My Tractor Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OMG I was gonna start or try to fire-up the beast Ive been on for going on the 3rd. summer now (Attn. Fireant..3rd. summer not exactly 3rd. year there Buddy lol!) so I put plug in it and hooked one end of wire to mag and other to plug of course and even put muffler on and racheted it to TDC I think ( as soon as mag snapped) put eth-free fuel in it & turned on flow valve & watched the filter fill-up with fuel & put it in neutral and all was well ( gas cap to).
Then I wrapped that Gawd awfull new strap on it ( gonna get rope next time ) and gave Her a pull and it back-fired or felt like it but no spark involved and it felt like it broke a cpl of my fingers as well as my arm ! Then it did it again!
It was like kick starting an old Harley when the kick starter almost wants to tear your'e leg off going upward!
Is it out of time or what? Thats about all I can figure but man I cant deal with that very much at all.
Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance. Im beginning to wish I wouldnt have sold my electric starter but it wasnt long for this world anyway and I think it was mostly homemade.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,170 Posts
Sounds like it kicked back hard. That's nearly always a symptom of timing too far advanced.

The way to set the timing is to get the timing marks on the mag to line up with the piston is 5/32" BTDC. That works out to the impulse coupling firing at TDC. That's what you want for starting.

You really want to get the timing right. It's a real pain (literally) if it's too far advanced. See Sometimes they bite
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,290 Posts
The same thing happened to me the first time trying to start my grandfather's old wooden handle L when I was young. I didn't pull hard enough, and the eyelet in the strap didn't clear the flywheel pin. It felt like my arms were being pulled out of their sockets.
 

·
Gravely1964
Joined
·
3,884 Posts
Much like jrd I have a broken finger to prove that checking when they spark before first pull is a must. I always throw all numbers measurements out the window. Always remove plug, with flash light watching piston movement. It should snap or spark right at tdc, or a small smidge past
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yea thats what I tried to do but just didnt do it right I recon. I took the 1/2 ratchet and 15/16 socket ( turned out to be the same size as plug ) and slowly turned pulley w/plug in it untill I heard the loud " SNAP " from magneto and stopped right there and then gave it a pull.
The 1st. time I pulled it didnt attack me ( lol ) but the 2nd. and 3rd. time it did and with my hernia and now my hand and elbow or something I just said "heck with this, its prolly out of time and better get on the forum lol"
Im gonna check out 'sometimes they bite' like jrd said but if I gotta take that dang head off and or jug again to time it its gonna be a MAJOR setback because of all that is goin on including I gotta get to hospital as soon as I muster up the guts to get my guts stuffed back in me and thats just half of it.
But if its a big deal there is a place within 5 or 6 miles of here that has been selling and working on Gravely's for decades and decades called ' Kenny Queens Hardware'.
Thanks all for confirming what I thot was the issue.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Sounds like it kicked back hard. That's nearly always a symptom of timing too far advanced.

The way to set the timing is to get the timing marks on the mag to line up with the piston is 5/32" BTDC. That works out to the impulse coupling firing at TDC. That's what you want for starting.

You really want to get the timing right. It's a real pain (literally) if it's too far advanced. See Sometimes they bite
WOW jrd ! I just read that " sometimes they bite" and it bit you good, bruised and all. For the first time Im glad I wasnt healthy enuf to give it a full pull meaning a normal real pull or my fingers would be looking like yours did.
I knew I couldnt pull it as hard as I normally can but I just thought I would get lucky if everything was right but why in Heavens name would I possibly think that? lol.
I guess I'll go to stickys free manuals and see about timing that monster
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,170 Posts
I gotta take that dang head off and or jug again to time it its gonna be a MAJOR setback
Why are you worrying about taking the head off? Or the jug?

Timing these things is super easy. Steve gave you the quick procedure, above. Pull the plug, eyeball through the plug hole, turn slowly forward, expect to get a snap/spark at TDC. Or a whisker after. If it snaps too early, loosen the mag coupling, twist it a bit, tighten it back up, and try again until the spark is where you want it.

I was stupid with that L8 that broke my fingers. It was dumb enough to try it without checking the timing (I'd forgotten to bring my small toolkit with me, so didn't have a plug wrench). But then to try it again with my other hand: Oh brother, what a bad move!

Though I did hear some entertaining and scary stories from the hand doctor who put me back together. And now I have two little titanium screws in my left ring finger :)
 

·
Daryl G
Joined
·
871 Posts
Gerrard,
Kudos for getting this far! Although I am still new to Gravelys, I have seen several different methods of setting the ignition timing... these range from simple approaches to some very overly complicated (in my opinion) and time-consuming methods. If you read some of the old Gravely manuals, there are instructions for doing this that state to remove the cylinder head to set the timing - this is not required! Elsewhere, I have also seen instructions for using dial indicators for the timing yet, because of the nature of these old and simple engines, using such a precise method is akin to measuring an anvil with a micrometer (again, this is my opinion and such a method is overkill as I have used this approach).

Accurate ignition timing is necessary and I would suggest a simpler approach using a wooden dowel inserted into the spark plug hole, a 15/16 socket/ratchet, and your eyes, ears, and patience. But, before messing with the timing, I would revisit the current setup. I know that on my machines that if I do not get a good hard pull that the machine will hurt me when trying to crank - and this is with the timing properly set! You did good with rotating the engine till you heard the snap and then try to crank it - I broke three starter straps before I realized that this is a requirement.

One day out in the field, I installed and timed a non-snapping F&M magneto using the wooden dowel method. Although I have read repeatedly that these machines cannot start without a snapping magneto, I know first-hand that that is not true... at least with the F&M magneto I had. It ran very well for at least nine months with 'nary' a snap ever sounded from the magneto. After visually setting the timing marks to the position of the piston, it fired right up.

My recommendation is to do a cursory test to check the timing; however, do NOT loosen anything!!! Just check to see the piston's orientation to the sounding of the snap. You may see that it is off slightly on one rotation yet it may appear to be spot-on with the next. Then... this is critical... wait for your son to come over and have him try to crank the machine;). I know that I have to be positioned properly each time I go to crank mine AND sometimes it still abruptly stops me in my tracks.

Be patient and do NOT take anything apart!!!
 

·
Gravely1964
Joined
·
3,884 Posts
Just take the spark plug out and look with flash light. Don't remove the head again. It does not matter that you turned past once. as it still sparks the next time around
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
gave Her a pull and it back-fired or felt like it but no spark involved and it felt like it broke a cpl of my fingers as well as my arm ! Then it did it again!
Great news you are trying Gerrard but get some help. Pull starting that tractor will tear you apart. Been there!

Do not take the head off. Just pull the plug and insert a long shank screw driver in the cylinder. You can rotate the crank to find TDC and it should snap just at the piston feels it passed TDC. That sweet spot! Some pressure on the screw driver while rotating the crank is needed.

Good luck! RB in RI
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
I think you are not using the correct starting procedure. I would not mess with the timing if it started ok last year. You are turning the engine over till you hear the snap. Do not turn it that far. Wrap the strap around it, and lightly pull on the strap, the engine will turn over easy till you get to the spot BEFORE the snap. Wrap your strap around more if you need to, and then put a little pressure on the strap and then give it a quick pull. I have never had one that was in time pull out of my fingers. I have had them that were out of time pull out of my fingers doing that way, but if you pull any of these tractors in the "free wheel" area and then come up on the compression stroke toward the end of the pull, they will all have a tendency to pull out of your hand.

I would also use a strap. I use a piece of belting I cut to the correct width. It starts so much better with a strap that has no give to it. A rope is too spongy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the help guys (and replies) Im gonna reply to all of you because its all the same questions/subject and mainly I still dont understand this format and when I reply more than once it turns up 10 times all over the page.
But I knew I read or seen somewhere that the head came off when timing and I was finding something else on the Gravely manuals and saw it but didnt really read it but it did flash across my screen but I certainly wont go that route.
I have been out here about an hour and have to go trim rose bushes and throw a bag of rock salt on the Bamboo to try to kill it when it starts to rain tonight but heres what I did when I was out here.
Well I got plug out, had to use open end wrench because for some reason I broke 2 plugs at insulator/ceramic on push mower a cpl days ago w/non rubberized socket in 5/8 and I have removed that plug a dozen times w/no problem so I dont know what the heck was goin on so I got one w/a magnet and rubber but my 15/16 is a straight socket so I wasnt gonna take a chance but the wrench works fine.
I made a Bamboo dowell rod and removed plug and did the turning stuff, it ( piston ) dropped down to 5" and came up and snapped @ 1", snapped every other time of course, one discharge and one fuel draw I assume but I laid plug on top shield and got no spark.
I just unplugged wire from magneto and I might not have had a good brass ( on plug wire, mag end) to whatever it plugs into inside of the magneto. Gonna have to check that out but I took cover off last summer and tried to clean everything in there as good as I could may have even used sum spray electrical cleaner and cleaned and put a little clean new mineral oil on a sponge in there also.
Gotta go for now because I have a bunch to do. I barley have time to go to work lol.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I think you are not using the correct starting procedure. I would not mess with the timing if it started ok last year. You are turning the engine over till you hear the snap. Do not turn it that far. Wrap the strap around it, and lightly pull on the strap, the engine will turn over easy till you get to the spot BEFORE the snap. Wrap your strap around more if you need to, and then put a little pressure on the strap and then give it a quick pull. I have never had one that was in time pull out of my fingers. I have had them that were out of time pull out of my fingers doing that way, but if you pull any of these tractors in the "free wheel" area and then come up on the compression stroke toward the end of the pull, they will all have a tendency to pull out of your hand.

I would also use a strap. I use a piece of belting I cut to the correct width. It starts so much better with a strap that has no give to it. A rope is too spongy.
I dont think I like the strap I bought from a so-called Gravely / ATV shop that is in Dunbar a block away from the actual Gravely factory. Its that nylon strap with the wooden handle on it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I think you are not using the correct starting procedure. I would not mess with the timing if it started ok last year. You are turning the engine over till you hear the snap. Do not turn it that far. Wrap the strap around it, and lightly pull on the strap, the engine will turn over easy till you get to the spot BEFORE the snap. Wrap your strap around more if you need to, and then put a little pressure on the strap and then give it a quick pull. I have never had one that was in time pull out of my fingers. I have had them that were out of time pull out of my fingers doing that way, but if you pull any of these tractors in the "free wheel" area and then come up on the compression stroke toward the end of the pull, they will all have a tendency to pull out of your hand.

I would also use a strap. I use a piece of belting I cut to the correct width. It starts so much better with a strap that has no give to it. A rope is too spongy.
franklin2, I have never seen this run, its the one I bought for my son 2 summers ago (this will be the 3 rd. summer upcoming) the old dude I bought it from said it ran and offered to start it but I was in a hurry so I said "Oh I believe you lets just push it up on the truck" and like a fool being my first time trying to re-do a Gravely I never ever tried to start it and just started stripping it down and sanding, painting and buying new parts like fan bearings and a dozen or more small things for it.
And now I wanna get it running so I can give it to my son this spring.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Why are you worrying about taking the head off? Or the jug?

Timing these things is super easy. Steve gave you the quick procedure, above. Pull the plug, eyeball through the plug hole, turn slowly forward, expect to get a snap/spark at TDC. Or a whisker after. If it snaps too early, loosen the mag coupling, twist it a bit, tighten it back up, and try again until the spark is where you want it.

I was stupid with that L8 that broke my fingers. It was dumb enough to try it without checking the timing (I'd forgotten to bring my small toolkit with me, so didn't have a plug wrench). But then to try it again with my other hand: Oh brother, what a bad move!

Though I did hear some entertaining and scary stories from the hand doctor who put me back together. And now I have two little titanium screws in my left ring finger :)
Man I didnt know you had screws, my God Im glad that didnt happen to me yesterday...thats all I need right now. I couldnt even do my job like that. Screws....man that has to bother you sometimes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
franklin2, I have never seen this run, its the one I bought for my son 2 summers ago (this will be the 3 rd. summer upcoming) the old dude I bought it from said it ran and offered to start it but I was in a hurry so I said "Oh I believe you lets just push it up on the truck" and like a fool being my first time trying to re-do a Gravely I never ever tried to start it and just started stripping it down and sanding, painting and buying new parts like fan bearings and a dozen or more small things for it.
And now I wanna get it running so I can give it to my son this spring.
Well if it's a unknown machine, it never hurts to check things out like the timing. But always use that procedure, even pull starting a modern engine like on a log splitter or newer mower. Most of them have a recoil start rope, just lightly pull on it till you feel the resistance of the compression, let the recoil pull some rope back in, put a little tension against it and then give it a firm pull. I have had even a modern engine jerk back on me if I wasn't right behind the compression stroke of the engine. I know, it hurts bad sometimes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,170 Posts
Man I didnt know you had screws, my God Im glad that didnt happen to me yesterday...thats all I need right now. I couldnt even do my job like that. Screws....man that has to bother you sometimes
Nah, the hand doctor did a great job.

I had what's called an avulsion fracture. Basically the tendon pulled a chunk out of the bone, right at the last finger joint. If the joint was ever going to work again, he had to stick the piece of bone back in place and hold it there against the tension of the tendon, while it healed. Thus the tiny screws. Then he gave me a bunch of mobility exercises.

But it worked out fine. I have just as much motion in that joint as the rest of my fingers. And I learned something :)
 

·
Daryl G
Joined
·
871 Posts
...but I laid plug on top shield and got no spark. I just unplugged wire from magneto and I might not have had a good brass ( on plug wire, mag end) to whatever it plugs into inside of the magneto....
Gerrard,
Go back and repeat this exercise of 'rotating engine with 15/16" socket and looking for the spark' in the evening when it is dark and re-examine for that yet unseen spark.

I have the same pull strap you described and I like it - give it a chance and you may like it too!

I bet that are lots of different procedures here for starting those respective machines but the firm pull after the snap has served me extremely well. Sometimes, while in tighter spaces where arm movement is limited, the initial momentum you are afforded while cranking with less resistance is critical. Still, sometimes the rope pulls me towards the machine anyway. Just be carefull of that hernia!

Unrelated to your original post but noteworthy: On my 1957 L, I always rotate the crankshaft until I hear the snap before putting it away (this minimizes the likelihood of the exhaust valve sticking). On LOTS of occasions, this rotation via a 15/16" socket while ignite the fuel mixture in the cylinder! The socket/ratchet will bounce in my hands.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Nah, the hand doctor did a great job.

I had what's called an avulsion fracture. Basically the tendon pulled a chunk out of the bone, right at the last finger joint. If the joint was ever going to work again, he had to stick the piece of bone back in place and hold it there against the tension of the tendon, while it healed. Thus the tiny screws. Then he gave me a bunch of mobility exercises.

But it worked out fine. I have just as much motion in that joint as the rest of my fingers. And I learned something :)
I knew a guy years ago that messed up one of his fingers and didnt get it taken care of and it wouldnt bend anymore, it was a real nusance and he couldnt hardly even put that hand it was on in his pocket.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,938 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Gerrard,
Go back and repeat this exercise of 'rotating engine with 15/16" socket and looking for the spark' in the evening when it is dark and re-examine for that yet unseen spark.

I have the same pull strap you described and I like it - give it a chance and you may like it too!

I bet that are lots of different procedures here for starting those respective machines but the firm pull after the snap has served me extremely well. Sometimes, while in tighter spaces where arm movement is limited, the initial momentum you are afforded while cranking with less resistance is critical. Still, sometimes the rope pulls me towards the machine anyway. Just be carefull of that hernia!

Unrelated to your original post but noteworthy: On my 1957 L, I always rotate the crankshaft until I hear the snap before putting it away (this minimizes the likelihood of the exhaust valve sticking). On LOTS of occasions, this rotation via a 15/16" socket while ignite the fuel mixture in the cylinder! The socket/ratchet will bounce in my hands.
Sounds like the ticket
Thanks man
G
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top