After reading (and re-reading) Mike Kossor's E-Timer article in "Model T Times" and seeing his demo at Hershey, I was fortunate enough to get one of the E-Timers for trial. I told Mike that I would be very objective in my evaluation, both positive and negative where warranted, and he wholeheartedly accepted. I do several tours a year and already had in excess of 1800 miles on my 1911 Touring. The initial installation resulted early on with a failure requiring a new unit with some higher rated components. Since there would be limited driving time here in CT until Spring, I had Mike ship the revised E-Timer to my son in FL for installation on my newly purchased 1912 Touring. I got to see my new acquisition for the first time during Thanksgiving and had my son do the E-timer installation to further evaluate this process. It took 1:35 minutes, of which 15 minutes was spent on getting the recommended timing adjusted precisely. It is not really any different from standard timing, but we wanted to be sure it was "right on". The 1912 has the original engine which was restored in the 1960's, with cast iron pistons, excellent compression, NH carb, a HOT MAG (11 volts at idle / +25 volts at speed), Anderson Timer, and Strobo-Spark tuned coils. My son had driven the car some 200 miles previously with its "stock" ignition and he rated its performance as " ++ Average". With the E-Timer installed, it started on the second pull of the crank and I let him take it out for the first drive. We weren't down the road a half-mile when a grin appeared on his face and he remarked "WOW! The performance upgrade from an already good running T was easily perceptible: namely the smooth acceleration from a very short run in LOW to HIGH without any hesitation, incredibly low idle (about 200 RPM!), and the car's incessant ability to gain speed effortlessly! What else can I say; this E-Timer is a winner! My 4 other Ts all run on Coils/MAG without Hi-Compression heads or .280 cams and I consider myself somewhat a "purist" in getting the best performance out of the relatively stock engine. I know that for every unique RPM there is an "optimum" timing setting, which most Model-T drivers, including myself, cannot possibly set all the time. ( I do understand that the Ford magneto does give some auto-timing functionality) I have used all the various Timers ( roller, brush, flapper, Bosch magneto, and distributor) and in my estimation the E-Timer surpasses them all. The 1912 had a 5 year old 685 CCA 12 volt battery which measured 11.10 volts which the E-timer didn't seem to mind. It actually senses 6, 8, 10 , and 12 volts and makes operational adjustments as necessary. Some may say the E-Timer is very pricey, but when you compare the cost of 4 rebuilt coils, an Anderson timer, AND a good output magneto with your engine rebuild, the E-Timer presents a good value in enhanced performance, maintenance, and reliability (the reason for prolonged Beta-testing). I hope to have both my 1911 and 1912 (equipped with E-Timers) at the Florida Winter Tour in Ocala next March. Ask me or my son for a ride or demo. I will be glad answer any questions you have here on the Forum as well.
Thank you Mr. Revaz ......... just don't expect Royce to be overly enthusiastic . He just doesn't get it. This is ideal for those with non-functioning magnetos or "up-graded" engines without magnetos. Keeps the original look .
Yes, I ran coils & still have the option to switch back but will run the E-Timer to establish reliability, and if I do have a problem I will not be stranded. This is the purpose of testing, and if a problem comes up, it will be addressed, corrected, or improved for more testing.
Can you post a picture or two.
The following is a photo of the E-Timer.
The E-Timer is an electronic ignition option for Model T enthusiasts that fit completely inside an original timer housing without any modifications to the car or wiring. It provides precision ignition timing including automatic timing advance or can be programmed to mimic original Model T manual ignition timing if desired.
The project has evolved over the past 2 and 1/2 years of work and would not be possible without the interest and dedicated support received from several local, national and international users who were willing to give it a try and share their experiences, both good and bad. I would like to formally recognize and thank all those who have participated in this interesting, on-going project.
E-Timer Conversion Kit
The following is a photo of the PC based automatic test set used to develop and evaluate E-Timer performance before installation or operation on a car.
Slick, Mike! I like it!
Almost ANYTHING that eliminates those STUPID 22.5 degree timing steps when operating on magneto sounds like a winner to me.
Good luck with it!
To Bob J. & others,
It's been a while coming, but I am now glad to be able to post my experience with the E-Timer. As the miles accumulate, I will be giving more reports, as they are warranted; both pro and con. Mike has been VERY supportive of any criticism and I laud his patience to develop a reliable product before going into full production. I fully respect the opinion any Model-T driver/owner of how the car should be driven, restored, and modified. In return, I only ask that they in turn respect my, as well as any others' opinions as well.
Maybe I forgot something from prior threads; what does it use for the HT coil(s)?
A block diagram, or better yet, a System Requirements Document, would be good reading.
It uses stock Ford T coils with the points shunted.
What was the cost of this unit? Am I right in understanding that the only changes to the car are the points on the coils and the timer it's self and the timer automatically controls the timing thus elimnateing the need to use the spark control lever complety even for starting the engine?
Someone should scan (in color) the Model T Times article on the E-Timer and post it so everyone can read in Mike's own words how the E-Timer works.
Ron the Coilman
It's supposed to be printed in the Vintage Ford also, I believe.
You still have to retard the spark to start the car. After the car starts you immediately move the spark lever to fully advanced. And you leave it there. After about 27 to 30 seconds you will hear the automatic timing take over.
The E-Timer is still in the Beta testing mode so it is not now available for general purchase. It is entirely self-contained within the standard timer housing and is completely undetectable, even the power feed. Once the engine is started, in the Automatic Timing mode, the spark lever is advanced as is normally done and never has to be moved again. Spark advance or retard is entirely automatic as long as the engine is running. It returns to full retard for the next start sequence with the spark lever full up as is normally done. It can also be easily programmed to act as only an electronic timer, with full manual control of the spark advance/retard with the lever if the user desires. The Times article might seem a bit technical for many, but describes the design process and functionality from inception. When many miles of reliable service, under all driving conditions have been achieved, it will go into full production and be carried by most Model-T parts distributors
This thing is going to be big.
I have driven in Will's '12 both before and after the E-Timer was installed and can attest to the fact that it makes an amazing difference in the cars performance. What's most amazing to me is the fact that it can make such a difference in a car that ran damn well before the E-Timer was installed. I'm a believer!
If you leave the key on with the engine not running, there won't be any coil buzzing. If you follow the E-Timer directions the coil points will be shorted, so no buzzing, so you will not know the key is on. It should be able to melt the tar and destroy the primary winding in about 30 seconds, maybe less. Am I missing something?
Also, is it worth $400 to have the magneto inoperative? You can do the same thing by just removing the magneto to coil box wire. That would be free.
I've seen T guys leave the key on with a coil buzzing & they never heard the noise !!!!
Guess they would have the same result ???
Your catastrophic scenario of 30 seconds seems a bit severe.............. and yes you are missing something.... What, heck if I know.
Thanks for being consistently negative on something you have no first hand experience.
As being part of the Beta-testers, maybe as a group we should have not have been so impressed to share our "seat of the pants" testing results with others.
Why would you leave your key on with the engine not running?
The E-timer has a 4 amp fuse to prevent such an occurrence.
Additionally, for safety purposes I feel all Model T's should have a single fuse in the main power feed wire from the starter switch to the key switch. That adequately fuses the whole car.
Ron the Coilman
I drive our '27 Tudor all year round and in wet weather as well. We've had it for 49 years, and it's basically a stock vehicle. How does the E-Timer hold up in moisture? Would any dampness getting into the timer case cause problems?
It sure sounds like an improvement to the old Ts ignition system, if that is what a person is looking for. I would think a young person just staring the experience of driving a Model T would welcome the simplicity of not having to fiddle with the spark etc. Or old guys like me who forget!
I don't have a dog on this fireplug other than I have always taken the purist view to stock Ford ignition, lived with the foibles and am smarter for it after 30 years and maybe just the last 10 years now seem to know what I'm doing with it...provided I have a good coil or two in back-up!
Through those early years there were the normal expected issues of a 'newbie' where there were times I was let down because I still didn't understand all of the foibles. This resulted in times where months would go by before I'd build up the stamina to dive back in. Sure, that's just me, but I think it also holds true for a lot of other 'newbies' and if you don't have someone who does know what they are doing right around the corner, 'some' of the fun is tarnished from time to time and it's like that bicycle, you have to get back on it again...
However, I have gotten to drive an e-timer equipped machine and my own answer is 'Wow' for a host of reasons! Starts like a well tuned mag/ignition quarter pull...spark advance worries are merely on/off and it shifts like an automatic (face it guys, they don't all get pulled down and stay there all the time..those that claim so are lucky in my opinion) and maintains excellent spark timing all by itself at any speed!
How well will it hold up in actual (brutal) use? I give Mike K. kudos for apparently controlling the first few used out there, and according to Willard report above...Mike K. is open to continued development to indeed make it bullet-proof...surely this can't be 'snake oil' at that!
Give it a chance, it will either be bullet-proof...or...pass into the night. I'd rather see and read reports of the progress on a weekly monthly basis than have it all done behind closed doors.
Yes, it isn't cheap and may not get cheaper in actual production...but for what it does, once it's in open production it's a fair price for someone who says 'where do I start if I have a weak ignition system?...or 'no ignition system'...you know, those that will consider dizzy's, or other electronic ignition replacements. All reports so far say...plug and play....so now it is on to endurance testing and let's just see where it goes!
Face it guys and girls, it shows bullet-proof in use, what a neat thing to have in the arsenal!
Thanks Mike K....hang in there!
Sounds promising. If it proves itself I will definitely consider using it.
I run it alot & I think very highly of it. I personally have had the unit in three of my cars and had increased power in each car without any problems so far. I have been assisting mike with the use of my cars for mesurements and soforth. He has put alot into this project & I can say that : Royce go ahead & disconnect your mag wire & think it's the same maybe after a while you'll start beleiving your own B.S. I wouldn't put it down until you try it.
It shure is a impressive looking thing and it looks like a new wrist watch they sell in the mall! My question is what about free starts?? 75% 50% 25% never?? If there are no free starts it needs more testing say 100 years!! Bud.
Of course it will provide free starts! Just like the original system. The coil points also buzz very similar to original operation contary to some false assumptions.
Will said timer work only on mag voltage?? Bud.Ps,Im no off roader but what will keep water out?? Maby damage from oil through a cam seal?? Bud.
30 seconds is about right! I had a coil in which the points were stuck closed, and it melted in about 30 seconds. Same thing will happen if you use a "buzz box" coil tester. If the points are stuck or not adjusted right, the amp meter will peg at the high end and then drop to zero quickly. The winding will be toast.
Well said Norm, it happened to you under normal surcomstances and it can also happen with the E-timer. But the porfomance is where the real greatness comes in to play.
Are the 4 amp fuses in the E-Timer available at auto part stores? How hard is it to replace one? I don't see a fuse in the picture above. Is a 4 amp fuse really going to protect a coil from burning out?
Royce are you asking a question? cause it realy seems that you know the answer to everything!!!!
If you know the answer let me know. I asked the questions because I don't know, but would like to. I believe they are reasonable questions to ask before spending $400 for something that is going to disable the main source of electrical power in my Model T.
If I were designing such a smart Etimer, I would make it so the coils were not drawing current unless the engine was turning. I would use a modern blade fuse and holder from Autozoner.
How much min/average/peak current does the E-timer draw? We know it should average 1.3 amps for buzz coils, and either 2A or 0 with a modern 12v coil and disturbutor.
Is there a provision for an electronic vacuum/manifold pressure signal? Vacuum advance saves fuel and reduces pollution.
The coils aren't grounded but half the time with most mechanical timers, so when the T's engine is running on battery, the current consumption is more like 2/3 amp.
Hey, will this thing survive if the Chinese or Russians decide to unleash an EMP attack?? I guess even if it won't survive, it's no sweat to carry a ford roller setup under the rear seat as back up!!
I crack myself up.
There seems to be a lot of misconseptions about the E-Timer. The E-Timer does have a fuse and it is not user replaceable. A fuse is a fail safe device meaning its function is to interrupt service if a failure occurs before damage is done to the unit or system in which it protects. The failure must be resolved BEFORE the fuse is replaced or it will simply blow again, dah. The E-Timer is not user repairable so it is of no consequence the fuse is not user replaceable.
The E-Timer was designed to withstand sustained key on, engine not running, coil buzzing operation even though it is not recommended. The E-Timer charges the coil to the full 4 to 5A for the first spark only to deliver the same spark energy as the original system for combustion to occur. All subsequent sparks fire at reduced energy to increase battery life and be less stressful on the coil and E-timer. The average coil current is only 0.5Amps buzzing with engine off as opposed to the original system. The average coil current drops to about 0.25Amps at engine idle and rises to about 0.5Amps at high RPM.
Production units will be made with a polyurethane conformal coating to make it impervious to moisture and oil. No effort will be made to make it radiation hardened against EMP or bullet proof;-)
Again, the E-Timer is simply another option for the Model T enthusiast to use or elect not to not. I commend everyone lucky enough to have procured a stock of NOS ignition components, have the equipment and knowledge necessary to properly align, install and maintain them and are satisified with the performance and ware from them. The original system is an elegant design and true electro-mechanical marvel worthy of preservation.
OK, so if fuse blows the car is going on the trailer unless he has a spare E-Timer under the seat. Right?
There is no shortage of good ignition components for a Model T. Anderson Timers (which have their own set of quirks) are $50 each. You could have eight of them under the seat for the price of one E-Timer, and your magneto would still work.
You could likely have one timer under the seat, tools to remove the E-timer and shunts from the coil points and forget having to deal with the trailer.
The magneto, though unloaded when using the E-Timer, isn't broken because of it.
The magneto could always be used to recharge that battery among many other things that its 100 watt capability is wasted on an ignition system that needs less than 10 watts....
My E timer will hopefully arrive today in the mail.
Royce if the E timer fails then you simply re-install a conventional timer and carry on, no different than if your conventional timer needed replacing. OK, well one difference, you will need to remove the little cardboard point closers from the coils. Oh and second difference, by all accounts you will notice a reduction in performance.
I am going to install it in my '13 with a Heinz coil box and replace the Tru-fire (which has worked flawlessly for 8 years). The reproduction Heinz coils I have did not work well enough for me, so this will allow me to run them with no visible modifications.
The impression I have is that stock Heinz coils will never work as well as the later style of coils by the very nature of the point design. As my '13 is a strong running car (and my favorite) I want it to run as well as I can make a otherwise stock car run. I did make my own set of coils to fit the Heinz coil box using KW style points and they worked well but did not look right.
No, the car only goes on the trailer in the event of a magneto failure or other catastrophic problem.
The beauty of the E-Timer is that it requires no modification to the car or its wiring. In the event an E-Timer does fail, the operator would proceed exactly the same as if any timer had failed them; reach under the seat to fetch the spare stock timer it replaced and simply swap timers to restore original operation. The only minor added detail is to remove the jumper wire form across the all coil points.
If all goes to plan, the cost of the E-Timer should be easily justifiable sice there will be no need to maintain a supply of good ignition components because nothing wares out. Not to mention the labor and greassy mess necessary to periodically maintain a standard timer or expensive HCCT needed to properly align coil points properly. Just my opinion.
Thank you to all those who share their critical views and what if scenarios that will improve the E-Timer's evolution and ensure it success!
I'm thinking that this might be a neat little unit not to mention that this could be a upgrade seed for other kinds of cars. I'm wodering how something like that might work for my vacume driven 41 Olsmobile. I'll be the first to admit that I would rather see my car as Ford made it but also if I can hide a upgrade here and there without anybody seeing it to increase the performance and better running of the engine I feel it may give the engine a little more longevity as the engine isnít fighting itís self to run. 100% of todayís cars are computer driven so it only makes since that there can be electronics made for the Model T. I have a few hidden upgrades in my T that at car shows only I know they are there. Ie: Sealed axel bearings, Z head, Roller driveshaft bearing, 12v starter. 280 Stipe cam, Balanced crankshaft, Safety hubs, Ron Patterson coils and a couple of other things. I did these to give the car a bit more longevity and a smoother running engine.
Short of good fuel flow the timing system is the most important system in the car. I see both good and bad points on this new system. It can be a costly part failer given the expected price of the unit but it sounds like it will be internally protected against oil, moisture and most internal failures. But maybe a limited factory warrantee of itís internal components with the unit might be a good idea and a better temptation to purchase defraying the fear of buying something that might not last. With a good sound wiring harness the chances of a short are slim but maybe an external fuse in the unit that is user replaceable would be a better idea. This way the user would not have to wait for it to be repaired thus causing valuable time consuming down time of an already short Model T season. But like Ron said, A fuse in the main system is always a good idea. Everything on my car is fused just in case.
James M and Bob J, I know your trying to defend your friend when you see negative comments towards your friends invention and hard work that went into creating the E Timer but in my humble opinion your not doing him or your club any favors when you comment about there personal opinions. The better marketing idea is not to piss off your future clientele thus forcing them to never try your new product. Just sit back and let people comment as they feel they need to without bashing them. In the end folks will make up there own minds about what kind of upgrades they feel will fit them best for there car from the collective array of information they see here on the forum. An open minded person will read all the information given and then make an educated choice that fits them. I know a lot of folks that will openly say they would never put anything modern in there car but then without telling anybody suddenly thereís a new modern device of some kind hidden out of sight from the world somewhere in there car that only they know about. The great thing about this forum is it brings together people with there different ideas and opinions that have the same interest from all over the world in the Ford Model T, And never forget, Thatís giving Mike a world market also.
I have yet to wear out a Model T timer. Properly maintained, they are not going to wear out. The one on my '15 is an original Ford script part, probably 1923 - 24 vintage. It shows no sign of wear after 80+ years of service.
Royce, My 23 TT has the same Ford script roller timer it came with also. A few times a year I take it out to clean and lube it and it runs just great.
I've read these glowing performance reports, but they are all about E-timer vs stock. What about E-timer vs electronic distributor? For a person who doesn't care about originality, is there an advantage over one of the electronic distributor ignition systems? Perhaps there is a better advance curve, but no one seems to know anything about the advance curves in the available distributors.
I have absolutely no objection to anyone inventing a "better" ignition system. For those who want to spend what it takes to develop the E-timer, fine. For those who want to use it on their cars fine.
However, for me, I prefer to use something which has been proven by the test of time. The coils and magneto with timer. By the way, I am not completely stock either. I have New Day timers and Anderson timers. Both of those timers do the job and the T runs well.
When the E timer is completely developed and proven by the test of time for reliability as well as for that extra burst of power, if I'm still around and still driving T's I might consider using one.
Does anyone have a chart showing timing vs. rpm and load?
I am curious as to the reason for the improved performance? Is it due to a smooth, infinitely variable (Or maybe I should say 'constantly changing'), advance rather than a choice of 3 or 4 positions as in the stock ignition running on mag? Is it because it negates the need for a perfectly centered timing cover therefore giving identical timing to each cylinder? Does it advance the timing further than is possible on a stock set up?
Its not the number of years that wears out a timer its the number revolutions (miles driven) If all a person does is drive across town to the ice cream parler once a month or less the timer won't get used much. If you drive daily or go on some long tours every year then A FORD TIMER WOULD BE TOAST. As far as cost goes look at some that install new ruckstells, warfords, and other items. This is the first I have heard of this E Timer but the cost of this timer if it improves preformance would be in the ball park.
rdr (Ricks) brought up what I was thinking as I have been reading through this tread.
When I drive and the terrain varies, I do, right or wrong, play with the mixture and the timing.
I do it by ear, in other words, I try to find the point for both where the engine runs at its best and to be as frugal as I can with the $8/gal gas.
It is well known that an engine can tolerate more spark advance at any given speed under a light load. Light load means high vacuum in the intake manifold, and that is why most later cars have a vacuum advance connected to the distributor in addition to the mechanical advance, - the latter giving more advance as the speed rises. This is, as we all know, because an engine also can tolerate and runs more economically with more advance at higher speed.
The vacuum advance is a device that saves gas, and I believe that is what Ricks was asking about.
I concede that possibly the better (hotter) spark of the E-Timer more than makes up for the lack of a vacuum advance, but nobody addressed his question, so I am bringing it up again.
I assume that all else being equal, gas mileage would be further optimized with a provision for some form of vacuum advance.
A bit pricey but beats the heck out of pulling an engine to repair a shot mag.
Sorry. I'm just lazy.
The next nice day we have & I'm off from my day job, I'll stop by with the '26 Runabout & let you take her out for a spin thru your neighborhood..... that's a promise !
Not today, but I will be out & about in Forked River.
I think the E-Timer has automatic advance but it's far beyond the technology of a vacuum advance. I also believe that if you want the "geniune experience" of T driving there is a setting for manual timing control, (using the spark lever only).
Where do you buy gas in Lake Orion for $8/gal.? Come to Grosse Pointe, we only pay $3.05/gal.
BTW, if you haven't heard of the Casual T's chapter, (MTFCI), of S.E. Mich., and would like to join a chapter, check us out. www.casualts.org or perhaps the Piquette T's Chapter MTFCA/MTFCI, www.piquettets.org .
You must have missed what I stated earlier in my introductory post. My '26 Touring is in Sweden at my daughter's house. I am planning to take the engine out and crate it and ship it here for a rebuild. I have allowed nine weeks for my 2011 visit, so I should have adequate time for the task.
Thank goodness we are not at Scandinavian gas prices here yet.
On October 16th I visited the Piquette plant. It was a "Monthly activity" for the JAGM club. It was a very interesting trip, especially for me. As we were gathering to enter the facility, "T"s started to come in and line up in the parking lot. I think they were going on a Saturday tour.
I have considered joining a local club, but I don't know where and when they meet.
Since you missed my original thread, I will boldly try to post the picture again.
I finally got around to reading this thread.
I like the idea of the E- timer. I like the looks, simplicity (for the owner). It sure will look better than a distributer. As a newbie, who likes old technology, I may not have all the experiences in the world like many others do. I like the fact we can modernize our vehicles if we wish, and we can always revert at anytime if we wish.
From what I read, there are cars out there that just do not seam to be happy and this has been a great cure for them. I wonder if it would make starting on battery easier.
It sure seems to help those who do not have a good magneto, to get the extra power and performance.
If I had the chance to try one I certainly would.
Mike, Thank you for all your hard work on prototyping the e-timer. As results come in I would love to hear about them, both the good and the bad.
PS: I agree about having an internal fuse, if you pop a fuse it was for a reason, and the issue must be repaired.
Suddenly it all makes sense.
By the way, I was one of those people who drove up in a Model T on the Saturday of your visit. I was in the 1925 blue touring car, fourth one back.
By the way, sorry for hijacking this thread. Let me fix it now;
The E-Timer should prove interesting in the touring season ahead!