Not sure if I'm in the right area here. I am new to the model T world also new to your forum. I just bought a 1923 Closed Coupe. I am trying to get it running. Has been sitting for approx 30 yrs. Just finished rebuilding the Kingston Carb. Now for my problem, The engine was converted to an Atwater Kent many yrs ago. Eventually I will change it back to coils and a timer but for now would just like to get it running so I can enjoy. My problem is no spark. Tried a new coil - no help. points rotor and cap are worn but look like they should work. what should I try next?
The capacitors almost always go bad in the coils and frequently go bad in distributors.
even with a bad capacitor it should do some thing, maybe even run poorly. follow the voltage all the way thru from the switch, to the coil, to the points. if the points have power and still no spark at the plug, then points are not making contact. clean them and the cap and rotor. if still nothing, then make sure its turning with the motor.
Robert I have an extra one let me put a picture up and see if it is the same one you have
Robert, Is the distributor the one in this thread from a past post here on the forum?
Here is the one I have
That specimen is beautiful...take good care of it. It must be an earlier version...the later and more common Atwater Kent is the model LA.
John, Check this Accessory Of The Day thread out on the ATWATER KENT TYPE "H" IGNITION SYSTEM
I have the wood coil box for it too I am interested in selling it if any one is interested
ok. 1st to answer Jay - I am new to the forum and new to model T so I have not posted previously. now back to the distributor. Spencer, The one I have is the later type LA. The rotor is worn and loose, cap isn't much better but they should still provide a spark. Can I add a condensor/capacitor to the outside? Clayton, can you give me some instruction on how/where to check for voltage at the points?
You can add an external capacitor, either on the distributor or at the coil. But, if the AK capacitor is shorted, it must be disconnected. This is best done by cutting the foil that leads from the capacitor to the terminal. This is a very short distance and can be easily cut.
My '13 came to me with an Atwater Kent distributor and it would not run, despite good compression and a known good carburetor. I found a good coil and condenser but the spark event timing was off. I reset the timing so that the spark happened and then the car started up and ran for 30 seconds. Then the timing was way off again.
Eventually I figured out that the bevel gears that drive the Atwater Kent distributor were completely worn out.
Installing a $5 Ford roller timer, a used set of original rotten plug wires and a spare set of coils fixed the problem.
Here is a picture of how the car looked when I got it. Paul Sorrel had replaced the wiring harness, spark plug wires, condenser and coil before giving up and selling the car to me.
If I were you, before doing anything else, I would remove the single bolt holding the distributor in place. The drive gears need to be greased every year or so, otherwise they wear out and the car stops running permanently.
I will remove the distributor and check the gears. also will see if I can cut the foil tie for the old condenser and add on a new one.
Thanks to John McGinnis. Your advice was right on. I removed the distributor took the points out and found the metal tab for the old built in condenser. Bent that out of the way, added the new condenser back in and now have spark. lined up the #1 cyl with dist just don't know yet if I may be 180deg out. Anyone have an easy way to resolve that issue?
Sure could use a little more help and advice here. Have a good spark now so need to try to set timing. Does anyone have anything to offer here? If I have the spark lever at bottom of quadrant the distributor is near/close to fan belt. Should the rotor be slightly past #1, on #1 or slightly before #1?. All this would be dependent on gear placement when installing the distributor.
The points should be just opening just after top dead center on the compression stroke when the piston is just starting to go down. To get to the compression stroke put a thumb into the plug hole of #1 and hand crank until you get compression. Then put a screwdriver into the hole sitting on top of the piston and watch it as you hand crank.
I have had an Atwater Kent LA model on my 27 Touring since I've owned it and its been trouble free. The centrifugal advance is a plus.
Don't overlook the fact that what ever terminal the rotor is point at becomes No 1. Unlike modern cars (or more modern) which have a dedicated No1 position. Being 180 off could mean you just need to change the wires on the cap. Having the No1 cylinder at TDC you need to take the unit off and on a few times and rotate the distributor gear till you you find the place where the points are about to open, this may change which terminal becomes No1, fine tune it from there by bending the rod then using that as your No 1, rewire the cap to 1243.
Thanks to you all. Got it timed and it will fire and run for a couple seconds. now I will go back and continue to work on the fuel issues. you guys are great and your advice is spot on. Thanks.