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Old 01-28-2008, 11:11 PM
pbreyf pbreyf is offline
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newbie with problems

I am trying to get a '39 v8 running without much luck. The truck was driven into storage 20 years ago and left (gas in it...). So far I've taken apart the distributor and cleaned, gapped it enough so I'm getting a good spark; replaced the battery and the ignition wires. The wires are run based on the numbers on the two distributor caps to the cylinders numbered 1-4 front to back on the passanger side and 5-8 front to back on the driver side. Someone who looked at it thought that it might be a mercury engine if that makes a difference.

Add a little starter fluid and push the starter button and you'd think I'd get a little cough -but I don't. Not a hint of ignition. What's missing?

-Peter
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:43 AM
kotzy kotzy is offline
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I would suggest you pull the plugs and put a coupke of shots of oil into each cylinder.
Turn it over with the plugs out. This will seal the rings and bring the compession up a bit, then replace the plugs and try it. kotzy
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:28 AM
mtflat mtflat is offline
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Mercury is the same as Ford for your purposes.

You said you have good spark but is that at the plugs? New plugs?

Do you have gas in the carb? Look down the carb and move the throttle linkage. You should see a healthy squirt of fuel from the spray bars.

You didn't say if you cleaned the fuel system from tank to carb?? That's usually the major problem in getting one of these to run.

When all else fails: I've found that it's often necessary to tow-start a truck/car that's been sitting for awhile. Find a quiet back road and tow it in high gear with the key on and they usually take off. The more you run them the smoother they get.

Last edited by mtflat; 01-29-2008 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 01-30-2008, 12:33 AM
pbreyf pbreyf is offline
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Thanks for the quick replies.

Kotzy: How much oil are we talking about? A tablespoon per cylinder?

MTflat: Spark is at the plugs which are old but seem pretty clean. I didn't clean the fuel lines; I hooked up a gas can to the pump through a filter and didn't worry about the line between the pump and the carb. When I crank the engine gas seems like it's going through the filter. Even so, I sprayed starter fluid in the carb and then took the carb off and tried it strait in. No cough or hiccup at all.

Another possible problem could be the ignition switch. It spins all the way around; I have it at the location where the push button cranks the engine; but this doesn't get juice to the ignition coil (so for my tests I wired the coil directly). Is this the correct location for the switch and is there anything besides the coil which needs power and might not be getting it?
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:13 AM
kotzy kotzy is offline
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Yes I would say that is enough. All piston rings depend on oil to seal them and when an engine is standing for a long time, or flooded with gasoline very badly they loose the seal and have little or no compression. Good Luck kotzy
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:27 AM
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I'm a little out of my element on 39's.... I believe your ignition switch is on the column?

It sounds like what you've done should work. Three basic wiring systems on a rig are all separate - starter, ignition/distributor and generator. Sounds like you've isolated all three.

I wouldn't run it long time with the coil connected directly to the battery, but it will work to get it going. Normally points only need 2-4V and 6V will shorten the life a little.

Just to make sure we're on the same page - this is 6V stock, positive ground?

One other thing to check would be to pull the intake manifold and see if the valves are moving when it cranks over. I have an engine that once sheared the teeth off the cam gear (which is fiber) ....... it's also possible valves are stuck open - I'd do a compression test just to see where you're at with each cylinder.

Last edited by mtflat; 01-30-2008 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:29 AM
kotzy kotzy is offline
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My 39 had the switch on the column, the toggel above the key lock for the steering.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:27 AM
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maybe the valves are all hung open from siting around / gunked up ?????? it aint hard to pull the intake and look on these ol' girls . got a 37 i'm trying to free up now from being unloved ....
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:37 PM
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Yes easy way to find out is to do a simple compession test.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:50 PM
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Years ago when my dad would get everything working and they wouldn't fire up. We always took them out and pulled them up and down the highway to get them going.
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Last edited by 51ford fan; 01-31-2008 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:42 PM
pbreyf pbreyf is offline
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So I finally borrowed a compression gauge, got zeros most of the way around (got a 40 and a 75 with a little oil on the two cylinders which did read out), pulled the intake manifold up enough to get a long screwdriver in there and poke and prod at the valves until they moved a little. Put everything back and get the same readings.

It was pretty dry in there with the residue looking more like tar on a warm day than oil. I get liquid oil on the dipstick but nothing is making it up to the springs and valve stems...

-should I be worried about that if I'm going to tow the truck around for a while? Should I try to clean it somehow?

How long should I have to tow it before those valves shake loose? Will it just catch somewhere along the way and that's how I know?

Thanks.
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:42 PM
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