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A friend working on a 1916 Chevy says it won't fire. What to check?


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I have a friend working on a 1916 Chevy.  He says he can't get it to fire.  I'm helping him remotely , so pretty much blindly, and just want to know what I should tell him to check?  I haven't had a chance to really talk to him yet but aside from points obviously, are there any particular things to make sure are good and clean? I've never worked on anything older than 1930.  I don't think this car has ran in atleast 40 years, possibly even the 1950's.  

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From what was relayed he sprayed gas directly in the carb with no luck.  I have to talk to him directly (I was given the wrong phone number) to see what else he has done. I should be getting that later today.  I just wanted to know if there was anything different with a 16 than say a 1930 car ignition wise. 

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Assuming it has Kettering (points, condenser, coil) ignition, it should be basically  similar to the '30s era system,    but I am not a Chevrolet guy.

I think a lot is going to depend on the condition it was in when it was last run.

Seems like theres some risk of damage in 'just starting it up'.

 

 

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Unfortunately Sounds like they have been trying to start it, so any damage to the rotating assembly vale train is most likely already done if it was at all stuck.  I vaguely know the car and have seen it once.  I remember the valve train at that time was generously lubricated and I believe he turned it over occasionally. 

 

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Valve stuck open? Should be easy to check on a 1916 ohv Chevy. Electrical connections are common failures on cars that have sat for a long time. Having worked professionally in electronics and trouble shooting, I LOVE my volt/ohm meter! However, using one and explaining HOW to use one are two entirely different things!

Another one that surprises a lot of people? Mud-dauber nests in the intake manifold. Can drive a person crazy. And short of removing and looking? Often not easy to diagnose.

Always tough to help from a distance. Good luck!

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When did it run last?   My vote is stuck valves, followed by ignition.  Spark should be easy to test.

 

My first old car ride was in a green and black 1916 Chevrolet touring car, is it near Three Lakes WI?  That was at least 30 years ago, would love to own that car someday, no idea where it is today.

 

Looked like this but green body

 

image.png.dcb823304571e8cac3451ede7d6e3c29.png

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I will pass along the info when I hear from him.  It's easier if I was working on it myself as I would do the diagnosing,  just like I do whenever I have a problem as I could actually see the thing.  Not having it in front of me, makes it a little harder. 

Thanks for the info. 

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I finally heard back from my friend.  

He did have the car running for about 25 seconds prior to calling me.  He shut it off to do something, not related to the problem and it wouldn't fire again.  

The coil is not giving any fire.  The three posts on the top are hot but he can't get any spark out of the side terminal that feeds the distributor.  The wire was pretty much bare and he taped it up,  but it may be shorting internally? 

Can the coil be serviced?  If not by him,  is there someone that rebuilds them?  If not,  are there original style replacements available? If not that,  can and how could a more modern coil be hooked up?  I saw a picture on Google images of a 1916 Chevy at Volo I believe that looked like they were using a modern coil. 

I couldn't really find any good images of an original coil. If someone has one,  please feel free to post it so we have a visual.  I'm not near the car,  it's over an hour away,  so I don't have a photo of it. 

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Attached is a scan from the 490 parts book. Seems there were two Connecticut coils, a single primary lead and a double primary lead. The most common coil is the Remy,as found on my '21. I have no idea if a modern coil could be made to work.

490 Chevy coils.jpg

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)
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56 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

Does anyone on here own a 1916 Chevy or similar car? 

My 1915 Russell has a Connecticut ignition system (6 cyl).  The previous owner converted it to a modern style coil which works fine.  Here are pictures of the original coil and the adapted coil.

Peter

 

coil1.jpg.b040952811146000e180401054d8a55b.jpg

 

coil2.jpg.27aa667b2ff74bb8f29d02ad74948152.jpg

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6 hours ago, PFindlay said:

My 1915 Russell has a Connecticut ignition system (6 cyl).  The previous owner converted it to a modern style coil which works fine.  Here are pictures of the original coil and the adapted coil.

Peter

 

coil1.jpg.b040952811146000e180401054d8a55b.jpg

 

coil2.jpg.27aa667b2ff74bb8f29d02ad74948152.jpg

I can't quite tell where the wires go once they leave the coil on the modern setup.  Can you tell me where they are hooked?  Thanks for the photo,  Randy

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1 hour ago, auburnseeker said:

I can't quite tell where the wires go once they leave the coil on the modern setup.  Can you tell me where they are hooked?  Thanks for the photo,  Randy

The heavy brown wire on the left (pos) side of the coil is the hot wire.  It runs back up through the wiring loom to the switch on the dash.

 

The  orange-ish wire on the right (neg) side of the coil goes to the points (at the base of the distributor).

 

The condenser is grounded by its mounting screw and connects across to the negative side of the coil.

 

The centre terminal on the coil is your high tension lead which goes to the centre of the distributor cap.

 

 

Peter

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10 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

Thanks.  I'll pass it along so he can wire up the later coil he has to get it running.  They can worry about authenticity later if desired. 


We had a ‘15 Baby Grand years ago and I can tell you that the original coils are out there as we managed to find a spare or two but let them go with the car, and because of the year or two looking way back then I still recognize them at swap meets from time to time. 
 

20 years ago good tested units with the switch attached brought about $600 bucks. 

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