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Old 05-27-2021, 06:18 AM   #1
Jacksonlll
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Default Don't go changing parts

I just sent this in to MARC, but this may be handy to some Barners.

Donít Start Changing Parts !!!

Far too many Model A owners try to fix their car by simply exchanging parts until their car runs. This is a very long shot and you wonít learn anything.
If your car ran good last week or last month, or even last year, itís probably something simple that needs attention. People put a new carb on, new condenser, and even retime the engine. Those parts did not go bad by just sitting there a few months. The timing did not change. The condenser did not decide to go bad.
If it ran rough when it was put to bed, then you might have other issues, but you have to find out where the problem is, and then fix that.

The easy things to check:
Dirty points: Just slide a business card or thick piece of paper through the point gap with the points closed a few times to get the dirt and dust off of them.
Fouled plugs: Pull out a plug and look at it. If itís black and fuzzy, clean it. Donít put new ones in just because the old ones are fouled. You should clean the fairly often anyway.
Is the carb getting fuel? Hit the starter while giving it a little choke, then stick your thumb into the carb near the choke butterfly and if it comes out wet, fuel is probably not the problem. Remember; 90% of all fuel problems are really ignition problems. Just an old saying. If you do pull out a dry thumb, then chase it down until the fuel is flowing.
Quick check of the electrical circuits: Honk your horn. If no Ahooga, then your fuse is probably blow or missing. Same thing with the lights. Try them. If that is OK, you do have power going into your system.
Take your simple test light, (You better have one of these), and connect one end to ground and touch the other end to both terminals of the terminal box. Both should light your test light. If not, chase it down. The problem is the ammeter or itís connections. Touch both terminals on the coil. With the key off, you should have power to both sides. If not, you are zeroing in on your problem. Somewhere between the ignition switch and the passenger side of the coil is touching ground.
Turn the key on and open your points and block them open with a stick or piece of paper. You should have power at the movable point arm. If not, then your problem is between the driverís side of the coil and the point arm. Could be the ignition switch or a loose connection. If not, the circuit leading to the points is open. Power is not getting from the passenger side of the coil to the point arm.
If the open circuit is within the distributor, things get a little more complicated, but you know where the problem is.
If all is OK to this point, close the points. If the cam will not let the points close all the way and make contact, then rotate the engine until they do close. Put the car in third gear and roll the car a bit. This will ground the circuit all the way to the passenger side of the coil. You should not have power to the point arm or the passenger side of the coil. Remember; key on and points closed.
Play with this with a wiring diagram in front of you to help you understand what is going on, or call someone and start asking questions. Ask a club member, and if there is no club near you, join one as an out-of-state member. Join Oakleaf Region. We all need someone we can call and help us with our cars.
The Model A engine wants to start and run. Get things correct and let it run.

Some cruel things that can shut you down:
These things stump the experts:
Intake air leak at the manifold-to-engine, or the carb-to-manifold. This happens when you are pretty sure you have fuel and spark. Spray a little starter fluid around these joints as you try to start it, or when it is idling rough. Make sure those four manifold nuts and the two carb screws are snugged up. Easy fix if this is the problem.

Corrosion between the Battery cable fitting and the wire, itself. This is a crimped joint and can fool you. It will light your test light or show continuity, but it canít handle heavy current.
Ammeter: An ammeter can have an intermittent open circuit. Donít trust it to be good.
Fuse holder on top of the starter. These are put together with small aluminum rivets that can easily loosen up and cause an intermittent open circuit. Take it off and use an in-line fuse.
Circuit from the ignition switch to the distributor can be shorted to ground. If it is screwed in too far, it can become grounded, or it can have a short in the end fitting that screws into the distributor. Very hard to find.
Internal short within the modern point set. A lot goes on keeping things from shorting on this small part. A lot of little pieces that keep things apart. Hard to find.
Inline fuel filter. Just be aware that some filters need some pressure to push the fuel through. Test it. Make sure it is free flowing.
Jack Bahm Oakleaf 2021
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Old 05-27-2021, 06:47 AM   #2
jayvee34
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Lots of good info and suggestions.

John
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Old 05-27-2021, 06:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksonlll View Post
I just sent this in to MARC, but this may be handy to some Barners.

Donít Start Changing Parts !!!

Far too many Model A owners try to fix their car by simply exchanging parts until their car runs. This is a very long shot and you wonít learn anything.
If your car ran good last week or last month, or even last year, itís probably something simple that needs attention. People put a new carb on, new condenser, and even retime the engine. Those parts did not go bad by just sitting there a few months. The timing did not change. The condenser did not decide to go bad.
If it ran rough when it was put to bed, then you might have other issues, but you have to find out where the problem is, and then fix that.

The easy things to check:
Dirty points: Just slide a business card or thick piece of paper through the point gap with the points closed a few times to get the dirt and dust off of them.
Fouled plugs: Pull out a plug and look at it. If itís black and fuzzy, clean it. Donít put new ones in just because the old ones are fouled. You should clean the fairly often anyway.
Is the carb getting fuel? Hit the starter while giving it a little choke, then stick your thumb into the carb near the choke butterfly and if it comes out wet, fuel is probably not the problem. Remember; 90% of all fuel problems are really ignition problems. Just an old saying. If you do pull out a dry thumb, then chase it down until the fuel is flowing.
Quick check of the electrical circuits: Honk your horn. If no Ahooga, then your fuse is probably blow or missing. Same thing with the lights. Try them. If that is OK, you do have power going into your system.
Take your simple test light, (You better have one of these), and connect one end to ground and touch the other end to both terminals of the terminal box. Both should light your test light. If not, chase it down. The problem is the ammeter or itís connections. Touch both terminals on the coil. With the key off, you should have power to both sides. If not, you are zeroing in on your problem. Somewhere between the ignition switch and the passenger side of the coil is touching ground.
Turn the key on and open your points and block them open with a stick or piece of paper. You should have power at the movable point arm. If not, then your problem is between the driverís side of the coil and the point arm. Could be the ignition switch or a loose connection. If not, the circuit leading to the points is open. Power is not getting from the passenger side of the coil to the point arm.
If the open circuit is within the distributor, things get a little more complicated, but you know where the problem is.
If all is OK to this point, close the points. If the cam will not let the points close all the way and make contact, then rotate the engine until they do close. Put the car in third gear and roll the car a bit. This will ground the circuit all the way to the passenger side of the coil. You should not have power to the point arm or the passenger side of the coil. Remember; key on and points closed.
Play with this with a wiring diagram in front of you to help you understand what is going on, or call someone and start asking questions. Ask a club member, and if there is no club near you, join one as an out-of-state member. Join Oakleaf Region. We all need someone we can call and help us with our cars.
The Model A engine wants to start and run. Get things correct and let it run.

Some cruel things that can shut you down:
These things stump the experts:
Intake air leak at the manifold-to-engine, or the carb-to-manifold. This happens when you are pretty sure you have fuel and spark. Spray a little starter fluid around these joints as you try to start it, or when it is idling rough. Make sure those four manifold nuts and the two carb screws are snugged up. Easy fix if this is the problem.

Corrosion between the Battery cable fitting and the wire, itself. This is a crimped joint and can fool you. It will light your test light or show continuity, but it canít handle heavy current.
Ammeter: An ammeter can have an intermittent open circuit. Donít trust it to be good.
Fuse holder on top of the starter. These are put together with small aluminum rivets that can easily loosen up and cause an intermittent open circuit. Take it off and use an in-line fuse.
Circuit from the ignition switch to the distributor can be shorted to ground. If it is screwed in too far, it can become grounded, or it can have a short in the end fitting that screws into the distributor. Very hard to find.
Internal short within the modern point set. A lot goes on keeping things from shorting on this small part. A lot of little pieces that keep things apart. Hard to find.
Inline fuel filter. Just be aware that some filters need some pressure to push the fuel through. Test it. Make sure it is free flowing.
Jack Bahm Oakleaf 2021
Great advice. I tell people the same thing all the time. Even cars stored for years will come right to life. Gas, points, and plugs, first place to check if your baby wonít wake up.

Enjoy.
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Old 05-27-2021, 07:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Listen to what this man says, he is a true professional! Wayne
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Old 05-27-2021, 07:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

That's solid advice. One of the worst things a person can do is start firing the parts cannon at a car. At best you've potentially wasted money. At worst you've covered over a deeper problem.
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:04 AM   #6
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In the trade its called finding the root cause of an issue. Proper troubleshooting is how you find the root cause.
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Will print this and put it in my map pocket. Thank You Jack. Always enjoy your thoughts.
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Old 05-27-2021, 09:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Quote:
Even cars stored for years will come right to life.
Maybe they will and maybe not, sometimes the condensors die from old age. BTST.
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Old 05-27-2021, 10:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

One small thing in defense of changing parts: if you have the parts on hand, like if you have a spare distributor or carb on hand that's "known good," then that can be a good way to rapidly rule out components as the source of the problem.

This is how IT troubleshooting is done all the time – you swap or shift around major components until the problem goes away. Then you look more closely at whatever you ID'ed as the problem.

I think the OP's point is that people often are buying new parts, swapping them out, buying another new part, etc., and then never circling back to work out exactly what was wrong.
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Old 05-27-2021, 11:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Excellent!
Easy to assume, but guessing is not a good problem solver.
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Old 05-27-2021, 12:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

There is a lot of good advice in there. This would make a very nice "cheat sheet" to keep in the car.

Ken
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Old 05-27-2021, 01:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

In the 1930's and beyond a favorite slogan which would help sell good tool testing equipment was "Test, Don't Guess"
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Old 05-27-2021, 04:28 PM   #13
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

I didnít notice the name of the poster as I started reading this thread, and, as I continued reading, I started to think, ďWow, this sounds like the advice of Jack Balm.Ē Sure enough, heís the author. Lol

There was a recent post about keeping a jack in the box. For me, this is the Jack I want to keep in my toolbox. He has helped me through problems a number of times.

Thanks, Jack.


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Old 05-28-2021, 07:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

'Parts Changers' is what I call dealers nowadays.
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Old 05-28-2021, 01:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

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Originally Posted by 1928Mik View Post
'Parts Changers' is what I call dealers nowadays.

Some garages have been that way as long as I can remember. Itís somewhat akin to going to a doctor. You hope for the cure, but sometimes itís just visit after visit.


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Old 05-28-2021, 09:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Jackson,smart man and a wonderful educator! I love his videos on YouTube as well!
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Old 05-29-2021, 03:38 AM   #17
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Jack, thank you for being you.

Keep up the great, informative work you do with this hobby.
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Old 05-29-2021, 10:11 AM   #18
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Agreed. Find the problem, then fix it. I was born in a dealership parts room. My mother didn't make it to the hospital and this was how I was taught by family and everyone else in the shop starting before I could walk.
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:26 AM   #19
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Default Re: Don't go changing parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksonlll View Post
I just sent this in to MARC, but this may be handy to some Barners.
Who's MARC?
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:52 AM   #20
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I totally agree.
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