New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

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New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Connecticut Calvin » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:27 am

Wow. What a wealth of information. Before I begin, a BIG thank you to all of the contributors here. :worthy: Without the info I've found the last few days my little '54 "Betty" wouldn't have started. So here is my first post...and I apologize for the length.

I live with my wife in Connecticut and we've always enjoyed the New England fairs; especially with all of the machinery. Even my wife has a secret little interest in all things powerful. I wanted to surprise her with a Cub and found one on Craigslist listed locally for $1250 and it included a front blade. Just a note, it's been converted to 6 volt positive-positive and negative-negative and has battery ignition. I was told it had a timing issue but other than that she was ready to go with the exception of a gash in the rear right tire that I didn't notice until it was home. Oh well, it could be worse. Prior to buying I did research on this forum and found out what I needed to look for: leaks, cracks, this and that. I turned the crank with the handle and the motor turned with ease. Put it in all four gears and turned the crank for each (with battery off), tractor moved as it should. etc etc etc. It had been sitting in the rain for 2 years (with a rain cap over the exhaust) so I wouldn't be surprised if a little water had entered through the exhaust a bit. More on that note in a moment.

So, Betty was delivered and I got right into it. Checked fluid levels, trickle charged the battery, completely tore down and rebuilt the aftermarket carb, replaced the aftermarket fuel filter, changed the plugs (Autolite 386 .025 gap) and plug wires, primed the oil through the oil primer hole, replaced the coil and ignition switch, verified point gap (.020 gap) and then did the timing. The timing was a killer. Not because the information I found here was faulty, but because some moron pulled the crankshaft out at some point and didn't align the single notch at cylinder #1 TDC. :x I must have "aligned" the notch and supposed TDC, then adjusted the rotor and distributor according to the manual half a dozen times over nearly 20 hours of fiddling before the backfiring made my head ring. I even took each plug out and individually rested them on the manifold in their sequential physical position order and turned the crank to watch the 1-3-4-2 series with the #1 firing at the crankshaft pulley mark. I knew something was up so I decided to yank the hood and do a visual. Bingo. I was never at TDC. The crankshaft pulley and TDC are way off. I'm planning on doing a video for static timing a battery ignition and posting it on YouTube so people can avoid this headache! Sooooo...timed...put her back together, pulled the choke, pulled the starter and varooooommmmm! She purred like a baby. :{_}:

So, here's where I'm stuck! :help: I've seen a few videos of these cubs pulling some heavy loads or that front blade moving some awful heavy dirt. Even in first gear and my 185 pound butt in the seat, it struggles to go up even the slightest hill. Betty seems tired. The tractor had billowed quite a bit of white smoke at the getgo but then it slowly started to diminish which lead me to belive that some water may have gone into the exhaust a bit, but I'm not sure that would affect my power. I'm going to drain the oil and replace it with 10 weight as well as the other fluids according to the manual. No harm in starting fresh. Point gap and plug gaps seem accurate (or close enough). I have not yet checked the float level or air cleaner or checked compression. These are my to-dos. A problem with any one of those may be indicative of power loss, but this much? I've spent so much time on this thing the last few days and I'm exhausted so I'm looking for fresh advice on what to do next. :thanx:
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Hengy » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:58 am

Have you checked the valve lash? Could be part of the cause. Also check for any play at all in the governor/throttle system. I have found that this can preclude the carb from opening up all the way and keep you down on power. Are you sure that it is running on all 4 cylinders? There was a thread recently where another newer member had this very problem.

If it is smoking, that is likely from sitting and stuck rings. Of course it could also be that the engine is worn and tired. Compression test will tell you a lot.

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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Eugene » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:20 am

Connecticut Calvin wrote:The crankshaft pulley and TDC are way off.
Possible but very unusual. Wouldn't be the first surprise found in a Cub.

Pulley is keyed to the crankshaft. It is possible for the front pulley to be installed incorrectly if the installer didn't use the woodruff key. And then, the front pulley removal normally doesn't take place unless the engine is being overhauled or worked on behind the front cover.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Rudi » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:36 am

Calvin:

G'day to you and congrats :applause: on acquiring that '54 for your bride :D Be careful because there could be another real soon to be her stable mate, Cubs are very addictive. Ask me I have a few myself.

We are glad that the resources that are available to our members were able to help you. That is exactly why they are there in the first place :!: :D

I see some of the guys have responded already whilst I have been posting my response. They are usually a bit longer winded than most ... I can be a little anal about posts like this and tend to over think em...

Connecticut Calvin wrote:Just a note, it's been converted to 6 volt positive-positive and negative-negative and has battery ignition.


It hasn't been converted, if I am reading your description correctly it is as it should be - positive ground. The battery ignition could have been a field conversion but they did come stock on the '54's IIRC.

Connecticut Calvin wrote:completely tore down and rebuilt the after-market carb


I am not aware of any after-market carbs except for the one now marketed by steiner which is a reproduction of the stock IH 3/4" updraft carb . ... The Zenith was the stock carb on much later Cubs and required the updated larger exhaust manifold.

Image
original carb

Image
reproduction carb

Image
zenith carb

Connecticut Calvin wrote:I've seen a few videos of these cubs pulling some heavy loads or that front blade moving some awful heavy dirt. Even in first gear and my 185 pound butt in the seat, it struggles to go up even the slightest hill. Betty seems tired.


Run some SeaFoam through Betty. 1/2 can in the gas tank (full tank) and 1/2 can in the crank case. It is gonna smoke but don't worry about it. It will help with cleaning the valves. Probably has a lot of carbon built up. Been there done that with my 185 lb carcass on my Cubs. After running SeaFoam through Ellie's performace improved 100%. Also adjusting the valve lash is a good idea and one that should be done along with the complete tuneup.

Image

Image

One of the things you and your bride might consider is attending a Cub Fest. Although there is a Ct CubFest, it has already occurred for this year, Cecil's is in October and would be a good weekend to learn more about your Cub and meet some pretty cool Cubbers :D My bride and I will be attending again and I always look forward to October :!: Check out the CubFest and Gatherings Calendar 2013. The mini-fest is this Saturday if you can make that one as well.

You have been lurking and learnin' so I guess the Welcome Wagon would be redundant :roll: :lol: Let me just add a hearty welcome to our community.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Smokeycub » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:53 am

Welcome to the best Cub site there is. It's nice to see so much enthusiasm! Low power can be one of several things and/or a combination. Sounds like you have a good handle on it. Weak spark, low fuel flow, timing, valve adjustment, governor/throttle issues, or just plain tired. Hengy has the right idea a good place to start is a compression check.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Connecticut Calvin » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:11 am

Geez - I go to Napa to get some Sea Foam, come back, and it's like the doctors have visited! Love it!

Okay so the crankshaft probably is correct, but the pulley is not. Makes sense. Regardless I can promise you that cylinder #1 TDC definitely does not line up with the pulley notch. But still, if she purrs as she does I'm not touching it! :D

OK so 6 volt positive ground was standard on the '54s. See, I'm learning. One day at a time.

Yup, my carb is definitely the Zenith. It was caked with crystalized material when I opened it up but it's clean now.

The oil is BLACK so I'm going to do a full oil and filter change and add in the Sea Foam. I'll let it run for a while and see how it works. I imagine I have to really run it to allow it to work through. Post Note - I noticed the oil pressure gauge has the needle popping all the way to the top of the white and I have some minor oil leaking out of the filter cap gasket. Either my oil pressure is much too high or I just need to crank the bolt down a bit tighter. Thoughts?

Ah, governor! See, fresh thinking! Lovin' it! I haven't checked that. I'll take a gander too.

And valve lash. Another good one!

Now if you guys were running the government wouldn't the world just be a whole lot better? Rapid response time. Customer (citizen) oriented. Exact instruction. Ahhh....if only. I'll update after I get my hands dirty under her hood! Whoa that doesn't sound good. :oops:

To you all: :worthy:
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Connecticut Calvin » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:27 am

Correction - Changing the oil with 30 weight not 10 weight! (brain freeze)

Also, a CubFest sounds like a little something I should tell my wife about. Should she get excited it's that much easier for me to go! :wink:

Lastly: I don't know for sure that it is running on all four cylinders, no. Wouldn't it run rough if a cylinder wasn't firing? I mean with the exception of some smoke it really purrs. I know I have compression in all four cylinders with the finger test, all four plugs properly fire and visually all cylinders move freely. I'll do an actual compression test here soon to see what I get.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Rudi » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:48 am

Calvin:

  • Yes a CubFest you should definitely tell your bride about. Mine enjoys visiting with Priscilla and other friends each time we go. This is the second one in a row we are attending - :{_}: and Em looks forward to it just as much as I do. It definitely is a fun time for both of us.
  • SAE 30wt is what I use. Others will voice their own preferences I am sure.
  • If that puppy is running smooth like a sewing machine -- then all 4 have to be firing. You can tell simply by holding your palm open over the exhaust and feeling how it runs. It isn't an empirical test but it works well.
  • To me a compression test is informative and should be done. From the tone of your first posting I assumed that this was going to be part of the process. I would do a wet and dry compression test prior to putting in the SeaFoam and then again after the SeaFoam has run through the system and it no longer smokes. That will give you a definitive result for your Cub.
  • Yup, check the governor linkages for free movement ensuring there is no binding.
  • Be careful how much you crank down on that bolt. You could very easily distort the cover. Ensure the gasket is seated properly and the crush washer is there. Also - it is possible that there is simply too much oil in the system .. When you change the oil just put in what is called for and no more.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby PVF1799 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:55 am

Calvin, welcome to the addiction for which there is no cure - except to buy more Cubs. You're in the right place and these doctors do make house calls via the internet and Cub Fest. Get to one you won't regret it. Check out the link in my signature to see the work I'm doing on Rex '48.

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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Eugene » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:16 am

Connecticut Calvin wrote:Lastly: I don't know for sure that it is running on all four cylinders, no. Wouldn't it run rough if a cylinder wasn't firing?
The engine will run great on 2 cylinders, just lack a lot of power.

Double and triple check that the spark plug wires are connected to the correct spark plug.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Connecticut Calvin » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:40 pm

Rudi wrote: [*] Yup, check the governor linkages for free movement ensuring there is no binding.


I see where the governor is located. How might I verify it is functioning properly?
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Rudi » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:54 pm

Pretty easily actually. Make sure that all the connections in the drawing below are lubricated properly, clean of dirt and crud .. then it should all work well.

Image

Verifying the operation of the governor -- well as the rpm's are increased you should see the governor rod move. Typically when under load the governor kicks in and adjusts the carb upping the fuel to increase the rpm's. Best I can explain it .. I ain't no mechanic. I just tinker a bit :D

This should help you with the firing order - How To Understand Firing Order. Yes the engine will run smoothly on 2 cylinders but you will feel the difference in the exhaust.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Hengy » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:09 pm

Just a correction... the governor should not "kick in" at all, but the true operation of the tractor should be that the engine maintains almost completely level RPMs when a load is applied. Merlin has an "almost" fixed governor and has a little bit of "kick in" when he hits high grass. Lewis, on the other hand, has had a completely tight governor repair, and the RPMs just stay level when he hits a hill or a load.

What I was mentioning in my first reply is to check for any slop at all in all of the parts of the governor system. From top rockshaft (where the engine speed control shaft comes into the top) through the spring mounts to the rockshaft that goes across the front of the engine to the actuator rod that goes back to the carb. Any LITTLE bit of slop in there will lead to jumpy operation of the governor and the aforementioned "kick in". A lot of slop will lead to surging at high idle and the inability of the engine to keep up with the power demands during normal operation.

As I said before, a complete tune up will help a LOT...including valve lash resetting and a compression test.
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby ScottyD'sdad » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:33 pm

If you are free, August 24th, and can get it to Cecil's, we can look it over, for you. (3rd exit, off I90, in NY,) Ed
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Re: New '54 Cub! (WOOHOO) But...Low Power

Postby Peter Person » Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:41 pm

Calvin,
Welcome to the forum.
Rudi mentioned Northeast August MiniFest coming up on August 24th in Kinderhook, NY.
665 County Route 28
Valatie, NY 12184-5017

Certainly worth a trip for you - real easy to get to as well.

There are quite a few members from Connecticut.

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