Wipac Series "A" versus Lucas SR magnetos

Hi folks,
I have been overhauling a Wipac Series "A" magneto. It has been
frustrating. First the coil was dead. Then the impulse coupling was
slipping. So I collected together several magnetos, took them all apart,
carefully noting how they fitted together, and selected the best parts.
Then I found that although these magnetos look standard, there are small
variations. Different rotors. Different shaft lengths. Different numbers
of flats on the shaft. Different impulse coupling designs (and I don't
just mean the drive connection). Different flange screws. So far I've
tried to assemble three combinations of parts, and none quite fit
together right.
There are a couple more combinations of parts I haven't tried, so I may
still find a solution. But I've been increasingly tempted to fit a Lucas
SR1 magneto instead. I'm weary of assembling different combinations of
parts, and I want a reliable magneto.
It's been a while since I looked at an SR1, and I can see strengths and
weaknesses in the Series "A" design. How does the Lucas SR1 compare to
the Wipac Series "A"? Which do people think is best magneto, in terms of
reliability, durability, intensity of spark, etc.?
I know this is likely to be a controversial topic. I've heard plenty of
conflicting opinions. So far I haven't found a consensus.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
Loading thread data ...
What are You fitting it to?? If You are into authenticity then surely You need to fit the correct magneto,as specified by the engine builder. Surely, the design guys fitted what they thought was the best one for their particular engine, personally, I've always trusted their judgement. No doubt I will be "corrected" on that, but I won't be swayed.
Reply to
Charles Hamilton
Hmm, that left me wondering how many 'good' parts of things are kicking around on shelves around the world, left over from where people have stripped several of something down to make one good unit :-)
Maybe there's a few hundred of [pick your favourite contraption] still lurking in tiny dismantled-but-serviceable fragments which will probably never be reunited into a whole again... (this always used to bug me with classic cars, but I just realised it must be equally true for many a vintage thing...)
I usually have no problem in making something non-original - so long as a) I keep the original parts that have been removed and keep them with the item, b) the correct setup is well documented, and c) I modify things such that everything can be restored back to original condition with the minimum of effort if I (or any future owner) so choses.
cheers
Jules
Reply to
Jules
W-e-l-l, Crossley's fitted a Hills magneto on some models & I've yet to find anyone who will say a good word for Mr Hill & his (reputed) HT mags - and that was Crossleys who were one of the most experienced & best !
Although a volume manufacturer like Listers would decide upon a magneto & buy in thousands of one type, smaller manufacturers would often *specify* one type, but if they couldn't get them when they needed them, they'd fit what they could get hold of. One of my WW1 ABC engines has the specified Dixie magneto, probably as they were short stumpy things & fitted on top of the crankcase neatly. However, another has a German-made Eismann mag, a much bigger thing altogether that perches uneasily like a pigeon on a sparrow feeder.
BTW, the Dixie has a really crap Mazac body & they just go to dust if left out. Thank God this one is oily!
Post war Triumph twins had a Lucas magneto - except for those that were fitted with a B.T-H !
Regards,
Kim Siddorn
Reply to
kimsiddorn
I've always found the Wico A pretty good and have built up several from parts to suit particular engines. But you are right, there are a LOT of possible combinations - I believe there is an applications book which details the recipe for each specification number - and remember these mags were not just OE fits, many were supplied to replace other (less reliable?) mags - but I just used trial and error.
Not much experience of Lucas SR - only one I had was on a lister D which had sat outside for at least 20 years. Engine was siezed and pretty much knackered, but the mag still sparked well!
NHH
Reply to
Nick H
The Wico A was frequently supplied as an aftermarket replacement for other mags. So I think it could be regarded as acceptable in many cases even if it isn't what the engine left the factory with.
Swaying yet Charles?
NHH
Reply to
Nick H
Wipac have a comprehensive listing of the mechanical parts for the Wipac A series, which is a reflection of their efforts to get into the magneto market. Their master magneto manual is huge.
Lucas on the other hand wanted out, as they never made any money of the industrial magneto side, only the more expensive multi-cylinder units.
I have just picked up a Lucas equipment catalogue from the early 1960's for industrial, agricultural and marine engines etc., I'll get it onto the website as soon as possible.
Peter -- Peter A Forbes Prepair Ltd, Rushden, UK snipped-for-privacy@prepair.co.uk
formatting link
Reply to
Peter A Forbes
No, can't say I've ever heard of a Wipac aircraft mag whereas Lucas was certainly in that market. Mind You Lucas was pretty adept at matching the quality of its products to the customer's required 'price point' hence the Prince of darkness epithet earned as a result of the equipment supplied to the penny pinching motor industry. Aviation kit is likely to have been a whole different story.
NHH
Reply to
Nick H
I'll be reassembling all the magnetos, not just the one that I'm going to fit. Otherwise, as you say, they won't be much good to anyone else. Or to me in a few years, as I probably won't be able to remember how they fit together. In fact, I already did reassemble the whole lot, before I discovered that the impulse coupling wasn't working. So now I've got to do it all again. I reassembled them too soon. If I'd left it longer I'd probably have been less frustrated.
If I swap the magneto, I'll keep the original. I've already done the same with the rusty exhaust, as I couldn't find a replacement and getting it repaired was too costly.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
It's going on my 1947 Dennis Bros. lawnmower. It's a Dennis engine, but designed by Blackburne. Over the years, Dennis fitted several different magnetos to these machines. The Wico/Wipac Series "A" and the Lucas SR1 were the most common (there were also BTH and Wipac CJ-1 magnetos fitted to early and late models respectively, but these are uncommon). So although the Lucas magneto wasn't fitted to this particular machine when new, it wouldn't be a major transgression.
My recollection of the SR1 is a bit vague, but I think that the Series "A" has the better lubrication system and probably a more tightly sealed case, while the SR1 has a stronger chassis. The chassis strength could be an advantage, as the foot-mounted Series "A" magneto I removed had some fatigue cracks inside. But if my ideas are wrong, do let me know.
Having got frustrated with the Series "A", I'm just trying to figure out if the SR1 would be a more trouble-free magneto.
Thanks for the thoughts.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
One chap told me that Wico/Wipac magnetos were never used on aircraft, whereas Lucas magnetos were. He asserted that reliability was the reason for this. Not sure if it's true. Just one of the strong opinions I've heard.
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
One would certainly hope so :-)
(Although TBH I've never had any particular issue with Lucas car electrics - they were crap, but only as crap as electrics from other vendors; as you mention, it was likely an industry failing* rather than any particular issue with Lucas themselves)
*
don't get me started on deteriorating Mazak castings, either! :-)
cheers
Jules
Reply to
Jules
Good to hear! I just think there must be a vast amount of stuff lurking here and there which has the potential to be put back into service - but somehow finding it before it does decay into junk is a problem that I'm not sure anyone's managed to crack (particularly as half the time the actual owners forget what they have!)
Gets my vote, anyway :-)
I'd always rather see something back in service even if it wasn't quite original - I just have issues when people do this in such a way that someone else would have a hard time coming along and backing out of the changes if they wanted to!
cheers
Jules
Reply to
Jules
No, I certainly wouldn't expect one to come out as a firm favorite on that basis, Wico A and Lucas SR are both good products of comparable efficiency and reliability when in good condition. As Peter Forbes has intimated, Wico was perhaps somewhat more committed to the industrial engine market than Lucas which had many more irons in the fire and I certainly have no complaints about the Wico product.
NHH
Reply to
NHH
It doesn't look like there's going to be a consensus in this group either, then. I was trying to remember if the Lucas was closer to being a hand built magneto than the Wipac, with things like removable rather than cast-in laminations, but I don't recall. Not that this would necessarily affect reliability, which is what I'm mainly after.
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
Wipac (Wico-Pacey) was set up initially to capitalise on the UK and European markets for magnetos, Wico had a huge market in the USA, but had at least four or five other makers (Fairbanks-Morse, American Bosch, Splitdorf, IHC, Eisemann and more) in the same market, whereas the UK and Europe were seen as a market worth getting to to.
Of the two makers discussed, Wipac probably went at it a lot better than Lucas, and with Wico's design experience behind them they were able to penetrate a lot of engine makers such as Petters who were previously with BT-H or ML etc.
Eventually the whole discrete magneto market collapsed, with just flywheel mag's being left, and the Japanese/Chinese killed off what was left.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk
formatting link
Reply to
Peter A Forbes
Maybe I'm just fuming because I got a bad one? :-)
With my Wipac needing so much work, when a couple of people said they preferred the Lucas SR, I wondered if it was an obvious favourite that I'd missed.
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
Having looked through the documentation, I suspect you're right. Neither of the spare parts lists mention the Lucas magneto. The earlier parts list (the one correct for my machine) specifies Wico type A603BZ. The later list specifies Wipac type CJ1374, which unusually is a foot-mounted type CJ magneto.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
I'd be interested to see that when you get the chance.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
I had an interesting conversation with Martin Percy on Thursday (he's the magneto repairer that someone recommended a while back).
He has the two components I need to repair the impulse coupling at a reasonable price, so I've sent him a cheque. I should have the parts soon, so the problem is solved: I'm keeping the Wipac Series "A".
He seemed knowledgeable and happy to discuss magnetos, so I asked him how he thought the Wipac Series "A" compared to the Lucas SR1. He said they were equally reliable, and that one was not distinctly better than the other. However, he did say that the Series "A" has the better lubrication system, but the Lucas SR1 the better spark at cranking speed if an impulse coupling is not fitted. Lastly, he stressed that all magnetos need maintenance and adjustment, but often don't get it.
An interesting conversation, and probably the closest we'll get to a definitive answer to my question.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.