I injured my back last year and am unable to crank start my 1915 Touring. I have seen other 1915 cars advertised for sale with a starter. Where can I go to learn more about the options for adding a starter to my car?
You will need a starter ring gear on the flywheel and a starter hogs head, a battery and starter switch and of course a starter.. You will need to remove the motor to change the flywheel to one that will accommodate the ring gear. I always add a battery box from a later car to hold the battery. I don't worry about not having a generator as there are many starts in the battery and it can be recharged at home.
You will be messing with the magneto as well, some year magnetos clear the starter shaft, most don't, options are to grind the starter notch in yours or replace the lot with the later starter one.
Frank is referring to the magneto coil ring.
The one on the left is 1919 or later. You see a notch on its left side to accommodate the starter shaft. The other ring is 1918 or earlier and doesn't have the notch. As Frank says, you have to change to a later ring or grind a notch.
Unless the flywheel has the ring gear and the magneto has the notch, you will need to pull the engine and transmission to install a starter. You will also need a hogs head with the opening for the starter. This work will be much harder on your back than pulling the crank. You might need some professional help or help of a good friend in the club to do the work to install it.
The above are the hard parts of the job. You will also need to install a starter switch and battery. If you leave everything as Henry made it, you can get by with charging at home before you drive the car, but if you intend to run on battery or use electric lights you will need a generator too.
reading material for a snowy evening:
Of course, another option is to purchase a rebuilt motor/transmission and have it installed, but there are certain "adjustments" to the firewall that may have to be made to accommodate the starter.
You may want to save your 15 engine so if you ever sold the car the original engine could be put back in and just purchase a later engine that is already set up for a starter and install it to use for now.
I agree with Dennis, buy a 19 thru 25 engine and save the original in case you, or a later caretaker, wants to switch back to the original motor. It also gives you the option of fixing the later motor while still driving the 15.
I converted a 15 touring to a starter car about8 or 10 years ago.
I don't remember doing anything to the firewall.
I changed the flywheel, coil ring and hogs head.
I put a gel cell battery under the driver at the end of the fuel tank.
I did not add a generator. The owner was perfectly happy without one.
We did keep the lantern battery got the stop light.
If the starter battery. Goes dead you can always hand crank the car, as long as the mag works.
Steve makes it look easy...
Would that be possible for you without making the modifications to the engine?
The only coil rings that need changing are the 1914 - 1918 oval shaped units made before the starter was available in 1919.
If you have the round single or double stacked coil rings used in 1909 - 1913 they will clear a starter with no modifications.
Just got an email from Wally Szumuski. He reminded me that the oval double stacked coil rings used from 1913 - 15 also clear a starter no problem. The larger oval single stack in Steve's photo above was only used from 1916 - 1918 model years.
Thank you Royce. That I did not know.
I keep reading these same threads over again because I can still learn.
The only thing I would add to all the above would be my opinion. (Me? Opinionated? Naw.)
If you have the original engine? Or something close to the correct year engine? It is best to keep as much of the correct engine as you reasonably can. Especially in a brass era car.
It is better for the car that way. While having a starter added may help as much as it will hurt? Having the correct engine can mean a lot to the future value and care the car will get. Also, engines sitting in the garage have a nasty habit of getting separated from the cars they were taken out of. The few parts that need to be changed, and those changes made, can be undone fairly easily. Brass era engines are getting more and more difficult to get in decent condition.
Many people, including me, have run antique automobiles on major tours with a starter and no generator by just occasionally putting a charger on the battery. I ran a 1925 Studebaker for several years that way. And I really did not want to have to hand crank that thing. And I never did.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2