Keep em' "Electrified" or convert back to gas...

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Keep em' "Electrified" or convert back to gas...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 06:51 pm:

My 1913 touring car is hard to characterize. I often say it is "mostly original" simply because it has never been "restored" in the true sense of the word. The entire running gear is unrestored and has never been apart, excluding the differential (which I rebuilt). The bands don't even have removable ears and it never had an accessory oiler until I added one. (a necessary add-on in the West Virginia mountains). In any event, back in the 70's sometime, the owner at that time did paint the body and wheels and they installed a new top and cheapo vinyl seat covers.

While certainly, this car isn't a barn-original, it is still a very original car (in my opinion)

Anyway, one of the things that had been done to this car was that the head and tail lamps had been "electrified". Along with the electrification, the headlamp lenses had been replaced with accessory Dillon Headlamp lenses which are designed with a central hyperbolic convex lens which aids in collimating the light better so that you get more photons down range and thus, better illumination.

Now, normally, I'd have ripped that garbage right out and put the burners back in in order to have it back to "original". But in this case, I haven't been able bring myself to do that. Reason is, the electrification conversion was most likely done right after the car was purchased. The type of wire was period from back in that era (give or take a decade) and the condition of it was so hard that it was obvious that this wasn't done in recent years. Even the switch is from that period. In fact, the switch is reminiscent of the 1915 headlamp switch, except that it is a twin post. They even added a "map light" to the dash so you had lighting in the drivers compartment or to read the speedometer.

To me, this is part of the history of the car. It's part of the story. I remember one of the older club members telling me years ago; "There's RESTORATION, and then there's PRESERVATION".

In this case, I've chosen the latter. Would you have done the same?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 06:53 pm:

lamp1lamp2lamp3 Here's some pictures of the electrified arrangement...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 06:56 pm:

lamp4lamp5Lamp6


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 06:58 pm:

I think if it were mine , I would leave it be. Do the lights run on magneto? Are they sufficient for night driving?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jeff Perkins on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 06:58 pm:

You are "spot on"!!! Great car and attitude.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Wrenn on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 07:05 pm:

WWHD... (What Would Henry Do):-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wells on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 07:09 pm:

While it is super cool to go back to the original system as many have, I think it is ok to improve how the lighting functions as long as externally, the lamps look correct. Especially if it means you will drive the car regularly for all to enjoy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 07:14 pm:

Ted, The lights are currently wired for the battery, but the old wiring is there for both. The lights work great at night!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Milton,WA on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 07:25 pm:

Nice set-up ! Only addition if it were mine - run the wires through red rubber gas hose !


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 07:38 pm:

Thanks Steve... I considered doing the same thing, but the old wiring is part of the charm to me! So, I've left it alone thus far.

Dave Wells... The car goes on the road this year. I can't wait.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Milton,WA on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 07:46 pm:

Only reason I mentioned it is our '14 has had an electric conversion 40 years ago and it had red gas hose covering the wires - just cleaner looking.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 08:28 pm:

Steve & James - I'd say that in both cases, you guys have preserved the history of the car as well as the car itself! to heck with those purists, right?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Anderson, central Wisconsin on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 08:35 pm:

Those headlight lenses are the coolest things ever.
I wouldn't change a THING....... :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Townsend ; ^ ) Gresham, Orygun on Monday, February 09, 2015 - 11:08 pm:

James-
As you probably know, I am a proponent of powered headlamps.

However in the case of your car, I would leave it as it is. They are a part of the history of the car and "period correct", not a cobbled together modern adaptation.

My car had the headlamps electrified by the original owner. However by the time I got the car, the original headlamps along with the cool electrification set up was long gone. I only have photographs of the car with the electrified lights and the original dash with the hole for the light switch.



If I had the original electrified lamps, I would have left them, as I suggest you do.

: ^ )

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 12:09 am:

The headlamps on my '14 were electrified early on, likely by the original owner. I re-silvered the reflectors, replaced missing wires, added red rubber hoses. and hooked them to the magneto. They work well.

I have been tempted to revert to gas and have been collecting some of the necessary bits, but feel much as James and Steve do; having an obligation to maintain the story of the car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Lyon, PDX, OR. on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 12:27 am:

I would leave it alone as a safety improvement. You wouldn't take off period Rocky Mountains would you? Don.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 03:40 am:

I look at many, many, copies of original photos. And sometimes I spend quite some time looking at them, sometimes even with a magnifying glass as well as zooming in on the computer.
Again, I wish I could have set up to make copies and keep notes and index and cross-reference everything. There have been I think more than a dozen photos shared on this forum alone, in the past maybe eight months, showing originally gas lamp brass Ts that had been converted to electric. All era photos. There was one showing a lineup of Ts, several cars in the lineup appeared to have electrified lamps.
While MOST Ts did not have the headlamps electrified, a lot of them did. Probably thousands of 1910 to 1914 Ts had lamps electrified before the T brass era ended. I have seen dozens of advertisements from the era offering various kits to accomplish the task.
Just as I argue that era correct speedsters are as much a part of automotive history as any other car is, these electrified lamps are also a part of that history.
While I do like and use proper vintage accessories on some of my cars. Electrified lamps is not an option that I would seek out and put onto a car. However, if a T already had them, and it appeared to be something that had been with the car since nearly new? I don't think I could ever remove them. Those lamps are a part of that car's history! They are part of what makes that car special, even unique.
That is my opinion. Worth about half what you paid for it.
Do drive carefully, and enjoy! W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 06:34 am:

Thanks for all the feedback. Staying electric is a big plus. When I started shopping many years ago for my first Model T touring car, I put a lot of thought into it before I even settled on what car to buy. Eventually, I settled on two primary criteria: 1) I wanted the oldest one I could get.. 2) It had to allow the most driving flexibility possible so I didn't find myself in a jamb... This mostly meant I needed light in the event I got caught away from home after sunset.

This narrowed me to one year only... 1915 because of it's electric lights. So that's what I bought many years ago and that car is still my primary tour car. It too, is a nice un-restored original... even more so than my 13.

In any event, there have been several times where we've been on tours and for whatever reason, we got caught out after dark and had many miles to travel. As much as I love the old gas lamps, you can't beat having light at the touch of a switch.

This is also part of the attraction to having the 13 electrified and the bonus is the history aspect of this early conversion.

With regards to the Dillon lenses, they are great and while I wouldn't claim that they put out an entirely "square beam of light" I will say that the optical prescription does allow more light in a collimated path with less scatter. I think I have some advertisements for those lenses. If I can find them, I will post them here.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 06:42 am:

James those electrified headlamps are wicked cool. Definitely would leave them on there like they are.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 06:45 am:

Here are two advertisements I've found over the years showing the Dillon lenses. Being an optical engineer, I'll take a look at them and try to extrapolate the prescription and see if I can calculate how much more light they direct into the path. No guarantees though.. :-)lens1lens2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 09:37 am:

As you say "light at the touch of a switch". Let it be especially since you seem satisfied. Collect some of the gas parts if you wish and tell people I can convert back any time. That'll shut 'em up! Your's was probably done way back but when I added stop/turn/tail to the '23 I used vintage wire and friction tape just as your car has.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Whelihan Danbury, WI on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 09:52 am:

You answered your own question about driving at night. Simply be as safe as you are comfortable with. I know guys who have gas lamps in the '14's and others who have electrified them. I know there have been posts that some drivers claim they don't mind the gas powered lamps for occasional night driving and they work great. I also know of a others who claim they get an un-nerving strobe effect when driving the gas lights at night, and don't feel comfortable driving with them. Ultimately it's your choice what you are comfortable with. Either way you have a great car, and I'll bet it is ball to drive.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 10:22 am:

How does modern motorists respond when meeting a car with gas lamps at night? Do they flash you with their high beams for not (being able to) dim?

Ford didn't recommend using the magneto to power the headlamps until the magneto was redesigned with 3/4" thick magnets at #572,437 in september 1914. Are there ever any signs of missing from the coils at low rpms when running with accessory electrical lamps on an earlier car?

(The obvious fix would be to upgrade to a later coil ring and magnets when overhauling the engine)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 10:57 am:

James,

I second what the others have said. The Dillon lens is great looking but the really neat thing is that it is just a lens. They would be absolutely awesome with the flicker of the gas light flame behind them.

I really don't see that they have anything to do with being "electrified" or gas.

I have been looking for a set of "MoreLight" lens the correct diameter to use in front of my gas lights. They are definitely not as cool as the Dillons but pretty close.

Now I'm looking for a set of Dillons!!! Awesome lens with that bullseye.

The real bonus of the Morelight and Dillon is you can hide any electric rig you want behind them. Per the add, they are made to use with "your reflector" and obviously its light source.

I would try them with a mangin and acetylene in a heartbeat. It is ALL about that light spread and shape of the gas light beam. That "spread" is what a gas light user would be looking for.

To fit that John Brown (8-7/8"), Dillon had to expect a gas light, not an electric rig. They didn't say anything about the light source itself.

A mangin that fits that John Brown 16 is only 5-1/2" across and probably matches up better beam wise than the big electric reflector but who cares??

The kerosene side lights would look really great with the Dillons and only someone that runs gas would know your lights are electric. Besides, it's your rig and you can run it like you want. Looks like a total winner to me and has nothing to do with the gas challenge.

I wouldn't take the Dillons out on tour though. I got a chip in my windshield last Fall on the Texas T Party Tour in San Angelo Texas. Those have to be the coolest aftermarket headlight lens I have seen. My 2c worth.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 11:14 am:

Roger,
You bring up a good point. My lights are wired in parallel and run off a battery. The old wiring goes all the way to the back seat so the owner had a battery back there originally. I put a lawn mower battery back there to start the car easy and power the lights. However, the wiring is there also for the magneto but they go to the other pole of the switch which is pretty much deactivated. This makes me wonder if at one time, they had them wired to run off the magneto but right away noticed issues with performance and converted them to battery power? The sockets are interesting. They look like normal old 1156 sockets that someone drilled a hole in the bottom and ran a pipe tap into. They're threaded right onto the burner stems and the wire runs right up the middle.

Ken,
I'm sure the Dillons look great with a flame behind them. I share your concern about breaking them. I may take a pair of "H" lenses and make something so they can fit in the brass frames and use them to sacrifice on tours. We'll see.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 11:16 am:

I did the math on the consumption rate for the battery. The headlamps and tail lamp pull about 5 amps. I can only get about 1.5 hours of burn time out of the battery before it is at the 10 volt level. This now has me thinking about using the mag to charge the battery if possible...?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 11:31 am:

Roger,

I have been running the gas lights for only a few months but I can say that you do not have to worry about oncoming traffic being blinded by my gas lights. <grin>

You do not want to look at the acetylene flame or the mangin beam up close or it will leave spots in your eyes for a while. I set the flames by looking at the reflection in the headlight door glass. Once I set them they seem to stay put through numerous light ups over a period of days.

I ran my 6 volt headlights off a 6 volt battery on the running board. I didn't want to use that battery more than about 30 to 40 minutes. I have no generator and magneto lights like '15 to '18 had their own problems. A battery with no onboard generator leaves you on a rather short operating fuse and is just a backup to get you off the road.

I drove the car for years like that. They were really just emergency lights or to get back and forth to the restaurant, gas station, etc. on tour.

I made a 1-1/2 hour run with the gas lights Sunday before last. Different ballgame now.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 12:19 pm:

I wish I could afford a car with gas lights. I would want one with a carbide generator, not a Prestolite tank. I'd convert those lights back to acetylene in a heartbeat and never give it a second thought.

Someone above said "To heck with those purist." Sad, that is what this forum has come to...... But it has.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 12:34 pm:

James,

I used the little 12 volt under the back seat for years. It is limited but does help the hand crank and the car will run off it for hundreds of miles at a time if your magneto doesn't work correctly.

Fun Projects has a magneto battery charger but I believe they don't recommend it as a charger for battery lighting in the literature.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 01:09 pm:

Hal.. I am indeed thankful to have this car. Like you, the car I really want is out of my price range too (an open valve T Touring of any year). It's kind of relative. But I'll tell you one thing, that 22 TT you have may not be brass era, but it sure is a sweet ride! And I'm also a purist of sorts. I'm purist enough that I cant' stand to alter the car back to original because of it's history!

Ken, the car runs great on Magneto. I just use the battery to start it or run the lights - which is almost never... I looked at the Fun projects kit but came to the same conclusion as you. I'll just use them as emergency back up on battery and if necessary, throw a second battery under the seat.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 01:28 pm:

Don't worry Hal, there are enough T's for all tastes, purist style or accessorized :-)

The magneto charger won't give enough to prevent eventual draining of the battery, but it'll lengthen the useful time you can be out driving with the headlamps lit. It's easy to build yourself - instructions are in the club's electrical book, and I like the use of a light bulb in the magneto charger. If you're building the charger yourself, the light bulb acting as a variable load can be placed in the taillight, so no mag power is being wasted :-)

I tried to check the RC rating on group 1 6V batteries and found one at 150 minutes and another at 165 minutes, that's more than 2 1/2 hours at 25 amperes. The headlights may take 8-10 A, that would give more than six hours of light without any charging - even more when getting charged a couple of amps through the mag charger.

A carbide generator and the prestolite tank must also have limits for how long they will work?, I've only used a bicycle carbide lamp and it would work for a couple of hours on each filling - the Ford carbide generator has much more carbide and water, but the lamps uses much more gas than the small burner in a bike light, so I wonder how long it lasts?

A prestolite tank can be used for many more hours than the carbide generator I think, but there must be a limit there too. I know I have to swap the acetylene tank for my torch to a refilled from time to time - and it ain't cheap..

(Message edited by Roger K on February 10, 2015)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 02:26 pm:

Hal,

I do hear what you are saying. The generators were what came on most cars. The Prest-O-Lite was shipped on fewer new cars by Ford but is original equipment. How many? Who knows.

The biggest reasons I have been talking about the subject is there is only a very small number of brass T's with functional gas lights. It's easier and cheaper with a B tank and I hope others will try it.

My car has its original running boards so I know it came with a generator. Also, I do have a NOS Victor generator which I wouldn't take $800 for. If someone is starting from scratch, a $200 P-O-L and regulator setup is a lot less than a good functional generator.

Maybe R.V. knows whether there was an extra charge or a credit for a P-O-L? I don't.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 03:15 pm:

Roger,

The Prest-O-Lite B(Bus)tank has 40 cubic feet of acetylene gas in it and the MC (Motorcycle) tank has 10 cubic feet. I pay $23 to fill the Bus tank and the MC is about three dollars less. Four times the amount of gas for only two or three dollars more to fill.

The burners from the supply houses are rated at 3/4 cubic feet of gas use per hour (cfh) lit. I have compared them to old school 5/8 cfh's I have and they seem closer to that. I do have several old school 3/4's and they produce a larger flame than the new supplier burners.

The math indicates a Bus tank will run for about 26 to 32 hours depending how high you run your flame. I lean toward a smaller fishtail flame to keep the heat down.

When running the carbide (which I have not done), I would use the old time burners. All I have except an Alco have a brass screen in them to keep particles out of the jets I guess. The jets are very small and I clear stopped ones with a very small copper wire.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 12:53 am:

This is the "electrification kit" in my '14. Would I remove it and the other period accessories to be "pure and correct"? Well, I like gas lamps and have acquired most of the needed bits to "go back" and yet this kit and the other accessories were likely installed by the original owner.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 08:08 am:

All,

There is a real good Dillon lens on Tbay at this link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271769250234?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I don't know if I posted the link correctly but 271769250234 is the item number.

I am not sure if it would fit but the price is right, $15. I could maybe put it in a Victor running board gas lamp I have.



I saw it last night but forgot to add to this thread. It would be great shelf art but one of y'all might have a mate to it. I'm looking for a pair and every time I buy one only I never seem to find the mate.

There is only an hour left but it may re-list even cheaper.

James, I think whoever put the Dillons in your headlight buckets has them in backwards.

Ken in Texas

(Message edited by drkbp on February 11, 2015)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 09:37 am:

Bill,

I was trying to put that Dillon up on the site because it is running out of time but I saw your post.

I really like your kit. The neat thing about that kit is you can leave your gas system behind it. The gas light door glass clamp holds the reflector up against the clear gas lamp glass.

My "kit" was cobbled together but does the same thing. The big plus on your kit is you can go either magneto OR battery OR gas. Now that's a cool triple header.

Is it currently hooked up to the magneto?

I may hook mine up to the magneto to see what I get out of it. My reflectors they used were regular T reflectors and they are smaller in diameter.

I was a little apprehensive about going without the electrics when I first did it a while back. I'm going to make up a setup like yours to carry.

They could be put in the headlights in about five minutes if you ran the wires to a switch terminal block on the firewall. Use knurled nuts like on the spark plug wires.

I wonder what the kits would do with 12 volt bulbs in them. I always thought the 6 volts tended to get burned out on the magneto but I have never done that. The bright dim problem would be kind of neat if you didn't burn the bulbs out much.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 09:59 am:

My personal feeling is that period-correct modifications that were indeed installed during the correct period are part of an antique car's individual history. -I visited this issue back when I was restoring an antique airplane (and wrote about it because I'm a verbose and pedantic pain in the ass):

Navion cockpits are large and comfy and I like to sit there and reinforce my familiarity with all the dials, knobs and switches. -This is an old machine and the control levers are correspondingly substantial, like those of a bulldozer. -The upholstery is kind of threadbare; ancient instruments gaze out from behind yellowed glass and tarnished toggle switches protrude from a panel covered with chipped paint. -There's the impression of dozens of pilots, whose shoes have worn away at the North American Aviation logo on the rudder pedals. -These things could be replaced, but to me, the cockpit is kind of sacrosanct. -This is where pilot and machine relate and leave their impressions on one another. -The pilot scribes his signature... not only in the log books, but on the controls as well. -I don't want to erase the airplane's history:

The gray paint on the right-side yoke is worn away; some past owner preferred to fly from the right seat. -Maybe he was an ex-fighter jock who was used to having the throttle in his left hand. -The detents on the radio channel knob wobble a bit at a particular setting—the frequency of somebody's home field. -The seat rails show the dents and gouges of having the seat removed and re-installed over and over; maybe to make space for a stretcher, doing ambulance duty, or some rancher out west, bringing bales of hay to some remote herd? -Maybe some oilman routinely delivered derrick parts to a spot in Texas, back in the days of Eisenhower.

If only this old airplane could talk. -Yet, when I listen real hard, she does. -Too bad the headliner is so tattered and stained it'll have to be replaced, but we'll try to get one in a tan color, so it won't look too new. -I'll miss the nicotine stain; and the cockpit aroma that's unique to this individual airplane will be somewhat altered. -That will be a part of my signature and it's no less significant than those of the other pilots in the life of this artifact.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 11:01 am:

Poetry... You can picture it all and hear the sounds. You nailed it right on the head, Bob. That's how I feel about my Model T's. Especially my 25 coupe that my Grandfather restored in 1950. Sitting in it is a nice visit with him, my Grandmother and my Uncle - all of which have spent much time in that car...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 11:56 am:

Hi Ken,

Thank you for your interest in and your questions about the lighting kit in my '14.

When I acquired the car the lamps were not wired. There was a 12v car battery under the rear seat for starting. The kit's original On/Off switch was in place to the right of the coil box, as would be on a 15-16 car. Also, there was a 17-21 horn/headlamp switch on the steering column (wires cut) and a Ford lamp dimmer on the firewall. Both burner bases were present but the burners were gone as were the Mangin mirrors and their clamps & screws. The gas generator had been removed and a twin tire carrier placed in that location. The flat glass lenses had been replaced with period correct McKee lens Type-M.

As I was getting the car ready to haunt the byways again (it had been sitting for ten or a dozen years) I spent a considerable amount of time cogitating about how to power the lamps; keep the kit or go back to gas. When I saw the car for the first time I was crestfallen to discover that the head lamps had been modernized.

I chose to keep the kit and to set it up as it likely was when first installed; using the firewall mounted switch, lamps wired in series and powered by the magneto. the wires to the lamps run through red gas line hose and into the burner bases, thence to the lamp sockets. The sockets do have a set screw on them to allow for focusing the bulb.

I am using #1141 bulbs. 12 volt, double contact single filament. I have had the reflectors re-silvered and the light output is fine for 30-35 MPH. At a very slow idle, just barely ticking over, the headlamps will pulse. It almost looks like a flickering flame. It is mesmerizing. The ignition doesn't seem to mind this drain at idle, nor at any speed.

The rest of the story: I will confess that when driving at night with mag powered headlamps and I shift from low into high and the engine RPM drops off, there are few moments before the revolutions increase when I have to remember real hard what I saw before I was plunged into dimness.

All in all, I do like the period correct upgrade. And I sometime wonder how buyers of 1914 cars felt when the new '15s came out and saw electric headlamps, curved rear fenders, a more enclosed cowl, non-slip ribbed pedals and a lower price! I bet that they were livid.

I truly don't know if I will "go gas". I have collected most of the bits to do so. I may install some of those pieces such as the mirrors and gas line piping as I suspect that the original installer of the kit may have left them in place. As proposed above, I could go back and forth from gas to mag or even battery, when I have nothing better to do. Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 12:33 pm:

Bob,

If only we were all so nostalgic about a Model T's original features.... Why is it such a sin to apply the same logic to the ignition system that ran a car for 80 years. It seems perfectly acceptable to snatch it all out to make room for a distributor or True-Fire or E-Timer. I understand James' dilemma. His electric lights are almost as old as the car and I can understand why he may want to keep them, but what about the guy who gets the 100 year old car and the first thing he wants to do is electrify the gas headlights that have been gas for the last 100 years? If only he were so nostalgic. What about the guy who has to replace a 90 year old generator with an ugly alternator? If only he were so nostalgic.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By R.V. Anderson on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 01:00 pm:

Bill: Don't forget the $50 rebate.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 01:10 pm:

R.V.

Oh right, forgot about that. I think that some of those folks were pi$$ed. " Gol durn it! Why didn't I wait a few months? Now I'm stuck with this old fashioned car." The ultimate buyer's remorse. So sad.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 02:03 pm:

Bill,

The wiring was gone that went to my '14 headlights and the only thing left was the '15 style switch set in the dash. I hooked up the lights to the small 12v battery under the back seat. The little battery wouldn't last long so when I started carrying a 6v to add a starter, I put 6v bulbs in the lights.

I was looking for a better light setup but I have to admit it never struck me to go '15. Duh!

I take it you run straight off the magneto terminal to a light switch and then through the lights to ground. Correct?

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 02:09 pm:

Hi Ken,

Yes, from the mag post to the coil box post, to the switch, to the right lamp, to the left and then to ground as would have been done on a '15. The switch is more or less in the '15 location but is not a pull /push type. It has a bakelite knob which is turned right or left for on and off.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 02:12 pm:

Wiring like a '15 sounds like a plan, Ken. Even better would be to wire it like a 18-21 with a dimmer coil in series - the dimmer coil will stop voltage spikes at high revs that kills mag bulbs on '15-'17 T's.

Old dimmer coils can sometimes be found at swap meets or at ebay, maybe even at the classifieds here?

dimmer
(picture by Gary White)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 02:23 pm:

Hi Ken,

Yes, from the mag post to the coil box post, to the switch, to the right lamp, to the left and then to ground as would have been done on a '15. The switch is more or less in the '15 location but is not a pull /push type. It has a bakelite knob which is turned right or left for on and off.

I did add a late teens/twentys aftermarket tail lamp (it is mounted above the license plate) as a brake and running light. There was a very old, likely period, brake light switch screwed to the underside of the fixed floorboard just forward of the heel panel. To turn on the rear running lamp (12v motorcycle battery powered) I use an ancient toggle switch that I was fortunate to find. I could not risk being rear ended due to a mag powered brake and running lamp, both of which would dim as the car (think engine RPM and voltage) slowed to a stop. Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 02:38 pm:

Not exactly on topic, but still good reading about night driving in a cut down model T with dim lights in Brown County, Texas about 80 years ago: http://www.norrisc.com/lost.html


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 07:50 pm:

Great information here...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Joseph Geisler on Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 11:21 pm:

Funny how we are all the SAME!!!!
Wayne, I spent MANY nights in photos with a magnifying glass too! Also protractor and Texas Instrument calculator figuring multipliers to make real angles and measurements when building bodies. Photographing original cars in the 70's. CRAZY as it seems but "That's the way you do it".
Concerning this post!
1. I need the glass reflectors for my 13 and 14 headlites! Silvered or needing silvering. I have waited for the past 20 years for these items!!!!!
I have spoken to MANY glass blowers about making some up for me. They have told me that I would need to make a 2 piece mold from Carbon. ???
2. I have 5 sets of those headlights that I have restored. Well 4 sets and one set close but miss matched from a similar brass car of sorts. So I need 8 reflectors. I do not want the aluminum stampings for my reflectors that I have seen in the past.
I use to use propane to fire mine with at night and it worked. Back in the 70's.
I might like to at least electrify one set. Their easy to take on and off.
3. I also have ONE Ford electric lamp that fits my forks. Thinking about doing my 15 with those. I need one more lamp housing if I do. Any PM comments would be appreciated as I do not live on the forum. I only get on when I can and hardly ever reread any of my posting responses. Not that I don't want to read replies from you all it's just (1) I can't remember which I responded too. And (2) I am only trying to impart what I know and lived doing with my cars.
Cars are the MAIN reason I have met so many REAL and interesting people!!!!
Also, I had friends and got to visit with many neat people. Like J Leno, Elvis (at HIS Graceland home (over one of my cars), Met MANY of the REAL guys who visited Florida meets and race tracks in my life. Kept me out of trouble too. I was young then and most are gone now. But to look back on it now and then... WOW!
It's NOT about me! It was the cars!
Joe in Mo.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Friday, February 13, 2015 - 02:28 am:

Hal,
I think there's a natural consumer's tendency to feel that the person paying the freight has every right to call the shots. -The tendency, then, may be to cause the object of purchase to conform, to the greatest degree possible, to the needs and tastes of the purchaser. -Normally, we order our food, clothes, cars, computers, etc. in exactly that way. -It's unusual for the purchaser to feel a need (or, Heaven forbid, a moral obligation) to conform to the needs of the object being purchased.

The large-ticket purchase price of something the size of an automobile just isn't conducive to an attitude of self-sacrifice. -I felt the same way when I bought my '15 Touring and before the car even entered my garage, I had a number of major modifications made. -These included switching out the original, overhand-type front wishbone for the later, underhand type; adding an electric self-starter, which necessitated switching out the original transmission for a later-vintage model; electrifying the cowl lamps to convert them into turn-signals; adding a complete 12-volt electrical system and rewiring the headlights so they'd run off the battery/alternator rather than the magneto; adding an extra pair of tail-lights and converting the existing kerosene tail-lamp into an electric brake-light.

Okay, so why'd I do all that? -Well, one excuse behind which I tend to hide is that of safety. -Most of the above could be considered safety-equipment and while it all sounds very conscientious, none of that stuff did anything for the historicity of this artifact. -Rather, it made the car conform to the traffic needs of my own neighborhood—in other words, my needs. -Maybe the right thing to do would have been to conclude that my neighborhood wasn't right for the operation of a Brass-Era car and until such time as I moved to a more bucolic locale, with lightly-traveled country back-roads, I shouldn't own a horseless carriage.

Well, that kind of thinking might be good for the individual antique car, but it's not good for the antique car hobby and the hobby is a large part of what drives the survival of these wonderful, old machines. -In a sense, though, the situation is naturally self-regulating: The least expensive cars—in other words, cars like the Model T Ford—exist in large enough numbers that there will always be plenty of intact, historical examples that conform to high standards (and organizations like the AACA do have strict rules about what those standards should be).

On the other hand, numerically rare and opulent (expensive) automobiles like brass Pierce-Arrows, Packard, Locomobiles and the like are far less likely to fall into the unwashed hands of someone like myself, but will instead become the pampered pets of those with the wherewithal to not only purchase and restore such automobiles to deserving standards, but to also operate them in an environment more in keeping with the proper care and feeding of a quarter-million-dollar treasure.

I guess, in the final analysis, it becomes a matter of, "Hey, I bought and paid for the car with my own hard-earned money, so I'll do as I please with it,"—and if some know-it-all, car show spectator doesn't like that idea—and many are vociferous about sharing such points of view—then he can put his money where his big mouth is, make a similar investment and preserve his car according to his own, much higher standards.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Friday, February 13, 2015 - 07:57 am:

Bob,

I'm not sure how to take that. Be that as it may, I could see in your post about your Navion, that you truly have a passion for the history of that plane. Even though you didn't know the exact way the wear and tear occurred, you knew it to be part of the plane's history and didn't want to alter that. One can tell from reading your words that you truly have a passion.

I have that same passion about the Model T, especially it's original features that make it so different from later vehicles. You opened up and showed your feelings, your passion, and I fully understand and appreciate that. Few on this forum seem to understand that same passion when applied to magneto ignition, thermosyphon cooling, gravity feed fuel systems, two wheel brakes (without discs:-(), magneto headlights, acetylene headlights, etc. For these things, I have that same passion you have about worn yokes and rudder pedals on your Navion. That is all I was saying. I was hoping you would understand and I was hoping others would think about it along those same lines before just up and deciding to change out stuff that is historically correct.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Friday, February 13, 2015 - 03:10 pm:

Sorry Hal; as my mind was wandering, it spilled out onto my fingertips and got typed. -I over-complicated it, as usual (which is what happens during the wee hours when I can sleep and find myself seated in front of the computer).

What I meant was that regular guys like you and me (non-millionaires) can't afford to have a first-class shop do a $40K, frame-off, rotisserie restoration on a mid-vintage Model T whose book value, on a good day, might end up around $25K. -But it's us regular guys with the skinned knuckles and the grease under our fingernails—and the less than perfect cars—who are the backbone of the hobby. -We may not ever make it to the lawn at Pebble Beach, but considering the limited resources with which most of have to work, I think we do pretty good.


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