I have a friend that has a early 1911 torpedo.
It has a five ball carb and a two piece timer.
The two piece timer is a Repro. Is there any
thing special we should do? It keeps dropping
two cylnders and is hard to start.
I can't speak for others but after running a two piece timer for almost 10 years I finally gave up dealing with all the erratic performance. I swapped out a later timing cover and started using a one piece timer. There is a reason why Ford stopped using the two piece timer. If you rarely use your car you can play with one and keep the car running but if you want to drive the car and enjoy it you will be better off in the long run going to the one piece timer. I now run the new carbon brush timers and they are great! Of course that is just my experience and I do know others who are still running two piece timers without too much trouble.
Some of the issues I have seen with respect to two-piece timer trouble is the contact ring gets lumpy and the shoulder that fits into the cover becomes worn, the cover is worn, or both. This is what I believe causes the lumpy contact ring. Once the timer starts to oscillate, the roller is hopping, and as soon as the surface starts to deteriorate, it gets worse and worse in the same way washboard develops in the road.
The shoulder being a good fit in the cover, and the cover being properly centered with the cam, is essential. With that, I don't think there's any reason it can't provide reliable service.
The two piece timer has been discussed here in detail a number of times. Do a search of old postings and you will learn more. I have said it before and still maintain that the 2 piece timer and timing cover was a poor design and that is why it was re designed and changed very early in production. The whole thing is made of a great conducting material and is susceptible to becoming full of hot engine oil and shorting out. Remove your timer, take it apart and give it a thorough clean. Check the fit of the timer on the camshaft for wear as this is where the oil gets in. Does your friend intend to tour the car or show it? If he has touring in mind, retrofitting a later timer cover and timer is a good fix.
The two piece timer can be repaired and made to work. Email me and I can send you some pictures of what a friend did to his and my timers to make them reliable.
The two piece timer (reproduction or not) works fine if the seal is intact and the timer is lubed with grease. If you are losing cylinders I bet the problem is with the early style coils.
I run roller timers on all my Ts. The two piece timers I've used on my 10, both original and repro, give the best performance of all of them. After a thousand or two miles, the races should be turned, tiny cuts just enough to clean up the surfaces. If the roller is angled or loose on the spindle, it needs to be replaced. As replacements, I have used either ball bearings or made a roller out of a triple gear pin. If I make it out of a triple gear pin I can increase the diameter to match how much stock I took off the race. As with all roller timers they need to be oiled frequently.
IMHO the design of the two piece timer is superior to the later type because the case is centered on the camshaft (timing gear retaining nut) insuring the race surface is concentric with the path of the roller.
I would like to thank all the guys that responded.We got a lot of good ideas.We will check
everything out and see if we can get to the root of the problem.
Royce, where is the seal in a 2 piece timer? Both my original and reproduction versions have no seal. Can you show me a picture of a seal of any kind that stops a big brass conductor filling up with hot engine oil and causing misfiring?
I have loaded up some pictures from when I did some work on my Dads 1910 Touring.
I hope these pictures will go some way to explaining why the design is floored and the way we made it better.
First compare the two style cover plates. The early style does not have a nice ring for the timer to sit in and has no provision for any kind of felt or modern seal. See how the timer sits on the camshaft and is reliant on a neat fir between the brass of the timer on the outer surface and the brass of the timer against the camshaft on the inner. Even with plenty of engine oil the section of the timer constantly in contact with the camshaft wears and allows more oil into the timer causing arcing/short circuit which can damage the internal insulating ring. The picture shows the insulating ring but it does not show clearly the blackened areas around the segment contact areas.
To avoid these issues a good friend of mine removed the 2nd piece/(2 piece timer)the insulating ring and it was replaced with a pouring of a high temp high insulating epoxy resin. Now even when the timer fills with oil it does not compromise the electrical circuit.
For those who have not had any experience with a 2 piece timer it is also a pig to maintain out on the road. I do not have a picture of the roller assembly but the whole timer relies on being held in place by the roller, pin and nut. To get at this assembly you must first remove the timer cover plate,then the nut,cap and pin to be able to remove the timer. This is all in an area with not a lot of room to get hands in and nearly impossible to view while getting the roller out.
I am firmly convinced this poor design was quickly changed and then remained the same for the rest of production. I rest my case.
The two piece timer was used from 1909 through 1911. It works fine if packed with red Mobil grease. The timer that replaced it, the oil spout timer, was only used for a month in December 1911 (during the 1912 model year). It didn't work so well.
For some reason I didn't have the felt seal in the picture. It goes behind the timer.