Could a taking coils in and out mess up the adjustment so much that the coil won't fire? I had the coils rebuilt 7 or 8 years ago by Ron Patterson and the difference was like night and day. Since then I built another T from parts and never bought any more coils. I just swap them around , but they are hard to get out of the 14, especially when it is humid. Last week I went about 6 miles round trip in my 21 and it had little power. I had to use low almost exclusively on the way back. I put the coils back in my 14. Today I put on some spark intensifiers I bought on ebay and only 2 plugs seem to be firing. I swapped the coils around and the same 2 coils fire. I know those intensifiers are a gimmick and didn't double my gas mileage but you can see the spark now. I think I made the whole trip on 2 cyls. The 14 seems to idle fine but so did the 21. I don't have a coil tester. I hate to guess at adjusting them but I guess double sparking would be better than none at all?
Corey, you are about to open a can of worms on the subject...wood moves and the coil can change a little, but in my opinion not to the point of not working. I would suggest the points were mishandled by accident when switching...especially if they were swollen from humidity and had to be forced out. Today I found three aftermarket coils the were very very loose/sloppy in the box, the wood box was not built to OEM...Two had modern plastic type capacitors and the third a paper cap...all sparked ok, but were low on capacitor value and needed replacing. Armature was also high on them making point alignment difficult.
It would be better for the coils if you bought a second set and left them in their own cars. When you remove or replace the coils, you should hold onto the posts where the points are bolted to the coil. Do not pull on the points themselves. You can test the gap with a feeler gauge, but the only way to test the coils would be on a coil tester. I would recommend that you find one in your local club or buy a strobospark if you can't find one. Then follow the instructions for point adjustment. Your coils should spark at 1.3 amps current.
Another thing to do if you haven't done so is to test the output of the magneto. Your mag should be at least 6 volts AC at idle and increase in voltage as the engine speeds up.
If you have had the coils for 7 or 8 years and drove a lot on them, they may need new points, points wear out. they also could just need adjustment. I check my coils adjustment every few months and find them out of adjustment often. But then I own a Strobo Spark.
Also like it was mentioned above. Put them in the car and leave them alone till they need to be rechecked.
I would recommend anyone who is using Ford coil ignition to obtain a proper coil tester, such as the ECCT.
That way if any ignition problems do occur, it can be determined straight away if it's a coil problem, and if so, steps can be taken to correct it.
Unfortunately, the mere presence of sparks from a coil does not guarantee correct operation.
Because of the apparent simplicity of the ignition system, many fall for guesswork or random adjustments to diagnose or repair it. The reality is that operation is more complex than first appears, and a suitable instrument is the only way to ensure everything is working correctly.
In theory there should be no difference at all how different Model T's run with the same correctly rebuilt coils. In practice the situation is quite different.
The Model T ignition system is compromised of sub-systems. The sub-systems are; magneto, timer, coilbox/wiring and ignition coils. For the ignition system to work properly all these sub-systems must all be working correctly. Moving coils around between cars with differences in these sub-systems can change how a Model T runs.
Sounds like to me like one of your cars has an ignition system that has one of the sub-systems not functioning correctly.
The best advice I can give you is to correct one problem at a time moving on to the next till you get all sub-systems working correctly and then the system will work as originally intended.
If you have questions about the coils send them to me for a free checkup. If that is not the problem move on to the next subsystem.
As regards coil testing. In my view the only effective way to properly test coils is with an HCCT or StroboSpark in the hands of a competent operator.
After 25 years of rebuilding Model T coils I find the buzzbox and ecct fall short of doing the job adequately.
Ron the Coilman
Ron, you say the ECCT falls short of doing the job adequately. You also recently posted this:
Given your history of judging E-Timer performance without even testing it* and close personal relationship with the Strobo-Spark manufacturer, it seems reasonable to ask; how did you reach an objective view the higher cost, less featured Strobo-Spark tester is the best value for the money and how did you determined the ECCT falls sort of doing the job adequately?
I ask because your view is completely opposite of what one would conclude from a truly objective view posted by an experienced coil rebuilder who actually used the ECCT to adjust coils and has no personal relationship with me or financial interest in the ECCT. He also took the initiative to compare the performance of ECCT adjusted coils with HCCT and Strobo-Spark adjusted coils in a familiar hill climb road test. The coils adjusted with the lower cost ECCT performed markedly better than coils adjusted with the higher priced HCCT and Strobo-Spark testers. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/506218/570593.html?1442970905#POST768737
Indeed - it's unfair to clump together a simple buzz box with the Ecct that has been developed over years.
Some detailed arguments and a side by side test of some coils with varying issues in the three types (four if a buzz box should be compared) of testers would be needed until such a put down should be considered serious.
(Message edited by Roger K on March 23, 2016)
Not picking sides here, but I think you know the Strobo-Spark tester is NOT a "buzz box", if that was what you're implying.
What Roger said. The buzz box only shows that the coil works. That is it throws a spark. It serves no function beyond that and the coil isn't set up properly at all. Pictured is my bare minimum buzz box. AC terminals on a train x-former, a vice, 2 pieces of wire and a bit of coat hanger wire. After I confirm they work I call a friend over to set them up. Out of about 20 I've done only 2 didn't need further adjusting.
I'm not picking sides, I haven't got any running T with the original system (yet), I just want the comparisons and representations of various methods and tools should be fair and unbiased.
If you read Ron's post above, it's he who is clumping together the Ecct with the known inferior buzz box method. I think it's more fair to compare the Ecct with the known good alternatives Strobo-Spark and HCCT.
"Another thing to do if you haven't done so is to test the output of the magneto. Your mag should be at least 6 volts AC at idle and increase in voltage as the engine speeds up.
I'll second that!
That's the way I read it too Roger, and after 3 years of research and development, extensive beta testing and refinement find it very disturbing the ECCT was clumped together with the known inferior buzz box tester by a well known, respected coil re-builder. Especially disturbing because the ECCT uses the same method of coil adjustment used by Montana 500 race winners and the consistently earns positive reports from ECCT users - not from conducting coil tester versus coil tester comparisons but from actual engine performance, road testing; which is what really matters.
With reputation already badly tarnished from judging product performance without even testing it, I certainly hope there is solid justification for posting such obviously biased, derogatory claim about the ECCT that totally contradicts scores of others experience.
O.K., I see what you're referring to now. Thanks!
Getting back to the actual problem -
Corey the problem is caused by the so - called "Spark Intensifier" gyppo devices. You need to take those off immediately. They do nothing except increase the gap that needs to be jumped by the spark. This can cause damage to your coils or coil box or both.
Royce - I'm sure you're correct in stating that the "spark intensifiers" are no help. However, you also stated,...."Getting back to the actual problem", and then you stated,...."Cory, the problem is caused by the so-called "Spark Intensifier" gyppo devices."
Not true Royce,....you have not gotten back to "the actual problem". In re-reading Corys' original post here, "the actual problem" existed BEFORE Cory installed the "spark intensifiers".
I just re - read what Corey wrote and it appears he has a poor running 1914 with the spark intensifiers installed. He needs to remove them immediately and try again. It may be that the coil box now has carbon tracks which would have been caused by those gyppo devices. Or the coils can be permanently damaged by them. Either way, get them off the car and look at them in the box if it makes you happy.
Poor running can be caused by many things - you need to have a way to verify what you think is wrong. I have an electrically cranked coil tester and would be happy to test your coils for free Corey.
It could be two of your coils are not making good contact within the coilbox. Swap positions with a "good" coil and a"bad" coil and see if your bad coil becomes a good coil. A good coil should give you a nice blue spark when you short it to the ground. If your coil is not firing it all nothing would be lost by tweaking it and see if you can get it to fire.
Arguably, I probably rebuild more Model T ignition coils than anyone else; over 25K coils in as many years. I am just a user of coil testing tools. I understand differences in capabilities of the various coil testing devices and the qualitative results obtained using them. I do my own testing and notwithstanding your inference to the contrary I make up my own mind.
Clearly the ECCT can test a coil, but hyperbolic claims of vast superiority over other methods or a unique ability to identify and assist correcting problems are nothing but specious marketing claims that, upon close analysis, are technically flawed.
Ron the Coilman
Here is my new electrically cranked coil tester - it is awesome!
So if I understand correctly, you never actually used an ECCT to tune coils or conduct any engine performance or road testing with ECCT adjusted coils. You just know from experience and understanding differences in capabilities of various coil testing devices that the ECCT is in the same classification as Buzz box and falls short of doing the job adequately. If thatís the case, it is a gross disservice to the hobby for someone of your supposed standing to slam someone elseís contribution to the hobby based on nothing more than heavily biased conjecture.
Another gross disservice to the hobby is your belligerent exaggeration of ECCT performance reports offered by folks who actually take the initiative to try something new and share their honest experience using it with the forum. Many chose not to share their experiences with the ECCT or other information with the Forum because of such behavior from prominent individuals like yourself. Others have reported very positive results using the ECCT privately and specifically forbid me NOT to mention them by name on the Forum for fear they may not be able to get starter or coil rebuilding services in the future should they ever need to.
Given your view the only effective way to properly test coils is with an HCCT or StroboSpark in the hands of a competent operator; meaning years of experience interpreting the stubble nuances of current meter readings helps explains your disdain for the ECCT coil tester; ANYONE can quickly master coil testing. Push button: Read Result: (Poor, Good, Excellent), Done. Properly adjusting coil points is another matter that still requires knowledge and experience but hours not years given immediate and concise test results. Still plenty of opportunity to share knowledge and help others.
Well today I could see 3 sparks. I didn't know those could mess up the coils, I'll take them off. I didn't expect them to actually do what they claim, I just thought they looked neat, but I never would have noticed the coil not firing if I hadn't put them on. It hasn't ran 15 minutes with them on. The 14 always runs fine, so does the 21 except the last time I drove it. I was having a fuel problem with it however. I'll tinker with the 14 more tomorrow swap those coils around more and short them with a screwdriver. I need at least 2 tires and a gas tank for the 21 so I'll let it rest. One problem with the 14 is I don't have the box lid and the coils vibrate up sometimes. Thanks for all the advice.
I'm curious about the statement,"I find the buzzbox and ecct fall short of doing the job adequately".
The buzzbox failings are well known, but in what way did you find ECCT fall short? It tests for multiple sparking, and ensures a set of coils is set up for equal dwell time, so what have you found it not to do adequately?
To my knowledge, of all readily available coil testers, only the ECCT has the unique ability to test coils by the "ramp to fire" method. I have analysed the ECCT closely and in no way can I see that it, or its method is technically flawed.