Recently a touring car in the area surfaced, hidden for many years. I am unsure of the year yet, but the local shop has it in the back building and my friend, the shop owner, asked me for a little help in getting it running.
It is a round fender car, but it is a non starter car. This thing is rigged up pretty good. My question/concern is the coil box. First it does not have an ignition switch on it. Second it only has the mag post on the firewall. I thought the pre starter cars had an ignition switch on the coil box.
The interesting part. The dash has a "throw switch" next to the coil box. The center post of the switch is fed to the coil box. The left side of the switch comes from the mag. The right side of the switch comes/came from an old Rayovac style Lantern battery, presumably to buzz the coils to ease starting. Right?
Does this car have the wrong coil box?
Do you non starter guys start these cars with the mag or do you have a similar set up to supply 6 volts?
All the T's I have had or messed with have been starter cars.
Thanks for any input, and I hope this car will make it's way to my garage soon
You can start on BAT or MAG with any year T, whether the switch is on the coil box or on the dash. I guess by round fender you mean 1917 or later. Does the engine have a place to mount a generator? If so, it's 1919 or later. If there's no place for a generator, it's very early 1919 or before. The switch is on the coil box up to 1922, then on the dash. From your description I gather this car has some improvised arrangements. Some good, detailed pictures would help to determine what you have.
"Do you non starter guys start these cars with the mag or do you have a similar set up to supply 6 volts?" Yes, Some start on battery then switch to mag if it working. 6V will work just fine for running the car but will somewhat limit the upper end past about 30 MPH (it works, just a bit (He-He) slower)
Your best bet is to try starting with a battery since you don't know if the mag even works. Even if it does, it hasn't been started for a long time so it might be a challenge anyway.
Also, since this car will most likely need to be cranked, and since you know nothing about how well the timing was set up, be extremely careful when cranking so as not to hurt yourself. Probably best to clean the timer and check the timing before you even begin.
You are correct. That coil box is most likely the wrong one for that car. That doesn't mean it can't work however.
My dad had a small lantern battery in our non-electric starter 1919 T that he used when cranking.
When it came to my house to live the old battery was a bit like a door nail.
Since I had a bunch of 12 volt batteries I now use one of them when staring and switch to the mag when driving.
Once during a parade, the car stopped running on the mag and I had to use the battery.
When I got home I found that a bit of a cotter pin was shorting the mag post inside the hog's head.
Once I removed it everything was OK.
Another time I was getting ready to driver to a car show and messed up the ground wire from the battery. since I was running late I just started the car on the mag and fixed the wire when I got to the show.
By the way my T has a starter but it is me and I am not electric!
Don't know if I could say that if I had a pacemaker.
I love options!
I didn't 100% notice if it had a generator, but is has electric headlights, each with their own ancient toggle switch. But the coil box threw me for a loop. It has no ignition switch anywhere and only the mag post on the firewall.
The battery was rigged to supply 6 volts for starting.
We will run fresh 6 volts to it to make sure the coils are buzzing.
I will get a photo or 2 and post soon.
Disconnect the wire at the hog's head before applying battery voltage to the system if you are not absolutely sure how the wiring is rigged. Inadvertent battery voltage to the mag can cause the magnets to de-magnetize.
Separate headlight toggle switches are another indication of creative wiring. I agree with Hal. Have the MAG wire off the post until you know what's what.
Engine number is 2,062,750, appears to be July 1917. It is a non generator car. The pedals are also ribbed.
As suggested, we will disconnect the mag. Assuming these fenders are not correct either? Since they have a nicely cut hole for the electric headlights. Should it have flat front fenders?
What's with the double wishbone too?
Fenders are correct for a '17 as are the mag. powered head lamps. Appears to have the horn button on top of the steering column also. The correct coil box would have the switch on the front.
Doubled up front radius rod was a safety accessory.
That's good to know, I learn something everyday. Thanks.
Assuming that the engine is the one that came originally with the car, the rounded fenders would be correct for a 17 or later. From the pic they appear to not have the later lip under the headlight the later 23-25 front fenders had.
The neat round hole you mention is correct and from the factory to allow for the headlights to be bolted to the fender bracket.
It has an aftermarket honeycomb radiator that was added years ago also.
The non-starter cars have a fairly simple wiring set up.
It seems it has been rigged over the years to this and that.
If you plan to repair the car it would be a good idea to pull all the wiring and start over to get it right. That would cost a little money so that would be a question to do it or not. Not a real big chore. Follow the diagram with the new wiring kits and its a cinch. It would depend how far you want to go with it. You can probably get it running the way it is but the wiring would always be in question.
Rion -- It looks as if you have a good solid car to work with, and of course you're anxious to hear it run. (Aren't we always? )
But I agree with John. Spend a few bucks and get the wiring right first. You probably want the car to have the right coil box anyway, so get one of those and rebuild it, and buy a wiring harness and spark plugs. Check the timer, and refurbish or replace as necessary. You'll also need to address the condition of the fuel delivery system, just for starters.
It looks like the car has sat for many years, so there will be other work to accomplish before starting her up. Take some time now to do the job right, and you'll be glad you did.
Complete new wiring is only about $35. I would do as John suggests and retire the "creative" mess.
I wonder what the story is on the extra coil (?) on the firewall.
Stock wiring 1915-1919. Not much to it.
The ribbed pedals means that the original hogs head was swapped out with an earlier one.
The car has a later steering wheel.
The correct coil box should have the hard rubber switch with a metal faceplate.
The serial number corresponds to July 10, 1917. July 1917 was the last month for the 1917 model year (August 1916 through July 1917).
We have two 1917 Fords in my family. My dad has a '17 touring with a July serial number that corresponds to July 9, 1917, ONE DAY EARLIER than your friend's car. He purchased it unrestored from the original family 66 years ago.
I have an unrestored roadster with a May 1917 serial number.
The September-October 1978 (Volume 13 Number 5) issue of the Vintage Ford would be a good reference for you as it has the article on the 1917 Rip Van Winkle touring which is a June of 1917 serial number.
All three cars above would have been assembled in Minneapolis.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a private message.
Erik in Minneapolis
Welcome to the T world. If you have not seen this give it a read;
The extra coil on the firewall may be an accessory dimmer coil that cut the voltage spikes from the magneto when running with magneto headlights. There were many brands sold as accessories until Ford understood the problem and installed dimmer coils on non electrical cars from 1918 on.
Here's a thread with pictures of a few (but not exactly this one): http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/375733.html?1375235834
It has to be a '17, because it has the horn button on the top of the steering column.
Keep the ribbed pedals, they're supposed to be 15 and maybe early 16. You don't know for sure if the hogs head was swapped, pedals were swapped, or they found a set at the bottom of a pile at the factory, but either way the ribbed ones are hard to find. If you do remove them save them for a 15 project, pass them on to someone you know who is working on a 15 and needs them or just save them for good trading stock!
Good luck with your project, I agree I think you've got a real nice start there.
Is the transmission cover ="hogshead" aluminum? Then it's certainly a '15 item, but if it's cast iron, then maybe it's from a canadian car? I think they kept the ribs on the pedals for many years into the black era while they only lasted for less than a year in USA.
Another vote for doing a rewire. Those wiring kits are complete, perfect fitting and come with superb instructions. Easiest electrical job I've done in my life.