Sign in to follow this  
JB-ed

1911 AB will not start --advice needed

Recommended Posts

1911 Runabout went into the garage running well last fall. Now she will not start. Drained old gas, put in fresh gas. New battery. But no spark at plugs, indicated by laying plugs on engine casting or checking for spark by holding plug wire away from top of plug. I get 6 volts from battery cables to terminals on top of Splitdorf box. 6 volts between top and bottom terminals on Splitdorf box. Ohm meter indicates points are opening and closing. Cleaned and gapped plug points. Yes, I am flipping the switch from "off" to "batt." What am I missing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you tried putting a little fuel in each cylinder?  If it fires but will not run that indicates a fuel supply issue.   

The next things I would be checking are coil and condenser.  Are you running the original Splitdorfs.  Many of us have now fitted the 6V Harley Davidson coil and a modern condenser.  its easy enough to temporarily wire in a new coil and condense as a trial.

Attached is rough schematic of how mine is wired.

Let us know what you find.  

 

img-190626234423-001.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Yes we tried gas directly in each cylinder; also starting fluid. Cleaned the plugs, checked gaps. However there is definitely no spark at all. I will explore the ground connections next. The previous owner provided a Harley coil in the package box on the rear deck, so I am ahead of the game.

What do you use as the "switch" between your battery and mag in your setup?  Do you somehow wire in the original?  A little help in that direction would be appreciated.  Thanks for the response so far.

I am a bit dismayed that parking the car for about six months could cause so much trouble. I have only owned the car about nine months. Previous owner died, so I bought it from his widow who knows nothing about it. It started right up when I bought it after sitting for at least ten years untouched.

Thanks so much for your reply.

Edited by JB-ed (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The original coil condenser has been removed from my coil box so I have the Harley Davidson coil inside the original box and use the original switch wired as shown on my sketch.  I have the condenser attached to the magneto alongside the connection to the points , it can also go in the box if preferred. 

Have you measured volts at the points terminal, mine can be hard to start if there is anything less than 6v at the points, more is better eg 6.5v. if its say 5.9v and it can be hard to start.

I have had mine show spark with a plug removed and resting on the cylinder but it would not start so I believe it did not have enough voltage to jump the plug gap, under compression.

I made a spark tester (see below) by welding an old plug to a small steel plate with an adjustable gap.  Mine will jump about 3/8" maybe more but I did not want to risk shorting in the coil windings.  If yours will jump say 1/4" -3/8"  then I would say its not a spark issue.

For a test with the new HD coil you can simply sit the coil on the floor and run temporary wires bypassing the everything.  One side of the coil to the battery, battery to earth, the other to the points and a pair of high tension leads to the plugs.   I would also connect a new condenser to the points terminal, the size does not seem to matter , they are not voltage specific.

Stay with it, I have been there!  

 

 


 

Spark tester.JPG

Edited by DavidMc (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking it's a low-amp battery delivering inadequate power to the plugs. I will work on this this weekend and get back to you. Thank you so very much.

This car is so very original....original Splitdorf with instructions still glued to the lid. Original battery box with compartment divided for dry cells, with instructions still glued to the lid.. Someone replaced all the wiring, possibly in the late 1950s, early 1960s, when this car seems to have been restored.  It may need refreshing by now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was the original Splitdorf coil. We substituted a Harley coil, observed a strong spark, and the engine started immediately. I have removed the coil box from the dash and now will check out the innards to see what's up. Short of finding some obvious misconnections, it looks like the original coil material will be swapped for a modern Harley coil. I hate to do this --the car is so original-- but 110 years is a long time for a poor old coil to survive.

 

Thanks very much, David Mc, for your help and drawings.

 

The car also needs new tubes and tires, so I suppose my next post will be seeking help with clincher rims. My previous experience is with 1920s Dodge Brothers cars, so this early stuff is all new to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's good news and an easy fix.  Thanks for the update.   I have never seen an original coil, my coil box had been stripped and the Harley coil along with a new condenser, fitted by the previous owner. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this