Cub won't start - please advise

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Peregrine Foxfire
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Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Peregrine Foxfire » Wed Jul 14, 2021 6:50 am

Hi everyone,

I am new to the forum and just inherited a cub! I have read a bunch of other posts and couldn't find what I'm looking for so please excuse if I'm asking questions that have already been answered ad nauseum.

The owner said it ran the last time he used it about 2 years ago but it currently doesn't start or even turn over. Thankfully he had the sense to drain the gas tank before storing it. I am a veggie farmer and will be using it for mechanical cultivation between rows of beets, carrots, cabbage, etc. I used to have a Super A and did a bunch of work on it so I have a very rudimentary understanding of Farmall tractors.

Here's the situation:

Since receiving the tractor I have done the following:
- charged battery and had it tested at advanced auto (they said it was weak but ok?)
- cleaned ground with wire brush until shiny
- replaced spark plugs, wires
- Added clean gas, cleaned fuel strainer cup. It has in-line fuel filter and fuel is getting to carb
- Replaced oil filter
- Engine oil looks clean and full so I left it. Replaced oil in air cleaner
- Took out starter switch and cleaned inside (doesn't look bad). Put back on
- Tested compression using the hand crank (engine isn't seized at least). I only got between 45-60 on each cylinder but may not have done it correctly.
- I bought an ignition tune-up kit and replaced rotor (old one didn't look bad) but not sure where the other components go

When I try to start I am getting nothing. I tried using some ether and one time it may have coughed lightly (or it could have been someone walking by). My gut says it is either the battery or the starter, however I can't get it to turn with the hand crank so I'm wondering if I'm missing something. I used a continuity tester from battery to starter switch and got it to light up so there's some juice making it that far.

I still have to flush radiator and transmission fluids and do tons of maintenance but I would like to hear it start before I put too much time and money into it. I was hoping to be able to use it for cultivating this season so time is of the essence!

Thanks in advance for your advise and wisdom.
Peregrine
Palermo, ME

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Crimson Tim » Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:06 am

Welcome!
Here are a couple thoughts. Others will chime in shortly with more. Sounds like you have gotten a lot of good work done already.

First—prime the oil pump! Checking the oil in the fan hub would be a good idea, too.

If starting fluid makes no difference, then you must not have spark, or it is way out of time. The points can corrode from sitting which kills any spark. File them bright and shiny. Or replace them, as they were probably included in your kit.

make sure the new plug wires are copper-core, not carbon-core like modern automotive plug wires would be.

Continuity tests don’t help a lot with these old machines, because a couple electrons can still make it through a pretty lousy connection. Instead do voltage drop tests. That will tell you *how much* power is getting through each connection.

Compression tests are low, but that’s to be expected trying to spin it by hand. I’m not sure if those numbers are at all meaningful. You’ll want to see at least 90 psi when spun up by the starter.

What year? 6v or 12v? Magneto or distributor ignition?

In-line fuel filters have to be for a gravity flow system. Anything designed for a fuel pump will be too restrictive. A lot of people don’t like them regardless, but I run one in mine.

You cleaned the ground connection, which is often a problem. Both ends? Where does the battery ground to? Originally, it was the battery box, which caused lots of issues. It often gets moved. Grounding to a bolt on the transmission is probably the best location.

Once you have a couple posts, you’ll have access to the pdf manuals under Quick Links at the upper left.

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Wed Jul 14, 2021 12:45 pm

I'd check for spark, first. A spark tester is cheap. Or, use the "Chris" method. My son's friend brought a lawn tractor over, that didn't run. I explained that the engine needs fuel mixture, spark, and compression. I suspected fuel, I've seen his gas can. he grabbed the plug wire, and turned the key. Picked himself off the ground, and said, "we have spark". I prefer the spark tester, myself.

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Waif » Wed Jul 14, 2021 1:25 pm

Good mentions above...
Setting a long time can cause corrosion/crud to grow.
Ignition points and electrical contacts.

IF you have a magneto , hand cranking is an option.
You write you can't hand crank it...
A study of how to , gets our thumbs out of play , and important body parts or loose clothing out of the way. A good thing.
With proper procedure , it's more of a quick lift of the crank to fire the ignition.
(Yours does not seem ready for that yet if the starter doesn't fire it....)

Till we know if a magneto is involved , we can visit your handcrank.
Is it catching in the grooves it is supposed too?
I have one Cub with a broken "ear" on the crank pully. Took just the right finagle to engage it.
Went to a larger/longer pin . A replacement pully would be better.
Your crank end has to fit your pully properly. And be kicked free properly when the engine fires.

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby SamsFarm » Wed Jul 14, 2021 7:28 pm

Peregrine Foxfire wrote:When I try to start I am getting nothing. I tried using some ether and one time it may have coughed lightly (or it could have been someone walking by). My gut says it is either the battery or the starter, however I can't get it to turn with the hand crank so I'm wondering if I'm missing something.



You did say the battery tested "weak".

Did you try jumping it with jumper cables and a car / truck?

How can you crank it to test the compression, but then say you cant get it to turn with the hand crank?

It either turns with the crank or it doesnt. No?
1968 Cub fast hitch

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Clemsonfor » Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:39 am

Peregrine Foxfire wrote:Hi everyone,

I am new to the forum and just inherited a cub! I have read a bunch of other posts and couldn't find what I'm looking for so please excuse if I'm asking questions that have already been answered ad nauseum.

The owner said it ran the last time he used it about 2 years ago but it currently doesn't start or even turn over. Thankfully he had the sense to drain the gas tank before storing it. I am a veggie farmer and will be using it for mechanical cultivation between rows of beets, carrots, cabbage, etc. I used to have a Super A and did a bunch of work on it so I have a very rudimentary understanding of Farmall tractors.

Here's the situation:

Since receiving the tractor I have done the following:
- charged battery and had it tested at advanced auto (they said it was weak but ok?)
- cleaned ground with wire brush until shiny
- replaced spark plugs, wires
- Added clean gas, cleaned fuel strainer cup. It has in-line fuel filter and fuel is getting to carb
- Replaced oil filter
- Engine oil looks clean and full so I left it. Replaced oil in air cleaner
- Took out starter switch and cleaned inside (doesn't look bad). Put back on
- Tested compression using the hand crank (engine isn't seized at least). I only got between 45-60 on each cylinder but may not have done it correctly.
- I bought an ignition tune-up kit and replaced rotor (old one didn't look bad) but not sure where the other components go

When I try to start I am getting nothing. I tried using some ether and one time it may have coughed lightly (or it could have been someone walking by). My gut says it is either the battery or the starter, however I can't get it to turn with the hand crank so I'm wondering if I'm missing something. I used a continuity tester from battery to starter switch and got it to light up so there's some juice making it that far.

I still have to flush radiator and transmission fluids and do tons of maintenance but I would like to hear it start before I put too much time and money into it. I was hoping to be able to use it for cultivating this season so time is of the essence!

Thanks in advance for your advise and wisdom.
Peregrine
Palermo, ME


I'm still reading but this part got me. "I changed oil filter but oil looked clean so I left it" ??? What, this one seems strange to me. Do you do that in your vehicle? Change a filter but pull the dipstick of it looks clean leave it? I mean I might understand if this was a big heavy piece of equipment that too like 6 gallons of expensive synthetic oil. But this tractor takes like 3 quarts of oil. You can buy a gallon of 15w40 for like $12. Just change it while you there is my opinion, no sense in running old oil of your freshing it up and giving it a tune up . In the end it probably won't matter but I am a believer in PM and personally do frequent and some would say too often oil changes. But oil is cheap and rebuilds and replacements are not.

Back to issue. Have you cleaned the points? Are you getting spark out of coil as you open and close the points? Compression test with hand crank probably won't be as high as if you could soon it with starter. You say that it won't turn over with the hand crank (make you mean start or sputter at least?)but higher you said it turns free with the hand crank.

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Clemsonfor » Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:09 am

SamsFarm wrote:
Peregrine Foxfire wrote:When I try to start I am getting nothing. I tried using some ether and one time it may have coughed lightly (or it could have been someone walking by). My gut says it is either the battery or the starter, however I can't get it to turn with the hand crank so I'm wondering if I'm missing something.



You did say the battery tested "weak".

Did you try jumping it with jumper cables and a car / truck?

How can you crank it to test the compression, but then say you cant get it to turn with the hand crank?

It either turns with the crank or it doesnt. No?


The hand crank verbage confused me as well. I mentioned it in my first post.

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby SONNY » Thu Jul 15, 2021 6:32 pm

Best thing to do is pull start it---that way you wont burn up a starter or get yourself a broken arm,--second thing is throw that crank in the garbage can and never look back, before you hurt yourself trying to use it!
Long time sitting will make it very hard to start with anything less than a good swift pull down the drive! ---started many of them that way.
Make sure first that you have good spark and gas thru the carb. Take plugs out and dribble a very small amount of gas in the holes and quickly slap the plugs back in, hook up the wires and try starting it that way. The starter has to turn them fast or they wont start either.
Your compression will be low from sitting making it hard to get it to go the first time.

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Glen » Thu Jul 15, 2021 11:00 pm

Hi,
Below is a post I wrote on, telling how to prime the engine oil pump, my post is part way down the page.
It is important that the engine have oil pressure when it is running.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=91765&start=60

Below is a page from the 1949 Cub owner's manual, telling how to lube the fan hub.
The original fan hubs use light motor oil for lube.
They can get low if nobody checks them, then the fan bearing can wear, or the fan can seize up.

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... age-28.jpg

I use a pump oil can to put clean, light motor oil in the hub.
Be careful to not lose the small gasket that should be on the oil filler screw, it might be stuck on the hub.

You can give the hub a partial oil change by putting in the oil like the manual says, put in the filler screw, then turn the engine over 10 or 15 times, then drain the excess oil out, like the manual says.

The original hubs have no oil seal at the rear of them, oil may leak out if you turn over the engine before draining the excess out.
The hubs seem to hold oil usually, if it is at the right level.

They have said on here before that a compression test should be done using the starter, not the hand crank.
Charge the battery fully before doing the test, if the engine turns too slow, it will probably show low readings.
Open the throttle fully, so the engine can get air for the test. :)

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Peregrine Foxfire » Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:47 am

Thanks for all the posts.

I am not sure what year it is. Guessing mid 50s. And it has a 6 volt battery.

For the hand crank question, I was able to get it to turn by hand but it would not start fire ignition. Does that make sense?

I am not sure if it has a magneto or distributor. I will check on that today as well as inspect the points and prime oil pump.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks!

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Pap » Fri Jul 16, 2021 12:32 pm

Welcome Peregrine. I had the same problem. One thing that I had was the top of the distributor cap where the spark plugs wires plugged in was all corroded up. I cleaned it up with a little sandpaper and that fixed my problem. It started right up.
Are We Having Fun Yet ? :D
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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Eugene » Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:15 pm

Previous owner said the tractor sat for 2 years. My guess, probably longer.

Change the engine oil, particulates will settle out and the oil look great.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Glen » Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:21 pm

Hi,
You can find the year of the Cub by using the tractor serial number.

Below is a page from the 1955 Cub operator's manual showing where the tractor serial number, and engine serial number are.

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... age-02.jpg

Sometimes the plate is gone, or someone painted over it, or the words on it are faded away.
The number is stamped in the plate, if it is painted over, you can probably see it using a good light.
There is also 1800 probably stamped in the plate, that is the maximum engine speed for Cubs below serial number 192113, which was made in later 1955.
IH quit putting the 1800 on the plates at about the beginning of 1956.

When you find the serial number, there is info for finding the year at the top of the page at Cub Info.
The engine serial number is probably some different than the tractor serial number, they were the same for only a short time in 1947.

Below are pics.
The 1st pic is a Battery Ignition unit.
The 2nd pic is a magneto. :)
Attachments
Cub.jpg
Cub magneto 5.jpg

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Re: Cub won't start - please advise

Postby Glen » Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:40 pm

Hi,
The Cub operator's manual can help you learn about maintenance that the Cub needs.

Below is the 1955 Cub operator's manual. The experts on here recommend people read it. It has lots of info about operation, maintenance, and lubrication. There is a table of contents on page 1, and the index begins on page 70.
It shows how Cubs originally looked in it. The lube section begins on page 14.

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... index.html

It shows the electrical system that a 1955 Cub originally had.
Cubs made before mid 1964 originally had 6 volt, positive ground electrical systems.
They have said on here that IH didn't make a new manual every year.

The Touch Control fluid mentioned in the manual for the Touch Control, was changed later to Case IH Hy-Tran fluid. It is sold at Case IH dealers.
There are other brands, be sure it works with IH hydraulic systems before buying one.

I would check or change all the oils before using the Cub. Using it with low oil in a gear housing can damage the parts in the housing.
There are 3 separate gear housings, with 3 separate oil levels to check, in the rear area of a Cub, the transmission, and 2 final drives.

The transmissions in Cubs commonly get water in them, from rain, or condensation inside the housing over time.

The air cleaner is an oil bath air cleaner. Dirt that is sucked in settles to the bottom of the oil cup. It should have clean, light motor oil in the oil cup to work right.

There are 2 pages gone in the lube section, in the manual above, pages 19 and 20.
Below are pages from the manual made after this one with the missing info.

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... e%2026.jpg

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... e%2027.jpg

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... e%2029.jpg

Below are pages showing the Battery Ignition unit, and the points.
The points get old and burned from use.
It is important the points have flat, shiny surfaces, and have the right gap.
It's also important that the timing be right, the engine can be hard to start, or not have as much power as it should if the timing is wrong.
The Cub service manual says to set the timing using a timing light, if the Cub has a Battery Ignition unit. :)

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... age-11.jpg

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... age-12.jpg


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