Magneto Timing – Replacement of Ignition Harness

in Engine Ignition and Electrical Systems

Replace a complete ignition harness only when the shielding of the manifold is damaged or when the number of defective leads makes it more practical to replace the harness than to replace the individual leads. Replace a castfilled harness only when leakage in the cast-filled portion is indicated. Before replacing any harness to correct engine malfunctioning, make extensive ignition harness tests. Typical procedures for installing an ignition harness are detailed in the following paragraphs.

Install the ignition harness on the engine. Tighten and safety the hold down nuts and bolts and install and tighten the individual lead brackets according to instructions. The ignition harness is then ready for connection of the individual leads to the distributor block. A band is attached to each lead at the distributor end of the harness to identify the cylinder for the lead. However, each lead should be checked individually with a continuity or timing light prior to connecting it.

Check for continuity by grounding the lead at the cylinder and then checking at the distributor block end to establish that the lead grounded is as designated on the band for the lead.

After checking all leads for proper identification, cut them to the proper length for installation into the distributor block. Before cutting the leads, however, force them back into the manifold as far as possible to provide surplus wire in the ignition manifold. This extra wire may be needed at a later date in the event that chafing of a lead at the spark plug elbow necessitates cutting a short section of wire from the spark plug end of the harness. After cutting each lead to length, remove approximately 3⁄8 inch of insulation from the end and prepare the lead for insertion into the distributor block. Before installing the lead, back out the set screw in the distributor block far enough to permit slipping the end of the wire into the hole without force. Insert the lead into the block and tighten the set screw. Connect the wires in firing order (the first cylinder to fire No. 1 location on the block, the second in the firing order to No. 2 location, etc).

After connecting each lead, check continuity between the lead and its distributor block electrode with continuity light or timing light. To perform one test lead, touch the other test lead to the proper distributor block electrode. If the light does not indicate a complete circuit, the set screw is not making contact with the ignition wire or the lead is connected to the wrong block location. Correct any faulty connections before installing the distributor block.

Checking Ignition Induction Vibrator Systems

To check the induction vibrator, ensure that the manual mixture control is in idle cutoff, the fuel shutoff valve and booster pump for that engine are in the off position, and the battery switch is on. Since the induction vibrator buzzes whether the ignition switch is on or off, leave the switch off during the check. If the engine is equipped with an inertia or combination starter, make the check by closing the engage mesh switch; if the engine is equipped with a direct-cranking starter, see that the propeller is clear and close the start switch. An assistant stationed close to the induction vibrator should listen for an audible buzzing sound. If the unit buzzes when the starter is engaged or cranked, the induction vibrator is operating properly.