Sorry I am new to T's. What would happen if you put a 12 volt battery in a T.
You will need a 12 volt generator, regulator, and light bulbs. I cannot speak for a model T but I ran 12 volts through a '53 flathead starter and never had a problem.
An alternative to a 12 volt generator is a 12 volt alternator. Doug is right about the light bulbs, too. A 12 Volt system is hard on the old 6 volt starters. There are 12 volt starters available also. The ignition system will work fine either way, 6 or 12 volt.
What extra items do you have on the car that requires 12 volt?
Why? Six volts is fine. If something's not working right, fix it. I start a 1923 Ford Model T, a 1945 Allis Chalmers Model B, and a 1951 Dodge pickup on six volts with no trouble.
Just to start a controversy: Twelve volts is better. I start my 24 and 27 Model T's and my 1943 Farmall M tractor on 12 volts. On the tractor i just changed the battery. On the Model T unless you do something to add a little loss the 12 volts really slams the Bendix. To keep this from happening I use a 6 ft 12 volt(skinny copper) cable on one side of the circuit. Note that you can get a real 12 volt Model T starter and alternator from L.D. Becker, Norwalk, Ohio 419-668-5896or 419 663-5122. His parts carry a lifetime warranty. He will stand behind them as long as he is alive. He has excellent quality.
To add one more thing, a 12 volt battery will hold enough charge to start a Model T or Farmall M tractor unit for more than 3 months.
Yesterday I started my six volt '23 touring for the first time in a year and a half. It held enough charge to start for eighteen months.
Three cells in a 6 volt battery. That number 3 is very important....
Model T has
3 point suspension
of the 3 major chassis parts
You mess with the karma of a T by putting in a 6 cell 12 v battery.
I thought about upgrading my T to 12 volt. But then I had to add an alternator to charge the battery and then I had to upgrade the wiring to handle the alternator. Then I had to upgrade the lights to not waste the extra power from the alternator. Then I had to upgrade the starter so it didn't get hammered. Then I wanted to put in a fuel pump so I had to add a pressure regulator. Then I wanted to have a new ignition for the 12 volt so I put in new high intensity electronic ignition. I wanted automatic spark control which then made me want a fuel system that was automatic, so fuel injection is in the works. I decided I needed disk brakes and bigger tires and shock absorbers. I thought since I have 12 volt I would add an electric fan. With that much cooling I needed a water pump and thermostat. Also with 12 volt I can add a radar detector, stereo, GPS and phone charger. After I got all of the upgrades done I stepped back and marveled. It looks and runs just like my Taurus!
NOTE: This is a joke and not to be taken seriously nor is this directed at anyone in particular so don't get your panties in a twist. It is just me having fun.
Winston Churchill was right again. "A lie goes around the world 3 times while the truth is putting its pants on". I give up. There is more misinformation in the above postings than factual info. I will offend those who think they are in the know so I will just leave well enough alone. Popular opinions are not facts - they are opinions. They don't become facts by being popular.
A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth has time to put its boots on.
Attributed to Twain as "a lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on", Standard player monthly, 1918, Volumes 3-4, Standard Pneumatic Action Co. An uncredited variant, "A lie will cover leagues while truth is putting on its boots", appears in The Judge, Volume 67, 1914, Judge Publishing Company. The oldest known attribution (1831) is to Fisher Ames: “falsehood proceeds from Maine to Georgia, while truth is pulling on his boots.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon said similar, adding "if you want a lie to go round the world, it will fly: it is as light as a feather, and a breath will carry it", in 1855.
This has also been attributed to Winston Churchill.
I put my firs 12 volt battery in a 27 pickup in 1980 and ran it for three years until I had to sell the vehicle. I have put 12 votes in all my T,s
since then. I was told the generator was dumb and didn't know if it was 6 V or 12v the only thing I did was change the light bulbs put a long cable from the battery to the starter button.and I put a low cranking amp battery in. I've done this with five model T,s I did not change the starter or the generator or the cutout. I did put a diode in cutout works fine for me
You know I kind of like it when someone puts in a 12 volt battery because I sell bendixes and light bulbs. I had one customer that broke enough bendix springs that he installed a model A bendix spring. He told me he would never switch to 12 volt again.
Joe Bohannon: What is wrong with your T that you would ever want to go to 12 volts ?
I have always stuck with 6 volt batteries and can go out and start any of my Ts in my non heated garage no matter how cold the temperature is. I drive my 16 to town every day. The 16 has a little six volt, I think golf cart battery in it and it starts on the second or third pull no matter how cold it is.
SIDE BAR: There is a 25 Coupe here in Berthoud Colorado that was owned by a school teacher in Minnesota (some of the lowest temperatures in the U.S). She drove it to a small country school and parked it outside in the weather all day and managed to start it up every night after school.She drove the T until the day she retired. It still had a six volt system and does to this day and still starts good on six volts. I know some of her family and they claimed that she never had any trouble starting it.
Joe its your car to do as you want but I would recomend that you stay with 6 volts to avoid troubles.
Has anyone converted their modern car to 24V?
My Model T had a 12v system when I bought it and I converted it back to 6v. Here is what a 12v system will do to a bendix starter spring. I found it when I was overhauling the engine. The spring loops had been twisted 180 degrees so they were opposite eachother. The loops should be on the same side of the spring. The last picture is what a normal bendix spring should look like after decades in a 6v engine. Stay with a 6v system. Jim Patrick
6v will run everything fine. If you want brighter lights and no gen problems, get a 6v alt. If your car will not start on 6v then you have a problem that needs to be solved which is usually a bad ground circuit.
12 volts WILL shorten the life of your 6 volt horn.
The only reason I asked is that I have to buy a battery and try to start it for the first time. I just remember when I was very young and my dad sometimes had trouble with our 6V cars. If I stay with 6V what cranking amps should I look for. One fellow in the post seem to be saying he used a deep cycle golf cart battery for his.
Go to your local TSS or other farm store and get a Group One size 6v battery, these are farm tractor will proper amps for the T. Made by Excide and have used these for years.
The Group One will fit easy in the T battery carrier, if you add a 3/4" thick board to lift the case up to be held fast by the factory clamps.
6v is all the Model T needs for starting, original equipment is 6v and good for use.
A six volt battery puts out lots of load, that's why my golf cart uses 6v batteries, ( all 6 of them in series, for the motor voltage)
For its first ten years, the T came without a starter. The addition of a starter motor in 1919 was for convenience, not necessity, at least for most people.
But if the magneto isn't up to snuff, you want to start on BAT. Then, if the magneto is working enough to run the car once it's started, switch to MAG.
Lack of cranking power with six volts is usually due to one of two things:
1 A poor ground connection somewhere between the battery and the starter;
2 Using twelve volt battery cables.
Depending on where you are, the battery Dan recommends will be available at TSS, TSC, Orscheln, Fleet & Farm, or any other farm supply store.
Ford was using 6V system in 1955 and that system had v8 motor, radio, sealed beam head lights and power convertible top motors. That system started fine on the coldest day of winter in Northern IL. I know because I had a 1955 Sunliner convertible in high school. The 6v system was also superior in picking up chicks but perhaps that had more to do with the convertible body style - not sure
Here's an analogy. If your modern car was having trouble starting, would you blame the 12 volts and try to put 24 or 36 in? Or would you just fix the initial problem? It is for you to decide.
When I bought my 1915 Touring, the seller installed, at my request, a full 12-volt electrical system which included a belt-driven alternator, a newly designed, beefed-up starter and a no-maintenance Optima battery (and to accommodate the new starter, the original transmission was switched out for a unit of 1924 vintage). I also have a cigarette lighter-type electrical socket.
After not quite two years of ownership, I can report that the alternator is trouble-free and the Optima battery holds a charge tenaciously throughout the inactivity of a full New England winter.
That beefed-up starter spins the living daylights out of the engine which catches very easily—so easily, in fact, that I have to be careful to get my heel off the starter button instantly to prevent those awful grinding sounds. Giving the button a quick bop works well.
At this point in time, the starter remains firmly fixed to its mount and all of the bolts are still nice and tight. While there seems to be no significant down-side to using this combination of electrical equipment, nevertheless, it's a little disconcerting that a century-old engine should be spun up with such instantaneous gusto. No doubt, a six-volt, belt-driven alternator, six-volt Optima battery and six volt starter, (all of which are available for the Model T) would not only be gentler to the engine, but would sound a whole lot more appropriate. I might have gone in that direction, but wanted bright head-lights, full turn signals and brake lights, and the ability to run an electric air compressor and a GPS off the cigarette lighter.
On the whole, I'm happy with the setup as it is and think I made the right decision, but find myself wondering whether there's a way to install a step-down transformer between the 12-volt power source and the starter. It would be nice to have all the advantages of a 12-volt system and the gentle, correct-sounding startup of a six volts.
Thanks for everybodys help. I am sure I will be back with many other questions as I enjoy my T. It will not be a show car. I plan to use it in parades, hayrides, around town. Help the young people understand where cars came from !
I just finished converting my 6 volt starter to 12 volt. It was easy to do. I spent more time cleaning up the starter than redoing the wiring. There was an article on the forum recently on how to do this.
In the stock starter, the 4 field coils are wired two in series, two in parallel. I just had to change it to all 4 in series. This provides 3 volts per coil just like a 6 volt starter. The only thing to watch our for is to make sure that the current flows in the same direction as stock so that the polarity of the electro-magnets are not changed.
The rewired starter works great on 12 volts. It does not slam the Bendix and performs like it did when it was a 6 volt starter operating on 6 volts.
Before: (Note that the connection post had fallen off. This may be a failure point on other starters. The post supplies current to two coils and the brush terminals are supplied by two coils.)
After: (The post is not attached yet. The post now supplies current to only one coil and the brushes are supplied by one coil. All the coils are in series.)
In all fairness, I should point out that the bendix spring above was destroyed by a non-converted 6v starter, which is probably why it slammed the bendix so violently. While I prefer my 6v system, there are those here that I respect very much that seem just as happy and satisfied with their 12v system, just as there are those that prefer the distributor over coils and water pump over thermo-siphon, so I can't fault them for it. If they are happy, that is the important thing. The fact they all own Model T's makes them okay in my book. To each his/her own. Jim Patrick
Ron the Coilman
How many RPM do you need to start a T?
I purchased my 6v battery at O'Reilly's last year. They only carry one brand and it easily fits in the holder. I think it was $66.00. They do accept trades - I think it's $4.00. Not much, but at least they dispose of it and you can treat yourself to a latte.
I do not know the technical answer to your question, but since many T's are started with the hand crank on a quarter pull it can't be very much. I'd GUESS that the equivalent of 40 or 50 engine RPM will get it going.
Of course, this brings up another interesting question that I do not think I've ever heard or seen anything about. What's the ratio between starter RPM and engine RPM? The answer to this question will provide the number needed for use of Ron's graph to answer Steve's question.
If you want to modernise a Model T, I guess you should have bought a new car instead of changing the T. I enjoy driving what was designed and built by Ford a hundred odd years ago. 6v is fine, easily maintained and parts are available. Putting on modern electrics and other parts other than for safety is like putting a silk shirt on a pig!
Enjoy the car for what it is, experience the past and have fun.
I correct myself -
The ratio of starter RPM to engine RPM and the data in Ron's graph will give you an idea of the engine RPM a starter provides to start the engine, but will not give a specific answer to Steve's question.
The Model T starting motor Bendix drive gear to ring gear ratio is 12 to 1.
Ron the Coilman
I have been asked by another member where the instructions are for converting a 6 volt starter to 12 volts.
Start here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/249156.html?1322236617
That will lead you to here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/12V_Sratrer_Conversion-249238.html
The photos didn't open on my computer but if I clicked on them they did open in another page. Here is one: http://oldfords.org/images/starter2.jpg
The schematic diagram is here: http://oldfords.org/images/12v_starter_schem.jpg
I used one heavy wire instead of two, just because I had a bunch of heavy wire laying around.
Converting is a lot less expensive than going out an buying a new 12 volt starter. Plus you get the enjoyment of cleaning out all the oily mess and re wrapping the coils. If your starter is in good shape, this seems to me like the way to go.
Hint: an impact screwdriver will remove the screws holding the electro-magnet pole pieces, and re-install them when you put it back together.
Hope this helps.
For the first 10 years of production the T had no "self starter". The only need for any speed when starting a T is to produce compression and in the case of the magneto starting to produce ignition. If the T is started with the coil box switch set to BAT and there is a battery there then you only have to pull the handle through compression to start a T. If that does not start it up then something is not right. Since "easier starting" is one of the common reasons given for 12V conversion - I point out that the T would never have been a success and survived for the first 10 years if it was hard to start and many were started daily without a battery at all.
For years a lady named Miriam came on the MTFCI annual tour. She was there every year and drove a '17 roadster. She had a rebel flag on the thing and a small bulldog rode with her everywhere. She was a small grey haired lady and started her T by herself with no electric starter. She never failed to be at every stop along the tour for the entire week. As a director for the MTFCI I heard about her very loud protest that at an annual meeting there was a tech seminar for the "men" and a shopping spree for the "ladies" and she was ticked to not be invited to the tech seminar. I don't think the club ever made that mistake again. She was a spunky lady and on a subsequent tour she was unanimously chosen to receive the President's Award. That award recipient is chosen by all the past presidents on the tour and given to the person/group that seems to exhibit the most tour "spirit". She was just beside herself with pride/joy to come up for the award and seeing her receive it is one of my fondest T memories. When her name came up for nomination, it was an instant "YES" from all past presidents in attendance.
Even though open cars supposedly did not come with starters in 1919, I wonder how many buyers had them installed at the dealers for their runabouts and tourings?
I know an 80 year old driver that drives his hand crank T everday and has no trouble starting it even in way below freezing weather.
I have a 12 that I hand crank and drive it over Trail Ridge regularly to Grand Lake. There used to be a model T club in Northern Colorado that I belonged to. The members called my 12, OLD TWO PULL because I choked it one pull and It always started on the second pull. I guess I don't understand how you could improve on that by installing a 12 volt battery, let alone a starter.
I think it was the other way around. Of all the TTs that I drug in from behind barns NONE had a starter or generator but all had the block offs. Those farmers were not about to wast $40.00 to electrify their trucks. The same goes for motors that I drag in from junk piles. Even if they are mid 19 or later at least half or better had the block offs. If you mean did people who had pre 19 Ts modify them, NO I have never seen or heard of one that was modified.
I wonder if all motors for 1919 had ring gears and if not then Ford would have had to have a different motor assembly for the closed cars than for the open ones.
I don't know about ring gears on the early flywheels but the early 19 blocks DID NOT have a flat place for the generator.
1926 Block with a rare style block off. You may be able to see the flat spot in the front right side of the late 1912 blacks to 1927. These particular round block offs are harder to find than the flat block offs.