Feguson TE20 - TVO - not starting

Lord Toft

New Member
Hello all.......

At my wits end here - such a simple engine but can't get to start !

Petrol in tank
Turns over
Spark present
Fuel getting to carb
Firing order OK - 1342

Just had some bits painted - upon collecting it wouldn't start and discovered that the rotor arm had broken. Painter denied all knowledge of touching the distributor.

New loom fitted
New rotor arm and recent cap.
Spark plugs good.
Squirt of damp start not working
Occasional backfire

Checked timing. Screw driver in hole to flywheel (seems as though more than one hole in fywheel). Test light on distributor at what i think is TDC and light works in tandem with points opening and closing.

Go on - what obvious thing am I not doing ??

Thanks in advance


Co Down
Have you the plug leads in the right order on the distributor? The rotor arm turns anti-clockwise and no.1 should be at about 11 o'clock and then no.3 around 9 o'clock and so on.

Lord Toft

New Member
Thank you.

Firing order all OK.

Just checked rotor postion again. See photo.
When prodding the screwdriver through the flywheel hole there is more than one hole that it locates in. The photo is taken when screwdriver is located and rotor points to number 1.
Ears ringing as loud backfire !


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Co Down
Just on the off chance that it's been set up the same as the one I have here at the minute,move all the plug leads anti-clockwise 1 position on the distributor. The position in my above post is where they actually should be but this one wouldn't start and backfired seriously through the carb. Bit baffled but I moved all the leads back round one hole and it starts and runs perfect. Someone suggested that the camshaft was installed 180' degrees out. I don't know as I wasn't involved with the internals of it. Just swapped from a worn engine to a known good one........
If your getting a good spark and it's wired per manual is the carburettor set up correctly? Are you getting too much air in the mix, is it a steady stream of petrol coming out of the tap when open. May be worth double checking fuel system and carburettor settings

Andy Nash

Arable Farmer
What I would do is whip No 1 plug out and get it on TDC with a screwdriver as a gauge down the plug hole. I would move the distributor until the points just break. If you are hand starting I would retard it until just after TDC to save your wrists! Then do what Agrimax suggests. Should give you a ballpark position where the engine will run.


Are you sure that no 1 piston is on the firing stroke, its possible for all to appear correct, no 1 piston at
tdc , rotor arm apparently in correct position , but it may be on exhaust stroke and no 4 piston is on firing stroke. On most engines quickest way to check is to remove rocker cover to make sure no 1 piston is on firing stroke with both valves closes at tdc and rotor arm pointing toward no 1 plug lead. No 4 piston valves will be on the rock, but not so easy on a fergy. Try moving all leads 2 places on the distributor. Backfire points to having a spark , but trying to fire 180 degrees out. A common mistake in this case is installing the distributor with rotor shaft 180 degrees out. Maybe overthinking this but its a possibility.

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