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Discussion Starter #1
Let's hope this doesn't turn into too long of a story. SO some background - The tractor (grandpa's) hasn't been started in about 5 years, but ran fine when parked. Before attempting to start, I rebuilt the carb and changed the oil (ND). So a friend is helping to jump it and decides it is 12 volt (it is not) and also switches the positive to the starter (wrong and I hope this didn't damage anything). The battery explodes - and I hope this also didn't cause any damage to the electrical. So I get a new battery (8 volt to replace what was there). Now we have no spark. I followed the 8 volts all the way to the ignition coil and it gets there fine. However, from there, it does not seem to get to the distributor (or maybe it does, but there is a ground issue?). Basically, if I put the volt meter on the positive side of the ignition coil and ground the other side, I get 8 volts, but not if I put the negative side on the distributor. My dad seems to think that means the ignition coil is good as voltage passes through it. The distributor cap looks almost brand new. Found a receipt for it from 1996, but doubt it was ran for more than a couple hours between then and now. Any ideas of what I should be looking for? Attached picture for some reason :)

 

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certified tractor nut
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More than likely by putting 12 volts to the system the points, condenser, and coil got fried replace those and then try starting it if still doesn't want to start after making sure you have spark and fuel flowing to the carb you may need to pull start I've heard many times that after farmall a have sat for awhile they won start unless pull started but will usually start and run perfect after that


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pull the distributor cap and check the points, they may need cleaning, use a very fine finger nail file on them. if all original the m used a positive ground system where battery + goes the the frame. if it was reversed you may have to re polarize the generator also.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I tried replacing the ignition coil, but no dice. Is there a good way to test the ignition coil? When I send power to it (flip the on switch), should I be able to get spark by sticking a screwdriver in it? I am not getting spark by doing that...


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In order to get spark from the coil you need to unhook the coil wire at the distributor and hold it very close to a good ground (coil mounting bolt works great) and crank the tractor over because the points need to close to energize the coil the open to create the spark make sure the tractor is out of gear when you crank it over otherwise it will try to move. And as stated clean or replace the points before going any further with diagnostics.


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+1 on checking the points. Do you older guys remember when things changed from points and coil to electronic, and how everyone cussed the new stuff because if it broke, you couldn't get it to work without replacing it??
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think you guys may be on to something with the points. Grounded out the coil and on side of the point I was getting the full 8 volts, on the other only 5-6. Tried to clean with a file and a bunch of white residue came off. Now getting a spark from the ignition coil when trying to start, but extremely weak and random. So picking up new points today after work. Will update with the results. Thanks for the help!
 

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It wouldn't hurt to add a nice set of plug wires to your shopping list. My 400 gave me fits for a while as well. I ended up changing all ignition parts: cap, coil, points, condenser, plugs, and the plug wires. I also had to replace my ignition switch as it had a severe infestation of gremlins that didn't want to move out when I gave them the eviction notice. heh. My local parts store had everything I needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Definitely will go with new plug wires. I picked up a kit when I started working on it after seeing the plug wires (can see one of the new wires in the pic above). I should have everything on your list replaced as well after today. I think the ignition switch is fine, but the cutoff switch is bad as mentioned above...which is sad because I remember as a kid my grandpa having to use that with me behind the wheel. Those brakes are hard to use with short, wimpy legs! :)
 

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NAPA has a copper core complete wire set for up to 6 cyls. for between $20 & $25. Cut to length yourself, and attach boots and ends, your good to go. Stay away from the hypalon wires, in this application.
 

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i would install electronic ignition,i did this on my H couldn't have been happier.you get rid of your points.i did convert the h to 12 volts before install.i dont know if i will spell it right. pertronix is the name brand.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's alive! Replaced the plug wires, condenser, points, cap and rotor and it started to pop. After some carb adjustments, it is running great (even on the 6 volt system). If I go down this road again..12 volt electronic ignition it is! Thanks everyone for your help!
 

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keep it maintained and that 6 volt system could last a lot longer than you think! grats on working out the gremlins
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks! Now the next step, haha...figuring out why the ammeter shows discharge while running. Re-polarized the generator as mentioned above, but no dice...


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You said that you put in an 8 volt battery correct in order to get your ammeter to show that the genny is charging you need to adjust the regulator so that it allows approx 9-9.5 volts so that the battery will actually charge and not drain down to 6 volts i believe that the cutouts are also adjustable but better check with someone wiser than I am


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