I was ordering some parts for my T from Lang's today and saw this in their catalog and I would like to know if anyone has installed one of these and how it has worked? Here is the description: Totally original in appearance. This electronic system fits in an original 1914-1927 steel coil box.
The “True Fire Ignition System” replaces your original 4 wooden coils and timer roller with an improved, lower maintenance electronic unit. It even has as an added buzzing sound to simulate the original vintage coils so it not only looks totally original, but it sounds original. Just remove your four old wooden coils and replace them with this single unit coil module. Then, remove your timer roller brush from under the timer cap.
NO cleaning, oiling or moving parts to wear out. It can be used with 6 or 12 volt systems. A vastly improved, more reliable system!
Hidden From View!
Easier on Engine!
Buzzes Just Like the Original Coils!
Thanks in advance, Happy motoring,
4 original coils rebuilt by Ron Patterson is your best option.
No ignition alternative is completely trouble free..
Here's one good discussion (among several) about the TrueFire: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/399331.html?1385090181
We had one in our 27 speedster (it came to us that way) and had no problems with it at all. It performed as advertised. The speedster had no mag and I had no intention of replacing it.
Warren, I sent you a PM. My 1924 touring / pickup came to me without its magneto and with a Truefire installed, it runs fine. If you get one, be sure to check and reset your timing per the method in my PM. Don't be surprised if you have to lengthen your timing rod. Don't just set the timing using the Ford tool!
I would advise against the True Fire. I have had two of them. When they work, they are good ignition systems. (The second one failed after a few months). The problem IMHO with the True Fire is not so much with the unit, but with Ed Bittner who makes them.
Here is the his website:
Ed is a full time aerospace engineer, and I think he has lost interest in this business. He is a nice guy if you can ever reach him, but I don't think he wants to be reached.
As evidence of this, I challenge you to call the phone number on his website. Yes, that's right, it has been disconnected for YEARS. He rarely answers emails or phone calls. If you really want to talk to him call his personal phone number: (203) 245-4524. I was so desperate that I did some internet research and found it. He rarely answers that, but occasionally you can get him there.
What I would suggest is this: GET A DISTRIBUTOR. Maybe Texas T Parts. I did, and it runs just as good as the True Fire, and I CAN SERVICE IT MYSELF. If you do get the Texas T distributor, my advice is: do not get the coil that they sell with it. I did, and it went out after two days. I replaced it with a "Blue Bosch" coil, and it has run perfectly ever since.
It sounds like you want something that is invisible and buzzes like coils. The True Fire does not do a good job of sounding like coils. It makes kind of a high-pitched squeaking noise that I never liked.
Sorry to be so negative about True Fire, but I have been very disappointed with the level of service.
This probably isn't what you wanted to hear, but I have been through it with ignition systems, and only came to these conclusions after much time, money and experience.
Regards and good luck,
It is an ignition alternative.
From what I understand Bittner's TruFire can run on battery only and cannot be operated on the magneto.
It would seem to be a viable ignition alterative if your car does not have a working magneto and does have a battery. Or it could be a viable option for an early car that is equipped with an Heinze or Kingston coils, which can be fussy.
Otherwise, I have had success with Patterson rebuilt coils and personal rebuilt coils. On a side note, Mr. Bittner also makes new coil units which I have also run which are excellent.
I like the "looks" on the TruFire and would rather run a TruFire than a modern clip-on distributor.
: ^ )
Warren, sent you a PM on another alternative out there you may want to consider.
I also have a TruFire on one of my cars. It came with the car and so far I have not had any problems.
The previous owner had at least one unit fail on a weekend tour. (trailer ride back to motel)
My concern is the inability to repair if it does fail on the road. Usually a coil system can be repaired on the road and especially if a spare coil or two is in your tool box.
Keith Townsend mentioned above that the TruFire can run on battery only and not on the magneto, and that is correct.
They are advertised as being able to run on 6 or 12 volts, and that is also correct.
That said, I was running one in my T on 6 volts. All was fine until the 6 volt battery went bad. The battery was fine at the start of the tour. The generator was good and tried to keep charging the battery, which was powering the TruFire. Eventually, the battery/generator output fell below 6 volts and the car started to run bad. We were on a 5 day tour at the time and the temp. was over 90 degrees. Because of the temp., we thought the problem was with the Stromberg OF carb., but it wasn't.
End result is we messed around with the OF, switched carbs, etc. & we ended up killing the generator. The problem was solved when we replaced the battery, generator, and put the coils back in. I still have the coils in (rebuilt by Brent Mize ) and the T runs fine.
Just my experience....your mileage may vary.
I have heard from several sources that the Truefire won't run on less than six volts, luckily my experience was different.
One day during a local drive I noticed that my horn was sounding sick (people often wave as I go by and I honk and wave back). The car ran just fine all the way home. When I got home, I started troubleshooting the horn and found out that one of the cells of my 6V battery was dead and I was only getting 4.8 volts out of the battery. Since I rarely use my starter, there's no telling how long the battery had been that way. If the horn hadn't started acting up, I never would have noticed the weak battery. Just luck? Maybe....
Mark, you never would have started your engine again on the starter, as the voltage may drop a full volt while cranking the engine.
You might have started the engine while cranking and that would have been a great "proof of concept" test for the TrueFire, if it started.
I would use the stock system or a distributor.
Judging by the experiences of others, the TF system seems "delicate" in that there are many ways to kill it. When it quits, what do you do then? Coils or distributors are almost always "fixable" on the road.
Thanks to Mark & Kevin and everyone else that took the time to answer. I just notice the item in Lang's on line catalog and was interested if anyone had tried them. I do not have a coil problem and Lang's told me "if I did not have a coil problem not to buy the item". One problem they said was that you can not repair them if they brake down.
We had one in a Tudor the mag didn't work in. The unit worked great until I 'killed" it when jumping the battery (something I'm good at, having "killed" two mags too). I know two Early Ford Registry members using them in their Model S Fords, and they are very happy with them (Model NRS have no mag, so coils must run on six or twelve volt batteries, also, the timer is impossible to get to without pulling the rear end, so no timer maintenance is a big plus).
If I were building a speedster, or had no mag, I would consider one. My first choice, if they were available, would be an E-timer (when no mag is available), but that's a different topic for another thread......
I have a true-fire on my '20 that came with the car. Been doing great with it the last two years or so, now all of a sudden it's acting up. Very weak spark on #1 & #4 cylinders, I suspect its the coil. Gotta get ahold of Jim Golden, he's got pretty good knowledge of them. At this point, I'd still give my thumbs up to it, despite my issue. Seems to have started the same exact moment my radiator spring a leak where the overflow tube goes thru the top tank, don't know if fluid got into the system somehow and shorted it out, or just coincidental.
Here is an older thread that talks about the coil used in the Truefire:
I bought a spare coil mentioned in the above thread with the idea of using it for on-the-road repairs, but replacing the coil is a little involved, the coil is hard wired into the Truefire circuit, it isn't just unplug the old one and plug the new one in.
Get a high tension magneto! All of the benefits of running a distributor, but WAY cooler (no offense to you distributor types) and with magnets!
I have one and love it. Had a failure after about 6 years, and Ed Bittner fixed it and only charged me for parts. He is hard to reach, I'll give you that. In addition to a reliable, hot spark, the magnetic button "timer module" eliminates any mechanical timer issues. Nothing to wear out or lubricate. Pretty slick.
My 1927 roadster still runs on the original vaporizer with Brent Mize rebuilt coils. Since I only drive it around town I like the fact that it is still running on the original ignition system.
My TF is 8 years old and has had two (internal) coils replaced (by Ed) in 2008 and just last month-July 2014. I like the 'stock' look vs the 'funny' distributor. I lightened my TT engine by removing the magneto coils and magnets for oil slingers.
I have stuck with the 6 volt battery and there-in lies my problem with the TF. Evidently, the TF coils work much better at the higher 12 volts. Even if your 12 volt battery gets weak it still works better than a 6 volt.
Ed also replaced some resistors with the weak coil last month. This may also be due to my 6 volt fetish?
I have been using a (borrowed) distributor and it runs very well. I just don't like the looks of it.
If I do make the switch to 12 volt on my TT, I may keep 4 spare coils and a spare timer for the next failure.
Now to figure out how to get somebody to put a 12v battery into a 6v case for the outside of my TT so it don't look 'funny'.
Tony, the basic problem with your plan is that 12 volt battery has 3 more partitions, six more cell walls and not near as many plates that actually make the electricity.
Your engine will start better, only if it starts right away, because you will not be able to crank it with the starter for nearly as long a period.
Then too, my T broke the starter Bendix with an 8 volt battery for cranking. It came with the T and I did not know it was there until after I decided to change out the old battery.
I replaced it with a proper 6 volt battery and a new set of battery and starter cables that were the correct 0 or 1/0 gauge.
The engine starts almost immediately now without cranking past the second compression stroke and without choking.
I guess I will stick with a 6v battery for awhile longer