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Glenn Shull

How to start a 1927 Erskine

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After having my generator repaired, I need help setting the timing so the car will start.  The Continental engine has the distributor going down through the back of the generator.  The markings are very hard to find on the flywheel due to rust and grease.  

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Remove #1 spark plug,  with your thumb over the spark plug hole turn the engine over until you feel compression.  Using a soda straw or a piece of wire(long enough so it will not fall into the engine) angled to hit the piston, not the valves turn the engine over until you feel the piston at top dead center.  Install the distributor, the rotor will be pointing at the terminal for #1 cylinder.  Since the distributor turns CCW counter clock wise plug the spark plug wires in order 1,5,3,6,2,4  Or you can fiddle around taking the distributor out and in until the rotor ends up pointing to your #1 spark plug terminal.  There is no reason that the distributor needs to be installed in any particular position.  Who would even know how it was situated before you took it out.

With the wires plugged in rotate the distributor until the points are just opening.  At this point your engine will run, not timed perfectly but it will run.  One running and warmed up so it will idle loosen the clamp and turn the distributor slightly in either direction until it runs smoothly.  One you have it running smoothly it would be a good idea paint a dot on the crankshaft pulley and on the block so you can easily find a basic timing mark.

I am attaching a wiring diagram in case you want to go back to the factory position.

erskine1927wiring.jpg

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Tinindian has it pretty much nailed down.  I would add one thing.  Position the spark lever at approximately the half way point of its travel, then proceed as above.

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2 hours ago, dictator27 said:

Position the spark lever at approximately the half way point of its travel,

Thank you dictator27, I had no idea about the manual spark as I have never seen a '27 Erskine.  That is just how I re-time any old flathead engine.

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The only thing I do different is to take an old spark plug base and throw away the porcelain and put a small balloon over the base.  Screw it into the #1 spark plug hole.  Crank it over and the balloon will inflate on the compression stroke.  I find it easier to watch a balloon then feel the compression with my finger.  Follow Tinindians instructions.

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I wonder why Glenn posted the same question two hours ago under technical.  Mark Shaw gave him basically the same information as was given here.  

What do you really want Glenn.  We are all aficionados here trying to help newbies and others who are stuck with a problem.  If you need something more specific ask here where you started.

We all wish you good luck on your engine.

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As a newbie he may have lost this initial thread and not know how to find it, I doubt he’s trying to annoy anyone with repetitive questions....

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I was going to suggest going to the Erskine dealership but I guess they closed up a number of years ago.

511037DF-2437-4542-8B6E-2A2993694F4D.jpeg

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