Magneto Musings


| October/November 2002

  • SmokStak

  • Nice magneto hoard
    A nice magneto hoard photographed by Ted Brook over in Australia.

  • SmokStak
  • Nice magneto hoard

It seems I own more engines needing a correct magneto than I own having the correct magneto. It also seems mags cost more these days than you pay for an entire engine - common mags like Websters and Wico EKs - and you still might have to buy a mounting bracket, a rebuild kit, etc. Are there more magnetos out there than engines? -Bill

I think there are more magnetos - they're just buried or go unnoticed. Scrounge around at any old farmstead and you're almost guaranteed to dig up a magneto from a pile of rubble. In years past I saw hundreds of mags at farm sales, but I never gave them a second thought. I am sure many mags at swap meets and on the Internet (and priced from $ 150 on up) were bought at farm sales for $1. Funny thing when you see a mag-less engine for sale for the same price as one with a mag. Buy them separate and you'll pay double. - Steve

I think magneto prices are ridiculous, and getting one repaired isn't much better. Look in the supplier catalogs and check out prices for mag parts. They aren't that expensive, so why is it so expensive to get one repaired? It's almost as bad as a new mag. Do you have to be a college grad or rocket scientist to repair them? Do you need a diploma or have to be 'mag repair certified?' Would someone please explain these prices to me? - Randy

I would say that if you think it costs too much to send a mag out for repair, Randy, then you should do it yourself - then after you're done go ahead and send it out for repair. A good friend of mine repairs mags and igniters, and he sure isn't deposting cash in the bank every day.

I have watched him work on mags people send to him, and as far as I am concerned he should charge more. I have seen how much he pays for the parts he buys to repair magnetos, and you should see all the equipment he maintains to do the work. I agree the cost of buying a mag is getting a bit on the high side, but people are still buying them. Maybe you should consider buying engines that only run a battery and coil. - Tim

Instead of trying to sell that Chore Boy for $900, take the mag and bracket off and sell them for $350 and then sell the engine for $695. I've seen that happen a lot - not to mention the engine that's missing the oiler, grease cups, mag, crank guard, hand crank, etc., and then the owner says, 'I might have some of them parts lying around in my garage.' Out come boxes of grease cups and oilers, a box of crank handles, and on the workbench are six mags. I have learned my lesson, I just hate seeing new guys get short-changed. - Tom


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