I have recently obtained the model t from my uncle, he is up in age and knew he wasn't going to be able to take on the project, since I have completely dismantled the truck and rebuilt a rolling chassis, on to the motor and my problem. I am having problems finding cap, rotor, points etc for the atwater dist. Any suggestions would be app. I hope to complete this project in time to take him for a drive in it!
I have 1 & 1/2 I am rebuilding into 1. I will have some parts left.
You will pretty much need a 'friend' to round out and salvage an original AK distributor. You have to buy a gear set, or an origianal rotor, or cap and those that sell 'good' as part of their trade tend to see you coming and know the next guy will buy at their price.
If time is not on your side, you may want to consider buying one of the newer clip-on kits that are available. Out of the box and an hour or two and you should be good to go if your other stuff works. Then you can spend your time getting the AK back together later if you want.
My son has an AK on his '26 that is simply 'shot' and it went from great to goat in a 24 hour period, and we have spent ungodly amount of time and money gathering up bits and pieces and still have a way to go. In fact, he's bringing it over today on his vulture truck, we are going through it together for that and a bunch of other things, but he has already made the decision to order up a clip on this week as he's now tired of constantly watching his sit and needing to take out one of mine when he has his own. He's also made the decision to rebuild the AK completely over time and put it back on somewhere down the line.
Welcome aboard. An inexpensive and quick way to get going might be to put a timer on it with coils. There's several ways to get it operational. I have 2 T's with distributors, and the rest run on coils and timers. The one I drive the most has an Anderson timer, coils and a 12V battery (the magnets had been previously removed and replaced with aluminum oil slingers.) Some folks think if your magneto don't work, you have to switch to a distributor--not so! You have options--choose the one that works best for you and get it going. Good luck.
There are two or three different Atwater Kent distributors.
You would have to know the model number to get the right cap.
Here is the CA Model that includes a different front plate.
Contact me at 402=359-5762 I have lots of NOS ignition parts for this unit. also have lots of NOS ignition parts for other makes and models
I gotta second Mike's opinion.
I don't want to sound like some who insist that everything on a T has to be factory original, but the sweet sound of coils buzzing away is a part of the T driving experience.
I considered a distributor when restoring my T but decided to fix up the coils and now I'm so glad I did. Always fun to hear the public ask "what's that buzzing noise I hear ?"
Also coils can actually be cheaper than outfitting with a distributor and, they are very reliable. I carry 2 spares under the back seat but have never had to use them.
They are not nearly as fussy as some would have you believe, especially running on battery.
Good luck with your project!
You don't say whether the distributor components are missing or suspected unusable. I run several A-K model LA distributors. All components are very original, used and *worn*, but work perfectly fine. There is the notion that one needs to replace ignition components...when it isn't really necessary. Perhaps the capacitor, but it is easy to disconnect the original and replace with an external modern one. Don't give up. Good luck.
Does your have the energy-saving snap action points?
The energy-saving snap action points were in the H and K style AK distributors. I have parts for them too.
You're in Camino Califunny? There are a couple good clubs near you. One in Sacramento, one in Auburn. I know a few people that live near you. Lots of good advice (and probably help) is available close by. I am just a little ways further up highway 49 in Grass Valley. You can call me. I make no promises that my advice is any good. But sometimes I think I know what I am talking about.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I am running a NOS Kent Atwater on one of my Ts and was told the parts for Kent Atwater are a bit hard to find.
Does anybody have experience with the snap action points? How is starting, and high speed operation?
Here is my setup,
Atwater kent type LA ford model
My phone will not allow me to choose the photo but it is seperate from the plate and held on by a bolt and plate spring.
Pete, here is a photo.
The pot metal base is often cracked or broken with these distributors.
The small collar is often missing, if you find one at a flea market and that is required to give the drive gear the proper offset to engage the distributor gear.
The capacitor is normally attached to a small tab on the band that holds the coil and not placed as shown on this distributor.
The wire holding the collar and drive gear is actually going through the tab that would hold the spark advance rod.
The Atwater Kent Type LA is very similar to the Bosch Distributor.
The Bosch base is fixed in position and only the distributor turns to advance or retard the spark.
Note the similarity of the collar and drive gear.
The capacitor you reference is a replacement. The original LA capacitor is internal to the distributor head and is not (easily) replaceable. Your photo indicates a repair/upgrade to a modern capacitor.
FWIW, I did learn something about an LA this week.
Have been fighting ignition and overheating for a long time on a '26 when the only change done by someone was to change out the points. Found the LA to have maybe 25 degrees of play rotationly, the shaft goes up and down at will, the gears are shot, and the comm rod levers have big eggs in them...The quest began and the ultimate decision was that maybe a modern clip-on would be 'easier' than chasing this ghost. The owner (my son)trucked it over the other day, played with it some more because we were going to make up an order so might as well go gangbusters on lots of things, and it was tough to start....sounded good when started...but had absolutely zero guts...behaved as though the low band was missing or skipping!
So list made, time to put it back on the truck and I happened to mention, you know as near as I remember that carb has been on there for near 40 years. Before we go and turn the order in, why not get that spare NH out of my stash, it only had about 500 miles on it, and let's see what else changes, only 2-9/16 and about 10 minutes.
Deed done, fires right up, has b*lls to the wall even with the looseness in the distributor, and nothing could make it overheat! Go figure...
We'll still get it done right on a distributor because thats what he wants and what his grandfather always used, but sure fooled me...old carb sounded good but it was apparently the bigger part of the problem. The '26 lives again for another day...sometimes these really are hard to kill!
John, You have a good point!
I have not removed that top section, but the original capacitor seems to be roughly rectangular, a little shorter than an original Model T Coil capacitor and still inside the top section.
I have a meter that measures capacitance and leakage, I will have to check.
I also have a little booklet here someplace that originally came with that distributor with installation and repair instructions.