Over the last few weeks I have been setting up coils and generally having lots of exposure to the ignition system. It struck me that it is no wonder that that it is not hard for your T ignition system to to operate less than perfectly. 2 sets of points per coil, one capacitor per coil, 2 windings per coil, 10 connection directly to the coil box, 4 internal connections in a timer, 4 external connections on a timer, one external magneto connection, one internal magneto connection, battery connections, ignition switch connections, terminal block connections! I've lost count already. Given the effects low voltage and high resistance have on electrical connections on your T, take the time to check all the electrical connections you can see and it just may save you some time on the side of the road one day! As an aside,I have been amazed at the difference a set of coils set to factory specs can make to a car!
Everything you say is true. Especially the bit about properly set up coils but so many of the problems mentioned are a result of time & age. The wood in the coil box, anything exposed to weather ect. If you pick up a "new" T and just run it you can expect to get a good look at the side of some road some where.
Conversely, it's amazing how well and long it works without intervention once everything is "right".
It is also amazing how one can get things back to work with a bit of tinkering. I have always been able to make it home under my own power, even with clogged fuel lines, bad coils, fouled plugs and even running out of gas (OK that one did require a bit of intervention, but now I carry a spare gallon of gas in the side box)
One of the best things I did for my t was replace all wires, cleaned all connections, rebuilt coils and coil box, generator, starting switch, timer, plug wires,
battery cables........ the whole marry ann. Mechanical repairs don't get to far if electrical system is poor. It pays dividends every time we go for a drive.
This is why I like my distributor (car came that way). Two adjustments-timing and point gap-and go down the road without any worries and no maintenance for a long time, Don.
FIGHT ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!! A GUY POSTED THAT HE LIKES A DISTRIBUTOR BETTER THAN TIMER AND COILS. MAN YOUR POSITIONS AND TAKE UP ARMS. STAND READY TO FIRE VOLLEYS!!!!!!!!!
Yes, Don. Those of us who run coils, have to stop and adjust them every day. (just kidding) Actually, if you have a set of points or condensor go bad can you limp home on the other three? If your battery goes dead can you drive on the mag? If your distributor cap goes bad.....wait, we have no distributor cap... Just messing with you, to each his own. Actually, mine has always run on coils and I put in a set of coils adjusted be one of the best and an anderson timer (a roller timer would suffice) and haven't touched it since 2006. 2-3000 miles a year. I can live with that.
Not so. I adjusted my coils 20 years ago and they are still working.
Let's look at the other side of the picture. With a distributor, there is one set, some have two sets of points. One condensor, one coil, one rotor. If the points, the condensor , the coil, or the rotor go bad, the car won't start or run.
With coils, you can limp in if one coil or condensor goes bad. If the magneto quits, you can drive on battery.
The ignition system along with the transmission are the two things different about a Model T. That's why I like them.
The engine has a lot of parts too but it seems to work well most of the time. Maybe we could replace it with an electric motor, rheostat and a battery, which would vastly improve simplicity. However we would have a limited range. So then we could add a engine driven generator to keep the battery up. Or we could put all three together and add a computer and some streamlining. Now we have today's hybrid, a very complex machine which seems to work pretty well.