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Ford Tractors Discussion Forum

Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start

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Author  [Modern View]

10-09-2017 11:18:42

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Hi All,
I recently purchased a 1960 Ford 641 which ran great for the first three days. One issue snowballed into 6 and now 5 months later I am at a loss as to getting this thing running again. I have searched and searched these threads and so decided to ask the question. Here is what I have:
1. The tractor was previously converted to 12v.
2. The wiring harness burned up on the first day I used it in May after leaving the key on. I had to replace all wiring and then 12v coil, sparkplugs, wires, distributor cap, button, points, condenser. The tractor ran after doing this and ran well for several weeks.

3. I encountered a fuel leak at the fuel line. I was shutting off the fuel in between uses while attempting to repair the leak. Tractor still ran fine. I finally repaired the leak by cutting the copper tubing and flaring it again to fit the top sediment bowl. During the first use following this (maybe 10 minutes) the tractor began sputtering and simply would not run above idle. It would idle fine, but nothing higher. I got very black smoke and blackened sparkplugs.

4. Believing I was getting too much fuel, I took the carb apart and found the float valve needle was sticking and would not drop, seemingly cutting the fuel supply. I ordered a basic carb rebuild kit and replaced that needle along with a few other parts that were included. As I put it all together, I managed to break the main jet adjusting needle by over torquing. Ordered a replacement one of those and now it will not start at all.

I will get an occasional back fire, but nothing better. I have used starting fluid with no gasoline thinking I was flooding with too much fuel, but same result. If I open the carb drain, plenty of fuel comes out. I have emptied the fuel tank and added all fresh, sediment bowls are both cleaned, spark at the plugs, I am at a loss and no more hair left to pull out (fell out years ago).

The only idea I have is the concept of grounding out, which I do not really understand. When I bought the tractor there was a secondary starter button, but it burned up with the wiring. I connected the new wiring harness to the existing starter button (original) and it worked fine, so I have been using that. Pressing that button now does cause it to turn over, but could it be causing some other kind of grounding issue?
Any thoughts or advice are greatly appreciated.

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10-10-2017 10:19:34

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
Thanks Larry, found it on there. I don't recall ever seeing that clip, so I have to invest $7 in that little thing I guess.

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10-10-2017 10:14:19

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
Interesting, I do not have a clip and have not seen one on there. I do have the play you are referring to though. The rotor presses down on the distributor, but then it has a quite a bit of left/right play and I have broken two rotors now. Any thoughts on where I can obtain another clip? I don't see it listed on this site or Steiners.

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Larry NCKS

10-10-2017 10:13:52

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
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Well! That didn't work as planned. You'll need to scroll down to group 6 and highlight it to bring up distributor and related parts. Enlarge the image and you can plainly see the clip, #38 in the schematic.

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Larry NCKS

10-10-2017 10:10:21

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  

The "little clip" is #38 in this parts diagram. Part # is 8N12213

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10-10-2017 09:28:23

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Yes, I was referring to the rotor button. I have a new one on there now and it does not appear to be striking the distributor cap.

Checked these things out last night:
1. Distributor bolts were tight and timing appears correct. I recently went through the process of getting it in correct timing and it was running under the current timing configuration. I loosened the bolts and adjusted left and right while trying to start to see if I got any better response, but did not.

2. I'm not sure what you mean by the little clip.
3. I tried to test spark from the center wire, but it is sized differently and doesn't really fit the plugs. I did test from the 4 plugs and seem to be getting a strong spark.
4. Fuel draining from the carb drain plug is steady and fast.
5. In an effort to eliminate the starter button in case it was causing problems, I disconnected the wire from it and, attempting to trigger the starter, put that wire to 12v power. This initiated the starter, but then I could not stop the starter (the engine still did not start or even attempt). I ended up having to disconnect the battery to stop the starter from cranking. I'm guessing I just burned out the starter solenoid?? The solenoid was new from this site, I will replace with the original one which did work before to keep testing.

One other oddity, as I'm cranking I of course end of flooding the carb and I have excessive fuel in the intake side. Then a backfire triggers a fire and the fuel is burning. It has happened several times and I can snuff it out. Shouldn't gasoline have exploded more so than burn like that? I have been testing with and without the air filter connected in an effort to evaporate excess fuel.
Thanks for your responses.

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10-10-2017 09:57:29

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-10-2017 09:28:23  
On these tractor the rotor has or should have a little spring clip on the distributor shaft. If it is not there the rotor will sort of lop around as in if you grab it you can turn it a bit and that throws off timing enough to make them not run or not run well and can also end up causing the rotor to break. Many people loose that clip when they replace the points since it will fly off when one removed the dust cover with out removing the clip first and once it flies off it is gone forever

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Larry NCKS

10-09-2017 12:28:16

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
I'm assuming "the button" is your rotor. I suppose it is possible if it hit the distributor cap hard enough and clip bolts at the base of the distributor were loose enough, for it to have moved the timing.

Have you got the little clip on the distributor shaft under your rotor?

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10-09-2017 11:49:10

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
Do some basic trouble shooting.
#1 check that you have a good blue/white spark at the center wire of the distributor cap that will jump a 1/4 inch gap or more and also at the 4 plug wires. If you have go to #2
#2 pull the carb drain plug and make sure you have a steady stream of gas that will fill a pint jar in under 3 minutes. #3 check the air cleaner and make sure it has good oil in it not a bunch or water and mud. Post back what you find. Lack of spark is likely to be a points problem.

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10-09-2017 11:44:17

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
I do have an inline spark indicator light. The spark is fairly repetitive, though not always the same intensity. Should it be? Regarding the timing, can the timing get thrown off without removing the distributor? I had replaced the button and when I checked on it last week, the button was all busted up, meaning it had apparently gotten caught on the cap and distributor kept turning. I replaced the button and am once again getting spark, but could it have thrown the timing off?

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10-09-2017 11:37:44

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 Re: Ford 641 Ran Fine Before, now won't start in reply to Andy682, 10-09-2017 11:18:42  
Check for consistent spark. An inexpensive inline spark checker is nice.

Check timing.

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