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Author Topic: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc  (Read 3828 times)

High On Octane

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Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« on: December 01, 2012, 06:29:34 PM »
Does anyone have ANY idea how to set the timing on this bike?  Every time I started the bike for the last 2 weeks it progessively ran worse, and now it won't start at all.  I've gone through and replaced all the gaskets in the cardb and thoroughly cleaned it out.  I also put in brand new plugs and custom made new plug wires, and set the points.  When setting the points, I noticed that is no way to adjust the points plate.  It has the same ignition set up as the 1958 Constellation 700cc, NOT the SR2 ignition.  I'm getting excellent spark, but I can't get the bike even sputter a little bit.  Even when I shoot ether into the carb.  PLEASE HELP!
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 06:53:39 PM »
Here's a couple pics of the magneto.

Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2012, 09:55:03 PM »
The only thing I can think of is in order to run the engine must have four things going on.

1. Fuel.  The ether ought to meet that requirement, for a chug or two
2. Spark.  You say its got a hot spark.
3. Spark at the right time.  If it was running before this should still be close to being right although if you frinkled with the point gap that could change it a lot.
4. Compression.  It should be obvious but maybe it's not enough?  A applied or leaking compression release could lower the compression enough to cause problems.
This assumes the engine has such a thing though.  :-\
Jim
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barenekd

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2012, 11:24:01 PM »
Mags don't have adjustable points plates. You have a totally different animal than the book you're apparently trying to apply the work from.
You have to adjust the timing from the other end at the timing gear.
Your gap looks a little wide. About .010 max is right for a mag.
There is a ground brush on the other end of the mag under the screw with the spring tab on it. Pull that out and see what the condition of it is. Clean the slip ring it rubs on.
The bike looks nice, though.
Bare
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 11:26:19 PM by barenekd »
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ERC

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 03:37:57 AM »
That's a K2F with a manual advance. That is controled with a lever on the handlebars. If the timing changes then your pully under the cover that it's bolted to may be slipping.   ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 12:39:48 PM »
Maybe that's my problem.  There is certainly no lever of any kind on my handlebars.  In fact, there's not a lot of anything on this bike lol.

ERC, would you happen to know how I would go about trying to hook that back up?  Or at least, how to adjust it and where it should typically be in order to get it running again?
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

ERC

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2012, 01:31:43 PM »
They do make that mag that use's an auto advance and doesn't have a manual advance on it they both fit in the same place. The only problem is Enfield doesn't allow the auto advance to be used with that mag on their bikes. To check your timing bring the left cylinder up on compression,roll it back then set the piston to 3/8" BTDC. With the points set at .015 the points should just open at 3/8" BTDC. The mag will now be set to full advance. That means it will most likely start, but you could get a kick back be carefull. Keep your full weight on the kick starter. I just noticed your mag doesn't have the manual advance provision on it. Most likely you'll have to get the correct one. The mag you have was used on Nortons mostly that you could use the auto advance on. You may be able to install a manual advance with the mag in place.    ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 01:07:30 PM »
How difficult and how much money would it take to convert this motor to the SR2 distributor type ignition?  I think I've given up on this magneto. >:(
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

ERC

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 10:03:22 PM »
Not difficult, the only problem they don't make the oil seals for them anymore. I have 2 of them great spark ready to go. But no seals avialible that I've been able to find. The best mag is BT-H out of England I've got one on a Trailblazer. One kick starting. Their similar in looks to the K2F but all electronic and no battery needed. Very easy to Install and set up with the timing. Expensive though.   ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 10:08:08 PM »
Forgot to add did you check the timing like I said? The K2F may be usable as is.  ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2012, 02:07:50 AM »
I tried to set the timing  but I think the "auto advance" system has failed on this magneto.  No matter what I do, it just goes back to exactly how it was.  I can actually rotate the points plate about a 3/8"-1/2" back and forth and watch the point open and close and all the gaps stay completely relevant whether tightened or loose.  Also, I've tried to manually adjust the timing by hand by rotating the points plate but with 1 kick it always moves completely into the counter-clockwise most position.

I'm interested in getting 1 of those SR2 set ups from you.  I'm not worried about the seal, I'm an Assistant Manager for Advance Auto Parts.  I can make something work!   ;)  Let me know how much you need for one and hopefully we can get something figured out  I need to get this bike running!
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 04:10:54 AM by Arizoni »
Jim
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 02:49:36 PM »
The auto advance K2F ones won't work on a R. E. because you need an adaptor plate to bolt it to the motor. The only one that works is the SR2 that bolts directly to the case. Forgot to add the coils for the SR2 have been discontinued also, but you can use one from a Fairbanks morse mag. Your other option is to use your mag with an electronic unit but then you need a battery. I don't want to sell the mags I have right now Scottie. If you want one they have them on Ebay once in awhile, Or Hitchcocks sells used ones. Your best bet is to use the new BT-H mag from England.  ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 04:52:25 PM »
Thanks for the PDF's.  Hopefully I can get this thing working again.  As far as the BT-H mag.........  WAY out of my budget.
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 10:47:21 PM »
Soooooooo.....  My friend came over and took a look after I was completely baffled, and now he is baffled too.  I'm convinced something in this magneto has failed.  I'm guessing the automatic advance mechanism.    :(
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 03:09:14 AM »
Scotty there can't be an auto advance bolted on tha Mag. When that mag is bolted to the engine the adaptor the round piece of aluminum that the mag is bolted to there is no way you can put an advance on the shaft because the shaft is to short under the cover where your cam timing gears are. The only mag that bolts directley to the cover making the shaft longer is the SR2. The mag you have on there needs to have a manual advance hooked to it.  ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2012, 11:25:45 PM »
Scottie, Here's a picture of a mag that I took out of a running Trailblazer. Put it up against your Mag picture you can see the manual advance and also look at point plate. See how they are different. I think the one you have is a different rotation. Making all the timing trouble your having.    ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2012, 11:28:02 PM »
Forgot picture
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2012, 01:57:32 AM »
ERC
That mag looks very similar to the one I was looking at today.
It was on a BSA twin and yes, it had a similar advance cable leading to a control on the handlebars.

The thing I find strange is in the original post it was mentioned that the bike was running and there was a good spark.

Although it might not have been running very well, it must have been close to being right.
Jim
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2012, 11:54:21 PM »
Arizoni I'd have to guess but I think that mag is the wrong one. It would get spark no matter which way it turned. But how it would start could be anyones guess. I wonder how long it was running? His best bet is to remove it and have it checked out.  ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2012, 04:30:49 PM »
Has anyone considered that it might not be timing at all?
Given that the bike was supposedly running well prior to this happening, I'd suspect a breakdown in the armature winding rather than timing.
I've experienced two K2F failures due to this, and both times, when removed from the engine and grounded against the cylinder heads, the sparkplugs produced what seemed to be an adequate spark, yet installed in the engine, the best it would do is fire up and idle for a few seconds. As soon as any attempt was made to actually get usable power from the engine, it would quit running.
Regarding the "manual advance" version of the K2F (the one that just failed in my Interceptor was one of this type), the default position of these (assuming the pawl and spring are in place) would be full advance. If the Pawl and spring are missing, it's anyone's guess where the camring is going to be positioned.
The lever pulls the pawl out against the spring pressure, pulling a notch in the cam ring and rotating it to a retarded position. Moving the lever back allows the spring to push the pawl and camring back to the advanced position.
 
I'm still in the process of converting my Mk1 Interceptor to distributor and points ignition, borrowing the Lucas distributor from my Indian Tomahawk, which probably won't be needing it for another year.
In the meantime, I'll be looking for a more permanent solution, possibly the BTH magneto you guys are talking about.

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2012, 04:24:58 AM »
Carlo, that sounds exactly like what happened to me!  I got the bike running initially, but it didn't run very good.  Automatically assumed it was a fuel issue and went to town on the carb.  But over the course of 10 days or so, every single time I  started it, it ran worse and worse and worse.  But, the last couple days before it quit all together, I could start it and get it to idle, but the millisecond I applied any throttle it puked right out.

AS FAR AS AUTOMATIC OR MANUAL ADVANCE:
ERC, This magneto most certainly does NOT have a cable attached to it like the picture of the one you posted.  I am 100% convinced that I have an Auto Advance set up.  Because after messing around with that points plate for over 2 weeks, I'm telling you, there is NO adjustment on that thing.  It is truly one of the most bizarre set ups I have ever seen.  And just to clear the air, I have set points on several different machines over the course of the last 18 years, and my magneto is just goofy.

So, back to what is most likely the issue here.  CARLO, who do I need to talk to about getting this ting rebuilt?

And thanks everyone for input!
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2012, 04:52:07 AM »
Scottie:
As I've mentioned before magneto's are somewhat of a mystery to me but in the first post you said the mag was producing a excellent spark.

When you said, "excellent" did you mean there was a nice thin blue spark between the spark plug electrodes or did you mean there was a large healthy blue spark with a pronounced snap sound?

My reason for asking is a lot of people will look at a thin blue spark and say, Yup!  That's working."

As you probably know, these thin blue sparks can fail to happen when they are in a highly pressurized environment like a combustion chamber with the piston at TDC.

On the other hand, a large healthy spark with a Snap or Pop will work in the engine fine.

If the spark is the healthy Snapping kind, I can't see how the mag could be making it if the windings were shorting or otherwise defective.

As for the advance and retard of the timing, if your mag is a automatic type, they looked like all of the advancing/retarding was controlled on the gear end in the pictures I looked at.
Jim
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2012, 04:57:13 AM »
You know, it's sparking, but it's definitely not "snapping".

I've been cranking wrenches for almost 20 years, and this bike has me completely baffled.  And it's pissing me because it's cool as shit and I want to ride the damn thing!  LOL
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

rotorwrench

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2012, 01:01:18 AM »
It's too bad you don't have the original SR2 mag that the Trailblazers came with. It also used an automatic advance unit but it is less of a hassel to replace the capacitor (condenser) so was much easier to repair if something went wrong with the ignition. The 700cc Indian Apaches and Connies  had the early K2F with cable retard adjuster on the handlebar but the early 750cc Interceptors changed to auto advance for reliability reasons. Yours looks like the ones on the early 750 models.

I've seen the advance units brazed up in full advance before so anything is possible with bikes as old as these RE twins. If you haven't already, you should take the timing cover off and have a look at that advance unit and make certain your magneto drive chain is in good order. If chain and advance unit is good, at least you are in a position to remove the mag and inspect it more closely. The K2F has its capacitor attached in the rotating coil and its a B!tch to replace so most folks have a professional rework them to insure the unit is functioning properly on a test stand before refitting it. It's not uncommon to have a bad capacitor with the K2F. Make certain all the internal timing and points adjustments are correct before refitting the mag. You have to hold the mag advance unit in full advance to set your ignition timing during the refitting process. First you set the right cylinder piston the the proper depth BTDC on the compression stroke. Install the advance unit just finger tight so you can manipulate the armature of the mag.  Rotate the mag armature forward (counter clock wise looking at the points plate) while holding the advance mechanism against spring tension with a wire or similar tool. Set the mag so the points just start to open with the advance unit held in advance and the right cylinder high tension pick up aligned. Tighten the advance unit up then rotate the engine through and check the left cylinder on compression stroke to confirm it is synchronized. After the timing process is completed then the timing cover can be reinstalled.

You can purchase manuals on CD now for these old machines that cover several different models so you can compare. The 750 models were timed to 5/16" to 11/32" but the old 700cc Trailblazer was 3/8" to 7/16" BTDC with the SR2 mag. 3/8" should be close enough. With the old cable adjustable advance/retard K2F mag you could play with the timing while riding the bike but generaly you only needed to retard on a long hill climb, otherwise you just left them fully advanced except when starting, then you go to retard so it won't launch you over the bars.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 02:29:03 PM by rotorwrench »

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2012, 06:21:07 PM »
Scottie,

Since I run a '54 Bullet with original mag (with manual advance) I've been following this thread.  It took three rebuilds by two different shops to get mine working reliably.  Incidently, mine is timed 7/16" BTD and I generally leave it at full advance, but she will kick back occaisionally when starting.  I do retard it a little if pulling up a long hill.

One of the common culprits for a weak spark is the condensor.  On the first rebuild my bike would start fine from cold then quit after about 10 miles.  Let it cool off for half an hour and it would start and run another few miles.  Second rebuild it would start and run ok but if you shut it off (or stalled it) you'd better go get a beer somewhere because again it would not restart for half an hour.

So, if you suspect a weak spark and the windings check out OK with a meter (ie continuity and not grounded) you might try one of these "Brightspark" condensors.
http://www.brightsparkmagnetos.com/
Been seeing them on E-bay but don't know much about them but for 20 something bucks might be worth a try before paying for a rebuild.

My 2 cents worth,

Andy
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ERC

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2012, 11:50:56 PM »
I think your best bet is to pull the timing cover like Rotor says and see what you have in there.  ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2012, 02:07:50 AM »
Hello "ERC" I am new to this forum, but not to English bikes, or Lucas magneto's. I am the guy on ebay-USA selling the Brightspark condensers. In addition, I also rebuild Lucas & BTH magnetos. I would be happy to look at your mag for free (as is my policy) as long as you ship it to me well packed & insured. Once I can do some accurate testing, I will be able to tell you exactly what the trouble is. If you want me to fix it, great, if not, I will gladly sent it back to you as is at no cost to you. It would be irresponsible for me to try to diagnose you mag trouble without testing it. My ebay handle is "skipsoldbikes" and you will be able to see my feedback for my sales. My "real" name is Skip Brolund & I live near Cleveland Ohio. I am not sure where you are located, but I wouldn't think shipping would be more than $15 ? My business email is [email protected] if you want to ask me any questions?
As I am new on this forum, please let me know if it is OK to offer help like this, since I have a commercial interest.
There are certainly higher quality magnetos that have been made than some of the Lucas units, but once set up correctly, with quality parts & service, they go for years without trouble .

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2012, 02:36:15 PM »
Having an easily replaceable capacitor for the K2F is a really good idea. It would require removal of the old OEM capacitor with proper electrical connection of the coil winding for the new type to be used but that shouldn't be a very big alteration and could be easily returned to OEM if requested.

The old capacitors were made with materials that have been outdated for many years. With the unit in good functional order, a K2F magneto is a very good performing unit. The Prince of Darkness (Joe Lucas) had some good ideas but materials and technology have come a long way since his ideas were put into production.

ERC

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2012, 09:05:27 PM »
Hi Skip, Tha's good to know, I think that Scottie J would benefit from getting in touch with you for help with the mag he is having trouble with.  ERC
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2012, 10:58:26 PM »
As I am new on this forum, please let me know if it is OK to offer help like this, since I have a commercial interest.

Welcome!  Your assistance would be appreciated, there are others that have a commercial interest and regularly comment or suggest on this forum.
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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2012, 02:14:08 AM »
Thank you everyone for your input and suggestions.  I think I'll start by replacing that capacitor and see what happens.  The bike WAS running so I can't imagine being anything real major.

Skip - Thanks for the offer.  I think for now I'll grab one those capacitors from you and try one more time to get my bike running.  If I'm unsuccessful I just might take you up on the offer of having you look at it.
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2012, 09:36:36 PM »
Looking forward to helping out! Perhaps it would be of intrest to post the end rusults & findings along the way.
Often the old capacitor is left in place, but the wiring is bypassed. Makes for an easier job & the new cap is easy to get to should it ever need replaced. I havent had to replace one in service yet.

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2012, 01:43:40 AM »
Alright!  Got the new capacitor ordered.  Let's keep our fingeres crossed and pray for the best!      :D
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2013, 12:49:20 PM »
Well, Scottie has his Brightspark easycap, looking forward to hear about his progress! The website is very step by step. Recharging the magnet is also a good idea, but not many people are equipt to do it (it took me years to find my re-charger). The other big issue is the armature windings, but that can be checked while the mag is apart easily, or just put it back together with the Easycap & see how it works.

Skip

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2013, 01:07:07 AM »
OK.  So, I installed the Brightspark capacitor, FINALLY got the points set to .012 and set the plug gap to .015, and also cleaned up the pick up brushes.  Got the bike to idle again, but it's backfiring out of the carb and still dies when I hit the throttle.  I'm ordering new brushes and a contact set with a new armature from DomiRacer tomorrow and see if that makes a difference.  I also found a guy locally who sells vintage British bike parts and he's going to sell me a brand new Amal 930 concentric carb, jetted to my likings, for $189+tax.

Though, not running quite right yet, I have made some progress on the bike.  I fabricated a custom seat with 2" memory foam, installed a side mount plate bracket with a '33 Ford tail light, and completely rewired the bike and converted it to a 12V system with a Sparx battery eliminator.  I'm slowly getting it ready for the road and trying to upgrade as much as possible to more modern parts.  Basically all I have left to do is get this thing running right.  And with all of your guy's help, SEVERAL hours of Google research, and some Ebay purchases, I'm very close to being done.   :)
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2013, 03:08:07 AM »
I FINALLY got this thing running!  Installed the new brushes and points, and it helped a little bit.  But, once I installed the new carb......  Fired right up and is running like a champ!  So, I'm not sure whether it was spark or fuel causing the problem, or a combination of the two, I'm not sure.  But I'm leaning towards carb still.  Regardless,  NOW it's alive and running strong.  Now I just need to go over the bike and make sure all the nuts and bolts are tight, drain and replace the fluids and make a trip to the DMV!

Thank you everyone for all your help!  I truly, and seriously couldn't have done it without all of your guys' input and help.   :)
Scottie J
Denver, CO

1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer

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Re: Timing Trouble On My 1958 Indian Trailblazer 700cc
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2013, 03:40:31 AM »
Great to hear Scottie! You will find when working on magneto powered bikes, most mag problems are carburetor related  ;D
Best of luck with the project !!!!