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New member, 184 starting issues :-(

IH Cub Cadet Tractor Forum

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kashaver

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Kelvin Shaver
Before I make any suggestions that may not be helpful, Is the 184 as delivered from the factory, positive or negative ground? And was it 6v or 12v?

If it was originally positive ground (Like the old Cubs were) and the battery is still hooked up positive ground, that might be confusing your Pertronix ignition equipment which I would guess requires negative ground. (Me, personally I like the old points and all of them (4 Cubs) seem to give years of service.
 

HIPO Giddyup

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This 184 is negative ground and a 12v system. My Dad had a 48' Farmall cub and it was 6v positive ground. I learned the hard way trying to jump start it one day. lol
I have wanted to switch to pertronix because my dad would replace points,condensor, rotor at the first sign of running poorly, not starting easily, etc. This fix always seemed to work and he never replaced just one item but all 3 at a time. Since I have had great luck with pertronix, I thought this would be the way to go on the 184. The points and condensor were new when I first tried to start the tractor (along with the troubleshooting) and I am still in the same shape even with the pertronix installed. I'm guessing I have a ground issue somewhere but not sure where to start.
 

mfrade

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An easy test of the coil is to connect the high tension wire to a spark plug and have the plug setup so it is connected to ground and at an angle so you can observe for a spark. With the 12 volts applied to the positive side of the coil, use a short jumper wire to a known good ground or even back to the battery negative. "scratch" the end of your jumper wire across the connection, every time it makes and then breaks a connection, the coil should fire the plug. Very short connections will charge the coil and when that connection is broken the "field" collapses onto the high voltage side in the coil causing the spark at the plug. Do NOT keep the coil "energized" for long, this is a dead short! Just a couple quick touches should be all you need to verify the coil works. If it does, then the component that controls that connection has failed to make/break the connection. Things like a open condenser / a broken wire will be things to look for next.
 

HIPO Giddyup

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Thanks again for everyone's feedback. I checked the coil and it has the correct ohms, 3.5, and both windings tested ok. I decided to remove the battery leads and clean all of the connections, including the main switch mounted inside the fender area. Everything cleaned up well and was put back in place. I checked the distributor for continuity when I removed the pertronix and found it was "iffy". I then cleaned the inside of the distributor and area under the adjustment bolts for the distributor to make sure it has really good ground.
I then reinstalled the points so I can watch and see if they spark. They did!!! The first time since I have started working on the tractor! Next, I put the cap on and verified I had spark at a head bolt, then with a spark plug. Nice spark !! I put everything back together and tried a little starting fluid. She kicked over like she was trying to start but never did. I would spary some more, then close the choke, again the revs sped up but would not fully start. She did backfire from the carb. I was then thinking I wasn't getting enough gas so I took the fuel line off from the carb, it was coming out pretty good. I went to recheck timing, spinning the crank around and lining the notch in the crank pulley with the pointer. I checked the cap and the #1 tower was right where the rotor was pointing. I tried starting again but she just wont' take off. Now the battery is getting weaker and I dont want to mess up the starter. I called it quits for tonight but I think I am much closer.
The plugs look really good and are not flooded.
ANyone have any other pointers?? When I set the timing, I am using the top notch on the crank correct? I was told the top notch is the basic setting and there would be a notch under the pointer in this position for advanced timing? Any input is greatley appreciated. Everyone has been a world of help with this!!
Bill
 

jstich

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This might sound like a silly question, but when you removed the pertronix and reinstalled the points, did you also reinstall the condenser? You indicated a nice spark at the plug, but was it a nice fat, blue spark or a puny orange spark? It will NOT run without a condenser with points.
 

HIPO Giddyup

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This might sound like a silly question, but when you removed the pertronix and reinstalled the points, did you also reinstall the condenser? You indicated a nice spark at the plug, but was it a nice fat, blue spark or a puny orange spark? It will NOT run without a condenser with points.
I installed the "new " points, condensor, and retained the "new" rotor. The only thing different in the ignition parts is the pertronix 3 ohm coil. The spark is blue whether jumping to a head bolt or with a spark plug attached. I hope to have time tomorrow and try to get it started. I am going to researched timing on the old cub engines so I can be sure I am doing it right. From what I gather they cannot "jump" timing and if anything breaks, like a gear tooth, it will not run? This is my understanding. The crank , of course spins good, as well as the distributor spins around as it should , and the valves are opening and closing when the crank is rotated so the cam doesn't appear to be broke.
As for the Zenith 68 carb, I took it apart enough the clean the needle/seat, clean out old gas residue, and then put a new body gasket between the top and bottom halves. The tractor had the new carb about 1 year before it shut off and put it in the positon I am working with now, no spark. Fingers crossed for the next go-round she might start...
 

HIPO Giddyup

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I installed the "new " points, condensor, and retained the "new" rotor. The only thing different in the ignition parts is the pertronix 3 ohm coil. The spark is blue whether jumping to a head bolt or with a spark plug attached. I hope to have time tomorrow and try to get it started. I am going to researched timing on the old cub engines so I can be sure I am doing it right. From what I gather they cannot "jump" timing and if anything breaks, like a gear tooth, it will not run? This is my understanding. The crank , of course spins good, as well as the distributor spins around as it should , and the valves are opening and closing when the crank is rotated so the cam doesn't appear to be broke.
As for the Zenith 68 carb, I took it apart enough the clean the needle/seat, clean out old gas residue, and then put a new body gasket between the top and bottom halves. The tractor had the new carb about 1 year before it shut off and put it in the positon I am working with now, no spark. Fingers crossed for the next go-round she might start...

I tried to get the tractor started but the same story. I now have spark to the plugs but she will not start. I can get it close by using starting fliud, but it will not hold. I even pulled a plug out and put a little gas in the cylinder, still wont take off. I am at a loss now. I rechecked timing and it still looks good, and from what I've read, unless you pull the distributor there is no way for it to be "off". I'll bet the tractor that no one has EVER pulled the distributor. The only thing I can think of is to do a compression test. I cant imagine an engine like this one, with "normal" hours on it would just stop and not be able to start back up due to poor compression? Thanks for everyone's help on this. Any other ideas here are welcome, as the next stop is to send it out to a shop.
By the way, what would "normal" compression be on a 184 ??

Thx Bill
 

kmcconaughey

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Bill, sorry to hear it's still not running. I had high hopes when you got spark. I'm not much help at this point. I've stretched my knowledge as far as it goes, actually stretched it a bit beyond. 😲 Hopefully someone that has more knowledge than I have will chime in here.
 

snicklas

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I've not messed with a LowBoy, but there are some basic things. Even simple things that have "gotten" me over the years.

Is the fuel shut off, turned on?
I know you have mentioned the carb, but what have you done with it? Do you know if the float moves? No gas in, no gas out...

Other then when you have poured gas in a cylinder, if you pull the plug after unsuccessfully getting it to start, is the plug wet from fuel? If not, then back to the carb again.

Since you said it will fire off starting fluid, it sounds like the engine has the ability to run, good compression and spark. One thing I do when trying something like this, is use carb cleaner, and spray the carb while attempting to start, and if it starts, keep spraying (it takes some practice) and see if it will stay running. Keeping it running like this proves compression, spark and timing.

If it won’t run off carb cleaner, then that leans more toward spark or compression. You have seen a good spark, and I would say a compression issue would be obvious..... (noise, hole in block, compression release open (if equipped), etc)

My feeling is, with all the various types of engines I’ve worked on, you have a fuel supply issue.....
 

wh cc guy

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If it almost runs but won't keep running I would have to try replacing the condenser again. Can't remember the compression it should have but should start and run as low 90 psi.
 

HIPO Giddyup

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Thanks Kraig, I apprecitated your help!

Scott, good point on the carb. I definitely have fuel to the carb. At first, when I flushed out the gas tank, I took the fuel bowl off and cleaned it out too. I don't think it had ever been off. There was a lot of debris in the screen. I put a new fuel line on it (rubber), and got good fuel to the carb. So much that it was dripping. I took the carb off and found the needle/float was stuck and not shutting off the fuel. I destroyed the gasket between the two halves when doing so, so I ordered a new one ,cleaned out the carb, and made sure the float moved freely. Now you have me thinking of redoing the carb completely as the plugs were NOT wet after a few minutes of cranking???
There is no unusual noise from the block, no hole, etc. and no compression release that I know of. I will try the carb cleaner to see if it will fire off of that tonight or tomorrow.

I have one more condensor to try. so I might as well replace that too. Thx wh cc guy!

In all the years of my Dad using/working on farmall cubs and IH's I have never had so many problems! Let's hope when it runs it won't stop for years to come!
 

rmreid

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Randy Reid
Since we are trying out different things that MIGHT have some effect on this I just wanted to throw out a recent problem that I would have never thought been there. Previous owner of my newly purchased 185 changed rotor, cap and wires, plugs. Tractor ran great, but any load at all, and I mean anything like trying to barely let the clutch out, engine would die immediately. I know this isn't your problem but it shows that even when things are assumed to be right and the tractor runs perfectly, it could be something incredibly simple.......wires 2 and 3 were reversed on the cap. I just wanted to ask if you have looked at the firing order of the wires on the cap and plugs now that you have spark to them. It's an easy check.
 

HIPO Giddyup

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All input welcome!! I did recheck firing order the other day. It is 1-3-4-2. Pretty sure it is cast in the block as well, behind the carb. Good point, keep 'em coming. One of these will hopefully be my issue.
 

mfrade

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Since you said you're going to try a different condenser Lift the points back out also and verify the mounting plate is clean and can move, I believe the advance mechanism is under there and may be stuck holding your ignition timing to far advance to start...

Just a swag and one side of the points mount does provide a path to ground - it may be weak?
 

HIPO Giddyup

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Since you said you're going to try a different condenser Lift the points back out also and verify the mounting plate is clean and can move, I believe the advance mechanism is under there and may be stuck holding your ignition timing to far advance to start...

Just a swag and one side of the points mount does provide a path to ground - it may be weak?

Thanks for that info Mike. That is a good point about the distributor plate. It doesn't look like the distributor plate can move as there are three screws that hold it in place, including the cap hold down arms/screws. However, looking into the parts manual, it does show advance springs underneath and if one is broke, maybe that is messing with timing to get it started?
Another good pointer was brought up by my friend, where he said my plugs should be a little wet after a few minutes of trying to start. He asked to check the intake and make sure no debris is up in there. The carb intake hose was off since it has been parked. Its worth trying at this point...
 

kashaver

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Kelvin Shaver
This screwed me up Yesterday: Are you sure your valves are sealing? I had to put a little oil in the cylinder on a Briggs engine yesterday to get it to fire off. It started right up this morning. (After I got all the gas out of the crankcase.)
 

HIPO Giddyup

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That is a question I am unsure of? It seems to have great compression so I "assume" they are sealing?

SO I tried this after what was suggested earlier.. I took out all the components from the distributor and cleaned all of the contact areas and inside the housing. I checked the springs under the distributor plate and they are intact and working, not stuck. I then put everything back, using another condensor and regapping the points again. I then rechecked the timing to make sure it was correct (since I was moving the distributor around to get to the screws).
Next , I went and removed the fuel line, again lots of gas and the carb had gas in it as well. I made sure the uptake portion of the intake was open, it was. I reassembled the carb to the intake and tried starting it agian. Same thing, tries really hard to start but nothing. When I use carb cleaner, or even a spray bottle with gas in it while I am cranking, it spins faster but will not take off. Plugs are not soaked either..Those with 184-185s or even the 154s, when you set the timing are you using the second mark on the crank pulley? I read that the first mark that moves around is a 16degree advanced, but the tractor still would start on that one too??
 

HIPO Giddyup

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That is a question I am unsure of? It seems to have great compression so I "assume" they are sealing?

SO I tried this after what was suggested earlier.. I took out all the components from the distributor and cleaned all of the contact areas and inside the housing. I checked the springs under the distributor plate and they are intact and working, not stuck. I then put everything back, using another condensor and regapping the points again. I then rechecked the timing to make sure it was correct (since I was moving the distributor around to get to the screws).
Next , I went and removed the fuel line, again lots of gas and the carb had gas in it as well. I made sure the uptake portion of the intake was open, it was. I reassembled the carb to the intake and tried starting it agian. Same thing, tries really hard to start but nothing. When I use carb cleaner, or even a spray bottle with gas in it while I am cranking, it spins faster but will not take off. Plugs are not soaked either..Those with 184-185s or even the 154s, when you set the timing are you using the second mark on the crank pulley? I read that the first mark that moves around is a 16degree advanced, but the tractor still would start on that one too??
Here are some pics..
 

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mfrade

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It may have been discussed and I didn't see it but, you are setting the choke full on right?
I would assume that the plugs should be getting wet if your spraying in fuel while cranking...
 

HIPO Giddyup

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I’ve tried it with choke on completely, after spraying some starting fluid, and I’ve had it with the choke open, spraying some starting fluid. Again it feels like it speeds up at wants to take off but it won’t. When I pull the plugs they are just barely glossy. Definitely not super wet , and when I put one and ground to a head bolt, I get a good blue spark so they’re not fouled.
Part of me thinks that if the carburetor was above the cylinders it would be easier to get the fuel to it but then again, they would also be quicker to foul like in an automobile.
 

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