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Hard to start model K

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bongocruiser
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Hard to start model K

Post by bongocruiser » Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:13 am

I have a 1942 17' Special with a model K and am trying to make it more reliable. This year I rebuilt the carburetor, put in a Pertronix ignition and added a new 8V battery. I start the engine and adjusted the timing until it runs smooth and idles smooth at 500 rpm. I adjusted the high and low speed adjustment to spec and modified it slightly so it runs smooth. Everything seems perfect but when I turn it off it won't restart unless I give it a shot of starting fluid. Is it possible I have enough fuel presure to run but not enough to start? I know if everything is "perfect" I shouldn't need starting fluid. It's probably something simple but I'm stumped.

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by farupp » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:27 pm

You are right to say you should not need starting fluid every time you try to start the engine. Also, fuel pressure won't matter when you are starting the engine as the float bowl should already be full.

The problem could be many things but I would look for a vacuum leak(s). With an updraft carburetor you must have good vacuum to get the gas to the cylinders. Check where the carburetor bolts to the intake manifold and check where the manifold bolts to the engine. You can find vacuum leaks by spraying carburetor cleaner at the above places. If there is a leak the engine will run a little faster.

Did you have the starter rebuilt? It may not be turning the engine fast enough to pull the fuel mixture out of the carburetor and up into the cylinders. Also check the carburetor float level; if it is not set correctly there may not be enough fuel over the jets to pull the mixture up into the cylinders. Double check the timing at idle.

One thing you didn't mention was whether you close the choke partially or fully when you try to restart the engine. Have you tried closing the choke even when the engine is warmed up to see if it starts? Try this first as this is the simplest to check.

Others will have many additional suggestions. These are things that immediately came to mind. You'll figure it out.
Frank Rupp
1959 22-foot Sea Skiff Ranger
283 Flywheel Forward engine

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bongocruiser
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by bongocruiser » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:34 pm

Thanks Frank, Thise are all good ideas, some I've covered and some I'll check. At the end of the day it's either spark or gas but a lot of varities in between.

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by mfine » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:51 pm

Is it hard to start when warm?

When sitting for a few hours or a day or two?

When sitting for several days or weeks?

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bongocruiser
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by bongocruiser » Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:21 pm

Thats what is odd, it won't restart even when hot and turned off for 10 seconds. I measured the height of the floats and they seemed right on. New gas tank, high test gas with additive, new gas lines, clean filter, no gas leaks. Runs good but won't restart.

To set the timing I started by lining up the bolts horizontal on the flywheel when #1 was at TDC. When it started it seemed I needed to advance the timing alot before it ran smooth, almost to the next cyl. Not sure if that is a clue or not. My other boat has a model K also so I think I'll use a timing light to see if they are similar.

I've owned the boat for over 30 years so there isn't much I haven't had apart. I think I tried to fix too much at once.

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by Theurkauf » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:05 pm

A warm engine will be tighter than a cold engine, leading to slow warm cranking/starting problems. This could be caused by a bad starter, as suggested, or a bad battery or generator/alternator. I had a '67 Mercedes a few year ago that wouldn't start warm, and it ended up being a bad alternator. I would crank, just not quite fast enough. I'd try to jump starting the warm engine. If that works, you may have the answer. More recently I had some restarting/idling problems on my Model B that turned out to be caused by worn throttle shaft bushings/vacuum leak on the carb. I had rebuilt the carb, but didn't replace the throttle shaft/bushings (beyond my expertise) and the shaft/plate assembly had noticeable play. A rebuilt carb with new throttle shaft bushings did solved the idle/restart problems. In fact, I used to just barely get it to idle at 500 rpm, and it will now idle smoothly at 400 rpm, and the top speed improved from 2800 to 3200 rpm (as fast a I dare push it). Give the throttle linkage a wiggle. If there's play, you may have a vacuum leak.

Bill

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by farupp » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:25 pm

Check the timing, with a timing light if you can. Your post above "To set the timing I started by lining up the bolts horizontal on the flywheel when #1 was at TDC. When it started it seemed I needed to advance the timing alot before it ran smooth, almost to the next cyl." leads me to believe the timing might be set incorrectly.

Pull the #1 spark plug and turn the engine by hand until the #1 cylinder is at TDC on the compression stroke. Then take the distributor cap off. The rotor should be pointed directly at the #1 cylinder spark plug wire position. If it isn't your timing may be off. Do a rough timing adjustment by turning the distributor (not the rotor) until the spark end of the rotor is pointing toward the #1 cylinder wire. Leave the engine at TDC for the #1 cylinder.

Then check the timing with a timing light after you have started it. That will be your initial timing setting, readjust the idle speed, and you can fine tune the timing and idle speed from there.

I hope that makes sense.
Frank Rupp
1959 22-foot Sea Skiff Ranger
283 Flywheel Forward engine

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by farupp » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:07 am

Looking back on my old notes, I found on the K engine I had and on the M engine I had, that I had the timing set at idle (500 to 600 rpm) about 5 degrees advanced checked by using a timing light. The engines idled and ran well at high RPM with this setting.

Frank
Frank Rupp
1959 22-foot Sea Skiff Ranger
283 Flywheel Forward engine

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bongocruiser
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by bongocruiser » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:10 am

Thanks everyone for your replies. I went home last night and started it up in the driveway using ether to get it going. It runs perfect, idles at 500, no hesitation on fast acceleration or fast deceleration. I checked the timing and the perfect spot is just a few degrees off #1 TDC. I have a new battery and the starter and generator have been rebuilt within the last 3 years. But here is my issue. When I stop the engine and try to immediately restart the cranking speed seems about half as fast as when the engine is cold. And this engine has been like this ever since it was rebuilt 15 years ago. I have the same model K in my other boat that doesn't have this problem and I've swapped parts between them with the same results. I think the tolerances in the engine might be off. Tonight I'm going to put a torque wrench on the flywheel and compare a hot engine to a cold engine and compare to my other engine. I'll let you know what I find.

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by Greg Wallace » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:39 am

Did you adjust your charging system to accommodate the 8v battery or does it still think its charging to 6 volts?
Greg Wallace 23 Custom 22166 former Chris-Craft dealer Russells Point, Oh.

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mfine
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by mfine » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:18 pm

It can idle fine at 500-600 rpm with more spark advance than it will start with easily, especially when hot. Unhook the coil so there is no spark going to/through the distributor and try cranking when warm. If it cranks faster, the slow crank is from too much base advance. If not, you got other issues.

What seems odd is you need started fluid when cold and you have hard cranking when hot. That could be two different issues. The cold start could be fuel evaporating from the bowls and your fuel pump is either unable to replenish it at cranking speed, or you are not patient enough and go to the ether fluid before it can get a chance.

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by Captain Nemo » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:08 pm

Try pumping the primer bail on the fuel pump b/4 restart. If you can pump quite a bit of fuel at that point you don't have enough fuel in the bowl. As Bill stated I too would look for vacuum leaks also.
I hear you guys timing these flatheads to exact degree settings. I've never put a timing light to any of these old flatheads. I set the timing under a load by ear. In fact some of the older K's didn't even have markings for timing w/ a light.
Boats are to be made of wood, otherwise, God would have grown fiberglass trees.

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by evansjw44 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:28 pm

Get a voltmeter and connect it to the coil battery terminal. Crank the engine. If the voltage is less than 5 volts your Pertronix will not fire. Trouble with Pertronix is they don't fire at low voltage where points ignition will. There is some possibility that when your engine was rebuilt the piston rings and'or piston were set without sufficient clearance. The result of that would be the engine is tight when cranking, especially warm. Again, measure the voltage at the starter when cranking and see it its lower than 5 volts. If you've had the starter checked you you are looking at internal issues from a sloppy rebuild.
Jim Evans

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by jfrprops » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:37 pm

Lots of good suggestions.....can't think of much they have not covered already....so going for weird stuff:

Could the Alt. or Gen be seizing up when hot and making it hard to spin her? seen that before......bad bushing or bearing...???

John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

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bongocruiser
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by bongocruiser » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:18 am

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, I think I found the problem. I thought the engine was tight because it semed so slow to turn over but I put a torque wrench on the flywheel and it was about 38 lbs, my other engine that turns freely was more than that. It was actually less when hot so that's not the problem. I like the idea about removing the coil wire to see it preignition was holding back the engine but that was not the case either. I believe the winner is a bad generator. I had the generator rebuilt only 2 years ago but with the meter there was no voltage on the generator relay/cutout box. When I opened the cover the insides were burn like it had caught fire. With the engine running I'm not getting any voltage on the wire coming out of the generator. When I get into AC vs DC current I'm out of my area but it seems I should get a reading on that wire. I never took the generator apart before but I think I'll do that before I send it to a shop in case there is something obvious like a bad brush or broken wire. I'll probably need a new battery too since it seems low on cranking power.

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by farupp » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:22 am

That is interesting; good detective work. Do you have an amp gauge? If so it should show when the battery is being charged. So, it seems the battery isn't being charged while the engine is running. Why don't you charge the battery with a charger before you buy a new one? However, I'm not sure what to use for charging an 8 volt battery.

I converted all my six volt systems to 12 volts (not very difficult) for reliability purposes and never had a starting problem after that.

Thanks for the update.
Frank Rupp
1959 22-foot Sea Skiff Ranger
283 Flywheel Forward engine

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bongocruiser
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by bongocruiser » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:21 am

Researching possible generator problems and found this link about polarizing the generator. When a new generator is installed apparently I needed to jump the positive wire to the cutout to flip it from discharge to charge. Since my cut out looked fried I think the quote below could have happened to me. I'll take the generator apart and see if the inside is fried too.


http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/thre ... or.256038/

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/thre ... or.350990/

the one comment includes this quote that sounds like my issue:


"...According to John Deere's Fundamentals of Service manual manual, if the generator polarity is reversed, the generator will build up voltage and close the cutout relay points. This put the generator in series with the battery, and their voltages are added together. This high voltage across the points (about twice the battery voltage) can cause high current and enough heat to weld the points together.

This damage does not happen immediately. The instant the points close, the voltage is about the same on both sides of the relay coil, so very little current flows, and spring tension reopens the points. But, generator voltage will again close the points, and the cycle will repeat at a rapid rate. Heat and arcing will finally weld the points together.

When the points weld, the battery and generator are connected at all times. The low resistance of the generator allows the battery to continue to discharge through the generator. The high current can create enough heat to burn the armature.

How do you control the polarity of the pole shoes? The polarity is determined by the direction of the last current through the field windings. Since even a very small current can polarize the shoes, never assume the generator is properly polarized. You must polarize the generator every time it is disconnected or serviced..."

Photo
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-IDae ... utout2.jpg

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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by jim g » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:43 pm

A couple of things. If your running a 6 volt system with pertronix and the small dist. Thats probably your problem. I have put that unit on several boats and had to take them back off for the same problem your having. If you want to keep the 6 volt system I would suggest going to the bigger dist. that chris craft started using in 1955. If you want to keep the small dist. you will probably need to go back to points or convert to 12 volts to use a pertronix ign.

Also to set timing if you engine does not have timing marks is to run it down the lake at full throttle and advance the timing until you hear it start to rattle. Then retard the timing until the rattle goes away.

Also using the optima 6 volt battery will give you almost the same cold cranking amps as a group 4 acid battery. Thats the really big one.

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bongocruiser
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by bongocruiser » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:21 am

Thanks Jim, all good ideas. I do have the larger distributor but my other boat has the small one so I'll keep the points and condenser in that. I plan to take the generator apart this weekend to see if it's fried. The cutout is fried so I think maybe the points welded together causing full load to trash the battery and damage the generator. If anyone has a generator for sale let me know. It currently doesn't generate any power so there is something wrong inside. I think I have the timing at the right point. I also do it by ear just like you say. There is a small circle on the flywheel for a timing mark but there isn't any definative place that it should align to for tdc. Once get the generator repaired I'm going with your optima 6v idea. I've been fighting electrical issues for years.

jim g
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Re: Hard to start model K

Post by jim g » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:43 pm

If you have the dot on the flywheel. Call Jim Staib and see if he has a pointer for sale.

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