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Old 05-27-2015, 08:06 PM   #1
Willynch
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Default Spark lever question

To start, I retard the spark with the lever all the way up. Once the car starts, I advance the spark with the lever all the way down. Even when warmed up, if I try and move the spark lever up from the "all the way down position" the engines slows and stalls. In otherwords, it seems I can only run with spark advanced all the way.

I am rebuilding the carb because of leaks. Once that is completed, how do I improve the performance of the spark adjustments?

Thanks
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:14 PM   #2
My1930ModelA
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Default Re: Spark lever question

I would first check to make sure the lever travel equals full travel of the distributor plate from fully retarded to fully advanced. If your car is a 30 or 31, the steering shaft can be rotated to accurately set the travel. Then I would check for the overall condition of the distributor, looking for worn bushings causing shaft wobble. Clean or replace the points and set them accurately to .020" gap. Finally check and accurately set the spark timing using the dimple in the timing gear to find TDC on #1 cylinder and rotating the distributor cam per instructions for setting timing. Good luck and I think you'll find a real good idle!
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:14 PM   #3
Mitch//pa
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Default Re: Spark lever question

make sure your spark rod throws fully in each direction at the distributor body opening.
then reset the timing to specs.
it sounds like your timing is to far retarded
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:20 PM   #4
pat in Santa Cruz
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Default Re: Spark lever question

I would also check the wire between the two plates. Its not uncommon for it to short against the spring or the side of the distributor when the lever is in certain positions that cause it to make contact.
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Old 05-28-2015, 07:33 AM   #5
Mike V. Florida
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Default Re: Spark lever question

The owners manual tell the owner where to place the lever.
Not having one, you can start all the way up, when driving at any given speed slowly lower the lever taking note of the engine speed. As the lever is lowered the speed on the engine will increase. At the point the engine stops increasing, that is the optimum for the timing.

So with that said if you cannot start and idle the car with the lever up, you have a timing problem.

I would go back, and following the suggestions above, re time the engine. Be sure the lever is all the way up when you do so. If the timing is correct and the point just open with lever just off the top, you need to look else where for the problem.
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Spark lever question

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Drawing of what My1930ModelA and Mitch//pa are suggesting.




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Old 05-28-2015, 11:04 AM   #7
Steve Wastler
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Default Re: Spark lever question

My first thought was like Pat suggested, check that wire....
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Spark lever question

In the second pic is the cam moving sideways or am I looking wrong!
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Spark lever question

That second picture is a little deceiving. The plate moves around the cam, not the cam moving back and forth.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Spark lever question

Watch the location of the points wire and nut holding the points to the plate as the plate is moved through its travel. Be sure the nut, wire end is not touching the side of the distributor or the spring inside when it is moved. This can also be checked with an OHM meter.
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Spark lever question

Quote:
Originally Posted by willobs View Post
In the second pic is the cam moving sideways or am I looking wrong!
Nothing is moving...........what have you been drinking?

Actually he's showing what happens when the bushings are worn out.
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Spark lever question

Quote:
Originally Posted by willobs View Post
In the second pic is the cam moving sideways or am I looking wrong!
If you go to the link it is showing what bad bushings look like.

Bob
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Spark lever question

Quote:
Originally Posted by willobs View Post
In the second pic is the cam moving sideways or am I looking wrong!
Quote:
Originally Posted by My1930ModelA View Post
I would first check to make sure the lever travel equals full travel of the distributor plate from fully retarded to fully advanced. If your car is a 30 or 31, the steering shaft can be rotated to accurately set the travel. Then I would check for the overall condition of the distributor, looking for worn bushings causing shaft wobble. Clean or replace the points and set them accurately to .020" gap. Finally check and accurately set the spark timing using the dimple in the timing gear to find TDC on #1 cylinder and rotating the distributor cam per instructions for setting timing. Good luck and I think you'll find a real good idle!
I apologize for not being clear. The second photo is showing the back and fourth wobble that is a sign of bad busshings, which My1930ModelA pointed out.
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Spark lever question

Everyone types faster then me!!
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Spark lever question

love your animated tech things... thanks for taking the time to post them
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:48 PM   #16
marc hildebrant
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Default Re: Spark lever question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Willynch View Post
To start, I retard the spark with the lever all the way up. Once the car starts, I advance the spark with the lever all the way down. Even when warmed up, if I try and move the spark lever up from the "all the way down position" the engines slows and stalls. In otherwords, it seems I can only run with spark advanced all the way.

I am rebuilding the carb because of leaks. Once that is completed, how do I improve the performance of the spark adjustments?

Thanks
After you check your timing, you should adjust the timing lever for the road condition you have. It is used for adjustment, not for min or max.

Refer to the Model A owners manual for a good description.

Marc
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Old 05-28-2015, 03:31 PM   #17
Willynch
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Default Re: Spark lever question

Thanks. Once carburetor is back in the care, I will adjust timing.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: Spark lever question

It's pretty apparent that the timing's TOO SLOW. When you got one like this, just loosen the dist cam screw, turn the cam a bit CCW, tighten the screw & see if it sounds better. At least, you'll know if you're on the right track. Once you KNOW the sounds & reactions of a Model A, you CAN set the timing, WITHOUT even removing the timing pin & going through all that "MONKEY MOTION"---The Dog's LAFFIN'--What's a man to do????
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