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Old 23rd August 2008, 23:03   #1
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Default Are Cranking Handles Practical For Starting Old Cars?

We had cranking handles for many old cars made till the late 1950's. The Ambassador Mark II was the last car to be available in India with a cranking handle till the 1960's. Fiat and Standard had bid goodbye to this mode of starting the engine in the late 1950's.The Herald and the Fiat 1100 Millicento came with no such handles.
How good are these handles for our old cars? I think these must be kept in old cars to aid their starting as they respond quite well to such cranking starts sometimes.How do you feel about it? Now a days its rare to see vintage and classic car lovers using these handles to jump start their jalopies.
This says something about the Model T Ford
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Cadillac had been offering cars with push-button starters since 1912. But this was no Cadillac. For most T owners, their right arm was the starter motor.
While various car companies had experimented with electric starters for gasoline-powered cars, Cadillac was first with a really workable solution in 1912. The Henry Ford Museum's 1914 Model T was retrofitted with an electric starter for convenience, but it can still be cranked up the old fashioned way.
Before cranking up a Model T, there are a few steps you have to take, lest you risk serious injury or death. Not that anyone's trying to scare you.
First, you reach into the car's cabin and put in the key. (All Model T's were made with identical keys. Auto theft wasn't popular in those days, but it would have been a cinch.) Then you adjust the a lever next to the steering wheel. Next make very, very sure that the parking brake is all the way on, for obvious reasons.
Next, you go up front and pull out the metal ring connected to a small chain coming out of the grill.
Then you grab the crank handle. Make sure that your thumb is out of the way in case the crank bucks back, or else you can forget about counting past nine.
Now, you don't crank in a circle like you might have seen in the movies. You pull up a little bit, then push the crank handle in towards the car, then you give it one hard pull up to the top kind of like starting a lawnmower. That should do it.
If it doesn't, let the crank fall down the other side and try again. (Never, ever, push down while cranking. If you haven't guessed, you could get hurt.)
The engine should be puttering along. Reach into cab and push the lever back down and adjust the throttle - on the other side of the steering wheel - to its lowest speed.
Got it?
Now get in. You have to walk around the car because there's no front door on the driver's side.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 23rd August 2008 at 23:04.
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Old 24th August 2008, 00:45   #2
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The Ambi had a cranking handle?? I have never heard about this!! Also, the answer to your question depends on the individuals taste and likes.
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Old 24th August 2008, 08:39   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrus43 View Post
The Ambi had a cranking handle?? I have never heard about this!! ....
My uncles Mark-II Amby had this. I even remember the cranking handle being used couple of times to start the car. There used to a hole in the bumper specifically for the cranking handle .

Cheers,
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Old 24th August 2008, 16:57   #4
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The circular holes in the bumpers of these cars(the Fiat Topolino is sans a bumper so its front grille has the hole) are for the cranking handle. For all old cars this was almost a rule.I do not know whether they or their self starters were so unreliable. The Landmasters (older ones 1954,55) had this kind of ornamentation on the front bumper with the hole for the handle while the ones from 1956 onwards had only a hole.
Are Cranking Handles Practical For Starting Old Cars?-jag.jpg
This is a 1948 Jaguar's bumper
Are Cranking Handles Practical For Starting Old Cars?-ford-.jpg
This is a 1931 Ford Model "A"
Are Cranking Handles Practical For Starting Old Cars?-landy.jpg
The Topolino grille
Are Cranking Handles Practical For Starting Old Cars?-topo.jpg
The 1955 Landmaster ornamented front bumper
Are Cranking Handles Practical For Starting Old Cars?-ww-jeep.jpg
This is a 1942 Ford Jeep
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Old 24th August 2008, 17:39   #5
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Dear Anjan,
Whos Topolino is this red one? Where is it? Since I have a 1936 Topolino, I am interested.
Ananth
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Old 24th August 2008, 18:32   #6
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Well they were practical in those days. As was the practice of getting your throat cranked by the doc whenever you had a throat infection.

Neither are required these days, so what exactly are we debating here?
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Old 24th August 2008, 20:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrus43 View Post
The Ambi had a cranking handle?? I have never heard about this!! Also, the answer to your question depends on the individuals taste and likes.
my rover has a cranking handle, check out the bottom of the grill carefully.
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Old 24th August 2008, 20:35   #8
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My Standard and Amby should have had one originally, neither still have them. I hope to get one soon, because I know I will really use it. My batteries are always down, and jumper cables are too fiddly. I think its a great idea and very usable for my kind of application.
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Old 24th August 2008, 20:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
My Standard and Amby should have had one originally, neither still have them.
Quite right, standards, until the pennant and companion, had them - although the older 10/Suepr 10 didnt have the hole through the bumper as it was quite low- just had the "main" one inside below the grille.
As for them being useful today, I'd say they still would be, if you have these kinds of cars atleast!

Quote:
I hope to get one soon, because I know I will really use it. My batteries are always down, and jumper cables are too fiddly. I think its a great idea and very usable for my kind of application.
Dont forget yours truly when you do get one!
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Old 24th August 2008, 21:18   #10
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How hard is this hand cranking mechanism? Does it do any reverse crank (like the back kick of a Bullet) antics? Cars old and new, i believe, doesn't have a compression release mechanism. If i am wrong please correct

I'm asking out of curiosity because without compression release mechanism a bike like Bullet is sometimes hard to kick start. Newer bikes have auto compression release mechanism.
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Old 24th August 2008, 22:23   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
How hard is this hand cranking mechanism? Does it do any reverse crank (like the back kick of a Bullet) antics? Cars old and new, i believe, doesn't have a compression release mechanism. If i am wrong please correct

I'm asking out of curiosity because without compression release mechanism a bike like Bullet is sometimes hard to kick start. Newer bikes have auto compression release mechanism.
Oh yes, they very much give "kickback", hand cranking needs experience and a knack, neither of which I currently possess.
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Old 25th August 2008, 00:00   #12
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The first start of the day, especially in the morning, robs a battery of maximum juice, especially in the older gen machines, since the engine had greater moving parts, batteries had lower voltage and amperage, and the metal was more pure!

The cranking handle also helped build up oil circulation before the engine fired and started running dry initially. Obviously not as much a running engine would do, but some help nonetheless, as it would also squeeze out some oil sleeping between the scarper rings. Older cranks had little scoops/spoons that splashed on the oil, so we are not getting into the oil pump's momentum here, either, but talking of some primary lubrication as well.

Coming to the action, the trick was to build on till compression was felt and then letting rip just before TDC! Talking of back-kick, imagine the fun one had with starting lorries!!

Old-tech machines obviously needed a bit more pampering, but it's advisable to let the circulation build up in today's automobile too, before driving off immediately after starting; mineral oils et all notwithstanding.

On a tangent, we've had cars in the family whose batteries lasted for 6-7 years (before re-conditioning), if not more, because the elders believed in cranking it up first!!

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Old 25th August 2008, 02:11   #13
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Here are a few pics of cars and jeeps which had the cranking handle

1929 Austin 12
1934 Morris 8
Jonga
Willy's
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Old 25th August 2008, 10:47   #14
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Default Hand cranking throats, walkie-talkies and mobiles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
Well they were practical in those days. As was the practice of getting your throat cranked by the doc whenever you had a throat infection.
It was called Mandl's throat paint. A germ/bacteria killer preparation largely of glycerine with KI and mentha oil flavoring. Was applied to the throat with a cotton swab. Was used when we kids had tonsillitis or sore throats (lost voice pharyngitis) mid-1960s.

There's a current-day product -- the Smyle mouth-ulcer gel. Has an immediate soothing effect and a pleasant minty taste.

But I must admit, I can't seem to remember the English usage, "cranking the throat" and I do have a powerful memory.

Hand-Crank Radio
Then here is an Etón Voicelink FR1000 hand-crank radio.

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Can be used to communicate "hands-free" walkie-talkie style with other two-way radios tuned to the same channel. Comes with 22 selectable GMRS/FRS channels.
With a few smooth turns of the fold-out hand-crank you can store enough energy in the built-in Nickel Metal Hydride battery, for an hour’s worth of use.
Also has an AM/FM/US NOAA-weather-warning radio, 3 bright white LED lights to serve as a built-in torch, and a flashing red LED and emergency siren.
Besides hand-cranking it also works with 4 AA batteries/AC adapter.

Hand-Crank Mobile Charger
Then there is this emergency hand-crank mobile charger by China Tiancheng Shenzhen Corp. Comes with Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung and Siemens compatibility.

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Old 25th August 2008, 11:07   #15
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The amby's crank hole was diamond shaped. Remember our driver having to use ihis once. Thse were the times when the crank hole up to my eye level.

And yours truly used to pester mom (she was the one who would drive when driver was not around) why fiats and the buses did not have that hole. And there was a Bedford truck in the family which had no hole. But then, it did not move either.
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