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Old 03-20-2021, 11:02 AM   #1
TMarsh
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Thumbs up Spark lever position

Have 1930 coupe, runs great, stops great, looks good. Issue is car seems to run best with spark lever near full retard. Timing on, points on, Tillison carb. Does not overheat, just seems like everyone uses the spark advance a lot and others say if you have no issues, drive it, which I do. Appreciate any comments.
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Old 03-20-2021, 11:56 AM   #2
tnhammond
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Default Re: Spark lever position

Mr. Marsh -

I have a 1930 Coupe as well. I rebuilt the engine in 1965. Mine also is running a Tillotson carburetor which I have rebuilt several times over the years.

In 2019 I replaced the radiator, rebuilt the distributer, replaced the coil and a few other things.

Late in 2019 I purchased a Nu-Rex timing kit and a battery powered timing light. The timing light uses internal "D" size batteries. Therefore there are no issues with respect to 6 or 12 volts.

The machine runs very well. It does not overheat.

I use the spark advance to start, then move it back to mid point. This is a good setting for most of my around town driving. We drive it every Sunday.

I will add a little advance when we are cruising at 40 - 45.

Now back to your question - Using the Nu-Rex and timing light, I set the advance to 6 degrees before top dead center with the spark lever at mid point.

Enjoy the drive !

Tim
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Old 03-20-2021, 12:11 PM   #3
Patrick L.
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Default Re: Spark lever position

Ideally when the timing is set correctly it is at TDC when the lever is full up. Thats how the engine should be started. Once running the lever is pulled down. How far down depends on the operator, engine and how the vehicle is being used.

Lever fully down the timing should be at 40 advance. I'm a believer that these critters don't need that much advance. 30 is fine.

It sounds like yours may have the timing a bit advanced with lever full up since it doesn't seem to like any/much additional advance.

You might also have a Model B timing cover which would cause the advance in base timing.

If you like the way it runs and it never kicks back upon starting, I don't think it'll hurt anything.
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Old 03-20-2021, 01:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Spark lever position

Beware of the repo advance levers. Most of them were drilled wrongly (at the lower end), making the angle of the small lever (in the engine compartment) totally wrong. If you then connect this little lever to the ignition using a repo connector (which will probably not be 16 3/4 “, but 17” instead), you will have the ignition being ‘full advance’ when the handle at steering column is all te way up ! This is while you are expecting it to be ‘full retard’.
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Old 03-20-2021, 02:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Spark lever position

Hazelhoff has a good point. Check to see where the arm is coming out of the distributor cap housing at full retard and full advance. It should be at the extremes of the slot in the distributor cap housing. Some housings are not machined correctly so there is another place to check. The only way I know how to check is to compare it with an original.
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Old 03-20-2021, 04:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Spark lever position

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I really don’t think anyone could give you a correct answer.

To many variables. If it is running and sounding good. You are in great shape. Drive it.

These are very simple cars.

Enjoy.
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Old 03-20-2021, 05:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Spark lever position

this has been such an informative thread. Thankyou to all the contributors.
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Old 03-21-2021, 04:51 AM   #8
Bruce of MN
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Default Re: Spark lever position

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkaminar View Post
Some housings are not machined correctly so there is another place to check. The only way I know how to check is to compare it with an original.
If you have the Nurex timing strip installed, you can set the lever at TDC at full retard and then at full advance, rotate the engine and see what BTDC angle the points open.
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Old 03-21-2021, 06:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Spark lever position

Do you have full travel on the spark lever? Sometimes the outer tube on the steering column will rotate and that will impact the position and travel of the spark lever.
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Old 03-21-2021, 10:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Spark lever position

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick L. View Post

You might also have a Model B timing cover which would cause the advance in base timing.

If you like the way it runs and it never kicks back upon starting, I don't think it'll hurt anything.

My car came timed as a model A, but as I later found out had a model B block with the model B timing cover. As the OP experienced, it ran fine...started well and so on. However when I retarded the rotor about 10 degrees it now does run better, usually starts in a single revolution, and I can use the manual advance to find the sweet spot when climbing hills, running about town etc.

Here's a nice article on the different timing covers and how to identify them:
http://www.fordgarage.com/pages/timingcovers.htm


Mine turned out to be the B-6019


Tom
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