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Author: Subject: Is my starter knackered (video)?
Stuart Walker

posted on 23/1/22 at 07:54 PM Reply With Quote
Is my starter knackered (video)?

Hi all,

If you can tell the difference between a knackered XFlow inertia starter (Lucas M35J) and a good one could you do me a favour and see if this one looks OK?

https://youtu.be/DJIo4GoCkJQ

I'm going round in circles trying to get the Locost running - It's got fuel, compression and spark but it won't start and every time I change something it makes no difference!
If I turn it over on the starter then add some throttle the starter slows right down. Stripped and cleaned it today and it looks OK on the bench to me, but would appreciate expert opinions. In the car sometimes it doesn't turn when I press the button, the solenoid just clicks. I've tried connecting it directly to battery with jump leads, and tried starting using a booster and jumping off a car with running engine - hardly any difference. The solenoid and cables get warm after a period of trying to start, but that seems normal to me. Any other thoughts if the starter looks OK?

Thought I might be on the road this summer

Thanks in advance

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Stuart Walker

posted on 23/1/22 at 08:00 PM Reply With Quote
If that link doesn't work I think this one does (might need copying and pasting). Thanks again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJIo4GoCkJQ

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gremlin1234

posted on 23/1/22 at 08:08 PM Reply With Quote
looks ok, but check the engine 'earthing'.

edit, hopefully starterman will see this, and he is in your part of the country

[Edited on 23/1/22 by gremlin1234]

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Stuart Walker

posted on 23/1/22 at 08:24 PM Reply With Quote
OK thanks very much, I've tried with a jump lead from the engine earth to the battery but not since I fettled the starter today. I'll give that a go when I next get out there.

Cheers - Starterman sounds like someone I should speak to!

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daviep

posted on 23/1/22 at 08:26 PM Reply With Quote
Have you checked ignition timing? Possibly too much advance causing starter not to be able to overcome the firing stroke.





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gremlin1234

posted on 23/1/22 at 08:54 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by daviep
Have you checked ignition timing? Possibly too much advance causing starter not to be able to overcome the firing stroke.

that's certainly a possibility too, so if it fires it try's to run backwards.

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Stuart Walker

posted on 23/1/22 at 10:21 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks. I THINK the timing is OK - timing light says 10 deg BTDC which I think is about right for static (?). I moved the dizzy a bit each way while trying but I can only get maybe 2 degrees each way while it's running because the cap hits the inlet manifold or the chassis rail. I can take it off and adjust more though if 10 degrees is wrong.

The starter really slows down when I open the throttle - would you expect this or does that suggest it's too far advanced like you say? I did wonder if the valve timing might be doing something like that but I reset those (using the rule of 9 thing) and it didn't change.

quote:
Originally posted by daviep
Have you checked ignition timing? Possibly too much advance causing starter not to be able to overcome the firing stroke.

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David Jenkins

posted on 24/1/22 at 09:27 AM Reply With Quote
I'd check every part of the electrical circuit (if you haven't already!). Wire-brush every part - earth post, terminal, solenoid terminals, starter motor terminal, and don't forget the strap that goes between the engine block and the chassis (very important).

But, of course, you might have already done this...





The older I get, the better I was...

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Stuart Walker

posted on 24/1/22 at 10:25 AM Reply With Quote
Thanks David. I have done, but I'll do it again and check.
Thanks all for the suggestions, I'll hopefully get back out there tonight between work and dog training class!

quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
I'd check every part of the electrical circuit (if you haven't already!). Wire-brush every part - earth post, terminal, solenoid terminals, starter motor terminal, and don't forget the strap that goes between the engine block and the chassis (very important).

But, of course, you might have already done this...

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number-1

posted on 24/1/22 at 05:42 PM Reply With Quote
Post deleted as i didnt read the question properly lol

[Edited on 24/1/22 by number-1]

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number-1

posted on 24/1/22 at 05:46 PM Reply With Quote
You say it has fuel.....but does it have enough fuel? Is there a FPR fitted? Might be worth fitting one to make sure or spray WD40 or something similar into the carbs and see if the note changes
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Stuart Walker

posted on 24/1/22 at 07:18 PM Reply With Quote
I think it does. It's got a filter king and a gauge, set to about 2.5 PSI which I read somewhere (the Peter and Valerie Wallage book I think) should be roughly correct. That said the carb jetting is almost certainly wrong, but I can't do much with that till it runs.

I'm off to the garage to wire brush everything and try all the advice you all suggested. Thanks!

quote:
Originally posted by number-1
You say it has fuel.....but does it have enough fuel? Is there a FPR fitted? Might be worth fitting one to make sure or spray WD40 or something similar into the carbs and see if the note changes

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Dingz

posted on 24/1/22 at 11:53 PM Reply With Quote
Possibly a silly comment but have you got the firing order correct? I seem to remember cross flows are slightly unusual.





Phoned the local ramblers club today, but the bloke who answered just
went on and on.

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Stuart Walker

posted on 25/1/22 at 07:49 AM Reply With Quote
Yes they are 1243 and again I have checked and double and triple checked, but will check again! Also replaced the HT leads just in case (shame as the old ones were really nice red ones and the new ones are boring grey).

I got as far as taking the battery - to chassis cable off last night and wire brushing the engine end, then the dog was sent home early from dog training so I had to give up Try again tonight... I miss working from home when you could do an hour at lunchtime! Thanks again all for your help.

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BenB

posted on 25/1/22 at 10:00 AM Reply With Quote
Just a thought but could the issue be too much fuel (IE flooding and hydrolocking) rather than too little? That would certainly cause the starter to seize up. I'd be tempting to clamp off the fuel supply and try it and see if that helps any. If it does that's the issue. I may be miles off but that could potentially cause the throttle application to cause it to seize up.
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number-1

posted on 25/1/22 at 05:08 PM Reply With Quote
Personally, i would pull the plugs and see what condition they are in. Clean them up or replace then start firing the car up with higher fuel pressure and winding it down until it fires...or vice versa
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britishtrident

posted on 25/1/22 at 09:19 PM Reply With Quote
Nothing to do with anything above it is a well known issue that has been around since hand crank starting and kick-starting motor bikes.

It is caused by too much static ignition advance the spark occurs too early at cranking speed and engine is trying to run backwards fighting the starter.

Retard the static ignition timing and it will start.
After you know you get it running you can figure out how to sort out your ignition advance curve





[I] What use our work, Bennet, if we cannot care for those we love? .
― From BBC TV/Amazon's Ripper Street.
[/I]

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Stuart Walker

posted on 26/1/22 at 07:48 AM Reply With Quote
After a bit more wire brushing I took two plugs out last night and retarded the ignition, it sounded very close to starting when I ran out of time! I'll clean the plugs and see if I can get a little more distributor rotation next, then hopefully it will go. I don't think I've flooded it but I'll see what the plugs look like.

Perhaps my mark at 10 deg isn't correct - think I remember once reading somewhere here that they can marked to +/-5 degrees accuracy?

Thanks

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mcerd1

posted on 26/1/22 at 10:08 AM Reply With Quote
you mentioned that the dizzy cap was hitting the manifold - what kind of cap do you have ?

is it a 90 one like this: (these are meant to be the solution for this issue)
https://www.burtonpower.com/distributor-cap-side-entry-bosch-ford-x-flow-sohc-pinto-45830.html


what cam are you running in this / how sure are you that the cam timing is good ?



quote:
Originally posted by Stuart Walker
Perhaps my mark at 10 deg isn't correct - think I remember once reading somewhere here that they can marked to +/-5 degrees accuracy?


easy enough to check, simplest way to get it spot on is with a piston stop like this:


You can make one out of an old sparkplug - I did but was a PITA to get the old porcelain out then I found the steel was too hard to cut new threads in (at least with normal taps) so I had to heat it up and temper it too - so basically the ~10 it costs to buy one is worth it

then you just need a degree wheel (the bigger the better, but the cheap plastic ones that come with cams will be fine - you can do it without one but why make it harder)
and a bit of wire to bend up and make a pointer (bit of coat hanger or tig / gas filler rod is ideal)

then all you need to do is:
1- disconnect the battery (cause accidentally hitting the starter would be a very bad day in the middle of this)
2- remove all the plugs (to make turning it easy)
3- fit the degree wheel and pointer (get the pointer aimed so that your approx. TDC is close to 0 on the wheel )
4- then thread the stop into No1
5- very slowly turn the engine over by hand until the piston hits the stop (should be a few degrees before TDC)
6- mark this position on the degree wheel
7- turn the engine over backwards until it hits the stop from the other side
8- mark this on the degree wheel
9- exactly half way between these marks is true TDC (even allowing for dwell and clearance/backlash in the bearings)
10- remove the stop
11- turn the engine until its the pointer is exactly at this new 'half way' mark (don't worry what number it reads on the degree wheel yet)
12- without moving the crank or degree wheel bend the pointer until its reading exactly 0

now you've got a perfect true TDC on the degree wheel that you can use to check all other marks or even the valve timing if you've got a dial gauge





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britishtrident

posted on 26/1/22 at 07:32 PM Reply With Quote
Ford distributors of that era only had 10 degrees of centrifugal advance as a result the engines used more static advance than typical engines of the era which had anywhere between 12.5 and 16 degrees centrifugal advance built into the distributor.
Over the miles distributors wear the springs stretch and get sloppy the result is too much advance at cranking speed even if the timing was correct statically and at high rpm.





[I] What use our work, Bennet, if we cannot care for those we love? .
― From BBC TV/Amazon's Ripper Street.
[/I]

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Stuart Walker

posted on 26/1/22 at 10:10 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks again everyone, so much useful information! I can't get out there for long enough to try it all but I've now got a long list of your suggestions on the garage wall. Been trying again tonight and with two plugs out I got it to almost start by moving the distributor, so I think the ignition timing is close but the marks are out. I think with a bit more fuel it would've gone. I do have an angled cap but it's still tight.
I'm wondering if low pressure or old fuel is what's stopping it now, I'll crank up the pressure a bit tomorrow and get new fuel at the weekend.

The original starter problem seems to be resolved after cleaning it up and wire brushing the earths so that's great, thanks. Now I just need to work through normal compression, fuel and spark to get it running again. It has run before so I think the cam timing is OK, though to be honest I know nothing about the cam. The engine has a lightened flywheel but otherwise standard, so I think it was a standard Ford cam. Compression is also OK so fuel and ignition. I need it running to set up the carbs but need enough fuel to get it running!

I'm going to get one of those plug TDC tools and mark the pulley properly for future, thanks for the detailed instructions!
Hopefully I'll have a noisy garage by Sunday night, thanks everyone

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Stuart Walker

posted on 29/1/22 at 10:54 PM Reply With Quote
OK... Piston stop made (shops nearby didn't have one and I didn't want to wait for an online order) and used this morning - the original timing marks actually seem fine. However the valve clearances were way off - I think I had misunderstood the rule of 9 when I set them so messed them up. Got it now. Anyway, ignition and valves now all correct but it was too late to try starting tonight, so fingers crossed for tomorrow!
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gremlin1234

posted on 29/1/22 at 11:01 PM Reply With Quote
I think that is progress, I hope you put the battery on charge overnight too
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Stuart Walker

posted on 29/1/22 at 11:59 PM Reply With Quote
Battery and booster both charging
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BenB

posted on 30/1/22 at 09:01 AM Reply With Quote
Fingers crossed!
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