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vertex magnetos

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by johnk320, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. johnk320
    Joined:
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    Erie PA

    johnk320 Member

    I want to learn about magnetos.... how they work, fixed advance, changing advances, application on the street (don't tell me they CAN'T be used on the street), in drag racing applications, etc. I am not looking for opinion but facts. Where can I go to find this information? Who knows this info from practical application? I know who I can send mine to to have it freshened. I want to learn about them myself...

    TIA
  2. Edelbroke
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
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    Princeton WI

    Edelbroke Member

    Me too! I have a Vertex/Taylor mag I'd like to run on the street. Was used in a sprint car application I was told. Locked at zero? I'd rather not send the whole thing somewhere, I'd also like ot know how to work on it myself...
  3. thundershorts
    Joined:
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    South Amboy, NJ

    thundershorts Member

    www.malloryperformance.com has some info and diagrams of their mags. Not sure about Vertex, but maybe search for their site, most mfgs. have tech support/cust. service people. Hot Rod Magazine archives, that kind of thing...
  4. HemiRambler
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    HemiRambler Member

    Locked at ZERO won't work on the street - ya gotta get one locked on 10!!!


    OK just funnin' with ya.

    I ran an unlocked one on the street - they work - but get a GOOD starter - they are at their worst during low cranking speeds.

    I run a fixed (locked) mag in my digger - no problems ever starting - but it does have a real good starter.

    On the street - getting one with advance would likely be better, but like anything - it becomes what your willing to sacrifice.

    If you really wanna get into them - do just that - go get a "junk" one at a swap meet and disect it - that way you won't ruin a good one.
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  5. SinisterCustom
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    SinisterCustom Member

    Could a crafty fella manually "advance" the mag via a cable from the dash...like an old Harley????
  6. sdluck
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    san jose ca

    sdluck Member

    Most of the ones Ive seen can be .unlock
  7. NONAME
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    NONAME Member

    I ran my 48 Hemi with a Joe Hunt (Vertex) on the street. had good compression and only had to fiddle with it once or twice a week. what you need to know about Mags is they don't require a battery to run. they create there own energy. at starting they barely have a spark and at 7000 rpm they are awesome. at highway cruising and below a modern electronic ignition is a much better choice. My son runs the Hunt look alike on his Hemi powered A and just drives it. he's missing the joy of fiddling to get it started in the dark with a flashlight in his teeth.
    like I say "Nostalgia just isn't what it used to be"
  8. porknbeaner
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    Raytown, MO

    porknbeaner Member

    Yes he could or has. Get a Morse cable that you can lock down, set yourself some stops one for advance and one for retard.

    But I don't know that it is at all necessary. I ran a Joe Hunt on my 101" Kickstart pan for 7 years on the road. It was hard to start when it was blue cold out, I push started on those days.

    Make sure that your magnets are up to par and that your points are properly adjusted and in good shape.

    But like as has been stated there are some tradoffs. Its hard to start an engine with 32 degrees total advance already in. Loose some initial advance, your engine will turn more revs retarded anyway if you have the torque to pull into the upper RPM range. You only really need the advance to get her rolling.

    There is an exceptional advantage to running a mag on the street. They are noisey and that screws with electronics. IE bumpin base at the stop light, cell phones, on board computers anything that is not properly shielded. So if you run one I don't have to worry about you talking instead of driving etc.

    Remember always do the right thing, hang up and drive.
  9. gas pumper
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    gas pumper Member

    How about spark gap? is .015 to .018 like we run on racing mags right for the street?
  10. Terry O
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    central coast california

    Terry O Member

    Easier to fire up if you spin the starter first and then unground the mag.
    .015 - .020 is fine for the street.

    Terry
  11. porknbeaner
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    porknbeaner Member

    Exactly.

    .018 is a magic number for me. It probably doesn't make it any better than .015 or .020 but it is the one that I always remember best.
  12. johnk320
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    Erie PA

    johnk320 Member

    Really appreciate all the input so far, guys! Keep it coming. I guess I'm looking for info like how to go from a fixed (0) advance to another advance setting (16, 22, 32), how to determine the "proper" advance setting, point setting (does the gap change with the advance setting?), etc. I have several other Hambers watching this thread as well so give us good info/sources!
  13. oldtom69
    Joined:
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    grandin nd

    oldtom69 Member

    best book you can get is from the dreaded[around here]speedway motors-part #910-85012.Its called surprisingly-vertex magneto service manual!!Speedway also carries all the repair parts for the vertex,but they are expensive wherever you find them.Vertex mags also take alot of special tools-I've been buying them up on e-bay for a few years.for example the points cam is held to the shaft by a taper fix only and it has to be timed to the rotating magnets,different timing for different rotations.I have a gauge for checking magnet strength-much disagreement whether re-magnetizing helps or just a temporary fix.still looking for a distributor machine that has the power to spin a mag for testing.best of luck on your rebuilding,never know 'till you try:)
  14. johnk320
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    Erie PA

    johnk320 Member

    I saw a service manual like this but it was on the taylor/vertex site - $15! Probably the same one? I'm wondering how complete it is for that price? Worth the $$$? What's your take on this???
  15. Edelbroke
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    Princeton WI

    Edelbroke Member

    Here's one locked at zero. Is is possible to bump the advance up to around 10 or 12? Even if it would be locked I guess that would be fine on the street.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  16. johnk320
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    Erie PA

    johnk320 Member

    Hey! Thanks Edelbroke! Now if I just knew what I was seeing!!! I'll get mine out and compare it to these pix.
  17. MeanGene427
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    Napa

    MeanGene427 Member

    We used to run Vertexes on the carbureted alcohol SuperStock roundy-rounders in the 80's, both with advance and locked. Wasn't really an advantage to using advance in that usage, when cold, just a squirt of gas in the carb, get it spinning and flip the switch- once it had warmed up a bit, it would start the rest of the night on alcohol- but no more than .020 plug gap or no startee- which eliminates any advantages from running large plug gaps. Later on the sprinters we used the Mallory stuff, not as tempermental- and push starting was easier, faster you push it, more spark- just push faster :p
  18. J. Fitzhugh
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    Finksburg, Maryland

    J. Fitzhugh Member

    I have been running an angle drive mag on my flatheads since 1983. There is the ability to have an advance curve within the mag. I had mine set to factory Ford specs. I use the .018 spark plug gap. My only issue after 25 years, my coil started to fail when it heated up. I had Pat Mason replace the coil and reset the thing. Works great.

    Attached Files:

  19. johnk320
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    Erie PA

    johnk320 Member

    Great looking rod, Jay! Love the engine shot! Where in PA is Pat? If he's done work for you, it's worth me looking at...

    John
  20. Triggerman
    Joined:
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    NorCal

    Triggerman Member

    johnk320, I know my experience does not translate directly to your question but I will offer my two cents. I ran a Mallory mag in the engine in my avatar for about three years. I found the mag was best at lighting off the rich mixtures I was running with the injection. I should mention this was street driven. Contrary to what was mentioned above, I thought the mag was better at firing a carboned up plug than any electronic ignition I have used. Also, I got lucky and scored this mag at a swap and it already had 21 degrees centrifugal advance built in and it all came in at 1400 rpm. Ummm, the engine idled at 1500 rpm so it was pretty zippy LOL. Soo, you can run a mag on the street and if you get some centrifugal advance it will seem normal. Porkandbeaner makes valid points about the RF noise they make. It will really screw with your electronics like a conventional electronic tach. Autometer makes a tach just for mags BTW.
  21. Ralph
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    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada

    Ralph Member

    That was a #6602 Tach I think, from my research. Discontinued, I believe. Autometer has a Magneto signal convertor, but I spoke directly to Autometer, And the tech guy on the phone said "we haven't had much success using those with the internal coil mags."
    Ralph
  22. skunk victim
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    toronto canada

    skunk victim Member

    my coupes olds 303 has one done by tony at ross engines. works amazing on the street. not one issue, loving every second of it!
  23. Triggerman
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    NorCal

    Triggerman Member

    Then I would suggest a mechanical tach drive.
  24. Von Hartmann
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    Byron, IL

    Von Hartmann Member

    How do I know which mags have an external coil and which ones have an internal coil? I would like to continue running my old sun tach (model without transmitter).


    Also, as mentioned before about manually advancing them. Could a guy use a choke cable to a custom arm on the mag to change the advance to make it start easier, and then advance it back once it is running for performance? My car is street driven, and I would like it to remain so. Even though it may be a total bitch to do.

    I don't know much about these. I'm trying to learn about them because I would like to trade in my MSD for a mag... because it makes sense to go backwards in technology.
  25. abone1930
    Joined:
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    Pinehurst,TX

    abone1930 Member

    If it is external the coil is on the outside, usually it's attached to the dizzy . I had all msd on my 521 ford in my jet boat, went to a mag when I had issues with the msd, running a vertex with an internal coil. Luv mags, just had one freshned up in the model a. I Dont think the cable will work with advancing the cable
  26. Dapostman
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    Punta Gorda Fl

    Dapostman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    They used to make a Super-Start relay for mags, that gave battery power to the coil for starting; I believe it worked like a T coil, but I'm not certain.
  27. lippy
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    lippy Member

  28. Von Hartmann
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    Von Hartmann Member

    Visited a friend of mine yesterday who raced S/S in the 60s. He still runs a couple of Arlen Vanke's old S/S. He convinced me that a mag is the way to go.

    For street use, from what I understand, I need to find a mag that the advance has not been locked in. Or one that has been locked by a method other than welding it.
  29. Von Hartmann
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    Von Hartmann Member

    As for the use of a sun tach with the Mag. If the mag has a tach drive, there is a sending unit that screws onto it so that you can run a regular tach.

    Or locate an original Sun tach 'Mag' transmitter box. Found one yesterday. However, I was told these require a cap with the spot to attach the wire for the sending unit.
  30. Triggerman
    Joined:
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    NorCal

    Triggerman Member

    Exactly, the Mallory mag in my avatar engine has a really limited centrifugal advance but it's enough to make the mag usable on the street.

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