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Old 11-17-2019, 10:35 PM   #1
DannL
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Default Spark Control . . . on hills, under load, etc.

Do you adjust your spark as described in the Model A guide when climbing hills? Just curious, as I may have experienced this scenario on a number of occasions and didn't realize that "retarding" the spark would help. Will have to try this.
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Last edited by DannL; 11-19-2019 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:59 PM   #2
redmodelt
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Default Re: Spark Control . . .

Model T or A yes.

Think of a car with vacuum advance when there is less vacuum there is less advance, the timing is retarded. You are the replacement for the vacuum so use the timing lever as such.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Spark Control . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannL View Post
Do you adjust your spark as described in the Model A guide when climbing hills? Just curious, as I may have experienced this scenario on a number of occasions and didn't realize that "retarding" the spark would help. Will have to try this.
The article is 100% the correct way to do it.

After retarding the advance don't forget to move the lever back to its happy spot, down because a retarded engine will run hotter.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:36 AM   #4
Joe K
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Default Re: Spark Control . . .

Vince Falter's take on use of the advance lever (which mirrors my own experience.)
http://www.fordgarage.com/pages/bdistributoradvance.htm

Quote:
The Model A ignition uses a zero crankshaft degree (TDC) initial timing point so that the engine can be easily started by hand crank, however it should never be run under load in this "retarded" position. The advance lever should always be advanced 1/3 to 1/2 travel (13 to 20 crankshaft degrees BTDC) on the steering column quadrant after starting the engine, and should generally not be run more than 3/4 advanced on the column under any normal circumstances.
(bolding mine)

The Model A generally has more "advance capability" than is required - and was actually "engineered out" of capability for the centrifugal advance Model B.

Your engine and timing may vary.

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Old 11-19-2019, 08:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Spark Control . . .

Spark knock or ping is the key. Keep the engine as advanced as possible, without the ping. Nothing complicated about it. I saw one guy had make a placard on the spark lever with the degrees all printed on it, and had calculated exacly when and where it should be under all sorts of conditions. He'd never heard of listening for ping. I continually listen to the sounds in all my vehicles. Tells you a lot.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Spark Control . . .

Taking mine in the morning to get the freeze crack in the block repaired. So,, soon I'll be trying it out again. I've heard the ping you guys are speaking of but not on an A engine. I haven't heard it at all with mine but have not driven it enough yet. Is it more pronounced when the engine is at operating temperature or can it be heard on a cold start as well?

I try to explain to my son and daughter and wife that the timing is similar to riding a bicycle. When going up hill there is constant pressure against your feet as you pedal but as soon as you roll over the top of the hill that pressure changes and any of us who have tried to go as fast as we could knows what happens next. If you're not careful you'll wipe out just trying to keep the pedals under pressure.

I'll admit I don't have a total understanding yet but I'm sure with enough experience I'll get it.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:47 AM   #7
Russ/40
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Default Re: Spark Control . . . on hills, under load, etc.

I don't know if it's just me, but I've never heard any ping in my A. Seems it wants to run 1/2 way down the quadrant all the time. I'm running a 6:1 head, so it does the hills pretty effortlessly.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:15 AM   #8
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Spark Control . . . on hills, under load, etc.

I scold only get pinging when the engine had a worn camshaft and sunk wide valve seats--- now even with gas that made lawnmower knock no setting gets spark knocking

The owners instruction book says to use full advance for high speeds---- what speed would be considered "high speed " in 1931,
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: Spark Control . . . on hills, under load, etc.

Quote:
Spark knock or ping is the key. Keep the engine as advanced as possible, without the ping.
My problem is that I can't hear higher frequencies any more, so I can't hear the ping, years ago I could.
I'm considering installing a knock sensor: http://www.viatrack.ca
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:42 PM   #10
J Franklin
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Default Re: Spark Control . . . on hills, under load, etc.

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Originally Posted by katy View Post
My problem is that I can't hear higher frequencies any more, so I can't hear the ping, years ago I could.
I'm considering installing a knock sensor: http://www.viatrack.ca
Stand alone price $55. sounds like it could be useful.
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