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Questions about Magnetos

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Leadsled51, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. Leadsled51
    Joined: Dec 21, 2001
    Posts: 333

    Leadsled51
    Member

    I have a couple questions about running a Magneto that doing a search didn't really answer. Most of the posts here are about running one on the street, but this will be for a strip only car, so I need a little advice. A fellow HAMBr has one for sale in the classifieds, but I assume that since it is used it will need rebuilt.

    1)How much is a rebuild on one of these? I'm just wondering a general rebuild, ballpark figure. If its as much as a new one, might as well get new i suppose.

    2) Do most of these have a fixed advance? I've seen them where advance is locked at zero. Does this mean you set the advance assuming engine is ran wide open?

    3)Do you use solid core plug wires with these?

    4)I have a Hilborn mechanical fuel injection unit I am planning on running. Is it really necessary to run a magneto, or would running a mag be more for nostalgia looks more than actually needing it?

    I patiently await your excellent answers!
     
  2. [​IMG]

    Not an expert but, have 4 magneto equipped motors now. I use Don Zig in LA for my magneto servicing. The rebuild cost depends on the parts needed. The coils can go bad.

    On the advance, my understanding is only the Vertex style mags can be built with an advance. The Mallory super mags canot have this feature. You run the advance primarily for a street or marine application. Should not need it for a drag car. It aids in repeated starting after engine is warmed up.

    http://www.donzig.com/ (323)735-6216


    Yes, you use solid core wires. Hope this helps
     
  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,470

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Not sure what you have in mind... you should know a magneto is not as good as electronic ignition.

    Magneto dates back to the early days of cars and motors. Electrical systems were primitive and prone to breaking down. In those days a magneto was a desirable feature on an expensive car, for hot spark and reliability. Even then, luxury cars had dual ignition, coil and mag, coil for starting and mag for high speed because magnetos didn't put out as hot a spark for starting, even back then.

    By the 30 improved ignition systems put the magneto out of business. Coil ignition was hot and reliable, better than magneto. The exception was race cars. Race cars used a mag for 2 reasons 1) hot spark at high speed 2) they were self contained and did not need an electrical system. You could can the starter, generator, battery, wiring etc and just run a mag. Light weight and simple.

    Today you can get electronic ignition that is better and cheaper than a magneto. The only reason to want one is the nostalgia kick.
     
  4. Leadsled51
    Joined: Dec 21, 2001
    Posts: 333

    Leadsled51
    Member

    Thats kind of what I was thinking.....I didn't know if running a mag would be better with the Hilborn or not. I like the nostalgia looks of the mag, but if I can make an electronic ignition work just as good, might not have as much trouble with starting, idle, etc.
     

  5. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,970

    Truckedup
    Member

    I'm familiar with magnetos on British bikes.I used to race a Triumph and wondered how that tiny blue spark from the Lucas mag could fire the plugs at high rpm.I mean the points ignition seemed to have a bigger spark but would be more prone to misfire..
    An aircraft mechanic explained it to me.Almost no aircraft engine has points and coil ignition,must be a reason more than because a mag is a stand alone system
    It's all about spark duration not voltage. A magneto produces a spark lasting much longer than a Points ( Kettering) ignition.This long spark is more likely to fire the mixture in the cylinder under demanding conditions.
    Until the multiple spark electronic ignition came along,nothing worked like a magneto including a normal HEI's.
    This is not to say every magneto is better than other systems,just a general statement.
    you can kinda cheat a points ignition into a longer spark duration by using solid core wires.All radio suppression wires will cut off part of the spark duration.This can be seen on testing equipment.
     
  6. Jmountainjr
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,304

    Jmountainjr
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    On gas or alky? A Vertex can have a fixed plate (no advance) so you set you full advance and forget it, or can have a 7 1/2 degree (15 at the crank) or 12 degree (24 at the crank) advance plate installed. Most of the ones you find are fixed, but you can get the advance installed during your rebuild. Redulid costs depends on parts and if the magnets need to be recharged. Yes on solid core wires. And you need to close up the plug gaps to something in the .018-.022 range. Biggest reason to run one is you don't need a battery - at least not for ingition - and spark duration. Other than that, it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Remember these were the answer in the world before MSD. Today, well it depends.
     
  7. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 696

    snaptwo
    Member

    Do you plan to use a starter? If you do then you should have some advance built into the mechanical advance of the mag. We used to run 36 total on an injected SBC and had 18 deg. in the mag that was all in at 2000 RPM. We tried to run a Schieffer style mag, (locked out) and it was hell on starters. Today I think I'd look into a MSD style ignitor with a box . No sending the thing in every season for a check up . You can change chips in the box to set your advance curve for conditions. Another thing is the drag produced by a mag. versus a HEI .
     
  8. 51box
    Joined: Aug 31, 2005
    Posts: 966

    51box
    Member
    from MA

    Stack injection and HEI should not be in the same conversation. A magneto is by far the best ignition to run in a race car of this type. Mechanical injection and magnetos go together like strippers and glitter. Go with a locked out unit, get her spinning and flip the switch. I bought two used units because i wanted the old style tach drive for around 300 and they worked. Now if you had to rebuild depending on condition its gonna be close in price to a new unit.
     
  9. Leadsled51
    Joined: Dec 21, 2001
    Posts: 333

    Leadsled51
    Member

    This will be for my 63 Falcon nostalgia gasser.....it will be running gas, no alky. Was looking at a cable drive one thats in classifieds. Yes it will have a starter and battery.
     
  10. abone1930
    Joined: Jan 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,321

    abone1930
    Member

    Just had mine freshned up from a guy here in Texas, He is on the internet under Vertex repair. Forney Texas, cost me 80.00 to recharge and check out the mags. I luv them been running them for years. Some have advanced built in some are locked a zero. Solid core wires, and plugs gapped at .018. They either work or they dont :D no guessing, cheap to rebuild., and the only thing that will look right with injection is a Old Mag sitting there. I am running a Ronco in my model a. Here it is running. starts easy too.The air cleaners are only on there tempoarly, untill I get air cleaners for my Bds scoop :D
    http://s69.photobucket.com/albums/i76/pro53/?action=view&current=44c46360.mp4
     
  11. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426

    Willy301
    Member

    Lead, is that a ht or a sedan....in other words, do you have the Falcon yet, or are you planning to steal mine???:D

    I have several old engines with mag ignition, and especially if you are not planning to run an alternator, the mag is the best choice. The old mags like the solid wires, not sure about the automotive mags...
     
  12. pro 39
    Joined: Dec 26, 2011
    Posts: 60

    pro 39
    Member
    from Michigan

    Contact Len Hughes. He is in Bristol IN.Len is a great guy and can set you straight on the ins and outs of Mags! He went through my Vertex that is in my '39 Chevy.Google: Hughes Magneto
     
  13. Leadsled51
    Joined: Dec 21, 2001
    Posts: 333

    Leadsled51
    Member

     
  14. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426

    Willy301
    Member

     
  15. Leadsled51
    Joined: Dec 21, 2001
    Posts: 333

    Leadsled51
    Member

    Here is my Falcon, Willy301. I think its called a T-Bird top? It has a post, so I don't think it would be called a hardtop.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Questions? I have one. I just installed a Vertex from 1962 vintage on my 392 Hemi. It was just rebuilt with new coils and street advance curve put it. It is runs and starts fine - but - it wobbles a little. I can see about 1/32" wobble at the engine block and about 1/8" at the top of the cap.

    I did not put shims under the mag. Is this a possible cause? Or is it likely the shaft is bent? I was running an electronic dizzy before and never saw any wobble. Actually I have never seen a dizzy wobble.
     
  17. abone1930
    Joined: Jan 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,321

    abone1930
    Member

    I had the same issue, bbc, running an old Crager blower intake, put the dizzy in, was wobbling, and would not go down all the way, put some shims under it and bought a Joe Hunt mag holder, works fine now, seems to be anyway. The joe hunt holder wraps around the mag, then tights up in two places.
     
  18. abone1930
    Joined: Jan 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,321

    abone1930
    Member

    The falcons awesome looking:D
     
  19. abone1930 - thanks for the advice! It was sitting too deep. I put some shims under the base and its fine now. That is a cool Falcon!
     
  20. koth
    Joined: Apr 30, 2007
    Posts: 161

    koth
    Member

    I also have a couple mags I use in my cars. I have used Pat Mason, Mason Racing Ignitions, just like Len Hughes, they have alot of experience with injected motors for sprint cars, so they can both give you excellent input on the right ignition to use and how to set it up for your application.
    Pat's number is 610-287-1511. I have run both spiral wound and solid core wires, but mine is a street application. Best of luck!
     
  21. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,665

    Kan Kustom
    Member

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