Traction tuning
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Thread: Traction tuning

  1. #1
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Default Traction tuning

    I came across a situation yesterday on a friends car that I have encountered several times over the years. The procedure for setting the static advance is stated in the owners manual. It goes a bit like this:-
    1 insert a 6mm pin in the hole on the the left side of the bell housing.
    2 crank the engine by hand until the pin engages the slot in the flywheel.
    3 remove the pin immediately and do not turn the engine again until the adjustment is made.
    4 loosen the distributor clamp and with a timing light connected between the low tension lead of the coil to distributor and a convenient earth point turn the distributor until the the light illuminates.
    5 for post war petrol ( and this is the point that the unawary get it wrong ) advance the distributor 4 degrees and re-tighten the distributor clamp.

    All sounds simple and straight forward--------BUT----- and this is a BIG BUT --------Today's petrol bears very little resemblance to the stuff that was being offered in Post War Europe and England. They referred to it as "Pool Petrol". I guess it was whatever they could get hold of in the post war recovery period.

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    IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO ADD THE EXTRA 4 DEGREES TO THE SETTING

    LOCK THE CLAMP AT THE SETTING DICTATED BY THE PIN IN THE FLYWHEEL.
    This corresponds to 8 degrees static advance.

    The car that I drove yesterday was so far over advanced that it sounded as though the bottom end was going to drop out. Five minutes work to put things straight and it ran as sweetly and smoothly as a Traction's engine should.
    The sad thing is that the owner had been driving the car for a long time thinking that this rough running was normal "because it was an old car" and had been told so by the local mechanic that installed the new points and condenser.
    Last edited by gerrypro; 28th November 2012 at 06:49 PM.
    Cheers Gerry

  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    This experience has triggered some thoughts on your friend's experience & I wonder why the original recommendation for a total of 12* static advance with modern fuels is not correct. If one doesn't have access to tuning figures, a 10* static advance is the usual default starting position, & I would have thought that 12* should not have shown dramatic over advance symptoms.
    I question whether the original mechanic got the final adjustment correct. Did he advance it 4* on the camshaft pulley resulting in 8* at the flywheel ? That would certainly result in serious over advance symptoms.
    Of course if the points dwell has been changed since the original distributor setting, then the timing will be different, but not I would think dramatically. It is also possible the advance curve is way out, but that would show up with a timing light.
    It could be interesting to see if performance can be improved by ACCURATELY advancing the timing to the original 12* .
    I hope you don't think I am trying to teach you how to suck eggs, but I find it strange that 12* should result in such dramatic symptoms as described.

    Cheers, Richard

  3. #3
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Gee's you wouldn't like the way I set the timing ..... I stick the dizzie in it, spin it around until the motor fires, then road test by retarding/advancing until it seems to run the best

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  4. #4
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Richard do you drive a traction? 8 degrees works best with these engines.
    You can fine tune it by using the advance retard control on the dashboard if you want.
    There is no advance scale on these engines like on the later engines So the timing hole and slot in the flywheel works well.
    Also these are long stroke engines. At 12 degrees the piston is further down the bore than in a short stroke engine. Therefore over advance is going to more noticeable.
    One more thing ---I stated that this engine was significantly over advanced-----I did not specify 12 degrees was the figure that THIS engine was adjusted to.
    Last edited by gerrypro; 28th November 2012 at 06:53 PM.
    Cheers Gerry

  5. #5
    1000+ Posts dogboy's Avatar
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    Thanks Gerry
    My Traction doesn't seem to be running as sweet as it should... when cold it's a bugger if not impossible to drive and seems like it has a miss....but then it comes right after quite a bit of time to warm up..
    last long drive into the F1 Grand Prix (80 odd kms) it drove well until we hit some slow traffic and then I watched the temp climb!!!
    I have tried altering the advance/retard inside the cabin but don't know where it should be set??
    reading this I think I will check the basics....
    Rev. Dogboy


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  6. #6
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    Andrew. I usually set the dash control so that the knob is vertical. ( yours is an
    11BL ?)
    Then I time the distributor with the "Old 6mm pin in the bell housing trick" ( to be read with a Maxwell Smart accent)
    Does your distributor have a vacuum capsule? It may be faulty and not drawing on enough advance in the closed throttle situation.
    You may also be suffering from air being drawn past the throttle spindle if the carb has a worn throttle shaft. This makes them idle lean. You can correct this to an extent with the mixture screw for idle.
    Also check the float level. If it is too low the carb will run lean at speed.
    Another silly question! Is your radiator clean?
    Cheers Gerry

  7. #7
    1000+ Posts dogboy's Avatar
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    Hi Gerry...yes...it's an 11BL...should knob be in up vertical or pointing down vertical?? does that make sense??
    The car was supposed to be fully rebuilt but was done quickly as the previous owner was dying and wanted the car finished ASAP.
    Mine has 123 electronic ignition fitted as well....not sure if it has a vacuum capsule and wouldn't know what they look like!!
    Thanks for the tips....maybe I can finally get her running a lot better...
    Good question re Radiator...think I will flush it out just to be sure....any particular additive to the water?
    cheers

    Quote Originally Posted by gerrypro View Post
    Andrew. I usually set the dash control so that the knob is vertical. ( yours is an
    11BL ?)
    Then I time the distributor with the "Old 6mm pin in the bell housing trick" ( to be read with a Maxwell Smart accent)
    Does your distributor have a vacuum capsule? It may be faulty and not drawing on enough advance in the closed throttle situation.
    You may also be suffering from air being drawn past the throttle spindle if the carb has a worn throttle shaft. This makes them idle lean. You can correct this to an extent with the mixture screw for idle.
    Also check the float level. If it is too low the carb will run lean at speed.
    Another silly question! Is your radiator clean?
    Rev. Dogboy


    1969 DS21 Pallas BVH with leather
    1970 Renault 16TS
    1967 Honda S800 cabrio
    Citroen 1970 DS21 Cabrio replica
    Citroen 1966 ID Safari (with 23 running gear)
    Citroen 1975 DS23 Safari
    1975 VW Kombi poptop
    1987 2CV
    Porsche Boxster S manual
    1988 Vespa PX200E

  8. #8
    1000+ Posts gerrypro's Avatar
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    With the 123 have you selected the correct advance curve for the ''Perfo'' 1911cc motor?
    You are not just using plain water ??????????? I use Nulon concentrated coolant available from Super Cheap and the like. Ethylene Glycol and corrosion inhibitors. Makes up to 20 litres when mixed with water. There are also many other brands available.
    A radiator can only be thoroughly cleaned by a radiator specialist by taking off the top and bottom tank!
    How rusty is your water in the rad?
    If it is bad then maybe the water distribution tube in the cylinder head is rusted out. Hot spots on the exhaust valve seat area can then occur. The only fix is head off and renew the tube making sure that the drilled holes along the length of the new tube point directly at the exhaust valve seat casing area.
    The rust flakes from this tube also settle around the out side of the lower barrels in the water jacket. Once this is bad enough the cooling can be affected.
    Cheers Gerry

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