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*Vertex Magnetos:Mr. ModelT is having some issues..*

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by MrModelT, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member

    Hello All!

    I know many of you know my '26 T roadster and that I am running a 12 Mallory auto-advance distributor built by Bubba's Ignition. The system works great, but I have been experimenting with switching to a Vertex Magneto for reliability on longer trips from home. My Alternator has failed in the past and with out that I only have 150 -200 mile range on a fully charged battery. At least with a Mag, I'm putting less drain on the battery and if the alternator fails....I can just crank start it and keep going.

    I can't fit the old style T magneto drives (for say a Bosch DU-4 or Eismann E-4), but since the distributor mount I have now uses a VW-style distributor head.....a Vertex Magneto made for a VW should be a perfect alternative and switch out.

    So I did some searching and dug up this really nice Vertex/Ronco Magneto on Ebay...

    [​IMG]

    It is in really nice shape....gives off a good spark (yes, I accidentally shocked myself with it) and it just fit perfectly. Ordered some tune up stuff from Don Zigg and got some advice on how to set it up.

    Got it all wired in, coil ignition components disconnected, kill switch hooked up and ready to go...

    [​IMG]

    ...pulled the hand crank over.....nothing. Again...nothing. Cranked until my arm was tired, then tried the starter....still nothing.

    I pulled all the plugs and checked my gap, checked the kill switch, checked the wires, I even pulled the plugs and rolled it over with them out to check spark....nothing.

    I know it doesn't have an impulse unit....but I have fired Mags with no impulse and they go easy.

    Even with the starter spinning on 12v, I get no spark at the plugs.

    What am I doing wrong?
     
  2. SUHRsc
    Joined: Sep 27, 2005
    Posts: 5,078

    SUHRsc
    Member

    Is your switch wired correctly so its not grounded all the time, possibly through the body of the switch?
     
  3. H.G. Wells
    Joined: Mar 11, 2006
    Posts: 386

    H.G. Wells
    Member

    You are not going to spin it fast enough with a crank to get it to fire.
    Call Zig and see if he gives you better info. I have Vertex mags on two different motors and if you don't get them spinning the will not hit. (sorry just re read that you did use starter) Still may not have enough speed. In my experience these things work or they do not.
     
  4. metal bender
    Joined: Apr 1, 2009
    Posts: 177

    metal bender
    Member
    from texas

    Disconnect the kill switch at the mag you may have too small of a switch
     

  5. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member


    I thought about that too, So I tried it with the switch disconnected completely....still no joy.

    The switch I have is handheld and hooked up via test leads just to make sure it all works before permanently removing the coil ignition. I don't think its grounding out....I would feel that. :D
     
  6. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member


    That is what I'm afraid of...not being able to crank start it. That was the entire reason for switching to a mag. If the battery goes, I can't use the starter. 12v is also really hard on the Bendix springs.

    I will give Don a call...see what he says.
     
  7. SUHRsc
    Joined: Sep 27, 2005
    Posts: 5,078

    SUHRsc
    Member

    also, your wires look a little worn and going through that brass? tube... could it be arcing in there? have you tried it with different wires directly out of the cap?
     
  8. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member

    Good call. They don't look worn (on last inspection 2 days ago) and ran fine for more than a year with my distributor, but maybe the Vertex is more susceptible.
     
  9. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member


    The switch I have is pretty "Hurky"... it should be more then substantial.
     
  10. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,004

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Clayton

    Make sure the mag is turning, as you know the drive gear is only pinned to the cam (plus the retaining nut)
    so make sure you haven't sheared the pin. That mag takes more 'umph' to turn that a distibutor
    also gap the plugs at .018"
     
  11. Pull the plugs & take the cap off the mag. Run a test/jumper wire from the mag to ground to short it so it doesn't possibly damage the mag.(Eliminate the switch for this test)

    Spin it over & see how fast the rotor is turning...try to visualize/remember it.

    Put the plugs back in & spin it again,& try to compare how fast it was turning with the plugs out.

    If it "looks" too slow it probably is---

    Let us know,,good luck!
     
  12. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 1,004

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Is your mag the proper rotation for that application ?
     
  13. ronnieroadster
    Joined: Sep 9, 2004
    Posts: 837

    ronnieroadster
    Member

    Any good Vertex mag will put spark to a plug with only a slight rotation of the shaft. You do not need a full revolution to get a spark form a Vertex mag. Heck if you hold the shaft in your hand and rotate it you should feel the pull of the magnets and you should also feel the spark jump the points.
    To test the mag is simple first place the mag in the vise so its contacting metal then put a jumper on the ground post next put the other end of the jumper on the top of the plug. With the outside of the spark plug touching the vise when you rotate the mag you should see a spark jump across the plug gap. The proper gap for the plug is no more than .025. If you do not see any spark jump the mag is NG. With a good mag hand cranking the motor would be no problem the plugs will have spark. Also be sure the rotation of the mag is correct.
     
  14. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 296

    J. Fitzhugh
    Member

    I run a mag on my flathead and it starts at very low speed almost instantly. Send your mag to a professional to be sure that it is set up correctly. I use Pat Mason and Mason Racing Ignitions (MRI) in PA. MRI is close enough to me that I can drive there.
     
  15. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223

    F&J
    Member

    post 1 says you got zapped, but then odered some tune up parts.

    "When something that once worked until you worked on it, go back to undo what you did wrong"

    Did you test spark it before installing it? If not, take it out, and set it up in a vice, to find out what you did wrong.

    Mags are simple theory; a iron object moving through a magnet, makes electrons flow. Electrons need a path, like wiring, to flow through, without grounding out, etc. Simple.;)
     
  16. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member

    Boy.....looks like I have some testing to do :)

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  17. rotorwrench
    Joined: Apr 21, 2006
    Posts: 633

    rotorwrench
    Member

    A mag has internal timing too. The points have to open near the point of E-gap to get the flux flow reversal spot on. Once the internal timing is set, you can then time it to the engine.

    Those old Scintilla/Vertex mags do take more HP to make them turn than say a Wico or Fairbanks-Morse type 4 banger mag. If you have no way to adjust timing mechanically (like all the old bangers used to be) then you just have to set it at full advance and leever alone.
     
  18. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member

    Okay, so I pulled the Vetex out, hooked up my handy spark tester to the ground lug and spun it by hand in the same direction as the motor is spinning it......nice big blue spark.

    Took the cap off and hooked it right to the internal coil lead and rolled it by hand.....nice big blue spark (acctually bit me while I was doing it).

    Put the Vertex back in the motor, put the cap back on and connected the spark tester on the spark wire #1 and grounded it to the block and spun it with the crank by hand......nothing.

    Took out spark wire #1 and put the tester in the hole for direct contact and spun it with both the hand crank and starter.....nothing.

    Took the cap back off and hooked the spark tester direct to the coil lead and rolled it with the starter......big blue spark.

    I think I have a bad cap.....

    *side note: I ordered a tune up set, but haven't installed them yet. The magneto is untouched.



    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  19. fast30coupe
    Joined: Nov 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,019

    fast30coupe
    Member
    from Illinois

    Make sure you are using non resistor type plugs and wires.


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  20. D.N.D.
    Joined: Aug 15, 2012
    Posts: 1,385

    D.N.D.
    Member Emeritus

    Hi Mister T

    I would send your Vertex to Don anyway just to make sure it is in top condition ,as he can run it up on his air pressure run up machine and check the insides too

    That Boy is the best for mags, did all mine for yrs while I was building engines and never had a problem

    Is he still located in South L.A.?

    G Don
     
  21. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member

    I might just do that. I will give he and Joe a call, see what they think.. He told me that if Ronco was the last one to have had that magneto open, don't open it. It wouldn't hurt to have it looked at.

    Yes, still in South L.A.

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  22. 41 Dave
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,594

    41 Dave
    Member

    Clayton, Wish you all the best in getting your Mag to fire your "T". Looking forward to a video of the "T" starting and running on the Mag ! ! !

    Dave
     
  23. MrModelT
    Joined: Nov 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,669

    MrModelT
    Member

    Same here Dave. The coil is toast so I will need to send it to have it rebuilt.....as the coil pack is toast :(

    All in the game ya know... :D

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