Timing problems

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2013: Timing problems
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Monday, October 07, 2013 - 08:46 pm:

I am trying to get all cylinders to fire @ 15 degrees ATDC. I put the #1 piston on TDC with a dial indicator and marked it on the pulley. I used a degree wheel to get 15 ATDC marked on the pulley and i installed a temporary pointer to be accurate and check the other three cylinders. now the problem starts, I unhooked the timer linkage and turned it until the coil buzzed , then I fit the timing rod and turned the engine over by hand and each time the # 1 plug would fire @ 15 ATDC. #2,3,4 are all different. I even pulled the flapper off and checked the timing cover and it is dead on by the alignment gauge. I also put the dial indicator on the front of the cam to check run out and it is perfect. it's a new Anderson style. I don't know how to check the flappers for alignment but I checked each one the best way I could think of and none are the same. they range as much as .031 any suggestions ? thanks. Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Monday, October 07, 2013 - 08:48 pm:

I find the same thing from every Anderson timer. It's one of the things that made me go back to roller timers, along with the tendency to occasionally pull the spark lever down to full advance unexpectedly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By JohnH on Monday, October 07, 2013 - 09:01 pm:

I went through that exercise not so long ago.
I used a timing gauge and magnetic base dial gauge.
One limitation of the Anderson timer in my situation is I run the coils on DC. So, the construction of the timer is critical - the Anderson is not perfect (not the ones I've used so far - others may be), so some tweaking of the contacts is required to get it all correct. But then, as it wears you come back to the same problem.
I'm considering the brush converted roller timer as a better option for DC operation.
timing


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Monday, October 07, 2013 - 09:25 pm:

I am not very happy with the timing numbers so I will be installing the old ford timer and do another check, Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Monday, October 07, 2013 - 09:44 pm:

It should run OK on magneto. The magneto causes the plug to fire according to the position of the magnets to the magneto coil. It doesn't fire when the flapper just touches the contact, but when the AC builds up enough to produce 1.3 amps. However if you run it on battery, the timing will be off on the various cylinders. That is one of the reasons a T runs better on magneto than battery. A different timer might get you closer to the same timing for all 4 when you run on battery.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 06:44 am:

Is the front cover centered on the camshaft ? If not, you will get the timing variations you describe........ Anderson or Ford roller timer.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 08:33 am:

Another thing I don't know whether you checked? Did you change the position of the coils in the coil box? If you do change the position, see if the late buzzing coils move with the position of the coil in the coil box. If they do, your problem is in the coils. They must all be adjusted to buzz at 1.3 amps. If one or more take more or less amps to buzz, it would be late or early to spark.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Val Soupios on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 08:49 am:

I had the same problem and switched to a New Day timer. Since that cleared up the problem I have to assume that it was the timer, not the coils, centering of the timer or anything else. I want to try the new brush/roller hybrids as I do not have enough good original New Day timers for all of my cars.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 12:23 pm:

Poorly adjusted coils can cause inter-cylinder timing issues, but it would take an oscilloscope to see it. I see no way to determine that with a degree wheel. Anything you find with a degree wheel is going to be timer related, either a bad timer or a non centered timer.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 06:46 pm:

I just had my coils rebuilt by Brent Mize so I think they should be working ok? my timing cover is dead on using the alignment gauge I bought from Langs so the only thing I can try at this point is a different timer. if i can't get the results I would like to see, I'll have Brent recheck the coils. if all coils are adjusted the same what difference would it make by moving them to a different cylinder? I can see that it is probably fairly difficult to get a Anderson timer on the money because of the design. #1 the insulator is made of cardboard,#2 the ramps all measure different. I'm not cutting on Anderson timers but a ford roller might be more accurate. thanks, Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 07:00 pm:

The reason I use a degree wheel and dial indicator is because I don't trust my eyes to get anything on the money. I'm sure it's electrical but not sure what yet. thanks to all that are giving me your suggestions. Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 07:20 pm:

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water yet .......

Use other timers, do your test.

Next, have the coils checked not only for consistent amperage draw, but equal ramp time before firing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 07:23 pm:

hay Norman! I just cranked the engine by hand and did notice that one of my coils buzz quite a bit longer than the others. sounds like the coils need checked. thanks. Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 07:27 pm:

Thanks Bob! you must type faster than me. i think i'll take my coils along to Hershey tomorrow and have them checked


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 08:09 pm:

A coil will buzz for as long as the timer is making contact. One buzzing longer than the others isn't an indication of a bad coil. I could believe one 'tang' inside an Anderson hanging lower than the others would stay in contact with the flapper longer than the others. My money is on a timer problem


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 08:30 pm:

Hi Hal! this is a new Anderson timer ,it only has about thirty minutes of run time on it and the rub marks all show different lengths on the tangs. along with the height difference, maybe the timer? before I switch the timer i'll have the coils checked and if they are ok i'll try a roller type. thanks, Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Robison on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 08:34 pm:

The New Anderson Timer is completely adjustable. The timers are spun on a distributor testing machine up to 2000 rpm and all contacts are aligned so that each contact fires 90* from the other. This Timer is the most widely used timer with the Montana 500 drivers; because of it's lack of maintenance and ability to be adjusted. Things that are not controllable within the mfg. of the New Anderson is the inconsistency of the I.D. of the front timing covers. Some timers fit snug some timers are loose, this slop can cause some timing error.
There are two types of timing cover alignment tools. One centers using the machined area where the seal seats. These are junk. The other type seats and centers in the outer machined area,(where the timer actually seats) this is the alignment tool that should be used.

My suggestion, if you're having problems with the timer, call the Hutch at tip top timers, he knows his stuff. www.tiptoptimers.com


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 08:52 pm:

BTW, please don't take my comment about the degree wheel the wrong way. I think what you are doing is exactly the right thing to do. You have identified that not all cylinders begin firing at the same time. That is REALLY important if you are running on battery. But as Norman said above, it is not as important on magneto, as the timing is controlled by the magneto rather than the timer. To put it another way, on battery, the timer MAKES the coil fire. On magneto, the timer ALLOWS the coil to fire.

My comment on the degree wheel was only to say that a degree wheel cannot tell you about ramp up time on your coils. The time it takes for the coil to charge up and fire after the timer has made contact. This is measured in very small fractions of a second. You can only see it on an oscilloscope. Having them all set to 1.3 amps with no missing or double sparks on a HCCT will get you pretty dang close.

By all means, have your coils adjusted properly. That is really important. But I don't believe it's gonna affect what you are seeing with your degree wheel. What you are seeing there is a timer problem.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 09:19 pm:

Hi Hal ! your comments are very much appreciated and it's guys like your self on this forum that are trying to help me, many thanks to all. when I find out what the problem is , i'll respond.thanks, Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Noel D. Chicoine, MD, Pierre, SD on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - 10:52 pm:

I found the same abnormality on my new Anderson. I was trying to run on battery with a Lizard head, that is very critical of timing. I didn't want to use the wide variation of timing on the Anderson and found, with a degree wheel on my front crank pulley, that each arm of the Anderson fired at a different spot. I slightly bent them to all fire at close to the same spot and haven't changed it since. BTW, I'm no longer running the Lizard and running on mag, which times based on the magneto position


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Barker, Somerset, England on Wednesday, October 09, 2013 - 04:39 am:

I'm a fan of Anderson timers (and Frank and Hutch therefore).
But not an unquestioning one. The issues mentioned above are correct. Because the flapper approaches the contacts at around 15 degrees, the timing error from any offset is about 4 times as bad as a roller or brush timer.
I did some careful tests with a timer casing mounted in my lathe (not running!), and the flapper on the calibrated slide. I found that if the case is offset from the 'cam' by 0.010", the timing changes by 5 degrees crank angle. So if your timer is off by this amount, opposite cylinders are +5 and -5 degrees adrift.
The offset needs to be kept below 0.004". This keeps the timing within +/- 2degrees.
Things get worse as the flapper wears. The flapper running deflection needs to be at least 0.03". A new one I checked was 0.05".
But that's not all. I have 4 Anderson casings. Their diameters are around 2.996". And my casing, which has had timers grinding back and forth for 87 years, is about 3.006". So my next job (the engine is out at the moment) is to glue a strip of steel shim around the cavity.
I run with a magneto, so some error is tolerable. And despite all the above, when I did the 'what speed at the top of the hill?' test with a good roller immediately followed by a good Anderson the results were 24mph and 26mph. That's why I am persisting with shim etc!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken bechtel on Wednesday, October 09, 2013 - 07:51 pm:

Problem solved ! I took my coils along to Hershey today and Brent Mize checked each one while I waited. they were so close 1.3 amps but he know my problem and decided to adjust them to 1.3 amps on the money so we could rule out a coil problem .while I was there I decided to try a TW components brush timer. I set it up this afternoon and my timing between all 4 cylinders is just at 3 degrees. I don't think I can get all four perfect to the degree but then again I wonder how many T's are. maybe my cover is off a little but I think these numbers are livable. sure beats the heck out of 8 or 10 degrees off. the main reason I was this picky is because when I crank start it by hand I want it to fire close on all cylinders. i'm sure the Anderson timer is very good because it does have a good track record. I think I just got a bad one and I am not willing to bend the tangs ,if I do it will probably be worse than what I started with. Ken


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Wednesday, October 09, 2013 - 08:04 pm:

You may send the Anderson back to the manufacturer for adjustments. I'm sure they will want to look at your timer case.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 07:25 am:

Ken:

Did Brent let you look over his shoulder as he was re-calibrating your coils ?
Not only is the equality of the 1.3 amp draw of all 4 coils important, IMHO equal ramp time is more important... that is the time it takes before the coil starts to spark on the tester.
Ramp time is adjusted with closer cushion spring tension in relation to vibrator tension. Makes for easier hand crank starting.

Bob Jablonski


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