I have run a stock model t timer for years with no problems. I'm just curious what problems people have had with the old roller timer that would cause them to switch to another style. ---thanks
Basically they just get sloppy from wear and don't fire good. I've heard some of the repops actually aren't much better. That's why I run TW carbon brush timers on all mine. Well, the '20 has TruFire, it came with the car.
I ran original Ford roller timers for years but eventually they got so worn that I had to replace them with repo stuff. I had constant issues with shorts, bouncing rollers and worst of all failure of the pin holding the roller. I started searching for old New Day timers that were usable but when the TW times came out I switched to them and am very satisfied. I used the Anderson timers and they worked well but they occasionally seemed to somehow advance themselves after shutting the car off with the spark lever fully retarded which was not my idea of a good time!
What happens is that the softer material between the contacts inside wear and usually leave a bumpy surface that the roller then bounces on as it rolls around the "Track".
I'm just curious if people who replace the original Ford due to these problems start out with a worn or near junk timer to begin with and then replace it with an alternative or take other peoples word that the Ford timer will quickly will fail and seek an alternative. I know the Ford timer will eventually wear out but after thousands of miles with not a hint of timer trouble I'm not sure they are really any worse than some of the alternative timers mentioned.
My experiences are over a half-century old, and much colored by the callow lack of knowledge of a 14 year old, which I was at the time.
My "Lazarus" was pretty well worn out, and somewhere along the line, i failed to note the chapter in the manual on centering the timing cover over the camshaft. I don't know if the "original" timers that were available to me at the time were any good, the rebuilds sure looked like the "real thing", but I could not keep one running, they would wear erratically and skip inside of very few miles. I'm quite sure now this was due to not centering the timing gear cover. At the time, my remedy was to revert to the New Day timer that had been on the car when I picked it up. I have an idea because of the 90degree difference in the attitude of the brush, and the pie-shaped contacts in the case, the New Day probably forgives an off-center timing gear cover. Any road, I ran many, many miles on that ancient New Day with no problems. I could probably have got good mileage out of the "original" type timer if I had known enough to center the timing gear cover !
Anytime I've had to deal with a rough-running engine, or worse, the culprit always turned out to be my Ford roller-timer. _That doesn't mean it was bad design; I think it's more a matter of age. _New units haven't been available from Ford in quite a while and if new old stock does exist, I sure haven't been able to locate any.
The Ford timer that came with my car had probably been chucked in a lathe and rebuilt at least a few times. _I wish I'd known to suspect the dad-blamed thing whenever the engine acted up, but instead I'd be cleaning and polishing brass contacts and sending coils out for tuning, and on one of those occasions when my engine steadfastly refused to behave, a very nice member of our forum showed up at my house with a compression tester. _Eventually, after all other suspects had been alibied, the predicate causation was once again exposed for the porcine ne'er-do-well I should have known it was all along.
The gol-durned thing finally did irrevocably give up the ghost, but instead of going with a different type of timer, I put out feelers for a good, rebuilt Ford timer (as if there existed such a thing). _Well, turned out a freshly rebuilt Ford timer happened to be available and I made the purchase. _The thing runs smoothly enough, but I never again experienced the assertory surge of acceleration with which the old unit would occasionally surprise me on the anomalous occasion when it was working right.
Now, I don't happen to be a nit-picking purist, but it does seem to me that the original Ford ignition system is of sufficiently unique character that it is part of the warp & woof of what makes a Model T Ford a Model T Ford. _So, no Volkswagen distributor, no True-Fire ignition system and no E-timer (unless my magneto someday goes belly-up—I am, after all, not a fanatic).
There's a bunch of stuff on my to-do list, and getting a TW Timer is one of those things. _With the rebuilt (and rebuilt and rebuilt) replacement roller-timer presently working smoothly, I don't want to become guilty of fixing what ain't broke and thereby run into unanticipated difficulties which might then unnecessary abridge my driving season.
Heck, the whole car is outmoded and obsolete, so why wouldn't be the blankety-blank timer as well?
Well, I was wondering why my 1916 touring car was running so rough while on the Texas T Party. It felt like an ignition problem, and sure enough it was. Pulled the timer and roller. Here is what the roller looked like.
Thankfully Ross Lilleker had brought me a new one and we were on the road again within and hour or so.
Thanks Bill-that would certainly fall under the defective or worn out category. Was it new or NOS when you started using it ? Did you lubricate it regularly ?
That was an NOS timer when I installed it in 2009. Yes, I did lubricate it. I did not pack it with grease, as some do. Instead I used some 30 weight oil occasionally. Maybe I didn't do it enough. The roller was running around inside the timer sideways. Wore down and cracked the timer pretty good, too.
I run original Ford timers in all of my Ts. I asked an "old timer" (no pun intended) one time what his secret was for his perfectly running T. He said to clean and oil the timer about every 100 miles. I've done that for about 20 years and things are still working just fine. I clean it with a rag and use 3 in 1 oil on the roller moving parts. The timer lasts for years without any major maintenance.
I have been in the hobby for a very long time. I have used roller timers. original Andersons, Original New Days and others. I found in the box an original Tiger that I had picked up and never used. I replaced the New Day with it and I have to say it performs better than any . Tiger is of course a copy of Ford timer that factory thought was the best. My experience is that they were correct