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Thread: New on the Block! 1909 Indian single, Mag Timing question!!!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    9

    Default New on the Block! 1909 Indian single, Mag Timing question!!!!

    Hi Folks, Been looking to get an early Motocycle for several years and finally found one that suited my needs and price range. I ended up with a very nice 1909 Indian Single, 2 3/4 HP that was restored back in 1960 from a very original bike. My intent is to get it running again (been sitting for almost 20 years) and be sure it's sorted out, then re-restore it to new condition. My experience is with Brass era cars which I restore, show and tour.
    Currently I'm disassembling some of the moving parts to get things free and lubricated. In doing so, I pulled the cover off the Mag timing gears and one of the gears was stuck to the cover. Now I have the issue of trying to get the gear back in correctly, however things have moved! I've now cleaned everything up and looked for the gear index marks of which there are many and can't be sure which are correct. So to this point I have used a dial indicator in the spark plug hole and have the piston at top dead center on compression stroke. So my question is, do I advance the timing (full advance) and set the Mag to fire at some measurement after top dead center or what? Thanks for any help!

  2. #2

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    Full advance will probably be between 25 and 35 degrees before TDC, never after.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Kitabel, thanks for the info! Just a little more info to be sure I'm clear. Yes I understand BTDC for sure. Would you simply use a degree wheel on the crankshaft to determine the advance and a light or ohm meter across the magneto points to determine the spark firing time? One major question I have, as I have always worked on the Brass era cars and had to be sure when the timing was fully retarded the crankshaft was just past top dead center so the hand crank had no chance of kicking back when starting the car. When I start this bike and I'm pedaling with the spark fully retarded and the compression relief engaged, then I start to advance the timing and gain compression, do I have to worry about the pedals kicking back? Is there an double check of the timing in the retarding position I should perform? Thanks again for any help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    479

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobster View Post
    Kitabel, thanks for the info! Just a little more info to be sure I'm clear. Yes I understand BTDC for sure. Would you simply use a degree wheel on the crankshaft to determine the advance and a light or ohm meter across the magneto points to determine the spark firing time? One major question I have, as I have always worked on the Brass era cars and had to be sure when the timing was fully retarded the crankshaft was just past top dead center so the hand crank had no chance of kicking back when starting the car. When I start this bike and I'm pedaling with the spark fully retarded and the compression relief engaged, then I start to advance the timing and gain compression, do I have to worry about the pedals kicking back? Is there an double check of the timing in the retarding position I should perform? Thanks again for any help!
    I dont think a light or ohm meter will work for points opening indication.Visual will most likely get you close enough,or put a thin cigarette paper or something about .001 thickand rotate until it gets loose.
    I use a magneto induction timer which has a buzzer and light .They used to be advertised in the club mag for $4o.
    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks for the advice, we'll see how it goes!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    4,157

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    Generally on early bikes, you want to time the magneto at full advance, with the piston approximately 3/8" - 7/16" BTDC, and magneto points just about to break. Is your 1909 the early Diamond frame Indian, or the first year Loop frame?
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
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    Thanks Eric, mine is a Loop Frame, 2 3/4 HP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    255

    Default

    love to see a photo of bike please

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    9

    Default Pic of the bike

    Hereís a couple of pics of the bike.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10

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    Thanks for sharing the pictures. Beautiful machine you have. My experience is with later PowerPlus engines, but I agree with what Eric said, 3/8 to 7/16 inches BTDC with the spark control fully advanced.

    The procedure I use on PowerPlus motors is as follows: Install all the timing gears except the idler gear that engages with the mag gear. Place the piston at 3/8 inches BTDC on the compression stroke, and set the mag so the points are just opening. Drop the idler gear in, ignoring the marks. If you canít drop it in because the the gear teeth donít line up, rotate the mag slightly in the direction of advancing the timing until they do. Re-check the timing afterwards, but this should get you into a workable range. To make finer adjustments you would need to re-key the mag gear, which you shouldnít have to do.

    Personally I like to use a buzz box to determine when the points are opening because it seems like Iím usually on my knees in a dark motel parking lot when Iím doing this, but I have done it successfully by just eyeballing the points. Good luck, hope to see a video.

    Kevin Naser
    1916 Indian Powerplus - Cannonball Bike
    1941 Indian Chief - Sonny
    1964 Triumph TR6 - 50 year ISDT Tribute
    1969 BMW R60US
    1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
    Etcetera

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