Spark Plug wire lengths...why have they grown?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Spark Plug wire lengths...why have they grown?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 09:17 pm:

Now don't know if we just are getting more for the money, but the repro spark plug wires have grown since Model T days of getting a set of wires from the Ford dealer :-)

Today, while waiting on the new Berg low radiator decided to put new plug wires on the '23. Like the look of the black cotton wrapped, with red strip, as opposed to the cracked varnished coated yellow wires put on a few years ago.



Had too an old set of period wires to compare, the measure is from center of terminal hole to terminal hole, the repro yellow are 9" for the short one (cyl. #3 & #4) ; 13 1/2" (cyl. #2) and a really long 17 1/2" for ( cyl.#1).



Here are the Ford specs, wires should be 8", 11 1/2" and 15" The old ones I had were spot on Ford sizes.



Had to bend the heck out of the terminals to get the new wires up and away from the block and other grounds...ugh.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 09:38 pm:

I suspect the new wires aren't soldered. It should be easy enough to pull the terminals off, cut the wire to the length you want, reassemble, and solder. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 09:50 pm:

I just went through the same thing. It's difficult to do enough bending of the terminals to keep them from lying on top of each other, which could encourage cross-firing. I planned to do as Steve suggested above and shorten them to fit properly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 09:59 pm:

Job is done, and the new black cotton wrapped were already soldered by the maker.

But those yellow varnished were not, so I did solder those several years ago.

Actually, my frustration was a bit caused, as those 'old' wires were some I found at Chickasha and thought they would look 'cool' on the barn '23 cutoff, sorta like the barbed wire look.

Well, the fit was good because of the correct length. Stood back and admired the old wires on Nellie's engine. Then thought struck me to crank over the motor and just be sure the plugs would fire. Well cranked her over and hearing 3 coils sing thought, sweet. Then 'flash' 'pop' the last one sparked somewhere against the firewall, wasn't really looking close but with the smell and flash, figured those ole wires are toast...for real.

So happy with new black cotton covered wires even if they are a tab too long :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chad Marchees _____Tax Capital, NY on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 06:23 am:

One of my pet peeves are plug wires that are to long, it's one of my OCD's. I build a number of engines for cars of the 60's and 70's and virtually everyone I have to shorten most of the wires on. I bought the wire set for the new distributor for my doodle bug and they to were obnoxiously long, and thus got shortened.

As far as the soldered ends go, you can cut them right at the end and just heat the end up to try and uncrimp and get the old piece out. It is a pain but doable. I also seen somewhere on the net where you can get just the ends.

But in any case, glad you got the new set on, and have it purring again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky, Lytle TX on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 07:04 am:

Like a piece of cut wood; better too long than too short. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 10:41 am:

But why not "just right"? Whoever is making them for Model T's could just as easily make them the correct length.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 10:51 am:

What I'd really like to know is what color were the spark plug wires before 1926? I always thought they were a light brown. Look at the Ford parts books all through the teens. They were changing the lengths of them at least every two years. I have plenty or original spark plug wire ends around here, and have always made my own. I've usually used NOS Ford V-8 spark plug wire to do the job.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 11:30 am:

Must have been made somewhere in Asia! They have a very hard time converting from whatever measurement system they use to inches. Have the same problem with fitting clothes. Have to try them on even if I find one size correctly, the next one the same size won't fit. It would be so much easier to use an American ruler or tape measure when they make things. Then they wouldn't need to convert.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:00 pm:

Maybe they're made extra long with the idea that they're usable with original Ford coils or aftermarket distributor, or hi-tension side drive magneto or Tru-fire, or whatever oddball ignition system someone might come up with,......???


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By R.V. Anderson on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:16 pm:

FWIW, here are the lengths according to the Ford drawings and releases:

#1 was 15-1/2" through 1914; then 15" until 1926 when it became 7-1/4".

#2 was 12-1/2" up to early '14 when it became 11-1/2", then changed to 10-1/2" for '17 & '18; changed back to 11-1/2" until '26 when it became 6-1/4".

#3 was 8" until '17 & '18 when it became 7"; changed back to 8" in 1919 until '26 when it became 6-1/4".

#4 was 8-3/4" until 1914 when it became 8"; changed to 7" in '17 & '18, then back to 8" until '26 when it became 7-1/4".

The mag wire was 15-1/2" until '17 & '18 when it changed to 10-1/2" where it stayed.

For the '11 torpedo, #1 was 17-1/2"; #2 was 14-1/2"; #3 was 10"; and #4 was 11".

Someone may find this useful.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Benjamin Morgan - Milford, Ohio on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:23 pm:

Im curious, where are the measurements taken at? Is it cut wire length, or at the ends of the terminal ends? Or center to center of the holes in the terminals?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:25 pm:

The photos of the engine compartment of the 1917 "Rip Van Winkle" touring are a good reference for showing how Ford did not waste materials when it came to spark plug wires.

The wires are just long enough to make a connection between the coil box posts and the spark plugs. If you look at the photos, you will also notice that the terminals at the coil box are bent at a nearly 90 degree angle. The spark plug wire to cylinder number one runs in nearly a straight line - no sag or droop. The other wires have just enough slack so they do not interfere with each other.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By R.V. Anderson on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 02:35 pm:

"Rip," being a '17, would have fallen into the shortened wire period of '17-'18, so that bears out the drawings and releases.

The wire length is the distance between the center of the holes in the terminal ends.

Incidentally, all drawings show the wires soldered to the terminals.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 08:10 pm:

Norman, in my experience, the conversion would be wrong at the US end. I went shopping in Chickasha after the 2010 swapmeet and the local hardware store owner offered me a handful of new tape measures free. Because they were all metric, he could not sell them to anybody!!!

It has taken me some time to get used to metrics in my woodwork, but once you get the hang of it, it is so much easier to work with. That said, a 4 x 2 is easier to picture than a 90 x 45.

Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Monday, March 30, 2015 - 09:43 pm:

Like working on a VW, it's easy when it's all metric to think and work with metric. My Dodge Dakota, got to get both tool box's out sometimes.


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