Starting a Model A with the hand crank was once as common as driving one. It seems hand cranking has become nearly a lost art over the decades. Following a few basic rules, hand cranking is perfectly safe and quite simple. The hand crank should be one of the most useful tools in your toolbox!
The following list outlines the procedures for starting your Model A with the hand crank. The specifics apply to a properly tuned engine. Some variations may be required and are discussed later.
At this point there should be gas running slightly from the carburetor to the floor.
With a low battery the engine will fire more quickly by hand than with the starter because the starter isn't starving the ignition system.
Variations: The car should start similar by hand as it does with the starter. For example, using the starter I always start my cold A's with the choke pulled for exactly two compression strokes or one turn of the crankshaft. At that point I release the choke and the engine fires. I NEVER hold the choke until it fires as suggested in the "Model 'A' Instruction Book".
If your car REQUIRES the choke to be held more than two compression strokes with the starter, you may need to adjust step #6 similarly.
Experiment with a good battery so if you have difficulty starting, you can use the starter to determine if the problem is too much or too little gas. Be conservative with the choke. It is much easier to repeat the process than to hand start a flooded engine. A flooded engine is guaranteed to provide more exercize than you desire!
If your hand crank binds when inserted through the starting crank bushing and into the crank ratchet, don't crank start your car. Too much bind will prevent the crank from releasing from the ratchet. See Front Engine Support for more information.
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