I'm not sure if it was advice from my dad, or taking the mag off to a local alternator shop, but I got the old Farmall running under its own steam last night.
Some days you get home from work, and all you want to do is sit down. That's certainly understandable, especially if yours is kind of a physical job like mine, or Sweetie's. We both are on our feet chasing after stuff, moving things around, not really spending a lot of time behind desks. So getting home to a place where we can sit down, sit down without a steering wheel or computer in front of us, feels pretty good.
But last night I got home full of vim and vigor and feeling like I could keep going for a while. So I dug out a jug of condenser coil cleaner, took the air conditioner apart - it's actually a heat pump - and cleaned the coils.
Spray 'em up and watch 'em foam. Gross. Gritty, gray and black foam. Blech. Spray 'em again. Still gray, but at least it's monochromatic and not so dark. Spray 'em one more time, and that ought to do it.
Then I put my gauges on the system and watched the needle come up. 32 degrees coil temperature. Not good. You might think you want the coils running just as cold as you can, but it isn't so. For them to be running at that temperature, the refrigerant is completely boiled off before it's run all the way through the coil, and can't take more heat away. So the frost begins to form near where the refrigerant first enters the coil, then slowly marches all the way across the coil until, eventually, the entire coil is covered with frost. If you don't discover this condition, it thickens and becomes ice. So I'm going to have to get some refrigerant to add to my home AC, and unlike recharging the AC in your car which can be done with chemicals bought over the counter at any parts place, R-22 is more tightly controlled.
Once I was done with the AC, I put those parts away and dug the magneto out of the back of the car and stuck it on the tractor. Dad sent me a link to a video, how to time a Farmall Cub. I'm not sure how much that helped me, but it was educational nonetheless.
Mag goes on. Two bolts, five wires. Crank crank crank.
Nothing. Well, check the fuel.
It's as dry as the Sahara in there. If I'd been intended to remove the fuel tank for service, that would have been the time to do it. So add some fuel. The sediment bowl fills.
The fuel filter (I added one) fills...slowly...a little. This might not be doing me any favors. Is the fuel filter adding to my problems? There's no fuel pump on this thing, it relies on the so-far-uninterrupted force of gravity to get gasoline down the line into the carburetor.
Crank crank crank. Hmm. I fiddled with some things, not really realizing what I was doing. I put that wire over here but if I recall that's the one that's supposed to ground the coil when you turn it off, so take it loose...
Crank crank vroom sputter. Oddly anticlimactic. I had thought I might turn cartwheels when I got it running, but no. It ran like I expected it to, and there was no reason for it to stop. For it to sputter and quit, I thought: fuel.
I added fuel to add a little weight on top of the fuel, drive it through the line a little better. That helped. I choked the engine and started it again. Again, it fired right up. Keeping the choke on kept the engine running, and it didn't quit until I got it to the bottom of the driveway, on the flat street. Then it died again. Grumble grumble.
Long story very short, it took me about a half hour to drive the tractor from its former resting spot behind the house, down the driveway and around the end of the block to the front parking space. It's a distance of less than a quarter mile.
So I think I've got my ignition problems sorted...for the moment. But now there's a fuel delivery problem, and that's a whole different thing. Fortunately, I understand fuel delivery a lot better than I ever did ignition problems. Some of this I can address with a can of carburetor cleaner and be well served. If I have to, I can order a set of gaskets online, take the carb apart and clean everything by hand, with a wire brush.
I remember jobs like that. And since I know he's reading this, remember the Opel, dad? Taking the carb apart on that thing just about doubled the entire parts count on that engine rebuild. That was fun.