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jim43

1914 Chalmers 6 cylinder T head tuning

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My Chalmers has a Rayfield carburetor, an enrichment adjuster on the dash and runs quite well, I think. But it soots up the plugs in a short while, say 50 miles or less, and then of course it starts loosing power until I clean them. I have adjusted the carburetor per Dykes instruction, and the dash lean - rich control is very tempermental. A slight adjustment is a lot. It is 18 volts and starts easily, 415 cubic inches, and I am running only one bank of plugs off an Oliver Tractor distributor I fitted.( I made an era inspired aluminum bracket and used the magneto mounting bolt holes.) I think the Bosch two spark needs some attending to, as it throws a mean spark to some plugs, and less to others. It sooted plugs when I was running that too, and I hoped the distributor would improve the sooting. It doesn't soot out the tail pipe after warm up and leaning the L-R adjustment. New H-18 Champion plugs. .035" Any thoughts out there?. Also, with only one set of plug wires, should they be hooked to the plugs over the exhaust valves or over the intake valves? Thanks; Jim 43

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One set of plugs should be over the intake valves, over the exhaust will give retarded firing and poor combustion. If you run .035 plugs with the 2 spark you will perforate the winding of the magneto. A Bosch 2 spark fires the plugs as a series setup thus the mag sees a .070 gap!!

It does sound like rich mixture but remember that with a low compression ratio you will probably never get a grey exhaust pipe.

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Your engine has very low compression by today's standards. More or less Sooting is normal.

You might try mixing kerosene with your gas to lower the octane. Many old car owners have tried this. They report more power, easier starting and cooler smoother running. Up to 25% kerosene.

When your car was made large expensive cars often had dual ignition. Model T style trembler coils for starting and magneto for running. Is there a switch on the dash marked "Coil - Mag" or something similar?

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I no longer use Champion plugs.

Autolite 3077 plugs do not carbon up like the Champion W18 plugs did in my 13 Buick.

They cost less too...

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Thanks for the comeback guys;

I will try the kerosene tomorrow when I go to town.

There is no magneto - trembler switch, though these things have a way of being improved out of usage and being discarded, my Chalmers literature doesn't show one.

Before saying two spark, I should have gone out and actually looked at the magneto. It is a Bosch ZR6 Dual, which may mean two spark , or something a bit different. Can you clue me in? Is it the same thing?

I am going on a hunt for the Autolite 3077 plugs. My usual auto parts store says they are not available to them. Are they difficult to find, or are they not looking hard enough? Thank you, all ideas greatly appreciated

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In the Bosch verbage of the times, dual means two sources of energy for the spark. Most magnetos convert shaft power to electrical energy for the spark. The other source can be a battery. Your dual when working with the proper dash switch coil and a battery will spark the proper plug when the engine is or is not turning. As the spark is not dependent on shaft speed the spark is full voltage and can ignite a residual charge in the cylinders. This will make the engine turn over and start up without an electric motor/starter. This is called "starting on the spark". It can also give a hot spark when hand cranking or for an engine that turns over slowly on the starter motor, a common case in 1914.

2 spark means 2 spark plugs per cylinder. Both 2 spark and dual were options on the basic Bosch ZR magneto frame, thus there are Bosch ZR magnetos that are called independent ( basic magneto), those with the dual option built in at the factory ( apparently what you have), 2 spark magnetos, AND some with both options ( they are called 2 spark dual).

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Mark;

Napa found some for me in Maine and some in Mass. He will have them collected for me in a couple days. Thanks for the tip. I look forward to trying them out along with some kerosene in the tank.

Layden;

I should have mentioned the Chalmers parts book lists a Bosch DU-6 magneto and a single set of plugs as the original equipment. The DU-6 lists for $72.50. Priming cups @ 35 cents each occupied the other six holes. When the ZR6 came along I have no idea, but have tried to determine if this was a late year factory improvement, but have not been able to do so yet.

I had a 1915 Model T touring that after putting all new valves in and doing other TLC stuff I was able to restart, by turning on the switch and moving the timing lever a bit. That was really fun and satisfying.

I would like to have the magneto checked out and brought up to snuff and use it again with 12 plugs. Would it want a Battery-Magneto switch? I believe I have a switch for an Eisemann along with some other magnetos I have. Or would the switch be unecessary?

After making new exhaust valve guides and installing new valves ( Egge) 8''x21/4" and a lot of other TLC stuff it has always started quite quickly and easily on the magneto or later on the distributor. But the Entz starter is a slow turner, as you say. Thanks for the input; Jim 43

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On rereading your original post I'm not sure what the problem is.

You have a 414 cu in T head 6 cylinder Chalmers. It starts easily and runs well. You have a coil ignition, running on 18 volts, spark plugs gapped to .035.

All this sounds OK. The only complaint is sooting of plugs in 50 miles or less.

Now I know cars of that era with low compression engines suffered from sooting and carbon buildup. The question is, how fast? Is 50 miles normal? I don't know.

I do know, in those days there were several remedies for cleaning carbon out of cylinders. One was to drop a length of brass chain down the spark plug hole and idle the engine for a few minutes with the spark plug disconnected. Then fish out the chain with a button hook.

Maybe hotter plugs would help?

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Jim

All the Bosch magnetos I have seen have a serial number on the main frame. From this number it can be determined what year the mag was manufactured. The numbers are quite small compared to the Bosch model numbers/letters. If the serial numbers fit into the 1,567,966 to 1,758,030 range than it was made in 1914. If not in this sequence and you wish to know the year send the number on your mag,I can then identify what the year of manufacture is.

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Rusty;

I don't know what normal sooting mileage should be either. When the reliability run was here in NH a couple years ago a friend and I went and saw them one day at Lake Winnipesaukee and I don't recall seeing anyone cleaning their plugs along the way. They may make that a ritual at night or changing them at least. We drove the car over to New London the next day to meet them there and with clean plugs, had no problem, fourth gear up the steep hills. Still, it was only about 40 miles round trip I carry extra sets ready to go myself so it isn't too bad . Just takes a few minutes. How do you other pre 16 ers make out with your plug sooting?

I don't recall sooting being a problem at all with the 1915 Model T I had.

The Napa guy thought the Autolite 3077 are a hotter plug than the W18 Champions. He wasn't sure.

I have a nice cased set of old timey carbon cleaning tools. There must be 50 or more pieces to it with every kind of bend imaginable for reaching into small spaces, but I have never seen a set used, and don't have a clue how to use them effectivly.

If 50 miles is not uncommon then I can live with that, Just would like it to do the best it can do.

Seldenguy;

My serial # is 1,169,604 so I presume it is older than 1914 ? I would like to know the year of manufacture if you can determine it. Thanks.

Thank you guys. Jim 43

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At a venture I would say the cylinders would need decarbonising after several thousand miles of use. But really have no experience of a car that old.

It is common knowledge that plug fouling can be cured by hotter plugs but how this applies to a car that old, again I don't know.

Some T heads had dual ignition but you say your car came with single ignition so that should be OK.

It will be very interesting to see what the brass era experts have to say.

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I haven't cleaned the plugs in my 1915 Buick in the last 400 or 500 miles and those were put in last year.

Are the plugs fouling from oil? The car will smoke whitish gray out of the exaust.

Or is the fuel mixture too rich? The car will smoke black out of the exaust. Try to lean the carb as much as possible.

If the engine is a fresh rebuild, the rings may not be seated yet and the plugs may be oil fouling. It takes a while, but it will stop after they seat.

Also, with most of these early magneto ignition systems the plug gap is 25 thousands. 35 is a little hard on the coil.

smile.gif Dave!

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Hi Jim- Just looked up your mag serial number 1,169,604 and it fits in the 933,509 - 1,335,331 range identifying it to be of 1912 manufacture.

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Hi Dave;

The engine is not a fresh rebuild, just the six new exhaust valve guides I made for it with the six new Egge valves.Three of the old guides were broken and the broken parts went up and down with the valves. Sitting for over twenty years had rusted the exhaust valves beyond redemption and I did that work before ever attempting to start it. The intake valves were all oily and nice, but that is a more friendly environment on the intake side. There is no oiliness to the soot, just dry soot is all I know to call it. The lean- rich adjustment is really tempermental. It stays where I put it fine, but I would say it inherently is still too rich even when as lean as that adjustment can make it. I picked up the Autolite 3077 spark plugs yesterday and will put them in today. I am aware that too lean wouldn't be too good . I wonder if any Rayfield users out there have any comments on these carburetors.

With the large "cages" right over the valves, that the spark plugs thread into removed, (which also allows valve removal on T heads) decarbonizing is fairly easy and I did this during recommissoning. The heads (two) are integral with the cylinder barrels, and non-removable.

500 miles between cleanings sounds fine to me.

Seldenguy;

Thanks for looking up the year of manufacture of the magneto. I don't know why it pleases me so to know when a thing was made, but it does. My Dads birth year too.

Any Rayfield comments on leaning out there? This car also has an old time Marvel top end oil feeder on it .Not using it at present. Any comments on those?

Thank you all for your inputs. This car runs great, and I am probably only looking for that last 20% or less of performance out of it, but aren't we all?

Thanks; Jim43

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I have very good luck with Champion C16-C plugs They are a higher heat range but I don't think they are availible anymore. I like to use the ports on the intake side for the plugs, runs better, I think Bosch recommends 18 thous, for plug gap on the magneto side, any more and they are hard starting, have hesitatiion, and burns out the mag coils. My Rayfield likes the air mixture turned out as lean as possible with out backfiring on acceleration. I screw the main jet in until it runs smooth on the straightaway. Idle is adjusted best when fully warmed up. It takes a lot of driving, stopping, adjusting and driving again to get it right but this Rayfield is a great carburator, much better than a modern one I had on it.

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Hello Caf;

Thank you for your post. I have done my Rayfield adjusting from a 1937- 18th edition of Dykes. The carburetor shown is the Model G and looks quite different than my Model D 4 L, but of course that being the instruction I have, that is what I have tried to use. Mine also has the water jacket, and a hot air tube coming over from the exhaust side. I have not run the hot water through the carburetor, thinking that that would not be needed in the summer. Does yours have the water jacket and do you use it? What type of Rayfield do you have and what type of car? Do you have the instructions for the D 4 L ? The correct instructions would be a big help I think.

Another post has recommended adding kerosene,which I intend to do, and in another part of Dykes this is discussed to slow down the burn time, to give the steam engine like power available in these big old engines. I will probably not use the recommended fuel test method involving pouring some fuel in the hand to see how long it takes to evaporate and if it leaves an oily residue! Yuk.

I put the Autolite 3077 plugs in today, gapped at .035" since I am running a distributor at this time. They are over the intake valves.

Does any one out there have the Rayfield D 4 L adjustment instructions?

Thank you all; Jim 43

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Hello Jim43,

I'd be willing to bet that your sooting problem is related to the Rayfield adjustment. I sent you a private message with the contact info for our local Rayfield expert. He's a wiz with setting up early carbs and ignition. I have a 1912 Maxwell Special that also has a big T head engine and a Rayfield carb. Tim set the carb up perfectly and my plugs have stayed nice and clean. So, sent Tim an email and tell him Brad sent you!

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Hi Brad;

Thanks for the lead. I will contact him and get this little brute adjusted right .

Jim43

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Jim, give me a call at 770-591-9732 between 9 and 5 EST. I have a 14 also and would be glad to talk with you about it. In fact, I was going to call you the other day, but I couldn't find your number. Terry Hulsey

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Hi Terry;

Thanks for the in touch. I've been wondering if you were able to get the Chalmers restored in time for your daughters wedding. Hope I'm not mixing up stories. I will try to call tomorrow during your hours. Jim

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I only know one Rayfield carburetor story. An old friend built a hot rod Ford in 1920. He used a second hand Rayfield carburetor he bought cheap. The garage he bought it from couldn't make it work right. He took it apart and found the tip of the idle mixture screw was broken off. He had it soldered back together and the carb worked like a champ.

He also used a magneto scavenged off a 1914 Cadillac. He bolted the mag to the T frame and made a bearing block of oak. Then he drove the mag off the engine with a bicycle chain.

So, have you checked your mixture screw? LOL. just kidding.

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My brother has a 1913 Lozier that originally had a Rayfield on it. After a couple of frustrating seasons of trying to get it adjusted properly and a couple of engine fires he switched to a Stromberg OE-2. He has since toured with it for many miles without any carburetor adjustments and no fires!! The Rayfield is still holding the shelf down.

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