I have several original wooden spark coils with Ford Script that I had Ron Patterson rebuild and adjust for me back in 2010. They have been in my garage packed in newspaper in a cardboard box awaiting installation on my 1926 Fordor whenever I get around to rebuilding the engine, which may be quite some time down the road. What is the best way to store these spark coils until I am ready to use them? Up right? on their side? wrapped in plastic? Is it possible for them to get out of adjustment just by the passage of time, even if the points are not touched? Thank you. Jim Patrick
They are 90 years old and still kicking, with the normal part replacement and adjusting. How bad can it be??
Seriously, they will be fine just like they are.
If it were me, I'd put the box under my bed. It's a matter of climate control. But, my wife......
I have a few "improved" coil boxes with lids that I store re-built coils, also have a dessicant bag in there to check moisture. A thin wipe of vaseline on the contacts will help.
When ready to use just remove dessicant and use lacquer thinner on a thin towel to run thru points to remove vaseline.
Works for me.
Ammo boxes work great, use padding as needed, water proof. KB
The points can get out of adjustment if the wood changes shape. But I think it is minimal. I have checked a set of coils after a couple of years of running and found them to need a little tweak, but I had not noticed any lack of performance. Nor did I notice any increase in performance after tweaking them, but they were off a hair according to the HCCT ammeter.
The only thing I'd worry about really is the points getting dirty. I had a properly rebuilt set quick working after a few months of disuse. Only one coil was still firing. I simply ran a piece of paper in between all the points, put them back in, and they all worked fine again.
Other than that, I'd say store them whichever way is most convenient for you. They're much tougher than they may look. Just remember to run a piece of paper through the points before you install them again!
I once had an old Harley mechanic tell me to polish my points by drawing a dollar bill through them. I tried it, but couldn't tell the difference. It would probably do the trick if they had been sitting up and had a light coat of corrosion on them.
My recommendation is what I was told by Ron Patterson. Put them in zip lock bags, expel as much air as possible and put in a desiccant of some type.
I have been studying coil adjustment over the last year in conjunction with the Electrically Cranked Coil Tester (ECCT) under development.
The ECCT accurately measures the coil dwell time to fire as the metric for proper coil adjustment as opposed to coil current. It is amazing how sensitive the point adjustment is to significant changes in dwell time (and thus ignition timing). I can precisely adjust a set of coils for the exact same dwell time and find that they can each drift significantly over time (minutes to hours) as the metal and wood relaxes. This can impose significant timing error and detract from optimal performance if not corrected.
By the way, judging optimal performance was done using a specially designed Model T Data Acquisition System (TDAS) that simultaneously monitors engine speed and vehicle speed versus time. Various methods of coil point adjustment can be measured and accurately compared. Testing is done on the same course starting at the same point, spark lever/throttle set to the same positions, shifting at the same point on the course and ending at the same point on the course.
Coils adjusted to consistently fire spark within 1 degree of each other 90% of the time while operating on magneto using a New Day timer performs exceptionally smooth, achieving high engine RPM (2200) and excellent acceleration; almost as good as the E-Timer according to the TDAS test data.
Jim, if nothing else, get rid of the newspaper wrapping. Newspaper ink never dries and if left long enough it will bleed into the wood on your coils, making them not so good looking.
Thank you everyone. Last night I put them in ziplock bags with little bags of desicant then sucked the air out and put them in a small plastic storage container. Jim Patrick
Hal - On polishing points:
You forgot about inflation! Nowadays, ya' hafta' draw $10's and $20's thru' the points as a "buck" won't do it anymore!
I have gotten a decent deal on non-running small engines and outboard motors because they had no spark. In a lot of cases, corroded points was all that was keeping them from getting spark. I have to admit, I had forgotten about the dollar bill trick until Cameron mentioned a piece of paper above. I normally use some really fine (Maybe 800 grit) wet or dry sandpaper, but maybe I will try the dollar bill thing next time. I'm sure the less scratches to the surface, the better. If that don't work, maybe I'll try a 10 or 20.
Those coils ought to be fine for many decades if you store them properly. Here's what I would do:
1. Wrap them in newspaper.
2. Put them in a cardboard box
3. Store them in a dry place. Like a garage, for example.