The two-piece timer on the 1911 Ford started to wobble and the engine started to misfire. This was largely due to the fact the timer roller was not made of hard enough steel. It’s a reproduction, and it certainly looks the part and as well we’re grateful someone is making these for the hobby. However, you’ll want to do the same thing to your out-of-the-box two piece timer also so that it can stand up to touring.

When the engine is running, the commutator, which has two pieces, a roller arm on the end of the camshaft and the body which is fixed to the spark advance rod, was wobbling like crazy causing the roller to bounce around inside the body. The caused the engine to misfire.

Here the radiator and fan are removed you can see the commutator on the end of the camshaft.

Commutator cover is removed here the roller inside mounts on the end of the camshaft and as the engine turns, the roller rolls over each of four contacts in turn. firing each cylinder as it passes. This mechanism is a precursor to the modern distributor.

the commutorator body has been turned on the lath to smooth any rough spots that might make the roller bounce as it turns.

the spindle upon which the roller turns was very badly worn becuase of improper assembly by the guy who rebuilt the engine. The worn spindle causes the roller to wobble as it turns, also contributing to misfiring. The newly installed spindle nut on the end of the camshaft was machined to within a few thousands of an inch of the body bushing diameter and reinstalled on the end of the camshaft. It also holds the timing gear in place as shown here.

The roller arm and roller are no longer afixed to the end of the camshaft.The original roller was made out of very soft metal, which had the durability and hardness of a piece of cheese. We remade axles and the roller out of someting much harder that would not wear — drill rod.

The respun commutator bod has been bushed with Amco45, the same material used on marine racing engine bushings.

To make sure everything runs true, we made a false ‘camshaft’ end, miounted the whole thing in the lathe and turned everything inline to make sure it runs straight.

All back together now, a quick test start before the rad is back on. It runs great and doesn’t wobble or misfire like before.