Did keyword search, found nada - zip. I know I've seen it on here,but having a brain f#*^%$^t.
Gotta go to last year's 2012 Forum search. No brain F#*&T.
It depends to some extent on the type of timer, but overall the opinion most often expressed here is that the timer should be well lubricated, and then often cleaned and re-lubricated.
As an example, packing a liberal amount of grease into the timer is a popular answer. Based on what I've read here, I do that with my Anderson, which some claim needs no lubrication.
The original Ford timer, with a roller, required that the roller be lubricated, and since the roller spun on a pin without a bearing, to leave it perfectly dry would cause it to self-destruct.
On the other hand, the original felt seal used around the camshaft would 'weep' a bit of oil, providing some lubrication for the timer -- but not always exactly where needed.
Do a google search for:
oiling greasing Timer site:http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/
(copy and paste the whole line into the search box)
You will find about 14,600,000 results with the first ones covering different types of timers.
A forum search will undoubtably locate threads where Royce Peterson advocates packing the timer with grease and Glen Chaffin packs it with Vaseline.
I've got no reason to doubt either of these gents and I like the concept, but will say the three times I have tried this (an Anderson with red water-resistant grease and two Rollers, one time with cheap wheel-bearing grease and another time Vaseline) I found the results unsatisfactory...
They were very difficult to get started, ran exceptionally poorly the first few minutes and not particularly well after that.
Is it just a matter of running the car long enough to clear the excess grease out of the contact area, or what??
How about a New Day timer, which uses a carbon brush to make the electrical contact? Shouldn't it be run dry, like the brushes in a generator or motor?
Switch to an E-timer, which makes no mechanical contact at all, and it doesn't matter whether there's oil, grease or peanut butter in the timer.
Or you could switch to a disturb-u-tor and have the gears bathed in motor oil automatically...
If you have to know more about a coil than a clit to keep your car running, it's time to change ignition systems.. . .
Don't know about Vaseline and heat. He says the grease thing works though I've never had the pits to try it.
I use both New Day and roller timers. I oil the rollers but can not understand how it helps for any extended time. After the few first miles the oil has left the roller and settled in the bottom of the case where the roller does not run. The directions say to only add a small amount and not enough to fill the timer to the level that the roller would pick any of it up.
I may have stumbled upon the (or an) answer.
I have an original, Ford-type timer...
... which has always been a pain in the butt when it comes to being fussy about its favorite oil. The underlying problem is a requirement for some kind of frequent lubrication—which will turn into a gray, electro-conductive crud, which will necessitate cleaning out and relubricating the stupid timer.
In my case, neglecting to clean out and re-lube the timer every two-hundred miles resulted in skips and misses while idling, and extreme roughness when accelerating. I could live with the inconvenience of unbolting and reinstalling the timer that often, but was concerned about wearing out the threads.
I had tried 30-weight motor oil, as recommended by the previous owner; LPS-1, which didn't work any better; and red grease, which caused the engine to miss so badly the car was undrivable.
Then, I read in one of the arcane books about using plain ol' 3-in-One oil.
That made a world of difference. Now, before the first start-up of the day, I give the timer a few squirts of 3-in-one through the little aperture. The engine runs great and I don't remember the last time I had to wipe out the timer. After a drive, the car does have that familiar 3-in-one aroma as it sits in the garage, and there's nothing wrong with an antique car smelling like a well-oiled machine, but maybe, just for kicks, I'll add a dash of sweet-smelling Marvel Mystery Oil to my oil can.
I normally hand crank my T's and they run extraordinarily well with the timer packed with grease. Ford recommended vaseline, which also works just fine. I typically repack the timer every thousand miles, perhaps once a year for me.
The advantage of using grease is less maintenance than oil, and virtually zero wear. I was taught this by my dad, and he by his dad. My grandfather started working on his Model T in 1915 when he bought it new. Dad went to work in my grandfather's garage in 1930. I grew up with a garage full of T's.
Here's the timer on my '15 right before installation:
As an experiment, I loaded up my anco style flapper....
as you can see, over time a black coat of small metal film covered the grease and made me doubt the wisdom of doing this. It was hard to start and ran poorly until the grease was swished out of the way, soooooo...., what good is it doing beyond keeping rust out of the inside of the timer? Had to try it, but am back to only a touch of lube on the contacts and clean from time to time (once a year?).
Royce, Where did Ford recommend using Vaseline? I thought that was my idea! Oil is just too runny and soon runs out leaving the timer dry. Vaseline is a light weight grease just right for the timer. It can withstand heat and will stay in the timer and not prevent the roller from contacting the segments. The lubricating medium, what ever it is, needs to be replaced when contaminated with metal.
Glean, how well does the vaseline work in summer temperatures?
Ford specified on the chart.... oil or vaseline every 200 miles.
1914 Ford Instruction Book, p. 8.
I use only Ford roller timers (not reproduction) or Bulldog timers or original old stock Tiger timers. I tried Anco timers on two of my cars about ten years ago. I was dissatisfied with the constant fear of the spark lever being pulled down unexpectedly if the engine rocked backward during a start attempt. This happened many times, nearly every time either of the cars was shut off after a drive.
Bear in mind that the timers I was using at that time were set up by Frank's timer service, and that I use a timing cover centering tool when assembling my engines. At the advice of my good friend Bud Scudder (RIP) I installed one of my Anco timers dry, the other was lubricated with engine oil every 100 miles or so.
The dry Anco timer gave me a failure to start after completing the Ohio Model T tour. It rained all night long, the car was sitting outside the hotel on the trailer. We drove home and could not start the car. There was spark at only one cylinder. Upon investigation the Anco timer contacts and flapper had flash rusted overnight. Sanding off the corrosion with Scotchbrite returned the car to normal operation.
All the cars run noticeably better with Ford roller timers. After a thousand miles of Anco operation on two cars I decided my Anco days were over.
OK, since Royce and Glen are both on this thread, can either of you folks explain why when I have filled my timers with grease or Vaseline they are extremely hard to start, only run on one or two cylinders for a while, and then after that still don't run smoothly until I clean out all but a very little of the grease/Vaseline?
Is this normal and I am inpatient or...??
I use automatic Transmission Fluid. A couple of squirts on the roller before any major run of (two or 3 days)and never had a problem with the standard roller type or erratic engine performance.
Alan in Western Australia
What kind of timer? I would not use grease in a New Day because they don't need it. If it is an Anco grease might lift the flapper, so that wouldn't work either.
If it is a Ford Timer it should work great.
Royce: I tried red grease in a Frank's Timer Service repro Anderson timer, and I've tried wheel bearing grease, and later vaseline, in one of the Lang repro timers (http://www.modeltford.com/item/3221.aspx). Same unsatisfactory results all three occasions.
Experience on roller timers for me is limited, as my fist T used them and I cleaned and oiled, but then changed it to a New Day, and ran New Days those for years.
Yes, some of the roller shells got worn out and needed replacement, but mostly from bad cam bearings, as the cam or front plate was off, and roller wouldn't run concentric, causing misses.
The New Day is different, the front facing brush doesn't care too much about running concentric, as the contacts are forward, not around the timer shell.
But, all other T's got rebuilds with fresh cams, front plate alignment and began using the Anderson timers. Never have had misses. Have worn a rotor, one with the high strength spring (like the Montana 500 use), but that was easy to replace.
As for the Anderson, a smear of high pressure resistant grease is all I use, get this grease from Tip-Top Timers. Running Andersons for me has been the most trouble free of any timers.
Chris, I can't speak for what happens in an Anderson timer when using red grease, as you have done, but we share the experience of using red grease in a Ford roller timer. In my case, the car was bucking so hard, I was afraid of damaging something. This is not to contradict the advice of experts who get good results this way; if they say it works great, I'm sure it does—usually.
But every now and then comes a car infested with gremlins who can't read, don't know what the book says and so, have no idea what they're supposed to be doing. Then, this kind of problem occurs.
Why? I dunno—maybe Edsel secretly outsourced a short run of timers to China while Henry was off to Tahiti with Evangeline. One way or another, you and I won the lottery and got stuck with the oddballs.
Chris, when I tried the "timer full of grease" trick I couldn't get the car to run period, never mind run poorly.
Thanks Bob — I found one of those under the engine when I took the timer off but figured it was just something the cat drug in the night before.
If so, you're very lucky, Chris. It's a rare thing when a cat tangles with a Gremlinacious-Commutaticus and comes out on top.
I recently tried one of Snyder's repro timers. It lasted about 200 miles before going tango uniform. It is not made with appropriate materials. Perhaps you bought one from Lang's. They are not worth what ever the purchase price might be.
Seems like we discussed this once before with no definitive answer. I am truly baffled that using a handful of grease works well for some and not at all for others. I will say that upon the first start up after filling the timer with grease, mine was a little hard to start, but only on the first start. No problem after that. I have an Anderson on my TT and a Ford roller timer on my wife's Touring. Both are using a handful of red grease for lube.
I didn't check everyone's profile for location. Any chance the people having bad results with grease are from colder climates?
I pack mine with grease like Royce and have had great results. Nature of the beast I guess. Works for some and not others. I use a ford roller timer.
I belong to the club that purchased one of the first powder coated newer style timers and like Royce got about 200 miles out of it before it swallowed itself. The insulator looked like a beaver went at it, and the roller spring was way too tight. Somebody has to be the Alpha Guinea Pig so that was that.
I had an option, my crash box had a new old style Tiger kit, and a set of the Anco. Just to make sure that it wasn't my cam shaft, I went with the Tiger as my feeling is the Anco can handle a little more. Since the topic of red grease was current on the forum at the time, I goobered it up with red grease.
Yes, it was a bear to start the first time...yes, it seemed to have a new 'miss' here and there...so I contacted Royce offline and he said he was at a loss, just try and muscle through and find something else. I took that advice, found nothing else, but then the problem went away by the 3rd time I took it out. Have a whole complete season out of that timer,no wear at all!
I'm not sure, but would guess we might need to determine what size a goober needs to be as I can only guess my original hiccups were due to the roller sloshing the grease out of the way until it found 'home'.
Another thought to add to the quagmire...
I DO think that each is just a little bit different maybe some cam shaft wiggle, maybe some cam shaft fore and aft, maybe a roller spring that is stiffer or weaker...
The experience above was on the '19 Hack. I'd like to think I'm consistent enough that all me cars are set up the same way. I always was a few drop oiler before starting for the day and my '25 experience is maybe 3 seasons out of a roller timer. My '15? (finding rabbits foot) is now on the 16th season with a roller and oil and it will still start on mag. My driving, set-up and maintenance habits are the same on all...so go figure. Yes I do think each is a little different.
Okay, here's my two cents for what's it worth, as I'm still pretty new to all this, and learning, and want to learn all I can. The Ford lube chart says "oil frequently" (for the timer)and somewhere I read but can't remember, it said you almost can't oil them too much. Altho I would think all that oil (and maybe too much grease?) would interfere with the travel of the electric current. Maybe not. And as I haven't had time, let alone the nerve, to remove the covers from my 3 various T's, I don't know what I have. Which brings up my last question..what is (if any) the visible difference between the Anderson Timer, vs. the Ford roller timer?
What Dan shows above is an Anderson type...4 long lever contacts on the housing and a lever type slide for the rotor. What Bob shows above is the generic roller type or Ford type...contacts molded into an insulator in the housing, a spring loaded roller housing that goes on the cam shaft. Not mentioned above is a Crystal timer, and that name is because the cover was originally see thru.
There are also literally 100's of other Rube Goldberg types, but I won't go into them, they belong in the box anyway as conversation pieces in my opinion but someday I sure would like to just try the 'Duo' I have...four strip contacts hanging in space in the cover and a rotor that has a slot with ball contacts on both sides. Betcha that one ought to chatter
So the colour of the grease makes a difference? IIRC, the grease I tried was regular chassis grease, sorta dark brown colour.
The only red grease I have is Red Rubber Grease, used in hydraulics, is that the type to use in a roller timer? Or is there another type of red grease being referred to? I see a can of Mobile something in one of Royce's pics.
Hal Davis, I live in what you call a colder climate, Alberta, but I don't take our Ts out in the winter, specifically because of the salt they saturate the roads with.
I think we might be seeing a difference in greases and temperature.
i have some grease that is very thick, that would never work in a timer, then i have some grease that is very thin thats more like vaseline. plus factor in the temperature differences.
maybe its like bullet lube in a muzzleloader, use thinner lube in cold and thicker in warmer climates?,
Tim, in answer to your direct question, you cannot tell from the outside, what kind of timer you have. The only way is to take the cover off and look inside.
While there were some timers that looked different from the outside, there was no uniformity, and there is no magic indicator.
By the way, taking the timer off for a look-see is easy except for dealing with the cotter pin (some say key) through the control rod. I have replaced the cotter with one of the cheap split-ring key-tag holders that repair shops use to attach ID tags to your keys when you take your car for repairs. I find it easier to remove and replace, and it requires no tools.
Just to be on the "safe side" I mixed up some red, grey, black, green grease, and 3 in 1 oil along with a touch of cutting oil and packed my E TIMER with it.
I think this might be the answer cause it runs perfectly. Time will tell after the end of the year when I open it up again to try and find that roller.
SORRY, I just couldn't help myself... LOL Hee hee
Sorry to beat a dead horse to death, but maybe something good can come of this Quest for the perfect timer lubricant. I too have tried the heavier grease without success. It was hard to start and sputtered and missed till I cleaned the grease back out (roller type timer).I am now running vaseline with success.
Today, i helped my friend clean an re-lube his roller type timer. It appeared that motor oil had been used as that it was fairly clean with the only noticeable wear in the roller axle shaft. He wanted to go back with a light lube and i also wanted to use something with a thin film,high performance lubricating characteristics, and good electric conductivity.
He came up a recognized name brand motorcycle racing chain lube since that he had several cans on the shelf, we decided to try this. The car started right up with the crank and ran like a kitten.
This manufacturer claims the main ingredient is MOLBUAMIN, an anti-wear additive that lubricates at well over 100,000 pounds per square inch before lubrication breaches. I realize that there are probably dozens of other lubricants on the market that have similar characteristics, but maybe something of this type might be the answer for the proper timer lubricant.
Over time there is no telling how many concoctions have been made up to make the best timer lubricant.
Half STP and half sewing machine oil(10w?) seems to work pretty good.
Roger -could it be this?
Seems to be a lead derivative - wonder what the long term results will be? Lead & electricity?
I don't know - Just wondering
Eh...I've been running an Anderson for about 10 years without lubrication. I've never removed it to check for wear. But it'll still start on compression with the turn of the key as many times as I want it to.
Steve Jelf asked a good question about New Day timers. We had one on my grandfather's 27 coupe. It was an original, not a repo. The front cam seal felt was leaking and kept the timer well (too well) lubricated. We constantly had trouble with the timer shorting out (or carbon tracking). Removing it and cleaning it would solve the problem, but when it got soaked again, we had the same problem.
So, Roger; about that dead horse we're beating...
What is the brand name of that motorcycle racing chain lube you mentioned?
I'm with Dan B, my Anderson was purchased at Chickasha 2006, I drive about 2-3000 miles per year. Never greased it. Still free starts, if not it starts on the first or second 1/4 turn everytime.
I was a beautiful day in Denver. We got out of the deep freeze and warmed up to 57 with 8% humidity. My 14 Touring started on the first pull with spark after several months of storage with E 10 gas fortified with 2 cycle oil and stabil. I had a great day driving around town and found a nice new Deli for lunch. Then I decided to drive to Golden CO as it was a great sunshiny day and I was driving in remembrance of a T mentor that just passed. I took the Anderson timer on this car off about 2 years ago and wiped some extreme pressure lube in it. I drive this car 2000 to 3000 miles a year. I have no idea why I have never had any problems with the Anderson timers and why I have never have had any problem with kick back. I guess that its my lack of paying attention to pious experts that may have something to do with my results. 2 of my running T's have Anderson timers in them and both of them get driven regularly. This spring I guess I will pull the timer in the 14, just for the heck of it, clean and lube it just for grins. Your mileage may vary but I doubt it.
I try to stay out of the timer debate as everyone seems to find what suits them eventually! My only frustration is that I see numerous references to obtaining and using good original timers. Us Aussies just dont have that luxury! I have found new Tigers and rollers to be rubbish so I moved to Andersons. A thousand plus trouble free miles and only had one look inside just for curiosity. Do what is best for you but I recommend an Anderson for many miles of happy maintenance and dirty grease and oil free touring!
I attempted to get a photo of the can to no success, but it is Bel-Ray motorcycle racing chain lube.The name of the additive is MOLBUAMIN*. It looks promising so I'm going to try it for a while and I'll let you all know how it works out.
Roger, is this the stuff?
My can is slightly different, probably an older can but yes that is it.
Doesn't seem real expensive. As I can't leave well enough along, I think I'll give it a shot. Will let you know how it goes.
Molybdenum is an good conductor of electricity........are you SURE that's what you want in your timer?
You do not want any conductive material in your timer. I have used Vaseline for thirty or more years with great success. Normal wheel bearing or other heavy greases are too thick and may prevent proper contact between the roller and segments. Those who have had intermittent problems have either used grease that is too thick or their timer roller spring is too weak to maintain good contact or both. Vaseline is ideal because it is thick enough that it will not run out like oil and is thin enough to allow proper contact. It can withstand heat and stay in place in any kind of weather.
Some years ago Boeing wrote an article about greases, and trying to come up with a single grease that could be used everywhere throughout the whole plane. The article said grease is just oil with a clay thickener.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grease is a semisolid lubricant. It generally consists of a soap emulsified with mineral or vegetable oil. The characteristic feature of greases is that they possess a high initial viscosity, which upon the application of shear, drops to give the effect of an oil-lubricated bearing of approximately the same viscosity as the base oil used in the grease. This change in viscosity is called thixotropy. Grease is sometimes used to describe lubricating materials that are simply soft solids or high viscosity liquids, but these materials do not exhibit the shear-thinning (thixotropic) properties characteristic of the classical grease. For example, petroleum jellies such as Vaseline are not generally classified as greases.
Greases are applied to mechanisms that can only be lubricated infrequently and where a lubricating oil would not stay in position. They also act as sealants to prevent ingress of water and incompressible materials. Grease-lubricated bearings have greater frictional characteristics due to their high viscosity.
A true grease consists of an oil and/or other fluid lubricant that is mixed with a thickener, typically a soap, to form a solid or semisolid. Greases are a type of shear-thinning or pseudo-plastic fluid, which means that the viscosity of the fluid is reduced under shear. After sufficient force to shear the grease has been applied, the viscosity drops and approaches that of the base lubricant, such as the mineral oil. This sudden drop in shear force means that grease is considered a plastic fluid, and the reduction of shear force with time makes it thixotropic. It is often applied using a grease gun, which applies the grease to the part being lubricated under pressure, forcing the solid grease into the spaces in the part.
Soaps are the most common emulsifying agent used, and the selection of the type of soap is determined by the application. Soaps include calcium stearate, sodium stearate, lithium stearate, as well as mixtures of these components. Fatty acids derivatives other than stearates are also used, especially lithium 12-hydroxystearate. The nature of the soaps influences the temperature resistance (relating to the viscosity), water resistance, and chemical stability of the resulting grease.
Teflon is added to some greases to improve their lubricating properties. Gear greases consist of rosin oil, thickened with lime and mixed with mineral oil, with some percentage of water. Special-purpose greases contain glycerol and sorbitan esters. They are used, for example, in low-temperature conditions. Some greases are labeled "EP", which indicates "extreme pressure". Under high pressure or shock loading, normal grease can be compressed to the extent that the greased parts come into physical contact, causing friction and wear. EP grease contains solid lubricants, usually graphite and/or molybdenum disulfide, to provide protection under heavy loadings. The solid lubricants bond to the surface of the metal, and prevent metal-to-metal contact and the resulting friction and wear when the lubricant film gets too thin.
Copper is added to some greases for high pressure applications, or where corrosion could prevent dis-assembly of components later in their service life. Copaslip is the registered trademark of one such grease produced by Molyslip Atlantic Ltd, and has become a generic term (often misspelled as "copperslip" or "coppaslip") for anti-seize lubricants which contain copper.
Grease from the early Egyptian or Roman eras is thought to have been prepared by combining lime with olive oil. The lime saponifies some of the triglyceride that comprises oil to give a calcium grease. In the middle of the 19th century, soaps were intentionally added as thickeners to oils. Over the centuries, all manner of materials have been employed as greases. For example, black slugs Arion ater were used as axle-grease to lubricate wooden axle-trees or carts in Sweden.
Does Sweden export black slugs?
Has anybody tried Dow Corning 4 or 40, the dielectric grease?
wiki again ----------
As a sealant around electrical contacts
Dielectric grease is electrically insulating and does not break down when high voltage is applied. It is often applied to electrical connectors, particularly those containing rubber gaskets, as a means of lubricating and sealing rubber portions of the connector without arcing.
A common use of dielectric grease is in high-voltage connections associated with gasoline engine spark plugs. The grease is applied to the rubber boot of the plug wire. This helps the rubber boot slide onto the ceramic insulator of the plug. The grease also acts to seal the rubber boot, while at the same time preventing the rubber from becoming stuck to the ceramic. Generally spark plugs are located in areas of high temperature, and the grease is formulated to withstand the temperature range expected. It can be applied to the actual contact as well, because the contact pressure is sufficient to penetrate the grease. Doing so on such high pressure contact surfaces has the advantage of sealing the contact area against corrosion.
Another common use of dielectric grease is on the rubber mating surfaces or gaskets of multi-pin electrical connectors used in automotive and marine engines. The grease again acts as a lubricant and a sealant on the nonconductive mating surfaces of the connector. It is not recommended to be applied to the actual electrical conductive contacts of the connector because it could interfere with the electrical signals passing through the connector in cases where the contact pressure is very low. Products designed as electronic connector lubricants, on the other hand, should be applied to such connector contacts and can dramatically extend their useful life. Polyphenyl Ether, rather than silicone grease, is the active ingredient in some such connector lubricants.
Silicone grease should not be applied to (or next to) any switch contact that might experience arcing, as silicone can convert to silicon-carbide under arcing conditions, and accumulation of the silicon-carbide can cause the contacts to prematurely fail.
So Rick you have finally brought up the main difference in greases. MANY. Moly is a metal and high pressure has cu in it? Henry says oil or Vaseline is what they recommended. Jesse Bonar told me to use vaseline back in 1973 when I was having timer problems and it worked for my driving in my cars, He did not tell me to cram a bunch into it just enough to have some coating so the amount may have something to do with it. ???
ON ANOTHER note!!! I want to congratulate ALL of you guys on this blog! I think that you ALL worked GREAT with one another!!! I think that you all stuck with the problem and tried to really solve this ongoing delima for some T drivers. It was good to hear your problems and trials and errors. This is how you solve problems that can drive a fella crazy trying to solve a driving problem. Part of the problems I had and never did try to tour any of my cars as I was tired of having problems and not fun when I tried to travel 50 to 100 miles in one of my T's! I am reading a lot of what you guys say and maybe I'll try to dive one of mine further than 30 miles this time around. ???? Timer problems were one of my pet peeves. I have used all of the timers except the electronic one that costs 400.00. I also have a couple of distributors in my stock piles but I just can't put one of them on a real restored T. Nor OHV heads,or down draft carbs either. WHY? I don/t know as I have real hot rod and muscle cars too. But I just can't do that to my T's. ???? Insanity I guess! ??? Thanks for doing this discussion! I learned a lot. Maybe a lot of the problems are from the first cam bearing???
Joe in Mo.