I've installed a timer on my car after a number of years of running on a distributor.
So far I've rewired the entire car and I've had to remanufacture a timer control rod.
Today I put it all back together agian and started the car. It started pretty easily, maybe on the 2nd or 3rd turn of the starter motor. When I advanced the motor I noticed that it didn't pick up like my other T's and it still sounded quite flat. I noticed that it started to miss a little. I thought it may have been mixture related but unfortunately this didn't rectify the issue.
Could it be the control rod? Please note that this is for a RHD. When I made it, I copied it from the one on my fathers '26 truck(which has the standard car steering mount). I then found top dead centre on #1, put the timer on and noticed that the roller was in the centre of the terminal in the timer. I then advanced the lever on the steering column and then made the adjustments to the control rod.
I'm at a loss as which way to turn now. What else could it be? Or where have I gone drastically wrong?
If you have #1 at a hair past TDC, you should be able to move the spark rod down and the coil will stop buzzing, move it up to the top and it will start buzzing. If this is how yours is working, it's timed properly.
My experience is that distributors are more precise and the engine will respond accordingly. Coils running on battery are a big step down. However - with everything in perfect condition, a magneto/coil system can work very well too.
Hmmmm... I always thought of coils as a step up.....
Check to see if the bottom terminal on the timer is hitting the bottom of the timing gear cover and grounding out. Happens a lot.
Does your timer rod attach to the bottom of the timer for right hand drive?
Is your linkage sloppy? Does your timer rotate freely? You can use up a lot of advance by just taking up the slop in the linkage when they are well worn. Also, if your timer is hard to rotate, the wire link can "Spring" somewhat and not give you full travel.
I disagree with Tim about the accuracy of timing. The coils running on magneto are very accurately timed because the position of the magneto coils and the magnets determine the point of ignition if the coils are set to fire at 1.3 amps.
It is also a good point for conversation with someone who is familiar with a distributor to show how different the Model T ignition system is, and how it will run on either battery or magneto and how sometime you get free starts.
Here's a couple of observations from this morning. Unfortunately I can only get into the garage for an hour or so in the mornings due to the unbearable heat here in the lower part of Australia.
When I advance the timer, it gets around 3/4 of the way down the quadrant before it stops buzzing. Is this right? How far should it be before it stops?
John, yes the rod does attaches to the bottom of the timer in RHD cars. On original timers, the oiler would've been been on top with the control rod attaching to the bottom.
Richard, the timer clears on all the terminals.
Hal, the timer is pretty tight but it still seems to rotate okay. There is minimal travel in the control rod.
I'm thinking that I'll have to pull the radiator back off and have another look at the control rod.
You never told us whether or not you were running the coils on battery or magneto when you experienced this problem.
If battery, especially if 6 volt, spark will be delayed as engine speeds increase. Not so on magneto.
Also, you never mentioned anything about the condition of the coils - were they set up on an HCCT or Strobo-Spark?
To me, it sounds more like an ignition energy problem rather than a timing problem.
When unsure about the control rod, the quickest way to eliminate it as a source of problems is to disconnect it and rotate the timer casing by hand with the engine running. You get far more adjustment that way and can find the point at where it picks up speed and runs smoothest.
Hi Seth, it was running on batt, putting it over to mag made little difference. On the coil front, they are the good ones from my '15 and were all set up using an HCCT.
John, I think you're right. I'll give this a crack and see how it goes. Now I've just got to brave it and go into the garage.
This thing is driving me nuts.
I am assuming you are running a new timer and a new rotor, correct? Sometimes even the new ones don't work as they should. Try a different timer and rotor before going too much further.
Put the engine at top dead center and then rotate the engine slightly past top dead center. The pin on the front of the crankshaft will be approx. 9:20 looking from the front toward the crankshaft. Now turn on ignition to battery and rotate the timer in the direction that will retard the spark counter clockwise viewed from the front. Turn it to the point where the buzz just stops. Turn off the key. Without moving the crankshaft or timer bend the rod to fit between the timer and the spark lever. Now turn on the key again and move the spark lever up and down. It should stop buzzing at the most retarded postition of the lever and start buzzing as you advance the lever. If not, adjust till you get this condition.
This should be the correct setting.
Something is bothering me in all this. I re-read the original post and you said the the engine was "missing". If you have the engine out of time and it is retarded then it will be sluggish when you try to drive it. Advanced too far and it will develope pre-ignition (pinging) but a MISS is something entirely different and is NOT really technically related to TIMING so frankly I don't care where you put the timing - it isn't going to get rid of a MISS. Check your coil box connections very carefully - also your coil box wood might have a leakage path or your ignition switch could be loose and sloppy and finally your timer could have something goofy going on. If you have one of those brass plates behind the rotor - toss it away for awhile and see if that gets rid of the MISS. It "could" be mixture related but 99% of all fuel problems turn out ot be electrical in nature. Once you find and rid yourself of that miss - THEN double check your timing for accuracy.
Thanks Norm and John, I have put your suggestions into practice and she now runs beautifully.
John, I removed the timer sheild and that seems to have eliminated the miss that it had. I did although have to play around with the mixture to get rid of a bit of a flat spot, but it all seems good now. I suppose it will be interesting to see what happens when I take it for a run tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone with their help on this one. It was a great relief when it ran like it was designed to.