Hi guys...I'm still plugging away at trying to fix the 'lean' on our new baby.
I have the radiator out, all the floorboards, and working on the firewall/dash right now. After following your advice, checking the frames, engine mounts, etc. I am almost positive the front spring is NOT centered.
While doing this work I started looking over the electrical wires and noticed the 'rats nest' that was left for me. I am good at doing neat wiring jobs but trying to find out what was original vs what my late Father in Law added.
-did it originally have a battery or just magneto?
-what horn and where installed?
Here's what's on it now:
12V battery mounted under rear seat, Neg wire to frame. Positive to starter solenoid.
Starter solenoid mounted to frame under front seat
Starter mounted to engine.
Pushbutton starter switch mounted to strip under windshield.
Single terminal 12v headlamp bulbs.
Single terminal tail light...grounded to frame.
Small headlight switch mounted on strip below windshield...near starter switch.
Electric horn mounted to bolt on top of valve cover.
Small 12 slot wiring block mounted on firewall, driver's side....wires going to various items...horn, starter solenoid, starter switch, etc
AND...lot's of 14'ish guage wires going everywhere. I want to start cleaning this nest up but having a hard time finding clear enough photos/descriptions to know what was originally there.
I do have the line drawing wiring diagrams but they are only providing limited help.
I appreciate any info you all can provide.
Well, first off, if it's truly a 1917 it didn't come out of the assembly plant with a starter, a flywheel ring gear, or the hogs head needed for a starter.
So, are you planning to make it a "genuine" 1917 or keep the starter and components needed for the starter? What's the engine number? That will indicate whether the original 1917 engine was modified to accept a starter or if it's a later engine. And, of course, either way,the engine number is only an indicator, not proof positive of what you have.
12v, presume not factory. So if FIL added batter and all 12v electrical accessories like lights and horn and solinoid, wouldn't he also have generator and voltage regulator somewhere?
Or did he just use the battery to start and run asseccories and charged it up when he got home?
I will be facing similar situation when I get into my 1917 roadster restoration. I have read that no starter or battery, but my wife remembers a starter in this car. So I'll have to decide to restore to original specs. or leave it as "modern" conversion.
Ken, your first two questions first. !917 cars had no battery form the factory. Many people fitted a battery to make for easier starting. If you have a starter, then your battery will need to be even bigger.
The horn would have been a magneto powered horn mounted on a bracket which bolted to the firewall. These horns varied in noise output, depending on the speed of the engine.
The headlight switch, available now from the vendors, was located just to the right of the coilbox. It is a push/pull affair.
There was terminal block screwed to the firewall, I think with just 5 terminals. You can buy complete wiring looms for a 1917 car. However, with the extra gear fitted to your car, you will have to make additional wiring to accommodate these.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Model T Fords had batteries from the beginning, but Ford didn't sell them that way. It was up to the customer to provide his own battery if he wanted one. But while Ford didn't provide a battery, he was realistic enough to provide a place to hook one up. The fact is that sometimes it's easier to start on BAT than on MAG. As for twelve volts, the idea that you need it for reliable starting is a modern superstition. Six volts is plenty to buzz the coils, and if you're only doing that but running on MAG a single charge will last for weeks or months, depending on how much you drive.
In the teens lots of folks installed Klaxons or Stewarts or other mechanical horns because they were louder than the factory-supplied magneto horns.
For your wiring, here are a couple of diagrams showing the stock Ford arrangement. The one which shows the starter and generator doesn't apply to a stock 1917, but I'm including it because it tells you about the wire gauges.
You didn't ask about the timer wiring, but here's a diagram for that too.
Wow, once again you guys have come through for me. I didn't expect any answers this fast!
I do know that my FIL did at least add the starter, if not other things, while he had it.
The wiring job isn't the best...too many exposed leads. Slightly moved the 12v battery while looking at the wires and got a nice big spark. The exposed + terminal touched the frame! That's why I'm going to completely go thru all the wiring. Per an earlier thread question.... the headlight wires weren't run correctly either.
No, definitely no generator or regulator. I do know that he always complained about needing to keep the battery disconnected when not being driven or the battery would discharge fairly quickly. He would just recharge it.
I have been wrestling whether to stay with his battery/starter setup or possibly return to an original condition. As you can imagine...I am not familiar with magneto systems so not sure what headaches that might leave me with.
I take magneto horns are pretty much out of the picture so need to stay electrical now. I guess my problem with that would be having a 6v horn? I have only seen 12v ones like in the car now. It seems to be a pretty cheap one as far as I can tell.
Decisions, decisions. I do know I want to keep the car simple and as near stock as reasonable.
Steve, thanks for providing the wiring diagrams. They are going to be very useful starting tomorrow!
Thanks to all of you again.
"I am not familiar with magneto systems so not sure what headaches that might leave me with." It's pretty simple. Let's assume you want to go back to stock. IF the magneto is intact and working reasonably well, all you will need is new wiring and a six volt battery. Again assuming all is stock and properly maintained and adjusted, hand starting on BAT is supremely easy (see video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCWnmPrxKo0). With that setup the battery's only function is to buzz the coils briefly for starting. After those few seconds you flip the switch to run on MAG and the battery is out of the picture. With so little use of the battery, a single charge will last for weeks or months. This is why T's didn't need or have a generator until an electric starter was added in 1919. If the magneto isn't functioning reasonably well, the fix for that can be simple and cheap or complex and expensive. Here's how you test it.
As for horns, the MAG horn is available but can be pricey. But that also applies to the BAT horn used from 1919 on. As I mentioned before, lots of folks used mechanical horns because they were louder than the electric ones, whether MAG or BAT. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHZCpzrsdEA There again, possibly costly.
As far as the starter being there hell yes I'd keep it! It's an older "improvement" and I'll bet this "half way" (no generator) option was a slightly cheaper way to have a starter on the car. Steve has posted some great diagrams and you should print out a set. Sounds like you'll need them. Don't forget a fuse on the feed wire that's usually on the batt. side of the starter switch. As mentioned pre fabricated looms are available in starter & non-starter versions. It's an option any way.