I have read several posts and answers to the best method to set the initial timing. It appears that there are several ways to go about this. Beings that I do not have any of the gauges or tools to precisely set the timing, here is how I went about doing mine and I need to know if I am OK. I disconnected the advance rod from the commentator, turned the crank so the pin was at the 3:30--9:30 position. I then rotated the commentator by hand so as the coils just started to buzz. I scribed a mark on the commentator and the block, then after hooking the advance rod back up I bent the rod until at full retard on the lever my marks lined back up. Is this going to be OK? Thanks
I am no expert but I want to follow this thread to learn.
The last post I read mentioned putting piston number one just past top dead center of the compression before edging the lower pulley pin to the 3:30 positio, so that sounds like a potential 180° Variable.
Mike has the best method for "thick skinned me"...
If you pull the #1 spark plug and shine a flashlight in the hole then you can see the valves. You set timing when both valves are closed.
I use a plastic straw so that I can feel when the #1 piston just starts to move downward with both valves closed. Then I adjust the timer rod length so that the spark occurs at exactly that place when slowly hand cranking the engine.
See the other post on timing.
My father and I timed the ignition on both our Model Ts based on piston travel the way Royce described above.
If you don't have a straw handy, heavy plastic line from a string trimmer or anything similar also works.
Frank Fenton had more detailed instructions for timing based on piston travel on his Frank's Timer Service/Anderson Timer website but unfortunately I believe they are no longer available since he sold the business.
(Message edited by Erik_johnson on July 29, 2016)
What you did is OK, but I believe going slightly past TDC is better. There are several descriptions of the procedure. Here's another. The only tool needed is pliers for the cotter pin.
You may or may not be OK. It depends on which way you were rotating the timer when the coils just began to buzz.
Regardless of the procedure you use the factory setting for "initial timing" of the Model T was 15.5 degrees ATDC.
Another way to get just after top dead center - #1 spark plug out. With finger tip blocking plug hole. Hand crank until compression. Aim flashlight beam into spark plug hole so you can see the piston. Hand crank until piston comes all the way up and just starts to go down. ATDC achieved!
Should have said this is what I use for timing a disturbutor. If you have a timer, best to use
Steve's excellent guide above, which I read after posting my 2 cents.
If you use the pulley pin/3:30 - 9:30 position would central time or mountain time make a difference????
Well Joe, it all depends on the month of the year. With daylight Saving Time and allowing for the gravitational affect the moon has on the effectiveness of the magneto and the level of the fuel in the tank, if we're at high tide, then it's essential that you always use Mountain time.
I use the 9:30-3:30 method and Joe & Michael I love your humor.
I look in the hole, when I see the piston just go over past top dead canter, that's where I set the timing. Unless of course I am doing it on a moonless light then I use a flashlight to see in the hole.
I do the same as Mark, past TDC, just as the #1 piston start back down. It's easy to see the top of the piston through the spark plug hole.
I should have elaborated upon my 15 degrees ATDC comment above; When the crank pin is at 9:00 and 3:00, one of the pistons is exactly at TDC. When the crank pin is at 9:30 and 3:30 one piston is at 15 degrees ATDC. I.e each 15 minutes travel of the hour hand is 7.5 crankshaft degrees.
The crank pin method is very easy to use on earlier Model T's, a little more difficult on later cars with the valence covering the bottom of the radiator and crank lever..
To avoid confusion on the clock face analogy, we should explain that it refers to the hour hand, not he minute hand. 3:30 means halfway between 3 and 4, not straight down.
Well, that's it then, I'm going to have to go back to Central Standard because Steve wanted to avoid confusion. Thanks Steve, thanks a lot!