1911 timer lube and maintenance

I have an '11 in for service. This car has languished in a museum for about 40 years and I am resurecting it for the road. The fuel system is a disaster, and the rebuilt engine shows little signs of having been run. The timer body, in fact, is either NOS or old repro (the roller is perfect original FORD). It was dry as a bone…spotlessly clean…no oil or lube, and as I am prepping the car for driving, I need to know what those who KNOW this style of timer do for theirs. I am inclined to pack with grease and would like to know how to advise the owner as to how often to service, clean, lube this.

Thank you in advance for your advice


I pack roller timers with red Mobil #28 grease. They are typically good for a thousand miles between cleaning and show no signs of wear.

Ford recommended packing the timer with Vaseline and then oiling it every time you fill with fuel. I’ve never tried that.


thank you so very much. I recall reading same advice from you years ago. I appreciate your being specific on the grease. Normally I would not worry about the brand, but I feel good to know what you’re running, and I am certain that your success will become my customer’s success.

This how I found it while going through the car. I got the cam nut off and felt I needed to record it’s pristine condition for the owner. The roller part is FORD, and I am suspecting the housing is, too.

Engine is so new from 40 years ago, you can still read “.060” on piston tops through plug holes. Many reasons why this engine barely/rarely ran, but is all good news to the new owner. Sure am glad this timer didn’t get time on it while dry. There is only a slight scuff on the retainer plate behind the roller, and the white felt seal inside is still dry. Quite a time capsule from the 1970s-80’s. And if you’re looking at the old wiring, yes, the old, hardened commutator harness is being replaced (among many other things).

Thanks again.

What you have there is an original Ford roller from 1919 - 27 inside a 1909 - 11 timer body. Ford was wise to make the rollers interchangeable.

Here’s a photo of a 1909 - 11 type roller. It’s the dirty one missing the roller on the left side of the photo:

And THAT is why I came HERE for advice

THANK YOU for the education. I had never seen one of these before and needed to be schooled…and now I am!

So I guess I still haven’t seen an original '11 timer :slight_smile:

But this is good enough for now…sure glad I posted the picture and found out what this REALLY was.

Thank you again!