Ignition Systems →1969
Regulating ignition timing by hand
Wisenheier announcement: the ignition systems (Harley-Davidson has always called them "timers") of the V-engines with OHC valve timing 1936-1969 and with side valves 1937-1973 are called distributors by most wrenches. Strictly speaking, however, nothing is distributed there. On older cars and on Harley-Davidson Twins before 1926 the term fits, there the ignition spark is passed around from a distributor finger under the distributor cap in a circle to the individual spark plugs. P.S.: of course, The Cyclery brand carries these parts in its portfolio.
After Harley-Davidson switched to dual fire (both cylinders always ignite at the same time, not each separately) on the V-twins, the ignition systems (timers) contained only one set of breaker contacts and the capacitor, if that was not included in the ignition coil housing.
Until 1965, the head of the timer was rotatable, so that the ignition timing could be adjusted manually with the left twist grip on the handlebar. After that, the head was fixed and additional centrifugal weights rotated in the distributor housing for automatic and speed-dependent adjustment of the ignition timing. By the way, there were people who missed the manual adjustment because it allowed them to react to different load conditions of the engine, i.e. whether the engine was running lightly or had to pull hard. Load-dependent adjustment of the ignition timing was only possible again when Harley-Davidson introduced the vacuum switch - and later with the electronic ignitions. But that is another story.
Can I use the ignition systems as an original replacement?
Yes, without restriction. The ignition systems in our program fit as original replacements with original functionality, for the years of construction for which they are specified. Ignition systems that do not correspond to the original and are suitable for a larger year of manufacture are also indicated as such.
Are the ignition systems ready for installation?
Yes and no - depending on whether you mean "ready to install" or "plug and play". They are as complete as shown and specified and therefore ready for installation. After installation, they must be adjusted like any ignition system. Wasn't any different originally ... The spacing for the breaker contacts is 0.20 - 0.22" (0.5 - 0.55 mm). Not 0.4 mm, as you read again and again, "because all distributors are adjusted this way". Ford and VW maybe, but please not the Knuckleheads, Panheads or Early Shovels!
Electronic ignition in my 1960 Panhead? What's the advantage of that?
The electronic ignition systems we offer are wear-free and work more accurately than a set of breaker contacts. What these ignitions can't "fix" are worn-in distributor shaft bushings, worn-out drive gears, and general backlash in the gear pairs from the camshaft to the distributor drive. Like any electronics, these ignition systems are sensitive to voltage spikes, surges, poor connections and other quirks in the electrical system. The ignition coils must be flawless and have the correct primary resistance.
Have any questions?
Our service team will be glad to help out: Mondays - Thursdays 08:00-17:00 CET, Fridays 08:00-16:00 CET, Phone: +49 / 931 250 61 16, eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org