I made an offer on an open express that is without a magneto It has been run on a battery, but I was wondering if it would be feasible/workable/advisable/practicable to install something like the Bosch magnetos that show up on ebay. Any suggestions or experiences?
Personally I would tear it down and fix the stock system. My way of looking at it is that you don't know what you are getting any way in a T engine unless you know the history of all work that has been done. Sort of like T rear ends, if you don't know if the Babbitt thrust washers have been replaced the question is always on your mind when you drive. MHO, KGB
Obviously the more "correct" choice would be tearing down the motor and repairing or replacing the magneto. But, if time and money don't allow it right now, you could get by with flipping the electrical system to 12 volts. That would require a 12 volt battery, changing light bulbs, and perhaps a 12 volt Fun Projects regulator. As for the starter, I know plenty of guys who run standard 6 volt starters on 12 volts. Personally, I prefer to spend the time and effort to convert them to 12 volt. This wouldn't be a completely "kosher" fix, but it would get you on the road reliably.
After-market high tension magneto systems were a common item on model Ts back in their day. Today, they are most commonly found on speedsters. However, back then, many were on standard cars. They may add a bit to performance. However, they also may be less reliable. They are a neat accessory.
They are definitely feasible/workable. I am not so sure about advisable/practicable. A good drive setup and magneto tend to be a bit pricey. You could wind up paying more for it than it would cost to properly replace the Ford factory magneto and rebuild the coils. Getting high tension magnetos properly rebuilt can be expensive. Finding and using one that works well is not difficult. But may not be reliable. They also have a capacitor in them, buried deep and hard to get to. They have a tendency to fail if not properly replaced.
Your best bet may be to do as Kevin W says. Convert to a simple 12 volt system and enjoy the car for awhile. Eventually (often sooner than expected), you may need to pull the engine anyway (even if just to freshen it up a bit and tighten bearings), replace the magneto then and convert everything back to proper voltage. You may be money ahead that way.
Good luck on the open express!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Thanks for the tips..I may not get it anyway I made a real low offer and I'm waiting for a response. The previous owner (recently deceased) went through the engine trans and rear end but put it back together without the mag probably to save money as much of the visible work was done as cheaply as possible. We'll see!!!