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Old 01-06-2008, 11:22 AM
1940 Ford Coupe Flathead V8
 
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Ford Flathead Engine Problems

221 in a 40 Ford Coupe. I have 2 new stromberg 97s on it, offy intake, offy heads, 3/4 cam. Rebuilt dist and coil, 6 volt system, rebuilt Generator. Engine will not start. Was Idling and backfiring...then quit running. It felt like it lost fire, but it seems to be getting fire and fuel. Any ideas? I am new to the flathead and could really use some help. I am attaching a couple of engine pics.
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Last edited by 40FordGuy; 01-06-2008 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 40FordGuy
221 in a 40 Ford Coupe. I have 2 new stromberg 97s on it, offy intake, offy heads, 3/4 cam. Rebuilt dist and coil, 6 volt system, rebuilt Generator. Engine will not start. Was Idling and backfiring...then quit running. It felt like it lost fire, but it seems to be getting fire and fuel. Any ideas? I am new to the fathead and could really use some help. I am attaching a couple of engine pics.
Is the distributor installed correctly? It might be 180 degrees out. Been there done that!

Antny
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:50 AM
1940 Ford Coupe Flathead V8
 
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Hi AntnyL

I will try that right now and see if it works. Anything is possible..LOL
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:20 PM
1940 Ford Coupe Flathead V8
 
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No Luck

The distributor only goes on one way... any other suggestions? I have tried a hotter plug, a cooler plug....no idea...
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:37 PM
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Since you are getting fuel and ignition, and your problem started with back firing before quiting completely, I would look at "slipped timing" as the usual suspect. I was going to post that the distributor would only go in correctly into the slot in the end of the camshaft, but I see you made that discovery before I picked up on this thread. It has been years since I fooled with a flat head, but I would check the distributor very closely before going into the valve train. If you have another complete distributor that you know is set up properly, you should change it out to validate that your distributor is functioning correctly.

Trees
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:25 PM
1940 Ford Coupe Flathead V8
 
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Voltage Regulator?

Is it possible that the voltage regulator is bad. The engine seems to turn over very slowly and now when checking... the plugs have no spark or a very weak spark. I just replaced the battery a few moments ago. Please HELP!!!
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Old 01-06-2008, 02:03 PM
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Flat head problems?

I had a 40 coupe back in the 60, and ran it with a flathead until I changed to a 283.
the only problems I had with the flathead was a knocking, which turned out to be a water pump.
# 2 was the fuel pump. I couldn't tell from the pictures, (which I readily liked) if it had the fuel pump in the back of the engine. The problem with the pump was that the shaft which worked it up and down had gotten worn short. My uncle welded the end and ground it smooth, and I was off again. Hope this might help you or someone.
Seems the key in the dist. was tapered and only fit one way. What about the points, they were (mine had 2 sets) I set them with the dist out, don't think you can get to them with the dist. installed. When engines turn over slow, I check for worn starter bushing. Got to go, soups on, keep us posted.
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Old 01-06-2008, 03:20 PM
1940 Ford Coupe Flathead V8
 
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Thanks for the scoop!

I am going to have the voltage regulator checked on Monday morning. I put a new starter in it a couple of months ago. More on Monday. Thanks for all of the help! You guys are great! I am glad I found this board.
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Old 01-06-2008, 03:30 PM
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flat head problems

Come to think about it, I think its gear drive on the cam-crank timing. Try removing the air cleaners and see if it pumps a good flow (many pumps) when you work the throttle. The skipping sounds more like points.
Seems like mine had a cap on each side with 4 wires each, the coil on top. If you pull it, check the key to see where it is so you can reinstall it. Its tapered, but very little. I'd mark 1 side with something ( key and dist. body) so I wouldn't forget. I got a good memory, its just short. Think theres 2 bolts, 1 on each side holing it in the block and slotted for timing purposes.
brings back some good old memory of the days of Levi's and tee shirts, penny loafers or Eng. boots
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:45 PM
1940 Ford Coupe Flathead V8
 
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Had it running

Well, it looks like it is getting too much fuel still. I have had the carbs jetted down to .42 and the power valves set at .69. Guess I am going to have to go down a bit further. I am going to have to take it down to Ross' Restorations in Thompson Station TN and get it checked out. I would rather they check it out and show me where I am going wrong than continue to beat my head against the Fat Fenders on this Coupe. Hee hee hee...
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:33 PM
1940 Ford Coupe Flathead V8
 
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It Lives!!!!

Ok...here we go. I am almost ashamed to say what was wrong with the car... Here it is...Condenser. That was it! It runs so nice, so smooth, I think I will spend the night in the garage with it. I have spent so much time with it, that my wife says maybe I should be in the garage on a more permanent basis...Ha ha ha ....I guess we all get a bit of that. Thanks to everyone for their input and suggestions. I have learned a lot in the past few days with regards to the ignition of our Flathead.

Scott
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:00 PM
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Flat head problems

Know you feel great.
I had a 57 chevy 327, 4speed, with three 2's. It cranked great, but when you increased the throttle it would start skipping. I changed everything I could think of. Worked 11 pm to 7 am, went home, ate breakfast, grabbed the check book and told my wife, "before the sun sets, it going to run right.
When to the best mech. I could find, they wanted to put me on a waiting list.
Finely had a guy tell me go down to a service station, that guy work on hot rods.
Told him everything I'd changed, and it didn't help. I told him I didn't mind changing what ever it needed, but I didn't see why I needed to start from scratch. I was pumping gas and waiting on his customers while he was checking her over.
I got caught up with customers and he said crank her up, I did and she ran great until he reveled it up, and it started skipping. He walked into his shop and came back with a juster with alligator clips on each end. He hooked the big clip on the pos. post of the battery and ask me to rev. it until it skipped. I did as he said and when it stared skipping he put the other end of the jumper on the + side of the coil, and it smoothed out like a kitten.
He said, they you go, it a bad connection somewhere. I ask, where do I start looking. He said the battery's find , so start from there. + & - ter. were tight, moved on to the starter. BONG there it was, the + or pos. gable nut was loose. I tighten it and climbed out and fired her off, purred like a kitten.
I ask him, why it got enough power to crank it, but not enough to run seems it takes more to stat it than to run. He said the cable was tight when it cranked, but to loping of the engine caused it to vibrate and made a bad connection.
I ask how much I owe him, and he said, always remember. most skips that are not regular, are most always electrical, fuel is an even miss.
Clean that fender up, and comb your hair, and lets go for a ride.

Last edited by lanierledford; 01-08-2008 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:47 PM
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So there is hope for my 53 flathead!
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:50 PM
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flat head ignition

My son's merc in his 51 truck had spark ploblems, A friend quite a bit older than me had us pull the dist and check the internal wire. the insulation had deteriated and was intermittenly shorting. He said that was a problem with age and miles.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:50 PM
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Thanks!

I've replaced condenser, dist cap, spark p wires, rebuild carb, many other things as well. I'm missing something simple.
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