Being fairly new to T's, I have a question. When I start my 26 roadster, I need to move the spark lever all the way down to the lowest position. This is the only way to get the car to start, and moving it up makes it run worse. It is so far down that it can't be moved any lower. I am contemplating replacing the timer, and wires, but before I do, is there a certain way that the timer needs to be installed. My thought was that the wires are hooked up wrong. When I compare the appearance of it's installation with pictures, it looks like it's on the right way. Any help is appreciated.
Compare your wiring to the wiring chart. Your spark lever linkage sounds like it is way off adjustment. Do you have a T-1 Model T Service Manual? Jim Patrick
PS. I may have been a little vague. The spark lever linkage is the steel rod that goes from the spark lever control rod to the timer. The way to adjust the position of the timer is to bend the rod until the timer is in the correct alignment in relation to the position of the pistons, just like adjusting the distributor on a 70's pre computer car by twisting it back and forth until it is adjusted perfectly in relation to TDC of the no. 1 cylinder. Jim Patrick
Picture is worth a bunch to us. Pull the lever all the way up (full retarded timing and the "normal" starting point for the lever) and take a picture of the timer from the front if you can or get us the best frontal area shot you can. We can tell by the position of things as to what is going on. If you start the car with the lever all the way down then you would have no additional advance of timing movement left and you need that. A side shot from the drivers side would show us the bend and routing of your timer control rod which is what is suspect in my mind.
Jim and I both were typing at the same time. I think we both suspect the same issue.
Loosen the front spark plug......a lot so you can hear it hiss when it's coming up on compression.
Hand crank the engine until you hear the hissing and continue cranking until the crank handle is at 12 O'clock.
Disconnect the spark rod from the timer, disconnect the other 3 spark plug wires (JUST IN CASE) and, with the spark lever ALL the way up, remove the plug (JUST IN CASE), turn on the switch, turn the timer clockwise JUST until the coil buzzes and stop.
Bend the timer rod so it will enter the timer lever hole.
Even if your starting crank pins were slightly bent you'll be WAY better than you are now.
Try it.......you can fine tune it later.......
Thanks guys for the info. I will try to get a picture tomorrow. And Craig, I will do what you said, and let you guys know what happened. Thanks so much.
And I almost forgot, I don't have any repair manuals for a Model T, what would be the best one?
You can find the service manual online at:
And for most any subject you need, you can get some good information and ideas on this forum. I get the best results using a Google search. For example for information on ignition timing you can do a search for:
"ignition timing site:http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/" (copy and paste the whole thing between the quotes)
And if you read the first few hits, you will be up to speed.
After clicking onto Jim Thode's's link to the online service manual, go to pages 289-296 for the index in the back to find the page you need addressing the procedure you are seeking. Jim Patrick
While it is easier to turn over the motor with the plugs out I must warn you that it is dangerous to the coils to have them "Buzz" with no gap for the spark to jump so if you pull the plugs out - leave the wires connected and lay the plugs on the head so they are grounded or connect the spark plug wire itself to ground since it doesn't hurt the coil to have the spark go directly to ground but if a coil is powered up and there is nothing connected to its spark plug connection (bottom row of 4 coil box connections are plug wires) then the spark voltage will arc inside the coil itself and that can ruin a good coil by laying down a carbon trail for the high voltage to travel. That can make the coil want to arc there when a cylinder is under load or in a worst case can even permanently damage the coil if the arcing is between windings and a short develops. Just never power up a coil without a suitable spark gap of 1/4" or less on that particular coil and all will be fine.
Ivan, Assuming you have not advanced you camshaft 7.5 degrees as some guys do. The timer control arm should be at 11 o'clock with the timer rod fully retarded (UP). The timer control arm should be at 1 o'clock when the timer control rod is fully advanced (DOWN)
Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it. I didn't get chance to work on it today because I am painting my 68 Mustang this weekend, and the final prep work took most of the day. The "T" is actually at my place of employment so I will stay after work Monday to check into it. Again, thanks so much for all the advice, I'm really glad to be part of this forum. Hopefully, I can be of some help to you guys eventually.
Got one of these ?????
Also, Is the timer lever on spark control rod loose ??
Ok, I stopped by to check my car, and this is what I found. The hole where the rod hooks into the timer is at the 11 oclock position with the spark lever all the way up, (retarded). It's at approximately 1 oclock all the way advanced. So am I correct to think that maybe the wires are wrong on the timer? It's almost like a distibutor on a newer car in out of time, and somebody jumps the plug wires one position to make it run.
Only one way to find out. Retrace the wires to make sure they are on the correct terminals.
That's what I plan on doing after work tomorrow. How are the wires arranged on the timer, what is the firing order, and the rotation of the timer?
look at the diagram from Jim Patrick up at the top of this post...it shows you the wires and their corresponding colors from the timer up to the coils.
Also, call John Regan at funprojects, he was a real big help to me in getting my '15 timed, now i use that advice on all of 'em of course!
And now I'm trying to be a "good customer"!
Thanks, that's what I just did. I'll work on it tomorrow, I have a diagram written down, and when I get home, I'll let you guys know what I found.
Standing in front of the engine looking at the timer, the timer rotates counter-clockwise, The large timing gear joins up to the small crankshaft gear which turns clockwise as you turn the crank by hand. Jim Patrick