Speedster has been cruising along great. I rode about 10 miles down the road and ate lunch with my wife, weather outside is gorgeous, on the way back, I'm in very light traffic and have just stopped at a red light. I accelerate and right when I hit about 20 mph I hear something small start bouncing around inside the transmission. Car starts running rough - doesn't quit all the way but I slow down and limp into a grocery store parking lot and shut her off. Scratch my head for a minute and start it back up on battery, but when I kick it over to magneto, it just completely quits. I try this a little more and have determined I have zero magneto. A tow truck is not really an option, so I leave it running on battery and hop back in hoping to limp home. I quickly discover that whatever-it-is in my transmission is definitely loose and bumping around anytime I get up over 30, so I crawl the whole 10 miles home doing 25 and making sure I don't hear anything moving around in there.
I've pulled the floorboards and pulled the transmission inspection cover. I'm really irritated and loathe to remove the hogshead as only a couple weeks ago I just had it off and cleaned everything and sealed it all back up and now I'm oil-leak free. That wasn't pleasant and I was really excited to get it back together and discover I had no leaks.
I know it's not the magneto post - I have a magneto post outside oil-line and was desperately hoping that maybe the sprung part snapped off and that was my only problem. Alas, the magneto post is fine. Nothing I can see through the inspection cover is amiss or looks like something was flying around in there.
What I'm afraid of is that I threw a magnet and that the chunk or chunks tore my magneto wiring somewhere. Which sucks because that means not only am I going to ruin this nice hogshead seal, the whole engine has to come out so I can replace the magneto coil assembly as well as some new magnets. One thing I am going to do is get the multi-meter out and see if the magneto is producing anything at all. I just haven't wanted to fool with it yet because she annoys me every time I walk in the garage and see her. Slowly but surely as the sun rises every time I drive this car SOMEthing ends up breaking. The good news is that nothing that I have gone through or fixed has broken, only things that I haven't messed with yet.
Pretty much the only things left on the whole aggravating car that I haven't either fixed or replaced are the transmission itself (other than some light band adjustment last year) with the whole magneto and the king pins and spindle bushings. Literally everything else I've either broken and fixed or had my hands on and fixed. I guess the good news is once I get through this part she'll finally be fully tamed until I drive her enough to wear something out. Anyway, I'm working down the frustration and working up the will to do what must be done starting this weekend.
Seth, Can you see if the funnel to the oiler is still intact?
No sir, I cannot. I can see the triple gears are ok and then it's either the back of the flywheel or the hogshead. If I pull the coil box I might be able to see down in the mag post hole, but that still probably won't let me see the oiler funnel.
I'm going to try and go with the mental attitude that I have to pull the engine. But I want to take the practical approach of trying to absolutely confirm something IS the problem before I just start taking things apart. I'll drain the oil and look up through the oil drain hole, then down the mag post hole before I actually remove the transmission cover. Tranny cover will come off and I'll look everywhere before I actually start doing stuff to pull the engine, etc.
As a former President would say "I feel your pain"...
I'd drain the oil and see if anything comes out with it. IF not get one of those magnets on a stick and fish around and see if you can find anything.
What you likely had happen is a magnet spool or keeper broke loose because the little brass screw crystallized and broke.
That in turn tore into the mag coil ring.
Let us know what you find.
And the bright side. You got the hogshead to be leak free...you know how now and can do it again.
Seth - The "purists" will no doubt yell and scream and rant and rave at this suggestion, however, it is just that,......a "suggestion":
You have a very nice speedster with an obviously healthy and good running engine,....except for this latest unfortunate development. As you no doubt know, most speedster guys run a distributor, and if you might consider this option, you might avoid pulling the engine out and tearing off your perfectly sealed hogshead.
Yes, a distributor set-up will cost you quite a bit, however, it sounds like you're faced with a lot of time, labor and expense in replacing the damage to the original magneto set-up, one way or the other.
Of course if you do decide to go the distributor route (which by the way will receive very little criticism as most speedsters run distributors),.....you will first have to fish out whatever is now floating around in the flywheel area.
Hmmmmm,.... now that I think about it, I suppose you might be still left with somewhat of an unbalanced condition due to whatever got thrown off of the flywheel.
As I say, just something to consider, and maybe it's a dumb suggestion,.....I don't know. At any rate, sorry for your problems,.....you might do well to just leave it alone, think it over and "cool off" for awhile! Sometimes hard to remember that this is all "fun", right? Well, eventually, this will be just one more "story" to tell,........harold
Thanks Larry. =)
Lol Harold, I actually have a very nice Bosch front plate magneto setup that I was intending to send up to Mainely Magnetos so they could rebuild the mag and install an impulse coupler for me.
SO, I was half-tempted to just pull the engine after this happened, yank all the magneto stuff and just install some oil-slingers.
However, I REALLY like the original ignition. I have some very nice Coil Doctor coils, a gorgeous Anderson timer that shows zero wear, and until recently a very strong magneto that would readily start the car.
What I was planning on doing was installing the front plate mag and seeing how I liked it and how well it ran at higher RPM, as well as keeping the Anderson in the car with me in case the front plate mag decided to act up - at least until I was confident in its reliability. I've flirted with a distributor but the stock ignition and then the front plate mag just seem more T to me. Yours isn't a bad idea though. I do think that whether I go with a distributor or the front plate mag, I need to get in there and find out what got loose.
Oh, and if it's a magnet keeper. You could pull the starter and look through there and and slowly have someone crank the engine and see if any are not there. Remember to take the bendix off first.
I do not think you should drive the car as is even with a distributor. The problem is not that the magneto is not working, but why it is not working. I think you answered that in your original post. You said something in the transmission was bumping around. Until you find out what it is bumping you should not drive it. If you do what was suggested by Larry, you might get lucky if it is a magnetic metal part like a magnet keeper or a bolt or some wire or cotter pin etc. If it is the funnel, I believe it is aluminum and won't be attracted by a magnet. Maybe a wire with a hook would catch it.
I have had two such experiences over the years. One was a bolt which came out of the driven plate and was tossed up by the flywheel and landed on the oil screen in the inspection cover. It was on a 26 and the brake drum was cracked around the bolt holes at the back. It also took off teeth from the starter gear, but I could keep on driving the car to get home because the bolt was thrown up. Nevertheless, I replaced the engine and transmission. I still have them and they could be rebuilt.
The other case was one which made no noticeable noise, but suddenly the magneto quit working. I drove that car on battery for 10 years and 10 years later I found that the funnel off the oil line was in the crankcase and the magneto windings were cut. I had an outside oiler on that car and the oil line without the funnel + the outside oiler supplied enough oil to the front to keep it running 10 more years.
Anyway I would strongly suggest that you find out what is causing the problem, and make your decision as to whether to drive it and what to do to fix it after you are sure it won't cause further damage.
I'm sorry for your problem. It is sad to have something unexpectedly happen to a T.
This is coming from a semi-novice here, but. . . . . . is it possible something else (rather than a part of the magneto) came loose, rattled around, and demagnetized the magnets?
See what comes out when you drain the oil, then remove the trans cover and check with the magnet on a stick like Larry said. Depending on what you find, it might be possible it was something else that came loose, didn't damage the magneto, but just demagnetized it. You can then do an in-car recharge (OK, I can hear the groans) and possibly be back in business?
You've only spent an extra 20 minutes on an in-car recharge, can't cause any harm, and would be removing all that other stuff anyway if you were to pull the engine and/or find out that it IS a magneto problem.
Don't ask me how I know that's a possibility!
Hey Norman: I definitely am not driving it and will not drive it until I sort this out. Like you said, the magneto not working is a symptom of some more serious problem. The only reason I drove it home is because I didn't have any other viable way to get it home.
Bob: I'm ever hopeful that it's something like that! I'd be thrilled if there's nothing wrong with the magneto coil and I all I need to do is recharge the magnets. Best case it's the funnel and all I have to do is fish that out and replace it, reseal the hogshead, charge the magnets and I'm in business.
I think the multimeter will go a long way in telling me what's really at play here. If I have to shell out the $250 or whatever for a new coil then so be it, but hopefully not.
I have one minor disagreement/correction. The early oil tube (funnel) is brass, held in place with a steel bracket. The later one is steel. This being a speedster and therefore not necessarily stock, it could have either. Some cars have another tube/funnel on the right side of the engine. It isn't shown in the parts book or the catalogues, so I gather it's an aftermarket accessory. In any case, the funnel is pretty securely attached to the tube. My first guess would be something else bouncing around loose, as Larry suggested.
In any case I would not run the engine until the source of the trouble is located. Right now the engine can be fixed.
Rather than start the car and check for mag output, could you check for continuity with an ohmmeter between the magpost and ground?
I don't know what the range of resistance for the whole coil ring should be, but someone here should have that figure.
If your mag tests out to the same resistance, its got to be something other than a broken/sheared mag coil.
I would not start it again as you might cause even more damage. Since you know there is something loose in there causing the magneto to malfunction, which is never a good thing, I would bite the bullet and take off the hogshead. It may be something very minor or more likely something serious, since the magneto stopped working. Either way. you will have the peace of mind of knowing and will be able to fix it right and get 'er back on the road again. Let us know and take pictures of the culprit. Jim Patrick
My guess is that one or those brass keeper screws broke. They are famous for getting brittle with age and breaking. This lets the keeper that holds the ends of the magnets go flying. Sometimes it will damage the mag ring.
If you did not replace those screws, more will go flying.
I would not drive the car until the problem is found and if those brass keeper screws have not been replaced, I would replace all of them.
Everybody: I guess I did say not "driving" instead of not starting. The engine may get turned over by hand for me to see all the magnets, but she won't be started until I've fished out whatever is in there.
Going to gather up the ziplocks and sharpie so I can bag and tag nuts and bolts as they come off. Exploratory surgery is scheduled for this afternoon.
Hey bud. If it were me, Id take off your mag and put on slingers. I also, if i were in your shoes, run my ignition off 12v until you get your new mag looked into. just a thought. Hate this happened to ya.
I just did the replace and reseal the hogshead thing, so I understand your reluctance to do it again.
But look at it this way - you're an expert at it now!