Hubert_25-25

Distributor gear to distributor shaft lock

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Posted (edited)

This is the distributor drive from my 1925 Buick.  The drive gear slides over the distributor shaft at the base.  The base of the shaft has 4 cuts in it, a taper section, and is threaded internally.  The securing bolt has a tapered flare to force the lower sides of the shaft to hold the gear.  This allows you to set the distributor in any position.  I had this bolt tight, but not overly tight.  I was afraid to over tighten it- so I suppose I under tightened it.  The car ran great until I started loosing power.  

To set the gear. 

Use a 12 volt battery to power the timing light.   

clamp the wire on the #1 spark plug wire.

The spark advance lever should be all the way Down.  On 1924 and earlier years, all the way up, so check your owners manual. 

On my car, with the lever Down, the timing should be at 7 degrees AFTER TDC.  The factory timing mark. 

This takes a little trial and error to figure which way to rotate the distributor, but not too difficult to hone in on. 

Do not turn the shaft using the rotor.  You could break it,  Use a large screwdriver.   You have to take the rotor on and off a few times, but better than breaking a rotor.

Once set, tighten the bolt with a 7/16 wrench and the large screw driver.  Double check that the timing has not changed.   

As you push the lever up, the mark starts at the 7 degree mark, then it passes the 1-6 mark.  Then you are firing in the before TDC cycle (or more advance).

Since this bolt in the end of the distributor shaft was not tight enough, my timing was being relocated fairly rapidly after start up.  Once about 10 miles into a drive and then about a 1/2 mile.  Double checking the timing with a timing light is good to do.  

I keep a tow rope in the car and my wife is getting good at towing me so that is my back up plan too.  

Hugh

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Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Hugh

 

Search my posts on timing.  Lots of previous discussion. 

 

With today’s fuel that is twice the octane of 1920s fuel, and the engine’s low compression, you can and should run timing more advanced. 

 

Make a similar 7 degree mark BEFORE TDC and time to this with timing lever up. So, 14 degrees more advanced base timing. 

 

Huge improvenent. Been running this way for 20+ years and 40,000 miles as have others.  Give it a try. 

 

Also, with the timing light hooked up, rev the engine and make sure the advance weights advance the timing and return it to set point.  Lots of frozen advance weights out there.  Guessing yours are clean and lubed and little springs hooked up.  But others should check. 

 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Brian, 

    I am wondering if there is something different between the large 1923 and earlier Buick advance levers and the 1925 and up small advance levers.  Looking at the procedures that people have written about setting ignition timing, they start the procedures with "spark advance lever is all the way up".  This is where you start on a Model A with the ignition timing as well.  On a 1925 Buick, it is all the way down, or "full retard" for starting.  This is where you find your idle timing marks.  The factory flywheel mark is 7 degrees After TDC.  I do plan to follow your advise and use 7 degrees Before TDC after I drive the car a little so that I can feel the difference it will make.  There is more to the story though.  

  

First I had installed my advance arm on the end of the spark advance cross shaft pointing up.  This is wrong.  The problem with buying a basket case.  The advance arm should point down.  

A) If you want to be like a model A, put the spark lever "up", put the advance arm pointing "up", set initial timing here.  Pull down for more advance and ignore the arrow that says retard.

B ) Factory set up.  Pull the spark lever Down - Full retard.  Install the advance arm point "down".  Set the ignition timing here.  Push the lever "up" to provide more engine spark advance.  

 

A and B both work, as long as you know that your cranking position is spark advance lever "up" using A and lever "down" using B.  

If your lever arm at the starter generator is correct, and you set the ignition timing with the steering spark arm in the "up" position as has been stated by others, then you retard the spark when you pull it down and this negates the effect of the advance weights and you get retarded or zero advance.  

 

Like the backwards shift pattern of the early Buicks, so goes the spark advance levers.  There was no standard back in the day.  Renting a car would be a very interesting experience.     Hugh

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Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)

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Yes, yours is different than 1923.

 

In 23 both throttle and spark are on the right-hand side   gas lever is longer/outer, spark lever shorter/inner

 

But you get the point, set your full retarded base timing 14 degrees more advanced than the book with your lever in the full retard position.

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And I should have added that for me and the earlier Buicks, both levers up is closed throttle and full retard spark

 

I leave my spark lever fully advanced though since it starts just fine there.  The only time I retard it is to impress someone with how slow I can get it to idle.

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Here is a random 1923 controls pic off the internet

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Posted (edited)

Brian,   

        Thanks for the added notes.  Setting the initial timing at the non factory setting of 7 Before TDC follows more of the norm of other automakers and later engines.   The throttle lever was replaced with the introduction of the bimetallic spring and automatic choke.  The spark advance lever was replaced by the vacuum advance.  Not sure if these disappeared from the steering wheel at the same time or even when.  The vacuum advance will be delayed during cranking (depending on how fast the car starts) and under heavy load as the throttle going wide open will lower the vacuum .  The 2 times that the reference guide suggests retarding the spark.  I have a friend with a Ford Model A and he always retards the spark for cranking as he feels it cranks easier and less risk for kick back.  He said he lost a starter motor from cranking his car with the advance on.  Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe the Delco is a more robust unit?   I have not noticed difficulty cranking if I forgot to retard the spark and just cranked it.    Hugh     

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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The last owner of my car was a Ford model A guy, and he had my Buick because he like the look of the car.  I wonder if he didn't set the timing up reversed on purpose to match the model A.  I was the one that pulled the cross shaft apart, and I reassembled it the way I found it.    

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Posted (edited)

Reminds me of the guy who took a turnbuckle off a screen door and fashioned an adjustable lockable timing rod to dial in his timing perfect with a timing light. 

 

It can be frustrating loosening that jam nut, moving the rotor, re-tightening the jam nut, re-installing the cap and then checking the timing to see how close you got or didn’t get.  Ha. 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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Here is what happened as time marched on in Buick land.  Up thru 1924, the spark and throttle levers were on the right side of the steering column.  In 1925 Buick moved the spark advance to the other side of the steering column when they went to the shorter levers.  What did stay consistent is that rotating the spark lever clockwise advances the timing.    What changed is that the advance lever location to set the basic time went from "all the way up" (pre 1925) to "all the way down" (1925 and later).   I had copied 2 write ups on setting ignition timing from the forum.   Both were written for Pre 1925 Buicks, and this was not stated.   I struggle with a lot of this when I do postings, because so much is very specific to just a few years.     Hugh

 

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