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  1. Thanks. For the flat head Dodge, 21 total advance is for the standard 1/2 ton pickups with vacuum advance. It was interesting to learn that all of the heavier trucks run with 9 degrees total. I've heard that vacuum advance was primarily added to improve fuel economy, and this information bears that out. The engine runs well, but not as efficiently.
  2. Thanks. The engine will be rebuilt this winter, so the bearings, etc. will all get checked then.
  3. I think what I have here is a worn engine, hence the noise at higher RPM's. Interestingly enough, I got it to quiet down, and still stay within specifications. They made some models without vacuum advance, so I disconnected mine, and set the initial advance at 2 degrees after TDC, as called for in the repair manual. Then at 2600 RPM, I have full centrifugal advance of 11 degrees, minus the 2 degrees, which gives me a total advance of 9 degrees, instead of the 21 degrees it had. That really quiets things down. Not addressing the root cause, but it works for now. It must be that on heavy duty models they de-tuned the engine in this way to enhance longevity. It will probably also use more fuel, but that's OK.
  4. Thanks. No knock sensor here...a 1954 Dodge truck.
  5. I suspect that retarding the spark puts much less strain on engine parts and so might quiet the noise of loose parts. I'd like to be sure, though, before I tear down an engine that seems to run well otherwise. Your story tends to bolster my theory.
  6. Thanks. Both vacuum advance and centrifugal advance seem to be working properly. I've also verified that the crankshaft pulley timing marks are accurate as well. At speeds above 40 mph the engine is very noisy and "clattering". If I retard the spark to 8 degrees AFTER TDC initial timing, it quiets right down and sounds fine at 50-55 mph. As to power, I don't have much to compare it to. I'm on the old Dodge forum and nobody there seems to have this same situation on their flatheads. So I keep thinking I am missing something.
  7. Thanks. The 218 flathead has a convenient port on top that permits one to insert a wire and check for actual TDC. That has been done and agrees with the timing pulley. My question is whether retarding the timing can help with noise from mechanical wear. It stands to reason that a retarded ignition would produce less power, but also put less strain on the engine.
  8. I'm still wrestling with a 1954 Dodge truck engine that clatters at speeds above 40 mph. I discovered that retarding the spark to 8 degrees after TDC initial timing, makes the noise goes away. I've checked centrifugal advance, vacuum advance etc., and all seems well. I tried timing by vacuum method, and with a timing light, and both ended up about TDC. That setting makes for a noisy engine, though. and retarding the spark seems to cure the noise problem. Is retarding the spark masking the sounds of a worn engine ? I have decent compression, good oil pressure, and the engine runs well. It's just noisy above 40 mph and retarding the spark makes a big difference.
  9. WPVT

    Ignition timing

    Good advice. I'll do what does work, rather than what should work.
  10. WPVT

    Ignition timing

    Thanks.I'm not positive, but I believe my engine has a solid pulley, not the harmonic balancer with the rubber insert. I used the vacuum method a while back. It left me with the engine noisy at 40 mph and above. Retarding the spark quieted things down. I'll probably do what KethB7 advised and just put the timing where the engine runs best. I'll leave the timing light in the drawer.
  11. WPVT

    Ignition timing

    My 1954 flat head 6 Dodge truck engine had some problems with engine noise at 40 MPH and over, so I retarded the spark, and now it runs much better, smoother, and quieter. I tried retarding it more and retarding it less, and found what seemed to be the sweet spot. The change was dramatic. Now it's quite smooth at 50 mph. I was curious,though, so I checked the timing with a light , and it was retarded a full 10 degrees at idle (400 rpm). So I put it back to 0 degrees at idle, as specified in the manual. Doing that gives me about 10 degrees advance at 1500 rpm. At 2000 rpm I can no longer see any marks, so it's well advanced at that speed. Vacuum advance is new, and centrifugal advance seems like it's working properly. I haven't road tested it yet, but I suspect I will be back where I was, with a noisy engine at 40 mph. The cure seems to be retarding the timing by 10 degrees, but I'm puzzled. Why, do you suppose, would my engine run so much better with the spark retarded that much ? Compression is good, and it runs smoothly. No soot on the plugs....steady vacuum at 18 or so. The crankshaft pulley is reading correctly, as I mechanically verified TDC. Carburetor was rebuilt, new ignition wires, points, etc.
  12. We recently had a somewhat similar problem. Had to get a very low slung car with the wheels locked (electronic parking brake and lost electronic key) onto a non-tilting trailer and hauled to the dealer. We put the car tires on machine dollies to move it to the trailer. Totally deflated the trailer's rearmost axle tires, which made the trailer's forward tires the new fulcrum. Jacked up the trailer tongue until the rear end of the the trailer bed touched the ground. In essence, we made it into a tilt bed trailer. Then using dish soap as a lubricant, we winched the car onto the trailer with the tires skidding all the way. It wasn't scary, because the car's weight was holding the rear end of the trailer down. Once the car was loaded, reinflating the rear axle tires gradually shifted some weight back onto the tongue, without moving the car at all. Then we lowered the tongue back down slowly. It wasn't really scary, because there was only a little weight on the tongue. It was a see-saw, with one end only a little heavier than the other. Once we were back down and hitched up, we moved the car forward to load the tongue appropriately. A lot of forethought went into this process, focusing on where the weight would be at any given moment. This is why I prefer old cars to new cars.
  13. Last year I bought a stack of Skinned Knuckles back issues on EBay. I enjoy reading them because they remind me of the ingenuity that used to be the hallmark of restorers, and the days when working on cars and trucks was more important than speculating on their value. I also enjoy all of the ads for small companies with their products, inventions, and services. As far as re-using old articles, isn't re-using old stuff what the hobby is all about ?
  14. It might be helpful to unbolt the pump from the block, keeping it connected to the tank, but disconnect it from the carburetor. Work the lever by hand, and see if it pumps fuel. Sometimes a priming doesn't hurt to get things started. If it works OK, then you may have to install the pump on the engine more carefully, to make sure that the lever is resting on the camshaft lobe. When installed correctly, the lever will be spring loaded by tightening the mounting bolts. If it doesn't pump by hand, then you can start narrowing down the possibilities.
  15. Zigmont Billus at the Babbitt Pot in Ft Edward NY, is a pleasure to work with. 518-747-4277 He has many years experience rebabbitting antique automobile engines.
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