I decided to remove the Wico magneto from Popeye, to replace it with a distributor. The magneto works just fine, but it has automatic spark advance and I wanted manual control of the spark advance. I will put the magneto up on the classifieds later if anyone is interested.
So I got the timing gear cover off the car, and am faced with what you see in the picture. It is the driveshaft for the magneto. It's way too long to accomodate the distributor. It is on so tight that I will have to heat it to break it loose.
So my question is this: can anyone post a picture of a "normal" commutator shaft? I'm thinking I have parts to order before I can mount the distributor...I have been looking at the catalogs and just cannot visualize the parts I need once this magneto driveshaft comes off.
Cliff, I can't post a picture. All I can say is the camshaft has apparently been radically modified .Someone into the high end speed stuff will know the answer.
The timer would attach to the camshaft. It is driven by a pin that is retained in place by a cup washer and nut. Your Wico gear I believe is threaded on in place of the nut. It's a right hand thread.
Try to find a deep socket or a box wrench which fits well on the nut. Put the wrench in place and tap the end of the handle with a heavy hammer. That will act as an impact wrench and hopefully will loosen it. I believe that part is threaded to the camshaft in the same way the original nut was.
Thanks guys! What I need to see is what would appear on a normal engine if I were to remove the commutator and timing plate.
I will borrow a 1.5" wrench tomorrow and try to break the magneto driveshaft loose. I have been applying penetrating oil every hour and tapping on the shaft.
Cliff I suggest a deep well socket if the nut does not come off easily with a wrench. You do not want to damage the nut part of the mag drive. If you damage the mag drive, you have pretty much cut the value of your mag in half. That part will be very hard to replace. You can take a six point socket and cut it in half and then weld each piece to a short piece of pipe to make it long enough to fit over the mag drive if a standard deep well is not deep enough. You may get lucky with a box end wrench (6 point) but I suggest to use a six point and not a 12 point socket. The mag drive nut should be a right hand thread and screw off like a standard nut. . You will then need to buy part number 3050B "camshaft gear lock nut" (Langs catalog number) to replace the mag drive with. The nut holds the cam gear on. If you are going to run a distributor instead of a commutator/timer you do not need to order anything else. The distributor you will use has a small gear that will fit the end of the camshaft in place of the commutator/timer parts. That small gear will drive the distributor. All brands of distributors use their own style of drive gears, so make sure you have everything with the distributor you use if it is an old original distributor. The new distributors kits sold by Langs and others will come with all the parts needed.
This thread shows the removal of stock parts.
The gear has a keyway so you could use a gear puller to remove the gear and then take the nut off it appears to be an extension so there should be the normal camshaft thread, you may need a cam nut which will be shorter. Just my observation.
No, the gear doesn't have a keyway. That's one of the two holes that fit two posts on the cam. The nut has to come off.
Granted that there is only one photo, it looks to be one piece from the nut to the end of gear. Once you get it off, there is the possibility that the stub on the cam shaft where the normal parts for the timers and most distributors cam drive gear mount may have been modified to fit that drive. Without damaging the part to remove, as stated above, post a photo of the shaft end.
The easier thing would have been to get a different magneto. Without seeing the setup, is it a cross drive? If it's a cross drive you could have used a Bosch magneto. Several of the early ones like DU-4 have a manual advance/retard that is activated by hand thru a bell crank assembly. Maybe post a photo of what you took off.
Look at the end of the small gear on the end of the shaft it has a keyway.
It looks like this with the gear removed:
Here's how it looks with the gear screwed in place:
It does look like there is a keyway in the gear on Popeye's camshaft. I would try a small gear puller. Maybe it is not a nut like the Texas T parts distributor gear.
Rick has a point, there is a key way in the gear. This is what I think, the magneto drive gear was pressed on to the nut/shaft assembly and the key holds it in place against rotation if in fact it has a key installed. The key way may only be in the magneto drive gear not the shaft. The gear itself might be an off the shelf piece that is made that way for other applications. The whole unit comes off by the large cam lock nut. If it is a pressed fit, do not try pulling the magneto drive gear off the stub shaft.
Is this the Wico drive;
If so, I think there is another way to skin that cat! You could add a lever to rotate the magneto or turn down and fit a distributor to fit the hole in the front plate. The guy I do work for makes a lever that might work, it's used on some of the aftermarket distributors when use on Ford Model A's.
Thanks for all the kind advice this far!
The drive stub is 3" long and is all one piece. The drive gear is on a keyway at the end of the stub:
The magneto is a Wico Series X, Spec XVS-2331. It has an impulse coupling for easy starting. Note the long 'tail' the driveshaft runs in - far deeper than the more modern distributors:
The magneto bolts to the timing cover, with no other attachment to the engine. I ordered a new timing cover (Thanks, Gene!) so this cover will go with the magneto.
I ordered a 1-1/2" box end wrench today (another 'toy' for me). Will apply heat to the shaft (I prefer to use an electric paint remover gun rather than an open flame) and see if a few taps will loosen it up. I continue to douse it with penetrating oil.
The replacement distributor is a Texas T unit.
Does not look like the Wico could be adapted to adding a lever without a lot of rework. A different distributor, might be adapted to do the job, maybe not a modern one. It would take some searching. I just put a Bosch 600 series fully automatic advance on my T to play with for a while. (I didn't fully remove the coil setup, about 15 min or less to change back if needed) Try running a piece of wire down the key slot and see how deep it will go. If it goes the length of the gear that tells you there no key and the gear is pressed on the stub shaft.
RE heat; you can try the heat gun. If the person that put it together used a lock-tite product, may need more heat than the gun can put out.
It seems I cannot catch a break...
As you can see, the magneto driveshaft came off after a little persuasion with Liquid Wrench, and a new 1.5" wrench:
However, the person who installed the magneto chopped off the end of the camshaft....
So now I have to decide if I want a new camshaft.
Question for the experts: How difficult is it to replace the camshaft with the engine in the car?
OK, I read the Ford Service Manual to see how difficult it is to change the camshaft. Appears to be a straightforward job, within my capabilities.
Does anyone have a good used camshaft for sale for a 1922 engine? Not looking for a high performance unit but will consider one if price is right. Would prefer one with bearings already measured and installed as I'm not the best at working with tight clearances.
Please PM me with what you have.
Sorry, I wondered if maybe that might be the case. Bummer.
Lots of work just to get manual advance..
Like Mark wrote, I would have checked the existing magneto design very carefully if it isn't possible to lock the automatic advance and introduce some kind of turning to get manual advance?
How about machining up a new nut end to thread onto the cam you have?
Changing the camshaft in place is not a easy job for a "amateur ". Lots of things to consider;
1. If it has adjustable lifters then MAYBE you can take all the adjustments out and raise the lifters far enough and clothespin them up. Otherwise you will need to pull the head and remove all the valves!!
2. Sliding the cam out is easy. Sliding the new one in is tricky as you need to be able to get the two "lock bolts" into the holes in the front AND centre cam bearings. And heaven help you if you knock a lifter loose and it falls down by the flywheel!!
Just some things to consider!!!
to add to Les's post, I would not like to do the cam swap job if you have to use new bearings. They often need some fettling to get a good fit, and that cannot be done in the car.
Allan from down under.
I have changed a camshaft in situ.
It's easiest with original lifters as they have a hole in the side so you can use a small nail to hold them up while the camshaft is withdrawn and replaced. I haven't seen adjustables with that hole.
You will probably need to remove the valve springs (definitely if the lifters have no holes) - not too difficult. I would leave the head on, but others might say it's better to remove it.
The 'threat' is the fit of your front and centre bearings in the block. My block was worn, and I had to wrap thin shim around each bearing and insert them when refitting the shaft (this wear was my reason for removing the shaft). You will need the oil pan cover off.
If your bearings are only just loose in the block - no shim needed - they can be 'nipped' by filing under the head of each set-screw to allow it to go further in. A small lead washer on the end of each screw is another solution I have read about.
Wooden clothes pins work well to hold the lifters up while you pull the cam.
Why not just put it back together and use the magneto? It seems to me that its a better solution than a distributor. That's an awful lot of pain to get a manual spark advance.
I agree with Ted!!
I am with Ted on this one. Run it with the magneto till it's time to tear down the engine for overhaul then change out the cam etc.
If you decide to go ahead, I would pull the head (good time to grind the valves if needed), drain the oil and stuff rages in the back area just in case you have a lifter drop out. I have done the in car change before. Chaiffin's offers a reground crank with the bearings fitted if you want to go that route. The car will be down for a while and the bearings you have may be ok to use and you would just need to change out the cam.
Gents, thanks for all the advice! I read the pros/cons of making the change - and I'm stubborn enough (my wife calls it something else) to want to go forward with the distributor.
I don't believe changing the camshaft is outside my capabilities, albeit probably a slow, step-by-step process. I got through the Ruckstell rebuild fairly easily, so now I get to learn something new.
I will keep the magneto on hand until the changeover is complete (just in case...you never know...) then post it for sale in the classified ads. The modified camshaft will be part of the deal, as will the timing cover that has mounting holes drilled in it.
Wish me luck......
Go for it, have fun!
I don't know why people always try talk folks out of things. The man says he wants manual spark advance. Offer solutions for that instead of "Don't change what you have".
Cliff - I echo what you said, if you can rebuild a Ruckstell rear end, then you can change out the camshaft and it's not going to be a big deal.
Get your valve springs out and then clothes pin your lifters up. Remove the two retaining bolts holding the camshaft bearings in place and then pull the assembly out. You'll want probably new camshaft bearings to go with a new camshaft, which will require some fitting. Other than that, installation is reverse of removal. Just make sure you get your cam bearings lined up for retainer bolts and timing marks on the crank gear and cam gear lined up.
It's a wee bit more work, but the whole process is a lot easier and you can really see everything going on if you pull the engine inspection pan, but that's up to you. It's definitely doable without that step.
Post pics and keep us updated.
(Message edited by wreckrod9 on October 04, 2016)
I think if you are going to go through all this trouble you should get a new camshaft, or a good reground one. Used camshafts are not worth messing with.
Also you need to know the Texas T part distributor is OK, being a copy of a Volksbuggen 1967 - 72 Bosch model 009. This is a good thing, it means you can get points and condenser from any decent auto part store. Keep the drive gears packed in grease.
The bad part about the Texas T part distributor kit, the coils fail early and often. (if this has recently changed someone please let us know)
The solution is to listen to what the VW guys say, who have the same problem with cheap offshore coils. You get an original Bosch coil that is either made in USA or Germany. Problem solved. Good coils can be found on eBay at reasonable prices.
Please consider my suggestion of just making a new "nut"
end for your existing cam shaft. It would be the easiest solution to achieve what you are after. Considering you want to run a distributor then you don't have to worry about "indexing" a timer pin hole. Heck it might be possible to pull off the gear from the shaft you have and just the install the distributor drive gear in its place. Certainly worth in investigating!!!
Again, thanks! Parts are on order, looking forward to the job. Royce, will order a "good" coil and keep it in the toolbox with spare points & condenser. I lived in Europe for 22 years and always had an air-cooled VW as a beater - became very handy at fixing them, could drop the engine in less than 10 minutes.
I hesitated to post all these pictures, and those from the Ruckstell rebuild - but then I thought that someone else, new to hobby, would realize that these cars are definitely quirky but ultimately very easy to fix. Parts are easily available and not many special tools required. What else could one ask for....? I'm having a ball!
Les, it would be a real problem to make a new nut - I don't have the machine tools for that, nor the fabrication expertise. I agree it would be the handiest solution, for sure.
I could ask my machinist to tackle the job but it would be complicated to shuffle back and forth to his shop as he is not in my immediate vicinity.
The shaft that came off needs to go with the magneto.
Much appreciate your concern. If I get stuck there are members of the local T club I can call on. Really, though, I am amped and ready to go....I have dreamed of owning a T since I was 16 years old and now I get to live that dream!
Who knows, when I fully retire I might start a T-related business in my garage....?