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MG TD TF 1500 - Hand Start ~ Don't!

Spotted this on the LBCC news letter ...tittled
"Time for a push".
IHMO: Better tittle:
"Anybody know a good hand surgen?"

Just in case somebody didn't know ...this is not a good place to put your thumb when hand cranking a car!

David Sheward 55 TF1500 # 7427

Obviously not someone who has started a car using the hand crank before. Done right, there is little danger - even my wife used the hand crank for a week while I rebuilt the starter back in the day when the TD was her everyday car - she never had a problem. Cheers - Dave D.
Daved DuBois

"How you end up "Daved" anyhow? LOL

Yep ...they start easy. Ran my that way this summer for a while. Tends to attract a crowd when starting..."yout's" take quite an interest , Heard of it ...but never seen it done.

I spotted this and thought it might be a good thing to be in the archives for someone down the road!

The thumb (much like the potatoe) goes on the outside! I have never "caught" a compression stroke where it would be a problem ...but definitly not worth the risk.
David Sheward 55 TF1500 # 7427

I helped my neighbor build a 1916 Ford Model T Speedster and he taught me never to wrap the thumb and make sure the spark was up. My auto mechanic teacher back in vocational school told us a story about starting his dads T so after we had the car up and running I drove it down to the school and let him re-live a childhood memory by cranking up the speedster; can still remember that smile on his face.
R Taylor


Back in my youth my younger brother bought a Norton Interceptor that needed to be foot cranked to start. One occasion threw him over the motorcycle, and another broke his ankle, necessitating the motorcycle's sale. (Maybe a blessing in disguise at the time.)

P Burgess

R. Taylor Your statement to "make sure the spark was up" means that it is supposed to be full retard????
Just a point of clarification is needed here to keep me from doing something dumb!
Jim Merz

"Tends to attract a crowd when starting..."yout's" take quite an interest , Heard of it ...but never seen it done."

You should have seen the crowd when a young mother with two toddlers in the car, got out with starting handle in hand and proceeded to start the car. My wife would chuckle each evening, saying young men (our age at the time) would be quick to volunteer to crank the car for her - but said that the old men in the audience never volunteered, having been there done that.

"How you end up "Daved" anyhow?"

Got to differentiate somehow. When I first started working a the local submarine base, there were 15 Daves in the office (and nearly as many Mikes). I think that some people used to like to com into the office and yell "Dave!" just to see all the heads swivel. Cheers - Dave D.

Daved DuBois

Yep, tried that on a cold Ohio winter morning when the battery was run down and liked to flip the car over in the driveway. That was a good lesson on what happens to 30 weight oil below freezing.

Bill Brown

Gene - don't know of a Norton Interceptor; do you mean Royal Enfield?

Tom Lange
(Norton Atlas)
t lange

Wow ...there's one I haven't thought about for quite some time! Rickman-Royal Enfield 750 Interceptor....sweet machine!
Think I mentioned this last time the crank start subject came up...The wife "fears the compression stroke". Has ever since being "launched" over the handle bars of my old Panhead.
Wish we would have had You-Tube back then! I still keep the picture taken "just before" on my phone because it always makes me answer her calls with a smile when it pops up! LOL
David Sheward 55 TF1500 # 7427

Jim, its been a long time but I think with a T-model ford the spark is retarded with the lever up and as you pull it down it advances, same as modern cars except they do it automatically.
First time we got it started after rebuild my neighbor smiled and said it sounded like a singer sewing machine, lol and this was coming from a guy who flew P-51's in WWII.
R Taylor

Ok, Having had a model A as my fist car, I learned to work the crank correctly. But, I thought our T's cranking system had a bit of a safety feature in that the crank backs out of the teeth when it moves backwards. I always thought this prevented it from kicking back.

I have used my crank on a number of occasions for starting (although I primarily use it for valve adjustment) and don't belive I have ever had it kick back on me, so i can't say it doesn't.
Bruce Cunha

I very badly sprained my wrist two years ago crank starting a model T when it kicked back. It still hurts. When facing the steering wheel, the left lever behind the steering wheel is the spark advance. All the way up is retarded, move down to advance. The lever on the right is the throttle. The left pedal is low gear, middle pedal is reverse and the right pedal is the brake. When the parking brake is moved all the way forward, high gear is engaged.
Fun fun.
D. Sander

Many thanks for the clarification guys. Everything fell into place in my sad old memory when I read the comments by R Taylor and Dave Sander. I also believe Bruce is correct but one might as well keep the thumb next to the fingers and not around the crank handle just to be safe.
Jim Merz

I learned as a kid that you shouldn't have your thumbs on the inside of the steering wheel of a row-crop tractor either. If the front wheels hit something, the steering gear will spin as fast as a crank.

David Werblow

Tom L,

You are absolutely correct, my bad! It was a Norton Atlas after all. What a beast, and not particularly pretty as I recall.

P Burgess

On my TD it looks like the crtank is supposed to go through a hole in the front bumper then through a hole under the radiator. In the picture it looks like the crank is above the bumper.

The fenders and windscreen in the picture are unfamiliar. Is this an Airline Coupe or something like that?

Just wondering.

J K Chapin

Looks like a 48 or 49 (gasp )...Triumph.
L E D LaVerne

It's a Triumph Roadster. Viewers of the 1980s Bergerac TV series will instantly recognise it.
Dave Williams (TD10254)

That is a Triumph 2000 Roadster. Might even be early 50s? I drove one for a few years in the late 60s, in my ignorance through Abingdon on occasion. A strange car... aluminum body over wood on a chassis of war surplus steel pipe. Heavy and slow to respond, really just a convertible version of the Mayflower. I'll take a T any day. Though the Triumph did have a jump seat in the stern...

Peter Pope

This thread was discussed between 07/11/2012 and 15/11/2012

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