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The wise men tell us that the key to getting rid of linkage gremlins is to get the down links (the adjustable links that run vertically) dead-on vertical. That eliminates having to guesstimate and make a bunch of angles the same because, well, vertical is vertical, right?

The problem is that that's near impossible, so you make it as close to vertical as you can and then think clean thoughts.

The guy who set mine up is a pro and he pretty much nailed it. After six years, both sides are still about as close to each other as possible. When you hear an engine with both sides in synch, you never forget it. You can tell if a car driving past is in synch or not just from that sound.

For a long time, I thought I had synch or jetting issues or some dirt in the jets between idle and about 2500 rpm.

Miraculously, that all went away when I found a distributor without spark scatter.

Before you get mired in the whole jetting and linkage thing, I'd strongly recommend checking for spark scatter with a timing light by slowly working your way up the rev range from idle. It's easier and much less painful than what lies in wait for you down that other rabbit hole.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Ed ....Yes, those are the arms I was talking about. Centerline to centerline should be equal. If they are not, then the pull radius will be different from side to side.  It might be easier to visualize if one side was an inch shorter than the other side. Obviously they would start out from the same position at idle but as the throttle is opened, one side will reach WOT first. (Wide Open Throttle) The carbs would never be in sync all thru the process except at idle. The little pull rods will not compensate for the difference in pull radius.  I hope this helps.

Maybe to prove it to yourself, try setting the throttle, at say, 1500 rpm and get an airflow measurement with your "snail".  At that point adjust the carb linkage so that the snail reads equally on both sides. Then reset the throttle to 2200 rpm and take another snail reading. if everything is perfect, the snail should read higher but equal on both carbs. If not, it's a good guess where the problem is.  Just like Stan says, then it's JB weld and re-drill time to make the centers the same

The same for the lock/set screw that holds those arms to the hex bar. Each time you loosen one and retighten it, you will get a different snail reading.

After screwing around a lot and making some modifications, I was never happy with that linkage system so over the wall it went into my secret parts disposal system.

As I said, I used the Vintage Speed linkage without serious problems plus there is the advantage of being able to simply disconnect the linkage (magnetically) without having to readjust it all again. For perfection the "wheel/cable" system is even better.

Dual carbs are a PIA but when adjusted perfectly, it is a sweet sound to hear !

My guess is that the manufacturing tolerances are not up to par on the hex bar system for starters..............Bruce

The synch thing only really matters up to about 50% throttle. After that the throttle plate is open wide enough that you won't feel it, and the motor probably won't either.

What I did: I put a set screw on both sides of each arm, and the center pull also. I used red loctite. The threads on CB linkage are 1/4-20 'Murican threads. Then I never touched them again. Every hardware store should have Allen set-screws.

If you're lucky enough to have a Spyder, it's easy to see all the angles, you can step back and look at it, especially if the rear clamshell is off.

You Speedster guys can either use an angle gauge(I have a 12" digital readout level that was inexpensive and can be calibrated for whatever is "level" for you. Or, you can set them up while on the engine stand before installation.


@Stan Galat posted:

Alas, he has a Black Box and a locked out distributor. Down the rabbit hole he goes....

OK, so there aren't any springs or weights or pivoting bits to set the advance, but the spark still gets made by the same genuine made-in-China electronic gizmo, no?

I think I'd still want to check for spark scatter just to rule that out before descending into the darkness.


It was 40 degrees F when I got up this morning so of course I ran the car 25 miles out to Hunt Valley's unofficial, semi-social-distanced Cars & Coffee to test the seat heaters (which worked niiice) and


The result was pretty much as expected.

I got basically swarmed as soon as I pulled in, so I backed into a slot near some VWs, as is right and proper.


First guy who said anything pronounced it the "coolest car here." The second guy declared there was "no plastic whatsoever" on the vehicle. And I did correct him.IMG_E6566IMG_E6567

I was happy to see @East Coast Bruce there (pictured below with a friend of his whose name slipped my mind). Bruce was kind enough to stand quietly, nodding for like five minutes while I droned on insufferably about all the crap I did to the car.


One guy did express tentative interest in purchasing a 550 Spyder replica so we exchanged numbers.

Plan to show it in Annapolis tomorrow and I think after that we'll put some Stabil in the tank and top it off and call it a season.


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@Sacto Mitch posted:


OK, so there aren't any springs or weights or pivoting bits to set the advance, but the spark still gets made by the same genuine made-in-China electronic gizmo, no?

I think I'd still want to check for spark scatter just to rule that out before descending into the darkness.


Mitch I think you're right and I will do it but here's the thing:

Currently the 009 (copy?) with Pertronix is my spark system. It is not yet "locked out" and it works like they work. I know damn well I have spark scatter in the mid throttle, mid rpm range. That is the nature of this beast.

The engine runs very nicely right now. I have not taken apart the hexbar to check the downrod hole centerline but I did check the angles on the outriggers and they are the same side to side. Remember, Raby built the engine and Cary Hines set it up so it lacks some of the amateurish oversights some engines like this come with. It's good.

But not perfect.

So I have two main tasks left to accomplish. I am not sure in what order but I think this is it.

1. Receive from my bro-in-law a WinTel laptop running a newly installed version of Windows 7; load my "Black Box" installation/tuning program onto that, and then pull and lock-out the disty and wire up the Black Box. The system comes with a standard spark map and @DannyP has shared his car's map with me so I think I have two reasonably good places to range between as I dial in an advance curve that's right for this engine. I'm running less cam and lower static compression so I expect we'll run more spark advance throughout than Danny does with his hi-po 2165. I also have the parts I need to add a vacuum advance to the system so the light load timing can go way above the SOC standard 30 degrees @3000 I am running now.

2. Screw in an O2 sensor and take wideband air/fuel readings while underway under a variety of conditions, from just off idle and no load to WOT up hill, and as needed adjust the carb's jetting and various screws and geegaws so that it reads around 14 to 1 at idle, about 13 to 1 at WOT and about 14.5 at flat highway cruise.

There is a small but not insignificant chance I might do the latter adjustments on a chassis dynomometer, depending on availability.


Jeesh, Ed, paragraphs 1. and 2. above sound like the clinical definition of a rabbit hole and I have no doubt that you will enjoy every minute of exploring the innermost recesses thereof.

And you will almost certainly emerge, a few weeks from now, with a much better running engine.

I'm only suggesting you look for spark scatter and maybe note how much there is (and where on the curve) before you venture below. Could help establish a baseline before you start messing around with all that other stuff.

My own 009 clone said 'Pertronix' on the side, but I think Pertronix make only the spark module, and that the whole mechanical body comes out of the same Chinese factory that they all do.

Whenever I would set the advance, I'd see the timing mark at idle and from about 2500 rpm on up, but in between, it would literally disappear - no timing mark at all.

Thing is, even so, the engine never really ran poorly. It was pretty smooth, didn't pop or cough, and transitioned pretty well. But if I tried to hold a steady engine speed at, say, 2000 rpm, there was a little, nagging miss that wouldn't go away. I also found I could set the mixture/volume screws until it just purred, but the next time out I'd have to set them again to get the same degree of smoove.

I swapped in the basic CB Magnaspark II, and the timing mark suddenly appeared across the whole rev range, and the nagging miss was gone, too.

Don't want to belabor the point, but if you're getting serious about getting dialed in, here's another data point that might help - and it's pretty easy to check.


@edsnova posted:

What you seem to be saying, @Sacto Mitch, is that if there is spark scatter from the 009 now, there will still be spark scatter after I put the Black Box on top of it.

And this would seem to be both an obvious thing and something I had not heretofore considered as a possibility...

I would bet you a malted beverage that this is not going to be the case. Once the Black Box is active, the distributor will only serve two functions:

  1. The ignition pickup
  2. Actually distributing spark (which doesn't need to be very accurate to be accurate)

100% of the advance curve is in the box.


Ed, I honestly don't know.

But if you're having problems with spark later on, it might help to know what the dizzy is doing all by itself before you add the box.

And it's just a matter of hooking up a timing light and watching the timing mark as you slowly run up the revs.

I DO think that most of the problems with the ersatz 009's are in the advance mechanism, but it's hard to know for sure.


The correct translation for black box is: Flugschreiber.

I am very mildly disappointed in you for making SchwartzBox up. I know you are at one with the Schwartz and all.

But congratulations are in order, it can be VERY difficult to get older stuff to work on Windows 10. It will be fine, and then it won't be after the darn thing auto-updates and irrevocably deletes old drivers that worked fine.

I had to buy a new USB-serial converter after my 2006 or so Radio Shack model ceased to work a couple months ago. Apparently Prolific or FTDI(can't remember which one) got tired of all the cheap backward-engineered and cloned Chinese copies out there. They obsoleted all the clones and also legit products that happened to be old.......

We do have fun.

Here's some shots of this a.m.'s run to the town dock in Annapolis. Many thanks to Cory D for literally showing me the way here.

Contrasting automotive stylings of 1955:


Ran very well on the way down, though with ambient temps in the low 40s, oil temp barely touched 180. The passenger side clam latch stuck and I had to shake the engine cover to get it to open. 


It is, as the kids say, "Rocktoberfest."


Cory did not even open the Hoopty. I was a little sad about that.


The guy with this '62(?) Bug is a detailer. Which you could have guessed.


Donors everywhere...


The one guy on the lot with a legitimately smaller car.


Yes, yes, it eez un SS.



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That's great, Ed. It is tough competition, but I suspect that your attention to detail will be recognized by at least one of the 10,534 judges or junior judges. What's up with that? Maybe they hope to help generate donations by broadening the participation. In any case, it looks like a great and timely event that should put your car on a prominent stage. Take some good pics and best wishes.

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