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Subject: Ford 8N, won't start

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Tony T.    Posted 03-13-2020 at 20:29:01 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Ford 8N, won't start
  • Hello, I recently acquired a Ford 8n, older model with the distributor in the front. The engine will not start. After cranking for a minute or so, the carb drips gasoline, so we stopped cranking. Spark plugs are new Champions installed by the previous owner. The plugs are dry (not flooded) and there is a spark. We tried hand cranking, still not starting. We tried disconnecting the air cleaner pipe and sprayed starting fluid, not even a sputter. I saw a video about this model having a weak coil, suggested setting plug gap at .020, so we tried that but it still won't start. The tractor did start and run smoothly prior to bringing it home, it was driven on to a trailer. What recommendations do you have?

    Kimberly    Posted 03-26-2020 at 16:14:48 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Oh, forgot to add that be careful and don't over tighten the bolts on the distributor, you don't want to break them off. Snug them good using a short box end spanner and you will be good. As I said, for awhile there I was doing a point job every spring because I got cheap point sets.

    Kimberly    Posted 03-26-2020 at 16:11:07 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Some tips. Ignition wires should be solid copper core with no resistor. Spark plugs should also be non-resistor plugs. Don't buy cheap ignition points; go to NAPA and get bluestreak. I was putting in new points each year until I finally wise up and stop using the cheap sets you see on ebay and at Tractor Supply. Don't forget the condenser if you are going to put in a new set of points. Take the distributor off the tractor to work on it. The tang on the distributor is off-set, it will only go on one way so you can't get the timing off; if the distributor is not sitting flush then you don't have the tang seated in the slot correctly. My 8N is fussy about moisture in the cap; it could be the gasket on the cap is bad and allows moisture to get under the cap and if so, she won't start. I have had to take the cap off mine and use a hair dryer and she would fire right up once dry; doesn't take a lot of moisture. I have since replaced the gasket on the cap to help prevent it.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 03-14-2020 at 07:43:34 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Welcome aboard. As Bruce asked, you and we need to know if your have the OEM 6V/POS GRN system or has a 12V /NEG GRN setup been done? Either way, how old is the battery? Take it to a shop and get it bench tested. There are several factors that need to be done correctly before starting the tractor. The best investments you can make for any machine is to have the proper manuals and documents. Bruce(VA)’s 75 Tips, Wiring Pictograms by JMOR, and all the FORD ESSENTIAL MANUALS should be part of your shop. Check our HOW-TO’s and MANAUALS forums for most of them. The Ford Front Mount Distributor is a bit tricky but not difficult to understand and use once you know how. It is only mounted one correct way and good, new points are only available on 3 or 4 brands. The breaker point gap is set to .015, and opening the point gap to .020 isn’t recommend nor going to do anything if there are other issues. When you did that, did you test it with your meter first and mount it correctly? If it is mounted 180° off, the moment you apply power it will try to orient itself correctly and end up busting the aluminum base on the unit rendering it scrap. Read the manuals and test components before you just start replacing parts. Rebuilding the OEM parts are always the first choice as many new aftermarket ones today are of poor quality. I can help rebuild your carb and distributor but you can do all the tests –fuel flow, spark, compression, on your own.

    PRIOR TO S/N 8N-263844:

    *PICTOGRAM courtesy of JMOR







    Tim Daley(MI)

    Tony T.    Posted 03-17-2020 at 07:55:02 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Tim, thank you for responding with lots of information. I need to digest it all and review with my son who is much better at reading schematics. There are 3 other responses that I need to review as well. This tractor is 6-volt and the battery is less than 1 year old. The battery has a full charge, and holds the charge well. We have not touched the distributor at all. Do you have to remove the radiator to work on the distributor? Also, the starter stopped working; we put a tester on all visible points of the starting circuit, it is getting juice up to the starter, solenoid seems to be working and is getting power. I ordered a new starter and ignition switch, since that seems to be another common issue from other people I've spoken with.

    Jack - Iowa    Posted 03-14-2020 at 07:36:38 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • In addition to what Bruce said, even though you know the plugs are dry, I would still burn them out with a propane torch. On my 2N I pull the choke out and release it. Normally that is all it takes.

    Pulling it which removes the starter load from the battery might get it running also. Use 3rd gear.

    Bruce (VA)    Posted 03-14-2020 at 06:24:44 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • 6v or 12v?

    These tractors are pretty simple machines; it’s usually pretty easy to get them running with some basic troubleshooting steps.

    You could have a spark issue.

    You could have a fuel issue.

    Don’t guess. Troubleshoot. See tip # 13.

    You need to answer 2 questions before you do anything else:

    With the bolt in the carb bowl removed and the gas on, will the fuel flow fill a pint jar in less than 2 minutes?

    Next, get out your adjustable gap spark checker * , open the gap to 1/4", hook it up, turn the key on and crank the engine. Does the spark jump 1/4"? Post back with the answers.

    And do not buy a new part for the tractor until you can answer this question: how do I know the part on the tractor is defective?

    Once you narrow the problem to spark or fuel, post back and tell us what you found (and how you found it) and you will get plenty of help to get your tractor running.

    Re gas dripping out of the carb…….The usual cause of gas dripping out of the carb throat is operator error.

    While each N has its own starting sequence, none of them will start well by just yanking out the choke rod & holding it out for 5 or 10 seconds while the engine cranks. This is a gravity fuel system on a low compression engine; it is easily flooded by too much choke.

    Try this:

    Key on, gas on 2 full turns, clutch in, 3/4 throttle, press the starter button. Let it crank for at least 3 - 4 seconds before you pull the choke rod. Then, don't hold it out for more than 2 or 3 seconds.

    * Don't own an adjustable gap spark checker? Buy one! Not a test light! Until then, take an old plug, open the gap 1/4" ground it to the head & look for spark. It’s not the color of the spark that counts; it’s the distance it jumps.


    Tony T.    Posted 03-23-2020 at 20:40:02 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Bruce,
    We replaced the non-functioning starter with a new one. We followed the suggested starting sequence 3 times, with 2 minutes in between tries, she would not start. Also, gas began dripping from the carb again, despite following the recommended sequence. I put on an older spark plug with a 1/4" gap, we could not see a spark (the spark was seen at .020 and .030). So, it appears as if the spark is very weak. Next, I'll try the fuel flow test.

    Tony T.    Posted 03-17-2020 at 08:16:44 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Bruce, thanks for the response, I will go through every step you've listed and report back. This is a 6V unit.

    Rusty 2N    Posted 03-13-2020 at 20:45:00 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Look at the red bar at top of the page, find "How to", find Bruce's 75 tips. Your answer is there!!

    Tony T.    Posted 03-17-2020 at 08:17:54 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Ford 8N, won't start
  • Got it, thanks!

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