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Discussion Forum

Wisconsin Generator/Distributor

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Ray Fregoe

02-28-2012 07:00:44

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Has anyone seen a 2 cyl. wisconsin engine with a generator in place of a magneto. The generator is a autolite and has a distributor attatched to the end of it. I've never seen one like this before. Is it better than a magneto.
This post was edited by Ray Fregoe at 07:09:05 02/28/12.

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Brian Dan

03-12-2012 15:59:02

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 Re: Wisconsin Generator/Distributor in reply to Ray Fregoe, 02-28-2012 07:00:44  
Wisconsin engines had two types of ignition systems. 1. Battery Igition 2. Magneto Ignition. They both have a distributor.
Both are good. Magneto ignition was and still is a good system. No battery needed. The reason most of the old engines would not start was from vapor lock. Those old engines on bailers and combines were so dirty that they could not cool off. I have a magneto on my wisconsin engine that runs my wood splitter. It always starts when it is hot or cold.

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03-13-2012 12:30:00

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 Re: Wisconsin Generator/Distributor in reply to Brian Dan, 03-12-2012 15:59:02  
Wisconsin used at least four basic systems. Remote/stand-alone magneto-breaker-point with an impulse-spring for starting, flywheel magneto with breaker-points, capacitive-discharge breakerless flywheel magneto with separate remote mount coil, and battery-coil ignition.

Battery coil ignition offers the most spark energy when needed. Up to 40,000 volts. All the others max at half-that at around 20,000 volts.

Many old engines did start hard from vapor lock - but many also had starting problems due to bad points, dead condensor, broken impulse, and/or weak magnets in the magneto.

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03-07-2012 13:12:45

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 Parts ARE available no problem in reply to Ray Fregoe, 02-28-2012 07:00:44  
I've got several Wisconsin powered tractors with that Autolite/Prestolite distributor. Yes, it's better then a magneto. Has more potential spark energy and easier to work on.

Don't believe the stories about parts not being available. Cap, rotor, points and condensor easy to get - even at your local NAPA. Same parts use in many old tractors, boats, cars, and motorcycles (Crosley, Indian, Waukesha,etc.).

The old Autolite numbers change to Prestolite and NAPA sells them with Echlin numbers.

Cap is NAPA AL143 for $20
Rotor is NAPA AL32 for $12.50
Points are NAPA AL5661 for $11
Condensor is AL38 for $11 or the HD condensor AL116 for $16

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02-28-2012 07:23:58

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 Re: Wisconsin Generator/Distributor in reply to Ray Fregoe, 02-28-2012 07:00:44  
2 and 4 cylinder engines were available with
that option. Usually electric start models
that had a battery that needed charging, and
had coil ignition. Distributors were "Autolite"
and i've tried to find caps and rotors from
auto parts stores, but told "No longer available"
There are some distributor caps right now on EBay
but i'm going to have to reserch the parts books,
any anyway the sellers must think they're gold!

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02-28-2012 11:50:52

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 Re: Wisconsin Generator/Distributor in reply to greygoat, 02-28-2012 07:23:58  
I went to the Wisconsin distributor in MN. and was told the same thing. Even he can not get them from Wisconsin.
He can't even get points and condenser.
If you find some would you pass along your source.

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retired wrench

03-04-2012 06:16:18

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 Re: Wisconsin Generator/Distributor in reply to JOB, 02-28-2012 11:50:52  
A dist is much better than a mag. The mag would break down when it got hot and the engine wouldnt start.That is why you saw them left running thru dinner.With a dist they would start with a half turn any time.

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