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distributor for 1922 maxwell


drhudson
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I have a 1922 Maxwell with what I believe to be a 1929 Plymouth four cylinder distributor in it, presumably because the original went bad.

The one in the car is DelcoRemy 635W. I believe the original was DelcoRemy 369 A/B/C. The car had been running well with the 635W till recently.

The driven gear on the distributor shaft is worn and I plan to replace it.

Can someone tell me how to access the drive gear inside the engine to replace it at the same time? Other ideas on this distributor swap?

Any ideas or help is most appreciated. Direct email RVB9549@AOL.COM

If there is anyone truly familiar with these willing to come to Allentown PA area to help get it set up, please let me know and we will come to an agreement.

Thanks, Robert Blake

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  • 9 years later...

It has the right angle drive which seems correct, but the distributor is off a late 20's plymouth.  It had been shortened to fit the right angle drive and had a 14 tooth gear (possibly off a 60's ford) modified and peened onto the end, no longer using the lockpin.  Someone looks to have hacksawed or heavily filed the top end of the distributor shaft.  This current journey started during a test run and timing light check.  My marks were jumping all over, so I checked the dwell which was jumping around 10 degrees.  I went in to replace very worn bushings and found this can of worms on the way.  

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Interesting.....the gear is supposed to have 11 teeth....

How many teeth does the driving gear have? It should have 11 teeth too as the gear ratio is supposed to be 1:1. So as long as both gears have 14 teeth and the center to center distance is correct, everything's fine with your set up.

All 1922-25 Maxwells used the same gear sets with eleven teeth.

 

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I have 2 distributors from a 26 chrysler with 11 teeth, but they're in really sad shape and parts seem to be even harder to find than for this one.  I haven't cracked into the 90 degree box yet, but i was curious about seeing and swapping the horizontal gear if necessary

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Looks like you run a 1:2 ratio....

If so, your engine needs to turn four revolutions to fire all four plugs. That's firing one plug per engine revolution, which is half of what the distributor should be firing. Not to mention firing order and misfires. Does the engine really run?

However, here's what your engine originally was equipped with: 

 

 

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I looked into Maxwell distributors. From 1917 to 1922 Maxwell used Atwater-Kent (Model CC) disributors. Beginning with S/N 281'965 in 1922 Maxwell used Remy distributors 369-A, 369-B and 369-C (until 1925).

The drive gear with shaft (part of the angle drive) is Remy P/N 812462 (which is Niehoff # 4900A or Gilfillan # DG-1162FX).

The driven gear (on distributor shaft) is Remy P/N 811618 (old Remy P/N 11618, Niehoff # 4899 or Gilfillan DG-1162).

No. of teeth 11 on both gears, OD 7/8".

1925-26 Chrysler 4's used the same driven gear (811618) on Remy distributor 634-A. I did find a NOS driver 812462 and might have a 811618 too.

I'll gladly check if you wish.  

You mentioned you're using a late 20's Plymouth distributor. Is there a Delco-Remy tag on it?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Peter R. said:

Looks like you run a 1:2 ratio....

If so, your engine needs to turn four revolutions to fire all four plugs. That's firing one plug per engine revolution, which is half of what the distributor should be firing. Not to mention firing order and misfires. Does the engine really run?

However, here's what your engine originally was equipped with: 

 

 

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I had it running several times.  I was doing checks with a timing light and dwell meter this last time while on a 20 minute run or so.  Both meters were way out of spec and I was getting an odd missfire and exhaust noises which lead me to looking at the distributor more closely.  I took video all around the motor to post and ask "What is all this noise?" but when I checked the rotor had about .020 of wobble all over the place so I figured it needed new bushings.  I would replace them, get the motor running and test again.  It was not what I would call a "smooth" engine by any means, but it would cold start with 1 hand crank of choke followed by 1 hand crank open choke.  All plugs were firing according to the timing gun.  Throttle worked, engine revved and reutrned to idle, spark advance lever advanced the spark, I didn't check the action of the advance weights but I had disassembled and cleaned the mechanism. 

 

It currently has a Delco Remy 629A that I would describe as "modified".  I've only had the truck about a month.  The person I bought it from was using it as a yard decoration for about 10 years, and he had bought it from an estate sale before that so any sort of history on the truck is long gone.

 

Wouldn't 1 spark per 2 engine revolutions be correct?  Wouldn't a 1:1 fire once correctly on the compression stroke, then once incorrectly on the exhaust stroke?  I was going to go hand crank the motor with no plugs and check the TDC position of each piston and see if they coincided with a 1:1 turn or a 1:2, just because I couldn't wrap my head around how it could be working.  From what I remember of setting the static timing it all made sense and the firing order and piston position lined up.  I can't really hand check my distributor turns with the driven gear removed so I'm left scratching my head for a while.

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1 spark per cylinder per 2 engine revolutions is certainly correct on a 4-stroke engine (the distributor is running half the engine speed). When I said the distributor is supposed to run a 1:1 ratio I meant the angle drive ratio not the engine/distributor ratio. What I was trying to say is that if you're mistakenly running an angle drive ratio of 1:2 instead of 1:1 (by using 7/14 gears instead of 11/11) you would cut the engine/distributor ratio further down so you will only have two sparks per two engine revolutions for four cylinders instead of four sparks per two engine revolutions for four cylinders. Sorry for the confusion. I just counted number of theeth of the gears on the pictures and figured you may be running a wrong angle drive ratio for whatever reason. Just wondering how the engine would run that way 🙂

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33 minutes ago, Peter R. said:

1 spark per cylinder per 2 engine revolutions is certainly correct on a 4-stroke engine (the distributor is running half the engine speed). When I said the distributor is supposed to run a 1:1 ratio I meant the angle drive ratio not the engine/distributor ratio. What I was trying to say is that if you're mistakenly running an angle drive ratio of 1:2 instead of 1:1 (by using 7/14 gears instead of 11/11) you would cut the engine/distributor ratio further down so you will only have two sparks per two engine revolutions for four cylinders instead of four sparks per two engine revolutions for four cylinders. Sorry for the confusion. I just counted number of theeth of the gears on the pictures and figured you may be running a wrong angle drive ratio for whatever reason. Just wondering how the engine would run that way 🙂

Gotcha, I'm just trying to get this puzzle figured out myself.  Wouldn't the 11:11 gears still produce a wasted spark?  It's not running off the camshaft like a usual engine, so there goes the usual half engine speed.

 

From checking the distibutor drive belt pulley it was running 1:1 with the crank, so I was using that for a TDC mark for the timing light.  Rotating by hand it would be at correct firing for cylinder #1 and one engine revolution later my TDC mark would be lined up again, #1 would be visuallly at TDC, but firing 180 deg at #4 which all seemed kosher. 

 

Like I said, this is just uncovering mysteries as I go and trying to get things up to snuff.  It also has a model T generator someone adapted with a new face plate, so there was someone elbow deep doing custom work at some point.

Edited by MaxwellFox
Grammar (see edit history)
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Yep, something^s definitely woodoo here.... I can only tell from the books and according to them the angle drive ratio is 1:1 (11:11). So the distributor should do one revolution while the crankshaft does two. I think I have some more detailed information about Maxwell engines somwhere....I'll check. Interesting....keep me posted.

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2 hours ago, Peter R. said:

By the way, I found a complete 1:1 angle drive gear set. Just in case you need it.

 

 

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im curious, but pretty sure Id need to bush that gear down for my .468 distributor shaft. Does it attach with a pin?  I fear to ask what you would ask for such a rare beast.

Edited by MaxwellFox (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Peter R. said:

Yep, something^s definitely woodoo here.... I can only tell from the books and according to them the angle drive ratio is 1:1 (11:11). So the distributor should do one revolution while the crankshaft does two. I think I have some more detailed information about Maxwell engines somwhere....I'll check. Interesting....keep me posted.

That still doesnt make sense to me.  The distributor drive box is connected to the crankshaft through the front cam gear train and rotates the pulley/drive 1 turn for every 1 turn of the crankshaft like mine does, it sends that 1 crankshaft turn into the 11:11 right angle box and into the distributor.  This would produce 1 rotor revolution for every crankshaft revolution which is too fast, unless it can operate with a wasted spark and an odd firing order on the distributor cap?

 

My 14:7 frankenstein arrangement produced the correct 2 crankshaft turns for 1 rotor turn, but is not mawell parts or anything close from what I can find.  If there was some sort of reduction in the maxwell gear train that would allow for the 11:11 right angle box, my frankenstein setup would be too slow.  The only thing I can see that would allow for that box to be 11:11/1:1 is if there was a gear reduction in the front gear case but the diagrams don't show anything that drastic, and to be fair I have not gotten my front case apart to count my gear train teeth.    

 

I could be missing something extremely obvious and it's just not getting through to me.  The cars I've worked on before have been much more A+B=C, this much reconfiguring is off my usual scope so I don't have any previous experience to fall back on.

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Here I found some Maxwell info out of a Radco Service Manual. It doesn't show the crankshaft/distributor drive configuration but it maybe useful anyhow. Keep digging through my books....

Yws, the gear attaches with a pin.....and don't worry about the price....quite affordable....

 

 

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Guess I'm getting closer to decipher the mistery.....

Maxwell used magnetos until 1917. From 1917 to 22 they used two different types of Atwater-Kent model CC distributors and from 1922 until 1925 they used Remy distributors (beginning with S/N 281965 in 1922). When looking at pictures of Maxwell engines I contend the magnetos run at crankshaft speed. In 1917 the magneto had been replaced by a AK distributor with a 1:2 ratio angle drive. When looking at pictures of engines with Remy distributors I contend to see that the distributor runs off the camshaft, thus using a 1:1 ratio angle drive.

I strongly believe your engine is not 1922. It is probably earlier using a 1:2 AK angle drive. What's the engine number?  

Edited by Peter R. (see edit history)
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I'll take some pictures of the engine number when I get home, maybe the pros here can translate it.  It's stamped very lightly and all over the place so I haven't used it as a reference much, but it seems to be the magic key to many of these puzzles.  All I've got right now is some photos of the motor.

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Edited by MaxwellFox (see edit history)
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6 minutes ago, Peter R. said:

Here you go....

 

 

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I was wondering what the "ears" on the right angle block were for.  They sure didn't give you much room for the advance lever, was it just enough to hand retard it for starting, then you'd bump it back and let the weights take over?

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Yeah, that's a great little snippet.  I was asking because the ad actually shows how the advance arrangement was setup.  Maybe I have the correct gears, but the drive gear was grafted onto a later distributor.  Could explain why its been impossible to find a replacement gear.

Edited by MaxwellFox (see edit history)
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Now it all makes sense. Very early Maxwells seem to have used Remy magnetos. Later Maxwells up to 1917 used Simms magnetos driven off the crankshaft. In 1917 the magneto was replaced by an Atwater-Kent Type CC distributor (magneto replacement type, 1:2 ratio angle drive, driven off the crankshaft with manual advance only). The setup you have must be an Atwater-Kent Type CC # 2332 vertical distributor with 1:2 angle drive that was used next and up to 1920 (probably 1919 and 1920). For 1920-22 Maxwell used another Atwater-Kent Type CC distributor (# 3305) that was mounted in the front of the engine, driven off the camshaft with a 1:1 angle drive. 1922 beginning with S/N 281'965 Maxwell changed over to Remy using distributors 369-A, -B and -C, also driven off the camshaft in the front of the engine with a 1:1 Remy angle drive. All Maxwell distributors were manual advance only.

Well, that's my Maxwell theory.....

 

If you provide me with the engine number I should be able to point to a year.

Well, guess my 1:1 ratio gears won't do you any good as they will have a different center-to-center distance than the 7:14 AK gear set that you need. But maybe I have some AK gears in stock too. Just measure the OD's if you want me to check.

Edited by Peter R. (see edit history)
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1 minute ago, Peter R. said:

11.JPG

so it looks like the CC model possibly had its own right angle to allow it to mount to the direct drive magneto position?  Maybe That's also where that order sheet for for both 1:1 and 2:1 gears were available, somehow piggy back an AK CC all in one onto a 1:1 magneto drive adapter to change its orientation?

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Atwater-Kent was the original equipment supplier for a certain number of car brands up to the mid twenties. But obviously they started with the supply of replacement equipment to outfit cars with battery ignition systems. Prior to the use of generators a battery ignition system ran off dry cells. Try to handcrank a big engine with a weak magneto spark at handcranking speeds.....they must have loved AK.

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6 hours ago, Peter R. said:

By the way, here^s a picture of my project. 

There^s missing a lot....but no Ford parts on it.... 🙂

 

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wow, thats quite a start to a project!  how do you intend to get it all together?  Yeah, I've got some ford parts which is somewhat of a bummer from a maxwell angle, but it sure made getting the carb together an easy job.  I'm not particular on this distributor situation, I'm just stuck with 1 difficult to reinstall gear.  I'd like the real AK setup for authenticity if I could get it but most of these arrangements I've never even heard of since last month.  

 

I'm actually considering making a points activated HEI module if it came down to it.  I made the HEI ignition for my '62 austin mini after burning through 3 pertronixes and was fed up and haven't had a problem since.  There's plenty of room to tuck my shame away on the maxwell, I just need a distributor to spin around to the right place at the right time.

Edited by MaxwellFox (see edit history)
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from "automotive trade training" 1922. https://books.google.com/books?id=he4DAQAAIAAJ&source=gbs_book_other_versions

 

There's not a ton of exact Maxwell info in it, but if you know what you're looking for there are sections that apply.  But there are sections specifically for maxwell carbs, ignitions and Simms generator from what I've read so far.

 

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Edited by MaxwellFox (see edit history)
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I'll go through my AK distributors tonight. There's a good chance I can come up with a suitable AK distributor for your engine if you decide to go AK (not expensive). I do also have all parts such as points, caps and rotors (NOS).

I assume your engine used a Simms motor-generator rather than a separate generator and starter. Just noticed there is no starter.

 

PS: Funny little car your Mini 🙂 ....I couldn't drive it....I'm too tall (chuckle)

 

I intend to restore the Cadillac. I'm planning to pull the engine next month and start restoration.

I have the fenders, the doors and the hood but unfortunately I'm missing the body shell. It won't be easy to find one so the goal for now is a driveable chassis.... There's an interesting history behind the car. It sat in a barn for 80 years when I found it. I did some research and found out that it had been used by the french army in WWI. The engine still turns over, the clutch disengages, the brakes still work and the transmission gears look like new. Nothing is worn or abused. Appears to be a real low mileage car.

Edited by Peter R. (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Peter R. said:

I'll go through my AK distributors tonight. There's a good chance I can come up with a suitable AK distributor for your engine if you decide to go AK (not expensive). I do also have all parts such as points, caps and rotors (NOS).

I assume your engine used a Simms motor-generator rather than a separate generator and starter. Just noticed there is no starter.

 

PS: Funny little car your Mini 🙂 ....I couldn't drive it....I'm too tall (chuckle)

 

I intend to restore the Cadillac. I'm planning to pull the engine next month and start restoration.

I have the fenders, the doors and the hood but unfortunately I'm missing the body shell. It won't be easy to find one so the goal for now is a driveable chassis.... There's an interesting history behind the car. It sat in a barn for 80 years when I found it. I did some research and found out that it had been used by the french army in WWI. The engine still turns over, the clutch disengages, the brakes still work and the transmission gears look like new. Nothing is worn or abused. Appears to be a real low mileage car.

 

It seems my engine number is 304354.  So that lines up with a 1920?  I wonder if it had a few retrofits over its days.

 

No starter, but it seems like the trucks didn't have one stock, I guess they wanted your drivers to earn their pay.  It has a separate generator off a model T that was adapted to fit the maxwell bracket and wide belt pulley. My only snag with an AK system I think is I'd like to run 12 volts and I don't know if the AK is 12 or 6 or if its one of those systems that doesn't care.  I'm going to do some measurements tonight and see if someone on the forum has a new gear that will work.  If that doesn't fly then I'll explore other options.  I can't believe the parts supplies you guys have collected!

Edited by MaxwellFox (see edit history)
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I would date your engine late 1919 or 1920.

I'm confident your engine was opriginally equipped with a Simms-Huff 12V Motor-Generator (two-in-one unit).

1913 was the first year for Maxwell to use a starter and a generator (two seaparate Gray & Davis 6V units).

1914 they used a 6V Deaco motor-generator and 1915 they went back to use two separate Gray & Davis 6V units again.

Between 1916 and 1920 Maxwells were equipped with various Simms-Huff 12V motor-generators. 1920-25 they switched back to separate 6V units (Simms, Auto-Lite and Remy. I assume your engine was equipped with a Simms-Huff motor generator model HM, SMS-2 or SMS-3. You can run the ignition system on either 6 or 12 volts. Both was in use. It doesn't affect the ditributor.  

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24 minutes ago, Peter R. said:

I would date your engine late 1919 or 1920.

I'm confident your engine was opriginally equipped with a Simms-Huff 12V Motor-Generator (two-in-one unit).

1913 was the first year for Maxwell to use a starter and a generator (two seaparate Gray & Davis 6V units).

1914 they used a 6V Deaco motor-generator and 1915 they went back to use two separate Gray & Davis 6V units again.

Between 1916 and 1920 Maxwells were equipped with various Simms-Huff 12V motor-generators. 1920-25 they switched back to separate 6V units (Simms, Auto-Lite and Remy. I assume your engine was equipped with a Simms-Huff motor generator model HM, SMS-2 or SMS-3. You can run the ignition system on either 6 or 12 volts. Both was in use. It doesn't affect the ditributor.  

 

I would agree, at least thats what would probably connect to it.  However the 1917 truck owners manual has no instructions on how to run the starter, but has instructions for hand cranking, while the car manual has starter instructions but nothing for hand cranking.  Layout drawings for the truck of the period that specifically do not show the starter, but have the horn and other accessories shown, even the cover plate on the starter hole.  Sales articles from period also don't mention a starter.  I'm only a month into my Maxwell journey so I am likely very wrong.

I'm somewhat eyeing this on ebay, i figured it was a badly identified starter, or is this the combined unit you're describing?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1920-1921-1922-Maxwell-Simms-Magneto-Type-B-Rebuilt-RARE-S-/113722336816?_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49292

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