In Reply to: 9N Timing Adjust posted by raski on February 06, 2021 at 07:41:13:
Original distributors, including internal parts, can be easy to time if the replacement parts are made correctly. Not so with replacement (imported) distributors and internal parts.
I bought an 8N a few years ago that from a person who hired all repairs done. His repairman had installed an imported distributor, and I found that it was impossible to get it to time properly. The main bushing was loose, and in replacing it I discovered that the housing was bored to a metric size! The proper part number bushing was too loose in the housing. Not only that, but the point plate was made of die cast metal, not steel. The pivot pin for the movable point was improperly located so the point faces would not line up properly, and if the points were set for .015, there was not enough travel in the timing adjuster to set the timing correctly. This was with a set of the older NAPA CS-35 points made while they were still good. I ended up enlarging the holes in the fixed point and bending the movable point arm to properly align the point faces and get them to open at the proper time.
I have since purchased a used distributor that still has the original parts in it. I'll be rebuilding it and keep it as a "hot" spare. I have a 2N (bought new by my grandfather in 1945) in addition to the 8N, and I'm teaching my son how to deal with this issue when I am no longer around. We'll probably scrap the imported distributor when the main bushing I had to make for it ever wears out.
I have a Onan-powered lawn mower, and found a solid-state modification that uses the points for timing, but reduces the current through the points to a tiny amount. This means the points last virtually forever, and rubbing block wear is the limiting factor. This modification has been miniaturized to where it just replaces the condenser and has protection built in in case the key gets left on. I'll try to find out if anyone has used this on a front-mount Ford.
As an aside, the front mount points are the same as 1936 to 1948 Ford Flathead V-8's. The V-8's use two sets of points, so if you order a "set" for a V-8,you get two sets for a "N." I haven't researched it, but I'll bet that the V-8 guys have been dealing with the same issues, and may have more information on alternatives.