Got my first Model T in the garage and installed the battery and got the foot start switch working. Then engine turns over. I need to clean gas tank and carb before starting.
The ingnition switch has been replaced with just a toggle switch, so I presume battery only and no magneto. When I turn the toggle switch on and hit the starter switch, I hear some intermitent buzzing. Sometimes when I stop the starter, the buzzing continues until I turn off the toggle. When I leave the toggle switch on and turn the hand crank, I only hear a buzz every once in a rotation, usually at the 5 oclock position, but not 4 seperate buzzes as I crank around the clock.
The timer is attached to the front of the camshaft, and the camshaft turns once for every two rotations of the crankshaft. So, if you are powering the coils with the battery, you should hear four buzzes for every two rotations of the crankshaft.
If the switch is set to power the coils with the magneto, you will not hear any buzzing when you crank the engine over by hand.
So I should rotate the crack 8 times and should hear all 4 different coils buzz? If i disconnect the wires to the spark plug and set them right next to the top of the plug, will I see a spark jump from every coil after 8 cranks?
As Mark said, you should hear 4 buzzes for every two rotations of the crankshaft. You can place the plug wires near a head bolt or the base of a plug to see when each cylinder fires. You can also see how hot a spark you're getting at each cylinder this way. The spark will jump about 3/8" if your coils are good. (Handle the plug wires with insulated pliers.) The firing order is 1-2-4-3.
You should hear four buzzes on two rotations of the crank
A word of caution- your spark plugs should be removed during this operation. A KICKBACK could possibly cause an injury.
Also, check and double check the wiring to be absolutely sure that no DC power connects to the magneto terminal. DC will kill the magnetism.
Robert: Have you cleaned all your wire contacts at the terminal block to the coil box; pull out the coils and clean the contacts on the sides and bottom of the coils and box; clean contacts from coil box to plugs; clean plugs and gap?. Also take off the commutator and clean the outside wire contacts and inside contact points. After all that cleaning, I like to take each plug out; ground it to the block and turn the crank (with ignition switch to battery) and see if I have fire on each plugs points. You may have bad coils, that may be why you only get one buzz or only one plug is firing? How long has the car been setting? I believe when you go through two cycles/turns with the crank; you should get a buzz and/or see spark from all four plugs.
Robert, if you stop the rotation on each firing and that cyl coil is buzzing, you have constant spark, not like a set of points that give you a jump spark, don't let it run to long like that as the coil can get hot.
Each coil will buzz on the same location of the crank, for hand starting just slightly past top dead center. Each buzz will sound a little different and they will all be in succession as the crank passes over TDC. It is a good policy to turn the ignition switch off while hunting for the sweet spot. With the crank just before TDC then turn the switch on and pull over center. Repeat same.Dave
Tell us about your car; year, condition, type. Pictures
Wow, great stuff. I'll get into the cleaning of contacts and terminals in the morning. When I turne the hand crank 8 revolutions, I hear 4 buzzes, each one a little different pitch. So I may be OK.
Car is 26 Speedster picked up as basis for converting into WWI Light patrol vehicle or Vickers Machine Gun carier. So not much to look at right now other than I was hoping the engine would start and run and the car would be driveable and that would be less for me to work on while doing the body from scratch.
Wires right now are a bunch of telephone gage wires running all over thee place. New wiring harness is definately on the list.
This is my learning curver project prior to doing frame off on 1917 roadster that is in the barn. Have to learn all this Model T technology.
Car looks clean and appears taken care of. Not a ‘windbreak’ car. Good luck with your project. Where you going to get the Machine Gun??
Robert -- When you say, "When I turn the hand crank 8 revolutions, I hear 4 buzzes..." I assume that you are turning the crank 8 quarter-turns, which would be two complete revolutions of the crankshaft. Is that what you mean? If not, then something is wrong.
Ooops. Might have to test the coils, then. I was starting with the hand crank at the 12 oclock postion and going around 8 times and hearing 4 busses.
I need to pull the plugs and clen them anyway, so I'll leave them out on the head and turn the crank in the dark garage and see if my wife can see them spark and go from there.
I have the sediment bowl out and getting cleaned out and will take the carb out and clean it up, so no gas in the car at this time, so presume I can crank or start away. Keeping all starters and buzzes to a short burst.
Where am I going to get a machine gun?
The same place I got these two on my 42 GPW Ford Script. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.
TO THE GARAGE!
We have a poster who is into half-tracks.
A lot of people's "quarter turns" are actually more than a quarter of a turn. Compression usually pushes the piston beyond to the favored stopping point at a half turn. So four quarter cranks usually (not always) will be about two full turns of the crank-shaft, or four coil buzzes.
Robert, If you remove the timer, and watch the roller, as you crank the engine you will understand more of how the timer works. The roller will make one full revolution and "fire" all four plugs in that one revolution. All the roller does is complete a "ground" in the wiring, When the roller is "grounded" it completes and makes an electromagnet circuit in the coil "jerk" the points open and then "fires" the coil. There are two basis designs of contacts in the timers. There is either a "roller" or "brush". There were lots of other designs back in the day as everyone tried to "make a better mousetrap" but roller or brush are the common designs today. If you have not already cleaned it, the timer probably needs cleaned anyway. The contacts and roller or brush should be clean to work properly. Good luck and keep us posted on the project. Sounds like a nice project... Donnie Brown
A lot of oil build up in the area of the timing cover, so removing it and cleaning it and the contacts are on the "to do" list. Perhaps I can have my wife watch the shaft go round while I crank and relay to me what is going on so I can better absorb it.
Working on fuel system today and then will get back to the electrical during this rainy weekend in ATL.
Thanks for all the road maps.
Robert -- you said, "...turn the crank in the dark garage..."
You don't need to wait until dark to check this. The spark from good coils is bright enough to be easily seen in daylight (or shop light).
If you have 4 buzzes in 8 full turns of the crank, you have only one coil firing. I agree with Donnie that the first thing to check (and clean) is the timer. Do that, then re-do your test. If only one coil is still firing, swap that coil with another and test it again. If a different cylinder now fires, you have 3 bad coils. If the same cylinder still fires, you have a problem with the timer or the coil box.
Fun Projects makes a wonderful coil box rebuild kit. They are the 4th and 6th items on this list: http://www.funprojects.com/search.aspx?querystr=coil%20box&querytype=all
(Message edited by coupelet on October 02, 2015)
Be aware that some timers require grease
If you just want to test the coils touch a ground wire to each coil at the terminal block screw where the timer wire is attached and the coil should buzz when it is grounded. Do each one seperately. This is a quick test that takes the timer out of the circuit
Robert: one good way is to get someone to help you, while you hold onto plug wire 1 and 2 have someone crank over the engine with switch turned on, then after you pick yourself up off the ground try plugs 3 and 4 and see what happens, that is did you get a spark, if everything is working you will have learned a lesson i Model T sparking.
The above is just a warning to stay away from the wire and the spark plugs as they will bite you big time and it will take just one lesson to learn a DON'T touch then when you hear a buzz, use an insulated SCREW DRIVER.
I know the frame will be a good ground as that is where the neg strap is connected. I'm not familiar yet with rubber motor mounts, squeek suppresion, etc. What would be a good ground in the vacinity of the coils to use?
Presume if I'm not insulated, I'll get lit up as well checking this circuit?
I remember as a yute growing up in the '60s and still using timing lights and pulling spark plug boots to see which cylinder was missing on a V8 and getting "reminded" that a 12v battery after it goes through a coil somehow gets a stronger bite.
Got pulled off task today with a rental property, so no fuel system work. Then the sparks will fly, hopefully.
Well, I couldn't go to bed without doing SOMETHING on the Model T. Seems like I only got one bussing coil. I'm going to call it number 2. Looking at the coil box from the drivers side, with 1 being on the far left towards the grill, 2 is bussin, then 3 and 4 being closest to the cowl.
So, (don't ask why, it's a long story) but the easiest way for my brain to visualize this and troubleshoot it was to get the 2 coil bussing and then shut off the toggle switch. Connect the thin telephone wire from the timing commutator to the 2 coil and connect it to 1. Shouldn't it buzz? It didn't. Connected the same wire to 3. No buzz. 4 no buss. Back to 2 and it buzzes. So, I've got power going to all 4 coils, but only one is buzzing. So, perhaps pull the coils and clean them all up and the inside of the coil box and try again with the same scenario?
Am I correct in my logic on energizing these coils to test?
Pull the number 2 coil and try putting it in the #1, 3, 4 coil box slots and test each one to see if you get a buzz. If you get a buzz then the wiring is okay and you have bad coils? Try this and let me know.
Robert, here is a very basic wiring diagram to test the coils with. Remove the coils from the box and on the bench attach the wires as shown. Use the negative wire going to the coil to "make and brake" the circuit. Do not touch the plug wire, spark plug, or contact on the coil at anytime while powered up. It will hurt, trust me I know. If the coil is working OK you should have a big blue spark from the plug. Any known to be good spark plug will work for the test. Any good insulated wire will work for the test wires. You can hold the wires in place with tape, or a dry stick, ect. You are just wanting a quick test so nothing needs to be solid, but make sure it is clean, and you have a good contact. If you have not cleaned the timer yet, I would bet that is a good location for your no firing problem. Have fun, work safe, keep us posted ...
I will certainly pull the coils and give them a good bench test. My wife is headed back to Leavenworth where this car came from and we know we have some spare coils laying around there. So I'll wait until she gets home and test all I have to see which ones work and which ones do not and explore the possibility of rebuilding non working ones to have as working spares.
The timeing system certainly looks like it could use a good cleaning and tightening of the contacts.
Do I need to pull the radiator and shell to have access to this? Feels to me to have the fan belt running right in front of it and very little room to work.
No need to pull the radiator. Just loosen the bolt that holds the 'spring' that holds the timer in place in front of the camshaft, and flop it out of the way. The timer will come off. Not sure about the belt. My belts do not interfere, but there are so many different belt lengths, and pulley combinations, and add-on belt driven accessories (Alternators/water pumps), that it is hard to say what may have been done over the years. Loosen the belt if need be.
If my wife brings back two coils from her trip and I check out all 6 and come up with 4 working coils, is there a difference between the earlier coils and the 25 26 27 coils, other than the cosmetics of the wooden box.
I looked at the Fun Projects rebuild kits referened in a previous post and they look to be re WOOD kit, not re BUILD. So if I have a dead coil, I don't see how putting it in a new wood box will get it working again.
And, the cost is $64 per kit, and somene is selling restored and guaranteed for 1 year coils for $60, so if I need some working coils, I would lean towards the latter option.
Also noticed that when I put on the lid to my coil box and latched it down, my one buzzing coil does not buzz. So a short or something in the wiring is looking probable.
But, first I'll bench test the coils and plugs to eliminate them.
Then the timing commontator and brushes and terminals and the wiring.
I will certainly keep you posted as to the results.
We observed during this testing that the simple toggle switch on the dash is a three position with the middle being off and the up being battery. So I hope the down is mag and once I get it started, I'll be able to shift to mag. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
In terms of fit and function all Model T coils from 1914 to 1927 will work. Wood cased coils were made from mid year 1917 to 1927. Metal top coils were made from 1914 to mid year 1917 and have a slightly different form factor, but will fit and work in any 1914 to 1927 metal coilbox.
Funprojects DOES NOT make a coil rebuild kit. They offer high quality fully rebuilt and tested coils with newly made wooden box.
If you plan to buy newly made coils beware, ask for advice first. There is some real junk being sold by parts suppliers.
When installed 1926/27 coil box covers are notorious for disrupting coil point operation because the tabs inside the cover designed to hold the coils down inside the box when the cover is installed are touching the coil hardware preventing proper operation.
Bench testing you coils will only tell you if you have a rebuildable coil, but not whether they are operating correctly. You can get your coils rebuilt and tested by several competent coil re-builders.
I suggest a TW Components timer. Go to www.twcomponents.com for details.
Just a word of caution about switches for transition from battery or magneto operation. You MUST have a switch there can be no possibility battery power can get connected to the magneto contact (even for an instant) or you can discharge the magneto magnets.
Ron the Coilman
Robert: I bought a car once and when I took the commutator off; no one had installed a ROTOR. Same car, when I put antifreeze in it no leaks--Wow. Then a small leak along the block at the outet pipe? Took the pipe off and no gasket or sealer between the outlet pipe and block; just metal to metal.
So I checked the rear-end and no gear lube in it. So you never know till you check. When you get a non-running car, the temptation is to throw a battery in it and she if she starts. Resist that temptation and check it all out.
But that's no fun!
I should have learned from my last and only restoration so far, my 42 WWII Ford GPW jeep. Couldn't wait to get started so jacked it up and started pulling the tires and wheels. Two came off pretty easy and two would come off at all. Ended up cutting off lug nuts after breaking two Craftsman breaker bars.
When I called the vendor to order 10 new wheel lug studs, he asked me "Right hand or Left hand thread?" He could tell from my delay in answering that I had no idea the two wheels on the left side of the jeep were left hand threads.
Removed the cowl and gas tank this afternoon. There was a lug nut in the gas tank rolling around and reducing the gas flow.
I think Jimmy Hoffa was buried in the gas tank overlfow drain pipe.
Robert, Being a retired Union Boilermaker, and being that our union hall was next door to the Teamsters Union Hall, I got to know lots of Union Teamsters thru the years. They have assured me Jimmy Hoffa was not buried in your gas tank overflow pipe. But they could not say for sure who was, possibly some of his missing staff members. Also, what caliber is the lug nut.
What you probably saw was a kit to rebuild the 'coil box' which holds the 4 individual coils. While the coil box appears to be metal, the bottom and back are wooden and can do all sorts of bad things with high voltage when wet which has a lasting effect even after it dries back out. FP sells a kit to replace the wood with plastic pieces to prevent this. Good kit. Highly recommended.
Don't confuse the coil box with the cases of the coils. Confusing terminology, huh?
Ron: Thanks for the info on the coil box cover. Mine was shorting out and now I know it was an inherent problem with 26-27’s. I checked the lid on an old parts car I have and someone had just cut off the springs on the inside of the top cover. Not sure what to do on my good car? Hate to ‘cut’ off anything permanently. Any suggestions?
I'm the newbie here, but since my lid stopped my one working coil from working and the spring C clips inside the lid seem to be an issue, I was thinking of just gluing some old inner tube rubber pads to the bottom of the C slips to act as a thin insulator.
I looked through my coil stash in the shop and found two coils with marks on the wood top where the cover tabs touch the coils to hold them down inside the box when he cover is installed. You see the tabs touch the area immediately adjacent to the vibrator.
As you can clearly see if the tabs are not straight they can touch the circular part of the coil vibrator spring shorting that coils timer terminal to ground. If this happens you will have one coil vibrating constantly regardless of timer position. This is particularly true if the vibrators are the type with the larger circular portions over the coil core which is true with coil points made today.
Just like if you had a wire frayed at the timer and shorting to ground.
The problem can also be exacerbated if the coilbox cover does not have the gasket installed around the perimeter at the cover and coilbox mating surface. The lack of gasket will allow the cover to fit too closely to the coils when the latches are clamped down causing the tabs to bend into the vibrator tabs.
I have much experience with Improved Fords, but find myself asking numerous questions of friends about issues with the 1915 Runabout I recently purchased.
Hope this helps.
Ron the Coilman
Ron, thanks for the info. I am not sure if mine has a gasket?
Will have to check it out.
I've got the coil box off and it's pretty rought. A lot of veneer seperation on the bottom of the box. Probably looking at the coil box rebuild kit from Fun.
Silly question, how do I get the 4 coils out of the box to test or if I need to replace only one or two out of the set? Does the strip with the 4 small hotes for the negative wire contact and the plug wire contact need to come off?
They just lift out. No need to remove the box to get the coils out, but sounds like you do need to rebuild it. Try to lift them out by the two taller studs that mount the rear end of the upper bridge. Don't lift by the bridge itself.
Well, I'm going to give the motor a once over, good cleaning and repaint. Probably change all the gaskets I can and put it back in, so taking the coil box off was going to happen anyway. The bottom is peeling and all the wood feels muchy. So a box rebuild is on the list.
I'm going to try the test method sketched out above leaving all 4 coils in the box. Running positive to the contact on the bottom of the box and running a negative to the side contact and seeing if they buzz and I get spark at the loose plug. Then go from there. But if I need to replace a coil or two, and I'm rebuilding the box, I won't have to be so careful removing them from the old box.
In reference to the above sketch for bench testing the coils and plugs, may I presume that the plug will spark laying loose on the wooden workbench? And does not need to be "grounded" by laying them on something grounded?
Got some household things to do today and then the wife is out of town for a week, so plenty of time to work on the T.
No. If they are laying loose on the work bench, you will have to ground them It works on the engine head because it is grounded through the chassis back to the battery.
Make or buy several "Jumper Wires" with alligator clips on each end. Then you can clip them to all your various parts and pieces to complete your circuit.
3 our of 4 ain't bad.
Bench tested the coils (not plugs) and got three out of 4 buzzing. Connected hot wire from toe starter switch to bottom contact on coil box and ran jumper wire from negative contact on each coil to touch quickly the negative battery terminal.
Got no 2 bussing and that was always the one that buzzed. No 1 did not buzz. I disconnected everything and tightened the screw on the top bridge and got it to buzz. Worked screw on no 4 back and forth and tightened slightly and got it to buzz. Screw on no 3 was tight and even with penetraing oil, when I got it to turn, it turned the whole post and I hear wire twisting inside, so that is a dead duck.
I'll worry about plugs after the engine clean up and get the timing cover all cleaned up, so months from now.
My wife is bringing home two coilds from the KS location where all these cars are coming from as well as a set of fenders and running boards that I will examine when they get here to ATL. If one of the two coils checks out, I'll set the gap on all four and rebuild the coild box and I should be god to go for the rebuild.
So, I'm closing the chapter on the "Mystery of the Buzzing Coils" and want to sincerely thank all who contributed. I've learned more in this past week about Model T theory than I knew in the past 60 years.
TO THE GARAGE!
Please don't buzz the coils without the plugs connected. It will cause them to arc internally and ruin them. Give me a call after 5 at the number I PM'd you a few days ago. Your other coil may be able to be saved. If you are referring to the single stud at the front of the coil, there is no wire attached to it. Call me.