch. So then I took it to a 12 volt battery & jumped it & the starter came to life. Spun very smooth, fast, & quite. Looks like it was the battery. So that will be my next purchase. Now I guess I can see if I can get this thing to run.
Thanks again for everyone's help.
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:32 AM   #45
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I remove the oil dipstick, but the coolant inlet should not have to be removed to remove the starter.
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Old 03-04-2018, 09:32 AM   #46
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Are you sure your charger is working well enough?
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Old 03-04-2018, 08:16 PM   #47
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I recently removed the lower water inlet to get a starter out. The starter had what looked like a "modern" bendix that was much larger. Probably could have gotten it out without removing it but didn't want to struggle with it as the block was shot anyhow. Will put the starter on before the water inlet when the engine goes back in.
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Old 03-04-2018, 10:46 PM   #48
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Take the battery to Advance Auto, O'Reilly's etc and they will test it and charge it for free and then give you a reading.
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Old 03-05-2018, 02:25 AM   #49
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Hey guys. I bought a new battery today. Installed it, pushed the couch in, hit the starter button & she turned over a bunch of times. It was the old battery. Weird how my charger would charge it & show fully charged as well as the volt meter showing over 6v. Oh well. It's all water under the bridge now. Time to get some fresh fuel, change the oil, flush the radiator/add coolant, then see if I can get her to fire up. You guys have any other suggestions or things I should do before attempting to start her up? Also, how should I handle or go about cleaning the gas tank.
Thanks for everyone's help.
Josh
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Old 03-05-2018, 11:58 AM   #50
J Franklin
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

I wouldn't add coolant besides water until you are sure the head gasket is sealed properly. In your area it is not real necessary. You can flush fresh gasoline out to see if the tank is dirty. And now you know how assumptions can cause you grief!
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:41 PM   #51
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Hey guys. I've finally had some time to mess with my Coupe today. I finally figured out that the coil was bad. Interestingly enough, whoever had the car 2 owners ago mounted a second coil to th firewall. Not sure why he did this, but as luck would have it the second coil created spark. I put everything back together & tried firing it up. Took a little coaxing, but finally got it to fire & had it running (super rough, but running) for about a min. Turned it off,then I noticed that there was oil or gas that came out of a couple of the spark plug holes. I tried to start it again, with no luck. I think plugs soaked now. Any ideas what would cause this? Any help is always appreciated.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:19 AM   #52
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Easy way for pics:
Click the "blue post reply" lower left bottom of page, when text box opens, in the top middle of the bar you will see a "paperclip" click that, a window will open "manage attachments" click "choose file" then pick your picture, after you picked up to seven pics click the top "upload" on the right hand side of the text box, wait for it to upload.
You must type something, anything into the text box message, scroll down to see "preview post" at bottom of your text box, you should see your message as it will appear when you post, if you like it click "submit reply" to post.
Easy-cheesy
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:47 AM   #53
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Hopefully this pic will post. Said one of the two pics had an error.
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Old 03-27-2018, 06:32 PM   #54
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Picture attempt #2
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_2693.jpg (50.2 KB, 74 views)
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:55 PM   #55
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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Picture attempt #2
Your picture came thru OK. Interesting that they installed head "bolts" instead of the original studs and nuts.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:52 PM   #56
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Check to make sure the metal gasket is on the spark plugs and that they are tight. Probably time for a new set of plugs by the look of it.
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:52 PM   #57
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Have to watch the picture size, if they are to big they wont go
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:42 PM   #58
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Yep. That was it. I was in such a rush to try & start the car after removing the plugs & cleaning them that I forgot to tighten them down. Ughhhhh.
Thanks
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:47 PM   #59
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

So you got the engine running now, yes?
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:51 PM   #60
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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Should I hear something or feel something when I do this. What am I looking for?
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:11 PM   #61
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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Your picture came thru OK. Interesting that they installed head "bolts" instead of the original studs and nuts.
Yes, Definitely NOT the way to go. Bolts use the coarse thread in the block so torquing them to 55 ftlb, won't give the same downward pressure on the head as the finer thread on the top of studs. Unless they are torqued to way more than 55, expect a leaky head gasket.
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:40 PM   #62
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Standard torque for course threaded nuts and bolts is less than fine threads. Which makes me believe that course threads put more pressure on what is being secured. If the bolts holding the where torqued to 55, then it may be over torqued. I’ve wondered why course threaded studs in the block and fine threaded nuts
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:29 PM   #63
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Yes. I got it running. Thats interesting that you guys are talking about the head gasket. I actually noticed some smoke coming out different areas of the head gasket & also seemed like the gasket was bubbling from heat, almost like a gasket wasn't used but instead some kind of tar. I don't know???? I was going to pull the head & install a copper head gasket. Would this be the way to go & also I'm assuming you guys are saying I should replace the bolts with studs & nuts. If that is the case can I replace them with studs & nuts from an 8ba flathead. I just so happen to have a whole flathead motors worth of studs from a flathead I took apart that was bad.
Thanks fellas
Josh
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:38 PM   #64
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

Buy new studs and nuts they are cheap insurance. When placing them just run them into the block slightly snug with some blue LockTight on the threads. When the head is off make sure it is good condition and perfectly flat.
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:55 AM   #65
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Default Re: Getting my 1931 Model A Coupe go start

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Yep. That was it. I was in such a rush to try & start the car after removing the plugs & cleaning them that I forgot to tighten them down. Ughhhhh.
Thanks
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