Ford 9N Ignition Issues

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted DuPuis, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    The engine rebuild should have taken care of any oil prime issues provided the right parts were used or not damaged during assembly. If prime at the filter doesn't work, the preferred method is to remove the oil pressure relief valve on the front timing case (below the water pump/above the dist) and shoot some heavy oil into it like 90-140 weight. Be careful not to lose the relief valve spring when removing.

    If you continue to lose prime, at your next oil change look into the drain pan for the pickup tube and give it a wiggle test. If it moves then you probably have a crack or busted solder joint at the oil pump mount flange which can cause loss of prime. The only "common" side to this problem with the N series is it is a major pain to fix, not that it is a feature of the tractor.
     
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  2. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    If I recall, you can pull the oil pressure relief spring out of the housing and real quick pump some gear lube down there to help the gears pull suction. Sounds like a bad pickup tube o-ring or gasket, or maybe the tube. Was the pump packed with white lube or something to help pull suction when installed during the OH?
     
  3. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I didn’t pack the gears with anything to help them make prime, but I should’ve. The pickup tube itself I believe is fine - I’ve checked that before. That said it’s the same one the engine had before so if it is somehow causing trouble then it would be the same. This one uses a gasket where the pickup bolts to the oil pump (really a poor design). I’ll take a look at the oil pressure relief spring area and see if I can dump some oil down there.

    I ended up not working on it today at all. I was supposed to do a transport but cancelled due to weather and worked on a few other projects around the house.
     
  4. david.h

    david.h Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Glad to hear you got it running again.
     
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  5. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    A pump type oil can with hose or a longer hose with a funnel and a 2nd pair of hands works to get oil in the right spot.
     
  6. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Thanks, good to know. Maybe this coming weekend I'll get to spend some time working on the details like that. Now that it actually runs I'm going to go pick up a few parts for finishing up details on it.

    If I can get it primed and running with oil pressure, then I can do the break-in run. The way it worked before was that if you ran it every day, it wouldn't lose prime. If you only ran it once every week or two (or less) it would lose prime. So I suppose I should first try getting it primed, and then once I do that see if it repeats itself.
     
  7. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Today I managed to get the 9N primed and running. I also installed the ballast resistor before that. Then I ran it for a 1 hour break in.

    The engine at max RPM was popping and sputtering. Some of this may just be break in. It was smoking some (oil) at first but that stopped after a few minutes, not too worried there. However the popping sounded ignition related as adjusting the main jet on the carb didn’t seem to improve things much. So I’m wondering if the ballast resistor might be too much resistance. Voltage is correct at 14V running.

    Oil pressure started out around 30 psi or so and then dropped to about 13 once warm. I put 15W-40 in, maybe I should do a straight weight.

    So I need to play around with it some more hit it runs and drives!
     
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  8. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Make sure that the negative of the coil goes to the distributor, and the positive to the ignition switch. Wiring the coil backwards causes misfiring.
     
  9. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    I run straight 40 but I'm a little farther south than you. And just the add: are you sure you have the spark plug wires going in the right directions? If you have a front bumper/guard on it nose it into a tree or other substantial item and see if it will spin the tires. If it coughs or sputters before that your miss could be fuel related. Also check the resistance of the coil. Depending where you bought it the coil could have too little or too much resistance as quality control on some coil vendors is not good. I don't recall the required resistance for a 12v coil but if it is off and your ballast is on it will cause issues. Is the coil hot or warm after running it?
     
  10. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Is the float set properly in the carb? High rpm popping and spitting could be a fuel starvation. Messing with the jet won't do any good if the fuel isn't in the bowl.
     
  11. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    @Ted DuPuis So... a day later. Did the oil pump retain its prime? -Skip
     
  12. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    It is not possible to wire the coil backwards, unless you put a 6V coil for positive ground on a tractor that's been converted to 12V and negative ground. This is a 12V coil. There is only one place to put a wire on, and the coil then mounts to the distributor. See below:

    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking straight 40 might be a good way to go. That's what I'm planning on putting in the D4 as well for changing its oil (more on that in the D4 thread) and it'd be easier to just buy a whole bunch of one type of oil there and call it good. I suspect that will help on the oil pressure. I'll try your test.

    There were a bunch of posts above on the resistance in the coil, and it was purchased from Tractor Supply. The thought based on the resistance that it had above was that it needed to have a ballast resistor added to get up to a proper resistance level. I figure the first thing I'll try is removing the ballast resistor from the circuit and seeing if there's a difference I can observe in how it runs. I tried using an alligator clip lead to do that, and it did seem to improve things. However that was really thin wire and the resistor was still in the circuit, so it wouldn't do the full effect.

    That is a possibility. I did pull the bowl off and checked the float setting per the instructions that came with the carb when I bought it (remember this thing has a new carb on it now) and it seemed correctly set. I'm also questioning whether or not I had the fuel bowl shutoff open all the way - that could starve the thing as well. Pretty sure I did but I may have not done that in haste.

    I haven't started the 9N again this morning. I had planned on changing the oil and the filter after the first run. I changed the filter yesterday but didn't have oil, so I figure I'll buy some today and do the change this evening or tomorrow. We'll see what it does as far as keeping its prime, although if it loses its prime after the oil change I'll still see if it keeps it during normal operation.
     
  13. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    OK. I was thinking of the round coils that have the two primary terminals and the single spark well. Reversing the primary on those causes problems.

    Remember that 90% of engine performance problems are electrical, not fuel. I was told that 50 years ago by my high-school power mechanics teacher, and have found it absolutely true, whether in ground-bound vehicles, airplanes, or boats. Weak spark is a HUGE problem almost every time.
     
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  14. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've found similar. That's why I'm figuring the ballast resistor may have been causing a problem rather than fixing it. Since I've confirmed proper voltage coming from the alternator and everything else working, plus it idling well, it seems logical. Enough power to produce a good quality spark at low power and low RPM, not enough at high power/high RPM. I'll do some more playing around and we'll see.

    One thing I'm noticing with the 9N is that it seems louder than it was before, specifically the exhaust. But it's been over 2 years so my memory likely does not serve me well on that. The engine itself sounds well lubricated and running well.
     
  15. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Maybe electrical, but popping and sputtering sounds more like a fuel issue to me. I would start with adjusting the main jet mixture, full throttle, lean until it sputters, then enrichen until it sputters again, counting turns. Go to the half way point, then go about a quarter turn rich. In fact even before that I would remove the mixture screw and blast carb cleaner through the jet. Ideally I would pull the bowl off, and blast all passages with carb cleaner to make sure nothing is plugged. I would also check the float, make sure it isn't leaking and make sure it is set to the correct level. About 15 minutes worth of work but will save a lot of aggravation.
     
  16. flyingbrit

    flyingbrit Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A cheap and easy way of checking for a weak spark is to gap the plugs very narrow, say 0.010". If this improves running, you likely have a coil problem.
     
  17. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Or gap them wide and see if it can still make the jump with it removed.

    If it is truly running smooth with no pops or misses at low power and only gets rough at higher power settings, it sounds like the carb even though most problems are in the electrical. I would tweak the main jet to see if there’s any change.

    I’ve seen a comprehensive carb adjustment article for these tractors, I’ll see if I can find it. I used it to set mine and it worked great.
     
  18. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    The typical procedure by so many mechanics. Chase fuel without making sure the ignition is good and strong and timed right. A weak spark will cause all sorts of "fuel problems." Backfiring, misfiring, vibration, all manner of stuff that people blame on the carb. The carb is easy to understand so that's what we tackle. Ignition is much harder to understand so we ignore it, thinking that since there's spark, all is well. But a plug that fires out in free air doesn't prove much at all; it's inside the compression of the cylinder where the real challenges arise. Air is a dielectric, an insulator between those electrodes, and sparking gets a lot harder when you pack more of it in there. That's why we pressure-test sparkplugs after cleaning and gapping: to find the ones that can't pass muster. Internal resistors are a primary failure point, and cracked ceramic with carbon in it is another. Another frequently-overlooked component is the condenser; if it's not healthy, nothing else is either.

    And then there are the plug leads with corrosion in their terminal/conductor connections. More serious resistance. When I was young and had forgotten the high school instructor's advice, I chased a cruise-power misfire in my old Ford van for months. Rebuilt the carb about four times. Fooled with all sorts of fuel stuff. Spent money. Until the guy who became my brother-in-law pulled a plug lead off and pointed at the green crud up inside it. Fixed that; problem gone.
     
  19. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    One other fuel related thought. Clogged line, debris in the fuel petcock or dirty filter restricting fuel flow. Might even through a pressure guage on it to check the fuel pump. (Or is this gravity flow? If so, pull the line and see how much is flowing). A vacuum guage would tell you a lot too about where your timing is set. I set it by advancing for max vacuum, then retarding about 2". Don't need no steenkin' light.

    If the thing runs great up until a high fuel demand, I'm betting fuel. It's not like this is some high-revving beast. It's a tractor designed to run at fairly low, constant rpm. He's replaced most all of the ignition components already, as well as the carb!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  20. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    But the ignition system is brand new, I believe along with the plugs, if not I'd change them out unless they are fairly new. If the wires aren't new, then I would run it at night and look for glowing and arcing. He does have a question about how it is wired, but from what he describes it sounds to me like he has it correct. It sounds like this motor sat for a while, it's tough to get all the fuel out of the carb, especially when it was down due to problems, which sounds like the case here. He's pretty extensively chased the electrical and replaced most of it. There is not much left to do. I would confirm the carb is clean. I pull them apart, clean out thoroughly, then put them back together with issues like this. YMMV, I rarely replace carbs unless there is damage or the new jet kit or bowl kit is as expensive as a rebuilt. Clean fresh fuel and clean carb is where I would get to sooner rather than later.
     
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  21. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    One thing often overlooked when rebuilding a pretty engine is that any new paint applied must be scraped off where the electrical components need to make a path to ground.

    Make sure the fasteners are touching bare metal and not painted brackets (like the coil) and ensure the negative side of each component has a path to ground.

    BTDT!!!
     
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  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I think that some of the progress has been missed, so let me recap on where we are. :)

    - Engine was rebuilt last year. New pistons, bearings, gaskets, liners, lifters, valves, and springs. Cam reused, valve lash set
    - New carb as of a couple months ago. Mixture adjustments set on carb per article I found online
    - New spark plugs
    - New distributor with points, cap, and rotor
    - New coil
    - Tractor did not have a ballast resistor in it when I got it. I added one per recommendation earlier in this thread

    Spark plug wires are old.
     
  23. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    FWIW, back in the days when I drove early to mid-70's detroit cars, any misfire was always a bad wire. Every time!
     
  24. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Ok, I'd check the wires in the dark with the engine at full throttle look for glowing or arcs. Plus check the mixture adjustment, could be either lean or rich.
     
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  25. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    The wires are certainly a possibility. I'll try a couple other things and then look at those if the other items don't fix it.
     
  26. david.h

    david.h Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Clean and wipe off grease/dirt from the wires (look for worn areas while you're at it).
     
  27. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Except that it’s a new carb that hasn’t been confirmed to have the right settings.
     
  28. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Wires with corroded terminals won't make much visible arcing at night. Bad (old) insulation does that.
     
  29. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    And I've adjusted the mixture to get it to run better, only to find the spark was weak. Once the spark was fixed, the carb was now too rich and had to be reset again. Enriching the mix makes the plug's job easier when the spark is weak.
     
  30. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    There's that, alright. However, I think the misfire was at high RPM and low load, which implies a lean misfire, usually due to bad spark. But if that mix is adjustable, backing it out a bit at that high RPM should say something.
     
  31. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I removed the ballast resistor from the equation and changed the oil I straight 40. Oil pressure is improved, and it did retain its prime.

    That said, I do suspect the plug wires need to get replaced. I’ll probably heya set ordered.

    Also found out the left brake is now inop, seems seized up. I’m not going to mess with it this year, maybe over the winter. So I need to finish bolting things together, and then it’s good to go for the season. I might look into buying a finish mower (5’ or so) for it to use the thing this summer doing some mowing.
     
  32. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Other question for 8N/9N/2N knowledgeable people - I’m thinking a 60’ deck for the 3-point. Is that a good size or should I look for something different?
     
  33. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That is because you bought the $6.00 set of plug wires from the local auto parts dealer.....

    BTDT.....:lol::lol:
     
  34. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Only thing to be aware of is that the N series is geared fast and they aren’t the best for finish mowers. A 60in deck is fine, but to get the proper blade speed you’ll be moving pretty quick. That’s ok if it’s straight mowing w/ few turns and you don’t let the grass get too high.
     
  35. SoonerAviator

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    I’d stick with a 5’ rear discharge just because it should be the same width as your rear tires. If the tires clear the obstacle, so will the finish mower. I’m sure you could get away with a 6’ if you mow every week, but if it’s wet or you miss a week, it’ll probably be a bit much for the N. I’d think you’ll have to mow in 2nd gear unless you’re is tall/wet stuff which may necessitate 1st. 3rd gear will probably too fast as to be useless.
     
  36. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Tractor brakes are highly over rated, until you need them. I occasionally operate a relatives JD970, and it is pretty rare for me to use the brake, other than as a parking brake. But then again, pretty flat land, and if you throttle back to idle before disengaging the PTO clutch, the finish mower in tall grass can make a pretty good dynamic braking load.
     
  37. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Actually, because my dad was cheap. Hey Dad, car is mis-firing. "OK, take it to the gas station, have them scope it and make a new wire."

    So, they'd scope it, and then he'd cut the proper length of wire off of a spool, and then crimp some new ends on. A couple of bucks back then. It would be good for a year, maybe two, then rinse, repeat lol.
     
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  38. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Yeah, not having a live PTO can make mowing tall grass a pretty sportin' proposition. I thought you had an MF 165? I'd use that.
     
  39. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    It depends on what you're mowing. But I wouldn't go larger than a 5ft finish mower unless you're cutting mainly dry grass on a relatively flat area with minimal trees AND maintain the grass at a fairly consistent level. Anything beyond that will bog a 6ft mower in my experience. Plus as mentioned a 5ft keeps the mower edges equal to your tractor width. Wood and Bush Hog brands are top shelf and have a good used market.
     
  40. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    As long as there's one working brake then I'm satisfied. When I got the tractor both brakes were working, so something must have rusted up while sitting. Since I've just gotten the thing working now after literally 2 years of not working and I have one brake that's functional, I figure it'll be a winter project.

    When I bought my Allis Chalmers it had one working brake and one seized up. Then the one working brake quit working, so I had no brakes. Paid to have that fixed over the winter since I don't have good resources for working on something that heavy. The 9N I could work on myself just fine I figure.

    This one has been converted to a live PTO.

    I have a MF 165 with an 86" finish mower deck on it. That's the primary mower for the property. We also have a 52" (or is it 54"? Now I forget) Snapper riding mower that's what my wife normally uses. However our son is really close to being able to drive a mower by himself. Probably next summer but he might even be able to this summer. He can about reach the pedals on the 9N and I think could operate the clutch if I adjusted the slack a bit tighter, and could probably drive the Snapper. The goal is to have as many of the family members able to use a mower device (once age appropriate, of course) as possible to minimize the time spent mowing.

    Eventually I will probably have to do something other than the 165 for the primary mowing tractor because it's heavy and the R1 rear tires and 3-rib fronts will tend to make some ruts in the ground unless it's very dry out. Really what I will need is something with enough power to run the main 86" mower and with turf tires on it. However that's a ways off since the runway is nowhere near completed.