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Old 09-15-2019, 09:50 PM   #1
Bubsyouruncle
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Default Ignition timing

1947 59A standard ignition
Looking down on the distributor sitting on my bench. The vacuum brake is at the top.
The right ignition point gauges at about .015. Which is in spec.
The left one, however, gauges at .009 or a little less.
What effect does the smaller gap have, if any, on the timing?
What effect does the smaller gap have, if any, on anything else?
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:08 AM   #2
JWL
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Smaller gaps delay or retard timing. Gaps too small can reduced point life and foul or shunt as a result of corrosion/erosion/dirt.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:37 AM   #3
G.M.
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Default Re: Ignition timing

The points are NOT set with a feeler gauge. They are
on a Ford~Heyer strobe machine on a dwell meter. G.M.
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Old 09-16-2019, 08:43 AM   #4
fordwife
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Default Re: Ignition timing

There are other ways to do this, such as a sun distributor machine or a k. r. Wilson timing fixture. My ford service manual calls for .014 to .016 setting and shows how to set the points using a straight edge.
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:47 AM   #5
marko39
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Default Re: Ignition timing

When set up on a sun machine,the right points are adj. to an initial dwell with the left ones blocked off with a piece of fiber such as a match pack. That is then removed and the total dwell is set buy adj. the left set.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ignition timing

The 9th gap will most likely add a premature failure facture into it due to the rubbing block ware ,the and closing up .015 ect is only a starting measurement ,could end up different at the end of adjustment .I noticed in the U tube Ford Factory video setting them ,looks like no feeler gauges are used ,some sort of Heyer or Vane machine ,
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:09 PM   #7
GB SISSON
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Anyone have a pic of the straightedge method? I remember seeing it in one of the books I have somewhere. Thanks
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:36 PM   #8
slowforty
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Some of the early edition Motor Manuals have it in them probably before 1949.
Those manuals dont bring a lot of money
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:38 PM   #9
JSeery
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Look on VanPelts site.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:23 PM   #10
FlatheadTed
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Here's some tips
http://www.btc-bci.com/~billben/flathead.htm
Distributor timing .32to 48 timing fixture don't need em ,
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:57 PM   #11
35fordtn
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Default Re: Ignition timing

If you are using quality points although not ideal you could set them by gap not dwell. If you are using cheap quality points it’s a crap shoot. Send it to someone with a sun machine and for little to no money they can adjust to the proper dwell and set the timing.
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Old 09-17-2019, 05:17 PM   #12
Lawrie
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Default Re: Ignition timing

There are static jigs around for setting the dwell, there are two on ebay now,exspensive though.
keep a lookout for them .
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:29 PM   #13
edhd58
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Default Re: Ignition timing

I am a poor guy, I set mine with a set of feeler gauges, like my Dad did before me all the way up till mid 70s when Dad 75 Lincoln.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Ya' know, I was in your camp until about 3 months ago, when I replaced the points on the Mallory dual point on the '51 Merc in my '51 Ford. For some reason, that particular setup didn't have the little slots they usually have where you can insert a small screwdriver to move the points a little bit at a time. I bought an old universal dwell/tach meter off of eBay for $20. Now I realize I should have done it 50 years ago.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:45 AM   #15
Hoop
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Default Re: Ignition timing

One of the problems in these discussions is terminology.

TIMING an early flathead distributor is a little different than TESTING a distributor.

TIMING involves setting the dwell and adjusting the initial advance.

TESTING means checking the distributor for wear, bad parts, faulty operation, etc.

TIMNG and TESTING can be done at the same time ... with aging distributors and questionable new parts, it's a good idea.

BUT, claiming that one cannot TIME a flathead distributor using feeler gauges to set the dwell ... ?

THINK about it. Ford designed, patented and produced the distributor with the intent of having points set with feeler gauges. Ford did not design it so that owners had to send their distributors to G.M. and Skip Haney to be timed.:roll eyes:

The misinformation, much from using the wrong descriptions, has given the distributors a bad reputation.

Am all for testing distributors. But, when someone asks how to time one, please give a knowledgable answer.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:54 AM   #16
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Hoop i would agree with that last part if all we used were genuine Ford parts. Ever set up a 32-36 with a feeler gauge using reproduction points and checked the dwell?

The 49 and later guys and 4/6 cylinder guys should have no issues using a feeler gauge to set dwell
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:19 AM   #17
Hoop
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Michael,

The "knowledgable answer" would include exactly what you've said.

Further, there is no guarantee that sending your distributor out for rebuilding will have it TIMED correctly. That includes units that have been "set up" on Sun or Allen strobers and the rebuilder does not understand initial advance. There are a bunch of guys running around losing 20% or more of their advance because of improper settings.

I know you are well aware of the issue and that distributors leave your shop correctly set.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:27 AM   #18
35fordtn
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Hoop,
Yes I agree. I tested many “rebuilt” distributors that the initial timing was not set they just seemed to guess at it.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:34 AM   #19
philipswanson
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Quote:
Originally Posted by marko39 View Post
When set up on a sun machine,the right points are adj. to an initial dwell with the left ones blocked off with a piece of fiber such as a match pack. That is then removed and the total dwell is set buy adj. the left set.
That's how I do it. Also what Bubba recommends.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:14 PM   #20
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Default Re: Ignition timing

Also the way Ford recommends.
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