Book Review

Content Tools

1066 Sans Souci Way Clarkston, GA 30021

Make and Break Ignition Manual by T.R. Ward, Jr. Published by Lone Oak Distributing Company, Premiss, Mississippi, 39474, 1984. Soft cover, 8 x 11, spiral bound, $8.75 from publisher.

Finally.. .and not a moment too soon. .. someone has produced a manual about ignition systems which will answer all of the questions you were afraid... or ashamed to ask. Or as in my case, didn't now enough to ask!

Simply titled Make and Break Ignition Manual, this work contains a wealth of information invaluable to both the novice and the advanced restorer of antique engines. Excellent cuts and line drawings are carefully keyed to the text so that it is never necessary to search to find the proper illustration.

Chapter I is a brief history of the make and break ignition systems beginning with the earliest experiments in internal combustion engines. It cites several problems encountered and traces the development of numerous types of igniters and magnetos. A simplified explanation and a good illustration of a hammer type igniter clearly describe the construction and operation of this all-important but vastly misunderstood part.

The section entitled 'Theory and Design of the Igniter Coil' contains much for the do-it-yourselfer who wants to try 'rolling his own' coils. It can save untold hours the first-time coil-winder would waste using the cut and try technique. As Mr. Ward points out, 'It becomes apparent that the original coils (and later reproductions). . .just can't duplicate the performance of a 'state-of-the-art' design in the areas of battery life and ignition quality.'

Possibly the most exciting chapter is '' Igniter Repair, Timing and Setup.' Hints for cleaning, repairing and assembling igniter mechanisms precede a section which explains in detail the actual timing of the ignition system. Drawings and photographs show how to mark the flywheel for timing and an in depth explanation using language anyone can understand. A discussion of advancing and retarding ignition and suggestions for setting advance when the engine manufacturer's specifications are not available is of infinite value. 'Tips on Igniter Operation', a detailed list of important dos and don'ts for successful ignition system operation is also useful. Concluding this section is an easy to understand wiring diagram for each of the three kinds of ignition set-up: Magneto ignition; Battery ignition; and Dual ignition (battery start, magneto run).

The author examines the three types of primary dry cells in common use today as well as the lead-acid storage battery. Testing, charging and suggestions for improving battery life are covered in detail. A table lists the specs of three types of dry batteries and a comparison of initial and operating costs, desirable features and limitations.

The final chapter is devoted to detailed plans for making a handsome box to house your battery and coil. A table saw is the only power tool required, according to the author. Simple wiring hook-ups are shown using the hardware and coil available from Mr. Ward. Included as a part of this do-it-yourself battery box is a full size template for marking and drilling, making the installation of box hardware a snap.

Engine restorers of all levels are sure to learn form this book.