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  1. #1
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    Default Ive got a Morris M5 Magneto inbound. School me on magnetos.

    So I've got a 1974 super glide back home, I'm currently in Texas for work. I picked up a Morris M5 magneto for about half of what they usually cost. So anyone that's ran one school me on this thing. The set up doesn't look to be much more complicated than any other ignition system but is there anything I'm missing?

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    .

    Da-daaa ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    .

    Da-daaa ...
    Dragstews always dropping knowledge!

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    Give Dave or Barry a call .... 973-540-9171

    Have em send you a installation booklet ....


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    I'll probably give them a call tomorrow. Ive heard theyre extremely friendly.

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    To me they are worthless unless your racing.

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    Why is it worthless unless I’m racing? I’ve heard that before I’m just curious

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    It has no functional advantage unless you're running a kicker and want it for limp home mode, and of course on generator bikes where the Fairbanks-style industrial mags are more reliable. It's just an ignition independent of the rest of your electrical system. It tidies up a chopper by getting rid of other parts like external coils. Ever wonder why the highest performing street motorcycles that make more HP stock than any streetable hotrod HD don't run magnetos? They not only don't need them (thanks to modern ignitions with precisely programmed advance curves and ability to respond to any desired sensor input), but HDs haven't been performance motorcycles (unless you throw away the drivetrain and replace it with aftermarket parts and then they still don't make much HP relative to modern machines) for longer than many owners have been alive.

    Mags were taken from early industrial engines because they were better than primitive systems with "dispersed" parts like ignition coils and switches and cloth-covered wiring. They work better than those at drag racing where simplicity is key in the quarter mile and on Sporty scramblers where bouncing around wasn't great for dispersed components.

    None of that matters on a street HD which are fun toys. If magnetos were invisible few HD owners would run one. They're a nice Art Deco style accessory for what's basically a 1930s engine design so what's not to like? Enjoy your magneto! The point of a Harley is they're like two wheeled tractors and tractor mags didn't exist by accident either.

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    Right on Farmall. Yeah a lot of getting a mag boiled down to cool factor and I was able to get the
    M5 set up complete for 1300 it sat on a guys shelf for a few years in the box he mocked it up and never used it. He needed the money cause of Covid and I snatched it up. I couldn’t justify one for 2200 but some how justified it for 1300. I think it’s neat not to have to worry about the battery and I’m always game to learn now things. I agree it does look very clean and even though it’s old tech it’ll wow the crowd. I’m going to run it and enjoy it.

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    Had a mag on my 69 XLCH, it was very dependable once I got past the initial setup.

    They look bad ass, the one Dragstews used on one of his recent builds with the art deco cover was perfect!

    The tech on these engines is primitive, but then that is half the fun of them.

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    Yeah Doom that was kind of my pull to it. Dependability and just diving deeper into old tech. Hey I get that not everyone is a fan and that not everyone is for it, but your bike should always be about what you're interested in. And in this case I'm interested in giving this a go. I think it'll look cool and function well and hopefully it gives me many years of dependable service. I'm game for this new adventure. The only kicker was that its shipping out from Hawaii and it'll be a minute before we get it. I'm shooting for Saturday, but its looking like a Monday thing.

  12. #12
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    Maggie neatos are simple basic crude instruments. There is a reason they came on farm implements and simple machinery. They worked reasonably well for their time period and were easy to maintain and rebuild, and when done right are fairly reliable. My 48 Triumph Speedtwin has a BTH maggie and you can rebuild it over and over. Same with the Wifes 48 Norton, But I would not rate them a GOOD ignition. But in the period up until mid 60s charging systems and stand alone ignitions were not very reliable or had much poop on bikes, so a self contained Mag was the standard.

    Look at it another way. On my old Chevies,,, a Points ignition is gapped at 35 thou. My HEI ignition is 45 thou and some hi performance setups can run up to 65 thou. A maggie you gotta gap them down to 15 to 20 thou and stay on top of them. At low speeds they just dont have much power. If you look at the new gen LS motors with their coil packs for one coil per cyl, or a crank trigger ignition they are so powerful they eat up regular plugs. Thats why modern cars need premium Platinums to deal with the near nuclear spark energy. As Farmall said,,, No modern performance engine runs a mag and for good reason.

    Now, test a spark plug in a pressure chamber. At Ambient air pressure and temp,, a spark can jump easily. But start cranking up temp and pressure and that spark cant jump the same gaps.
    Many people testing a plug in open air assume its a good plug when they see it jump the arc... but the true test is on a test rig. Many people chase a running problem and fail to note a plug that fails or is weak under actual running conditions. The average mechanic does not test them correctly but in Aviation that is part of a proper tune up.

    You can make your own test chamber, this is not a great video but it illustrates the spark goes away over certain pressures.
    See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftuF6qXF0LQ

    A older Harley or British bike should run at least 110 PSI at low speeds in a healthy cyl-valves, but that goes up with RPM and temp. Your spark plug that worked at kick over clamped to a cyl fin might be fizzling out at higher speeds and pressures. Might be the Mag, Might be the plug. Mags can short out as well. Electricity will ALWAYS take the path of least resistance,, Some Mags have a safety ground to prevent frying the armature or windings.

    Because spark energy is so low at low speeds, some Ag. equipment run a "Impulse Coupling" as well as some aviation. This is a spring loaded mechanism that accelerates the mag so it can jump its feeble spark at very low rpms or cranking over. An experienced tuner can hear a out of adjustment impulse coupling as the engine makes tell tale noises.

    As RPM increases,, the Magneto energy increases,, So thats why they work pretty good on a race bike, But not so great on a street bike unless you want to look cool. But not so cool if its a bitch to start.

    A lot of the mags fitted to bikes dont have any or a manual adv-retard. On a manual setup on British bikes they run a lever with a cable, later mags ran a auto adv unit. Many Harleys you reach down and swing it one way or another. One way to start, and advance it to run. But without an autoadvance you better have a good feel for it because the bike will run like crap or you either launch over the bars on start or hole a piston if you dont know what you are doing. Some of the mags out on the market today address this but not all.

    Post military I took some aviation classes from a civilian college program, I already had my skill level to get my FAA license, but they wanted me to get some civilian aviation experience. (Loading Bombs & missiles for United is not a career). I Pissed off a number of people making fun of some of the aviation in civilian markets. Most of the engines (Lycoming & Continental) I called "Glorified VW Beetle engines" which is true. Same with the Mags. I got a Fairbanks Morse on my Rototiller but their day in aviation is long since past. (Slick Mags is the most common brand of mags on airplanes). When I made fun of them, I got no problems with a vintage airplane running a mag, but a modern plane? Nah!

    So they didnt like me too much.,,, lots of comments that you cant pull over to the side of the road in a airplane. Which is why most engines run dual mags. They run on both but can limp along on a single mag. Airplanes like to have back up systems,, double even triple backups if possible. So 2 mags. But modern electronic ignitions or the digital stuff is better all the way around. I showed some Nascar setups. Same with Formula 1, Indy cars, etc. If the ignition fails you hit a toggle switch and then next system kicks in. Many race cars have multiple back up ignition modules they can switch too.

    A few years later, In Aircraft technician magazine.. Ads came out for retrofit EI ignition systems for most aviation engines. I cut out the ads and sent them to some of those guys who made fun of me. But still,,, a lot of glorified VWs with wings are still chugging along with a maggie-neato. Click image for larger version. 

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    You can follow along with this chickie,, she can explain it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YuKx2Pv7aU
    Last edited by Dougtheinternetannoyance123; 08-06-2020 at 1:50 AM.

  13. #13

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    I've been running the same magneto on my sportster since I bought it as a basket of partsin the eighties. Locked down on full advance forever. Probably part of why my knee is shot and I now have electric. Still has the first points and condensor I put in it.
    I rig up a light for static timing and then follow up with a regular timing light. It has been using a single-fire module for at least twenty years, and it really did help it run smoother.
    One thing I noticed was that the timing for both cylinders is not the same unless the point gap is just right. I did extensive degree wheel testing to get that just right.
    I enjoy making obscure old stuff run, so I like mine.
    Here's a terrible picture from the knee-breaking handlebar flip days.
    5420
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_5420.jpg  

  14. #14
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    I think since the Morris mag has an impulse coupling it’ll be quite effective for my purposes. Most of the time when I’m riding it’s 60+ mph. The desert is vast in El Paso. Also the speed limit in Texas is like 80 mph. I think it will be a fun experience. If anything I get to learn something I didn’t know. It’ll be good. Setting it up may be a bitch but I think it’ll be good after that.

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    I love the look of magnetos on cone shovels. I saw that one you got on cycledope. Nice score

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    It was a damn steal dude. He even sent me a new condenser and set of points with it.

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    You can say whatever you want about mags but if you have a generator they will get you home more often than a timer. If it has a generator and points and reliability is important you need either a mag or an alternator. 50years or older generators make me walk too often. Even the modern generators will make you walk.on the way to The Run to Raton last year Pablo's Shovel with an almost new Cycle Electric generator with the end mounted regulator melted everything in the electrical system when the regulator melted,it looked like someone was welding in his headlight when it happened. In the late 60s I rode a sporty with a highway reflector tied over the generator hole for 3 days before I could find parts.
    Dusty

  18. #18
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    I have only owned 11 Harleys over the last 43 years of riding & all but one I fitted Magnetos to,
    the only one I had that broke down because of an ignition problem was the one I didnt fit a Magneto to as it came with the stock Electronic ignition,
    after changing it out for a points set up it was ok for a few months then the coil had a shit...
    haters will always hate them, but me for one is sold on them.
    the only thing I have against them is the lack of an advance/retard unit so on my new build I fitted a cable on the bars for advance like on old brit bikes and a gas strut to retard it when i pull the lever back... works as well as you can get without bob weights
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCN0697.jpg  

  19. #19
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    That's what I was going to suggest, did you set it up on the LH throttle? Indian distributors are setup like that and it's nice to have a little control over ignition. They just don't have spring return, same as a linkert setup would.

  20. #20
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    This seems way easier http://wwag.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/W...sh&page=!70040
    Dusty

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