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Model B Help Starting

4266 Views 43 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  JDLTG
Hello All,

I am brand new to this community and was seeking some advice.

Here is the backstory:
My grandfather owned a Model B, and upon his passing 5 years ago, it has sat in the garage. I have always held both him and the tractor close to my heart and want to get it up and running again. I am fairly knowledgeable when working with engines, but lack the experience some of you are sure to have!

I do not know the exact model of the tractor - I know it is a B, but not specifically the year it was produced. My grandfather restored it before I was born and accidentally erased some of the serial numbers with a sand blaster. All that is readable now is "B ---38382". It does not have an electric start, just the flywheel to crank on.

The Problem:
Plain and simple - It won't start. I removed the carburetor to see if it was gummed up, and it was not. I know I have spark, compression, and fuel. I open the throttle and close the choke and turn the motor over with absolutely nothing to show for it except a sore back and the smell of gas. I have snooped around the forum to find any potential answers and haven't really seen anything that directly relates to my situation.

Please reach out if you have any suggestions on how to get her started again!
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Can you post a photo of it? That would help identify the year. The years run in ranges, Early unstyled, early styled, war years, late styled.

On mine, which is a 1939, once you smell gas, it’s flooded. Maybe try only closing the choke halfway. The mag could be weak. The points and condenser could be weak. Are you checking the spark with the plug out and laying against the head. It should be a pretty visible spark.

Check YouTube for how to time a model B and make sure you hear the mag click when it’s supposed to.
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If you got spark and fuel then you should get something. Try pull starting it . I had an A (hand start)and it would give me fits and if I pulled started it it would fire right up especially if it had been sitting.
Also Mag of distributor? It it unstyled problem still a mag
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I have attached a photo of the tractor. Would the timing go off if it just sat in the garage for 5 years? I checked the plugs as you said, and they do spark well every time. What would the solution be if it was the mag or points and condenser?

Thank you for the fast response!
794704
Can you post a photo of it? That would help identify the year. The years run in ranges, Early unstyled, early styled, war years, late styled.

On mine, which is a 1939, once you smell gas, it’s flooded. Maybe try only closing the choke halfway. The mag could be weak. The points and condenser could be weak. Are you checking the spark with the plug out and laying against the head. It should be a pretty visible spark.

Check YouTube for how to time a model B and make sure you hear the mag click when it’s supposed to.
I am unfamiliar with pull starting a tractor. Would that be attaching a strap to the front and driving away with the tractor in gear? What would be a good speed to pull start? My biggest concern is that I will not be able to store the tractor properly in the garage once it rolls down the grade and fails to start.
If you got spark and fuel then you should get something. Try pull starting it . I had an A (hand start)and it would give me fits and if I pulled started it it would fire right up especially if it had been sitting.
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That is a really nice tractor. It’s an early unstyled and almost looks like a short frame, which would be 1935 or 1936. No, the timing wouldn’t change just sitting there, but the mag and condenser could get weak. I would start by filing the points as they could be somewhat corroded from sitting too.

Mine sat for 10 years and it ran when I parked it. It didn’t when I pulled it out of the garage. I had the carb rebuilt as it had never been apart. There was no spark at the points, so I filed them and got it to run, but it didn’t start very easy and sounded like it switched cylinders trying to decide who was going to keep it going. I bought a replacement mag from a guy in Minnesota who rebuilds them. It starts right up now.

Just a question, are you opening the brass pressure relief valves on each cylinder to start it? It makes spinning the flywheel a lot easier.
I have attached a photo of the tractor. Would the timing go off if it just sat in the garage for 5 years? I checked the plugs as you said, and they do spark well every time. What would the solution be if it was the mag or points and condenser?

Thank you for the fast response!
View attachment 794704
Several dumb questions:

Where is the mag located? I'm assuming that it is the black box on the right side of the tractor with the spark plug wires leading out of it.
Can I take the mag apart without permanently damaging it?
I have read about the brass pressure relief valves, but have no clue where to look. I do not think that this tractor has them, but I will look if you can give me a general location to check out.

Thank you for your help! I would love to take this out to some shows, or just around the neighborhood. I believe that this tractor has won a few awards at shows in my area when my grandfather took it out. When I get it fired up I will get some photos taken and post them here!
That is a really nice tractor. It’s an early unstyled and almost looks like a short frame, which would be 1935 or 1936. No, the timing wouldn’t change just sitting there, but the mag and condenser could get weak. I would start by filing the points as they could be somewhat corroded from sitting too.

Mine sat for 10 years and it ran when I parked it. It didn’t when I pulled it out of the garage. I had the carb rebuilt as it had never been apart. There was no spark at the points, so I filed them and got it to run, but it didn’t start very easy and sounded like it switched cylinders trying to decide who was going to keep it going. I bought a replacement mag from a guy in Minnesota who rebuilds them. It starts right up now.

Just a question, are you opening the brass pressure relief valves on each cylinder to start it? It makes spinning the flywheel a lot easier.
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No questions are dumb. I didn’t know anything about them until I bought mine from my neighbor. His uncle bought it new in Milbank SD. I researched the Model B’s a lot.

Yes, the mag is where the plug wires connect. It’s Probably a Wico, but may be a different brand. You can take the cap off to get to the points and condenser, but I wouldn’t go any further. The coil is within the mag body.

That early, it may not have the pressure relief valves. Mine are near the spark plugs, but I’ve heard some are on the bottom of the head.

I found this thread:


I planned to take mine to shows, but never did. The interest in the old iron isn’t the same it once was, at least around here.

My 1939 when I got done restoring it in 2005.

794712
Ok, I went out to check the mag. It is a Wico, I have attached a photo. Does that black wire look concerning? Please let me know if you see anything that looks amiss. I am currently looking at videos on how to clean the points on it. Wish me luck!
794719
No questions are dumb. I didn’t know anything about them until I bought mine from my neighbor. His uncle bought it new in Milbank SD. I researched the Model B’s a lot.

Yes, the mag is where the plug wires connect. It’s Probably a Wico, but may be a different brand. You can take the cap off to get to the points and condenser, but I wouldn’t go any further. The coil is within the mag body.

That early, it may not have the pressure relief valves. Mine are near the spark plugs, but I’ve heard some are on the bottom of the head.

I found this thread:


I planned to take mine to shows, but never did. The interest in the old iron isn’t the same it once was, at least around here.

My 1939 when I got done restoring it in 2005.

View attachment 794712
Yeah, the black wire looks like it got pretty hot a time or two. I got my mag from Rudy’s Rebuilt Mags in Minnesota. It looks like you’re in Wisconsin, so close by. His website. Magneto Repair, Restore, Rebuild Service
I think you can have him check yours out and rebuild as necessary or exchange it.
Ok, I went out to check the mag. It is a Wico, I have attached a photo. Does that black wire look concerning? Please let me know if you see anything that looks amiss. I am currently looking at videos on how to clean the points on it. Wish me luck!
View attachment 794719
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EDIT*
Thank you for that advice!

We have new problems, WAYYY back to the drawing table.

After filing the points, I tried to start the tractor. Got a few new noises for me this time, not popping. After spinning the flywheel a few times, it became very tight, to the point where I could not spin it. When putting pressure to try to spin it, it sounded like liquid rushing through a small opening... No clue what that is as I never encountered it in my lifetime starting the tractor with my grandfather. Plugged oil filter? Bad oil?

Pulled the spark plugs and the cylinders are full of gas.. to the point where when it turn over the flywheel, it spills out of the spark plug hole.

I also found a small plug like thing right beneath the flywheel, is that the pressure relief valve? I can provide a photo if needed. When I opened it, oil flowed out, so I am inclined to believe it is a way to check oil levels.
Yeah, the black wire looks like it got pretty hot a time or two. I got my mag from Rudy’s Rebuilt Mags in Minnesota. It looks like you’re in Wisconsin, so close by. His website. Magneto Repair, Restore, Rebuild Service
I think you can have him check yours out and rebuild as necessary or exchange it.
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My first thought is you filled the cylinders with gas, at least enough to make it impossible to spin. Turn the gas off and pull the spark plugs and see if you can turn the flywheel then. I’d pull the coil wire completely out of the mag on both ends so you don’t get a spark. If that’s the case, you’ve got carb issues as well as possible gas in the crankcase. Be careful!
I have the garage opened up and airing out. I don't suppose I can fix the carb in house? My thoughts are adjusting the knobs at the top of the carb.

What should my next steps be? I will let the tractor sit overnight to avoid the fumes.
My first thought is you filled the cylinders with gas, at least enough to make it impossible to spin. Turn the gas off and pull the spark plugs and see if you can turn the flywheel then. I’d pull the coil wire completely out of the mag on both ends so you don’t get a spark. If that’s the case, you’ve got carb issues as well as possible gas in the crankcase. Be careful!
Yeah, let it sit with the gas turned off. The knobs at the top are air/fuel mix for idle and full speed under load. I have never been able to get those adjusted correctly. I opted to have my carb rebuilt versus doing it myself. It had never been apart and there’s passages than need to be cleaned out.

Your carb may be ok. Since you kept cranking without it firing, it kept feeding gas as it should. One thing you’ll find once you do get it going is it’ll burn a lot of gas. Those are all fuel which back in the day were set up to burn any cheap fuel and conserving wasn’t an issue.
Lee,

Thank you so much for the help this afternoon and evening! I will post again in the morning when everything has aired out. With your help I hope to get it going in time for my grandmother to see it when she visits.

Bryan
Yeah, let it sit with the gas turned off. The knobs at the top are air/fuel mix for idle and full speed under load. I have never been able to get those adjusted correctly. I opted to have my carb rebuilt versus doing it myself. It had never been apart and there’s passages than need to be cleaned out.

Your carb may be ok. Since you kept cranking without it firing, it kept feeding gas as it should. One thing you’ll find once you do get it going is it’ll burn a lot of gas. Those are all fuel which back in the day were set up to burn any cheap fuel and conserving wasn’t an issue.
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You can attach a strap and have some one pull you fairly slow
Would that be attaching a strap to the front and driving away with the tractor in gear?
What would be a good speed to pull start?
2nd is good and if you say its flooded might try third.
Does that black wire look concerning? Please let me know if you see anything that looks amiss.
Wire looks like it got hot but points do look corroded.
It it’s flooded let it air out and try it again. Make sure you shut the gas off whenever your not running it. I shut gas off on mine and let it run out.
OK just a thought here. My 1937 B runs on kerosene, the big tank is kerosene and the small one gallon tank is gasoline. You would start it on gas let it warm up and switch over to kerosene by switching the valve on the sediment bowl.
You might want to drain it and clean it out so you have straight gas to start it.
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Also my 37 does not have compression release valves.
That rotor button looks cruddy, I'd pull it off and wire wheel clean it. Points need to have really clean contacts. If you have access to a meter with capacitor check see what that condenser measures, should be about 0.22 to 0.47 ufd. On ohms lowest scale check from good ground to points, points closed 1 ohm or less.

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