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 Post subject: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 7:15 pm 
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Location: Gretna, Nebraska
I picked up an old Sears timing light recently now that I find myself working on more engine ignition systems.

It is the typical gun-like unit that connects to +12 and the vehicle ground.

The pickup wire coming from the gun has a heavy single conductor lead with a Mueller clip on the end. I assume this is not an inductive pickup, and is for connecting directly to the number 1 plug wire.

If my assumptions are correct, this would seem to be an impractical way to connect to an ignition wire on a vehicle with have a boot on the end connectors?

Was there supposed to be an adapter that allowed you to connect the timing light to the ignition wire?

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 7:32 pm 
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Location: North of Mpls, Minnesota
Looks like this and clips on the spark plug.

Attachment:
T1.jpg
T1.jpg [ 53.62 KiB | Viewed 655 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 8:27 pm 
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Location: Dallas, TX
Yeah, modern engines usually require the inductive pickup. In fact I think that some don't even intend you to connect to the spark voltage. The timing is monitored via the primary (solid state) signal.

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 8:53 pm 
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easyrider8 wrote:
Looks like this and clips on the spark plug.

Attachment:
T1.jpg


Dave


Ezactly.
Except mine is missing the springy thingy.

But it should be pretty easy to make something like that. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 10:04 pm 
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Mine uses an inductive pickup, and it's rather old. Yours must be a lot older.

I never had one of them thar 'springy thingies" ... I want one

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 3:14 am 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
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Location: Dallas, TX
I had one like that at one time.
You stick one end of the spring into the sparkplug connector, the other end of the spring that is larger in diameter, you slip over the plug terminal. Then you just attach the clip to the spring. It doesn't work too well on engines with recessed sparkplugs.

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 3:59 am 
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Notimetolooz wrote:
I had one like that at one time.
You stick one end of the spring into the sparkplug connector, the other end of the spring that is larger in diameter, you slip over the plug terminal. Then you just attach the clip to the spring. It doesn't work too well on engines with recessed sparkplugs.


That gives me an idea. I may rig up an adapter with a old plug wire so it can reach those recessed plugs.

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 4:42 am 
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Location: North of Mpls, Minnesota
Or you can make a adapter and put it in the distributor which may be easier than a sparkplug.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 5:28 am 
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Location: Lincoln City, OR
Greetings to Paul and the Forum:

I once had an old Sears timing light similar to the one you describe. Mine had a metal case. The insulation on the trigger wire was old and leaky, and the inside of the gun where the capacitance element clipped on the outside of the flash tube wasn't insulated very well either.

After the third or forth time I got bit by the thing, it went into the trash can and I bought a more modern timing light with a plastic case and an inductive pick-up.

My best advice would be to do the same. They don't cost very much money and they are soooo much more user friendly.

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 8:13 am 
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Recap and rewire, just like an old Zenith. :)

I picked up an old RAC engine Tune-up kit with meter, vac/comp gauges and timing light in a pawn shop. You can tell a lot about an older engine with all the tests they illustrate. It only lacks the high-current shunt for checking battery/generator amps.

I guess I got lucky, the springy thingy timing light always worked fine. But had it bit me, I probably would've drove my car over the thing, spring and all, after throwing it as far as I could down the driveway!
-Ed



(And then listen to the air escaping from my tire, punctured by that #^@%@^ spring!)


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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 12:39 am 
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We don't need no stinkin Strobe, we used a light bulb hooked up between the 12volts on the points and ground, when the light went out then the points were connected. we fiddled with moving the distributor till we would get the right reading off of the timing mark on the flywheel. and then a feeler gage just to make sure it worked every time.

Oh and another thing I would always adjust the carburetor for maximum vacuum using the mixture screw, then set the Idle screw to 550-RPM. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 2:25 am 
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Joined: Jun Sat 09, 2007 8:14 am
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Location: Florida
I used to have one of those timing lights that was simply a neon tube in a plastic case. One wire to ground, the other to the pug. It worked but wasn't exactly bright, in fact you really needed to have the car in a dark place to see marks on the crank pulley. A spot of white paint helped a lot. By the way, ever work on an old Chevy 6? The timing mark was a steel ball pressed into the flywheel and you observed it through a small window that had a pointer.

I still have a "real" timing light that uses a flash tube. It's powered from the ac line.

The last car I had with a distributor was my 84 Olds.

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 Post subject: Re: Ignition Timing Light Question
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 8:12 am 
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Location: Black Hills, SD 57745
When I finally had a timing light it made the process a lot easier, but I still tweaked the timing to suit my ears and feel of the engine vibration, snap in the throttle. The light gave me a better reference point than I could get by bumping the starter. My '67 MGB ran much better a little bit off the "factory" spec. I assumed that was due to valve train wear. I pretty much tuned the valve clearances and carbs the same way, with hands on the running engine.

The best part was the test drive afterwards! I kinda miss those days, but not the crawling around beneath and the vast number of sockets, extensions and wrenches I always ended up dragging out to find the one that fit!

One of the tools in the old tuneup kit that is still useful on modern cars is the vacuum gauge. More dashboards should have one.
-Ed


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