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  1. #1
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    Default Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions?

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    1949 8N with front distributor that has been converted to 12V and not by me. I am somewhat mechanical but don't know much about carbs, distributors, points, etc. I have done lots of searching and am wondering if I am on the right path.

    Symptoms -- Tractor was working fine and then recently I was having issues with the tractor taking longer to start (which has led me to running down the battery a few times and needing to be charged) and randomly shutting off while in use. This is in Michigan and previous to these issues it would fire up strongly even when 0 degrees outside. I thought I was having issues with my points or distributor because it would run for 15 to 30 minutes and shut off and be impossible to start again for a few hours, but this last time it has been 2 days and I *still* cannot get it to start. A few days ago while it was running if I tried plowing too much snow the engine would spit and almost stall unless I put the clutch in and let it run for a few minutes. This usually resolved itself although once or twice the tractor shut off with a backfire.

    Short version of troubleshooting:
    - Gas tank is 3/4 full with new gas
    - Gas knob has been tried rotated to 2 turns and all the way
    - Tractor will keep turning over until battery dies without firing
    - Jumped wires on ignition switch
    - Checked one spark plug and it was getting spark while cranking (held close to engine block while cranking)
    - Carb fast drips (almost pours) gas after trying to start while choking for too long -- check the single plug I can remove (on the side of the road) and no gas is on the plug
    - Poured small amount of gas into the engine after taking out the spark plug -- with it being jumped it will fire once or twice but that is it
    - Tried starting while jump starting without pouring gas into spark plug hole -- no dice
    - Tried starting while being towed for ~1 mile -- would putter and almost start but when I put the clutch in to let it run on it's own it would die.

    My buddy helping me tow figures that it isn't getting gas -- the one spark plug I could get out is not soaked in gas and towing it will not jump start it even though it was producing a spark.

    My tentative next steps were going to be to put in new spark plugs and maybe put in some carb cleaner or something?

    Any help or tips would be appreciated. I don't have a garage, have limited tools, and it is cold outside but I will try my best to follow any advice you all have. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Star Member murphy1244's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    Hopefully I bumped you up and Sound Guy can help you out.

  3. #3
    Super Member 94BULLITT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    Welcome to the fourm.

    When you had the plug out how did it look?

    Try shooting some carb cleaner, starting fliud or gas in the carb and see if it will fire.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    Thanks for the help! The plug looked used but was not blackened by soot or anything.

    I have been shooting starting fluid into the carb quite a few times and it never seemed to have an effect. Does starting fluid congeal or anything if not used or if it is cold?

  5. #5
    Super Member 94BULLITT's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PorkChopsMmm View Post
    Thanks for the help! The plug looked used but was not blackened by soot or anything.

    I have been shooting starting fluid into the carb quite a few times and it never seemed to have an effect. Does starting fluid congeal or anything if not used or if it is cold?
    Was there any gas on the plug?
    Try hand choking it. Open the the throttle all the way and put your hand over the carb inlet and crank it with the key off. If you get gas on your hand you have fuel getting to it, if you don't you aren't getting fuel.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member mehig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    Has your tractor been changed over to a 12 volt system. If so there may be a rectifer voltage regulator between the distributor and power supply. It's basically a circuit that steps down the voltage for the distributor...if you have one it will most likely be a rectangle white ceramic box between the hot wire from your ignition switch to the distributor.

  7. #7
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    forget changing plugs.. and forget the add to the tank carb cleaner.

    test her on start fluid.. if she starts and runs on start fluid.. cleant he carb.

    quickie clean is to take fual line off, and bottom drain plug out.. use carb spray with stray ( watch eyes ) and give a quick few shots into the hole gas line goes in thru elbow.

    unscrew main needle.. give shots in there.. reseat needle, open 2 turns.

    put fuel line back on. open valve.. see what type of flow you get out bottom.. if a stream.. add plug and try starting.

    post back

    try it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by 94BULLITT View Post
    Was there any gas on the plug?
    Try hand choking it. Open the the throttle all the way and put your hand over the carb inlet and crank it with the key off. If you get gas on your hand you have fuel getting to it, if you don't you aren't getting fuel.
    I took the battery out to charge it, so I can't try it now, but I think that fuel would come out because I forgot to turn the key on once and while cranking it fuel was coming out fast from the carb.

    Quote Originally Posted by mehig View Post
    Has your tractor been changed over to a 12 volt system. If so there may be a rectifer voltage regulator between the distributor and power supply. It's basically a circuit that steps down the voltage for the distributor...if you have one it will most likely be a rectangle white ceramic box between the hot wire from your ignition switch to the distributor.
    It has been changed over to 12V. Would this rectifier going bad make it not start... or even tow-start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    forget changing plugs.. and forget the add to the tank carb cleaner.

    test her on start fluid.. if she starts and runs on start fluid.. cleant he carb.

    quickie clean is to take fual line off, and bottom drain plug out.. use carb spray with stray ( watch eyes ) and give a quick few shots into the hole gas line goes in thru elbow.

    unscrew main needle.. give shots in there.. reseat needle, open 2 turns.

    put fuel line back on. open valve.. see what type of flow you get out bottom.. if a stream.. add plug and try starting.

    post back

    try it.
    Thanks Sound Guy. I will try tomorrow night since I am charging the battery now. I did try spraying starter fluid into the air inlet of the carb -- didn't seem to help. I just picked up some carb cleaner so I will spray some in the gas line hole and main needle tonight.

    Does letting the carb cleaner sit in there overnight harm anything? If I spray it in there tonight I won't be able to start it until tomorrow night.

    My (N)Everstart battery is ~5 months old from Walmart but when trying to crank it so much it seems to be loosing juice fast. I want to try and get it topped off before trying to start again.

  9. #9
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    still i see a few problems.

    a 12v car battery that goes dead that fast trying to start is just that.. a DEAD battery. I suspect you are not charging it up nearly enough..a nd / or the tractor charge system is not operating.

    carb cleaner flashes off quickly.. like in seconds..

    so far you have said it has spark, yet you said it won't pop on start fluid.

    that's a mutually exclusive evennt.

    if it does not pop on start fluid.. then it doens't have spark.

    PS.. there is no recitifier circuit as mentioned between the 'power' supply' and the dizzy.

    this isn't a ufo.. it's a late 30's technology implementation from the kettering ignition system that was already old when the N was thought of.

    a 12v converted front mount needs a 12v battery, and either.. a 12v / 2.5 ohgm coil AND the oem ballast resistor onthe dash.. OR the oem 1 ohm 6v coil, AND the OEM ballast resistor onthe dash AND a converting resistor.. usually a 8ne10306 or other .5 to .8 ohm resistor will do.

    without those the coil can overheat and or the points can burn.

    post back

  10. #10
    Super Member 94BULLITT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ford 8N having trouble starting -- many troubleshooting steps take -- suggestions

    Why don't you leave your charger on while you are cranking it over

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