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  #1  
Old 07-16-2013, 06:30 AM
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Question for the 226 flathead six experts

A couple of weeks ago a '48 F4 on a trailer followed me home. It had been in a barn for a decade or four, not started. Everything is intact, air cleaner, wires routed neatly, etc. Doesn't appear to have been messed with. The engine will turn. I thought I might be able to get it started, so I rebuilt the carb, installed a new fuel pump, replaced points, plugs, condenser, coil, and distributor cap.
I have fuel and spark but have yet been unable to get it to fire. It will backfire through the exhaust just a bit, but that's it. I once had an old Bronco (1966, 170-6) that was finicky and sometimes when slow to start would respond well to a bump up in the timing, so I would turn the distributor up a bit to get it to fire up. Tried that with this one and it didn't help.
It's possible a valve (or two) could be stuck, but I can't imagine that one or two would prevent it from starting and at least trying to run. I have not yet checked compression, but it has good suction through the carb when turning over.
Do you flathead experts have any ideas?
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:11 AM
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I would start with a compression test.

That being said, try putting a little oil in each cylinder to help seal up the rings. Sitting for a long time could have let them dry out. If it got flooded before your carb overhaul the raw gas can wash away the oil on the rings along with the seal that the oil provides.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:13 PM
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I have seen several engines that would not start from the starter after sitting for years. The solution was to get brakes to work and then pull start.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:31 PM
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I assume it is still 6V. If so, hit the starter with 12V directly to the post. It might spin fast enough to build enough compression to start. This will also take the load off the six volt battery where it can provide more power to the ignition.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:34 PM
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Just as Ray said, get it to spin with 12 volt to build compression. I've done this with engine that wouldn't start on 6 volt. Once the engine got warm enough the rings expanded and it would start with 6 volt.

Another 226 engine I had sounded a lot like yours, it turned out someone had installed the distributor 180°. I found top dead center, aligned the distributor and the engine fired up.
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  #6  
Old 07-18-2013, 02:48 PM
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If valves are stuck, it isn't likely to start. Do the compression test first, with all plugs out and throttle held open.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:06 PM
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Folks here got mine to start with the same basic advice you are getting now...
Let me ask a 2 questions
#1) does it try to start / want to start, etc - is it "catching" but just not going there ?(mine was doing this - plugs were the answer)
#2) do you know for sure the real history of the engine...was it "running when parked" or did someone rebuild it, get it together, but never could get it to start etc... what are the chances something is mis-assembled internally?


I too vote for compression test as the first step - might as well do 2 compression tests at the same time... dry then add 2 tablespoons worth of oil and try again... write down the numbers so you can go back to em later.

If you are not 100% sure the engine is assembled correctly then I'd check to see if the crank to valve to ignition timing is right.
You can take the front timing cover over and see if the crank to cam are correct - there is a slit in the cam gear between 2 teeth and a circle casting in the crank gear , these point directly at each other when installed correctly. (more work to do this)

Assuming the ignition to cam are correct and the crank might be off you can check that by finding TDC in #1 (using a dowel through the spark plug hole to see tallest point)
The front damper has two circle timing marks on it, one at #1 spark and one 180 degrees off (#6 spark)
Turn engine to where the dizzy is pointed straight at #1 - that should also be TDC of #1.


Also let me ask another question... I learned this the hard way, a brand new chinese rotor would produce a little bit of spark, but the engine never tried - went back to the old rotor and it went right back to running. You didn't list rotor as new, but did you buy a new one?

FWIW: With the crank correct, off by 1 tooth, and off by 2 teeth it ran with no backfire (sounded like hell), with it off by 3 teeth is the only way I have ever had this engine backfire on me.

I believe that with the crank off by some number of teeth you will have no compression in 2 cylinders (1/6, 2/5, or 3/4 as a pair...) - again starting with compression test should give you some clue as to if it is assembled right.
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  #8  
Old 07-18-2013, 07:34 PM
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Thanks for the great ideas! To answer Brian75's questions:
1. I would say that it is "trying to try" to start! It seems to barely catch, but usually by the time it reaches this point my old garage car battery is in need of recharge.
2. Don't know anything about the engine history. It appears to have some years of residue so I would guess that if it has been rebuilt, it was some span of time prior to being put back in the barn.
3. The cap is new, Napa, made in USA, but the rotor is the one it had when I brought it home.

I tried old_dan's suggestion of adding a bit of oil to each cylinder tonight. I am using a 12V battery. It smoked for a bit then the smoke seemed to wane, so I guess it was trying to fire and burned it off. Still seemed to want to "try to try" to catch a couple of times. I might need to take a larger (higher amp) battery out of another car for the next time I try. The small one I'm using does not have much crank time before it runs down. Maybe with a larger one it can build up enough compression and heat to really try to run. We shall see.

I will do a compression test over the weekend and maybe see whether I'm wasting my time or if I have a shot at hearing this old coot run.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:26 PM
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Subscribed to this thread!

I'm also in the process of beginning the test start process on my 226. I had it apart to clean out the crankcase and pretty up the valves and head. This engine is a donor '49 engine now sitting on the frame of my '51. I did get to hear it run (briefly) before I bought it. The rotating assembly was in decent shape so I didn't fully rebuild it. Has new gaskets only. Here are some pictures of the process.
So now I have it mounted on the frame, connected to the driveline, exhaust set up, oil in crankcase and plain water in the radiator. I did some rotation tests using the 6-volt battery and yes even a new 6V battery drains fast. I got good spark, set the timing with the help of an old friend who can do this in his sleep. I did a compression test (small squirt of oil in each cylinder) did not have throttle open (good tip in the above post) and got between 85 and 95 psi across the six. I used two testers and they matched in values. I was hoping for 100 or better but will try again this weekend with a bit more oil and the throttle open.
Anyway....back to the topic.....so I poured some fresh gas down the throat and cranked it over. Nothing. Then sprayed a bit of starting fluid down the throat. One tiny little pop, then nothing, just like we read above. More gas and cranking for one full minute afterward just drained the battery, I didn't want to discharge it too much. Not another pop.
I could put 12V to it next and see if that helps. As you can imagine, I really, really want to hear this engine run.
On a sad note, the engine is leaking some water at the place where the block and oil pan meet, right behind the starter. Not consistently, but when the garage gets real hot, over 90 degrees this week, there is a 6" size puddle under the engine on some days but not all. I can't imagine why it would leak there, I would expect oil. So far there is no apparent water in the oil, but the oil is as clean as honey being new, never run and water would be hard to spot just turning it over at cranking speed.
Gotta keep an eye on that. I still want to fire the engine to allow it to heat up and pressurize the system and watch for exactly where its leaking. The block is clean enough to eat from (see pictures) and i can see that no water is coming from above the oil pan seal. I hope it isn't serious and ask the members here for help on both starting a long-sitting engine and a likely source of a water leak in this spot, since the 226 folks are probably reading this. If Marauder doesn't mind. I can start my own thread if asked.
Sounds like we are almost in the same boat.

Tom
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:59 PM
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That's the way to do it, Tom! Time invested now will pay rich dividends later! Nice looking engine, inside and out!

PS -- you're pushing your luck with that engine stand! Be careful!
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:17 PM
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another tip for rough timing things, the oiler pip, casting seam on the dizzy is within 3 or so degrees of tdc. rotate the crank until the timing pip is perfectly on the timing guage then set the dizzy to that casting seam, that's more than close enough to get it started.

pinecone, lets start a separate thread since you indicate it isn't catching and trying.

my experience is these engines want to run, they beg to run... if it isn't catching then something in the basics is wrong (fuel/air/fire)
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:15 PM
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I have a bit of good news to share. Tonight I had a brief amount of time so I attempted to start it again. I am still using the lower CCA battery, haven't brought out the big car battery. I said in earlier posts that it seems to "try to try" to catch. Tonight I am happy to report that it actually tried to catch, meaning that it hit several intermittent times before my battery ran dry. I am thinking that using the bigger battery this weekend might get this old six back to life! This is a fun experience, but I don't yet know what I'll do with this thing.

A question for brian75: You mentioned oiler pip then timing pip- can you elaborate a bit on this? I'm just not sure which area you are referring to.

pinecone: If this old rugged heap will try, I know that beauty you have there will. Looks really good!
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:24 PM
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I'm pulling for you man! Sounds like you might get yours to fire before mine.
We can each make a video this weekend and somebody can make a soundtrack mix of the blended sounds of our engines cranking over until the battery poops out, with an occasional hit on a cylinder and then the buggers roaring back to life after many years of sitting still.

p.s to Ross...I know what you mean about the engine stand if you look close I have a block of wood under the harmonic damper pulley. I cut a brace for it once the head went on and then more weight added. It wasn't there in some pictures.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:23 AM
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My symptoms were similar. I had the bank of plug wires reversed on the distributor. Once that was diagnosed and corrected it came to life.

Sounds like you are real close.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:54 PM
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It's ALIVE! Got back to it late this morning after yard work. Put the big car battery in and let her rip. It would hit a few times just like last night. I turned the distributor to advance the timing a bit and hit the button again and it came to life! I thought it ran nicely for a 65 year old engine that hasn't been hot for decades. I have attached a link that has a couple of videos of it running. The link will require a good connection and it may need to load data for a few minutes before the videos will play. I'm just grinning ear to ear! What a sweet song these old engines sing.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:54 PM
 
 
 
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