Short of converting back to 6 volts, is there any way to slow down the engagement and spinning of the starter. It is way to harsh engaging.
Rod, I have often heard of people using an old Bendix spring as a 'dropping' resistor. Just place it in series in the starter circuit. I have not tried this, as I run on the original 6V. I'm sure others will chime in.
Why not just switch back to stock?
I had the same problem, but my car was already converted before I acquired it. You can make your own "dropping resistor" by purchasing about 12ft of #4 copper wire and wrap it evenly around a wood dowel about 3/4" in diameter and 8" long wrap the wire so that it doesn’t touch itself and put a loop in each end attach one end to the starter the other end to the battery cable then cover the whole thing with good quality electrical tape if you make your own remember neatness counts
Reconnect the starter internals for 12 volt.
Change the stator winding to be in series rather than parallel (as supplied), details have been discussed previously on this forum.
Ah, I thought the purpose of using a 12 volt battery with a 6 volt starter was to turn the motor faster. Of course it will shorten the life of the starter but the motor does turn over faster.
Yes, too many folks subscribe to the superstition that they need the fast spin of twelve volts to start.
I'll whack this defunct equine again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5ycpdfIjDo
How fast do you need to spin the engine to start it?
I went though this same problem with a flathead V-8 in a street rod. I needed to run other systems on 12V, so I had a stock starter converted to 12V in the same way that Tony suggested for the T starter.
The engine turned over very nicely, but I kept breaking bendix springs. Laying on the cold concrete hoisting starters into place got pretty old, but it gave me strong incentive to consider the problem.
Reducing the 12V by use of a "dropping resistor" does indeed slow the starter down once it's cranking, but it doesn't do much to reduce the initial acceleration of the starter motor before it engages. This is pretty subtle, and no doubt better explained by one of the electrical engineers on the forum, but the essence is that the dropping resistor depends on how much current (amps) the starter is pulling. In the free spinning mode the starter current is low, so the dropping resistor doesn't do much. Then once the starter comes under load the resistor begins to do its job.
So what we have is excessive voltage as the starter begins to spin and engages the bendix, then reduced voltage for actual cranking. The initial spin slams the bendix into engagement with such force that the poor spring eventually breaks.
On my street rod, a normal starter wasn't a concern. I bought one of the after market 12V geared starters that have been adapted to fit the flathead V-8 and never had any more problems. Unfortunately, this isn't an option for a Model T.
Maybe this is the solution. Remover the starter handle and insert a dog. Apply a voltage between 12 to 24 volts. Should start the motor with no problems.
Which hand do you use on that thing?
What the hell does that mean?
Steve Jelf is my hero. Although it is nice to have the starter option when I stall it in an intersection. 6v is still the way to go. It was good enough once upon a time...
Mr Wolf such language. I am not certain what part of hell you want me to explain. But let me try. Hand cranking whether a T or a farm tractor there is a dog at the end of the crank shaft. At the timing chain end on most motors. The dog is to be the point the crank handle engages, and if all goes well is also the release point of the crank handle. So when the electric starter show is engaged, when the motor starts the dog is there to facilitate release. I am certain someone else can state this more elegantly. This is a dog.
Switch to 8 volts. or make a coil of 1/4 inch OD copper wrapped or formed around a broomstick. The coil needs to be about 6 inches long. then put it in some big shrink wrap. Put coil between battery and starter.
I've found svereal threads on this subject and as usual there is a vast difference of opinion regarding switching to 12V or even making modifications to make the 12V system less violent on starting.
To clarify my situation< I bought the engine and it was already set up with A Texas T distributor, 12v electronic ign and 12v coil. being my other T was set up exactly the same, I opted to keep the 12v system on the new engine when I installed it in the Pie wagon. There is a huge difference in the activation of the starters between the two cars, the newer engine being much more agressive if you will. So with all the debate about what works, is better or whatever, I think I'll change it back to 6V.
didn't see the comment about switching to 8 volts.
I assume the lower voltage would reduce the violent nature of initiating the starter.
What about the coil and electronic ignition also being 12 volt, will they continue to function as intended with the 4 fewer volts?
You could use a 6ft long 12 volt skinny cable between the battery and the starter switch. On my 27 that worked fine. On my 24 I used a 6ft skinny cable on the ground side too.
There are two schools of thought : one we 12 volters have it worked out and are happy, the other school thinks using 6 volts is the way to go and they are happy.
So take you choice.
Skinny wire between battery and starter produces heat, so don't use the starter very long at one time. ..Or.. make sure you wrap the skinny wire around some good smelling wood when the wood starts to smoke.
A good starter with a good ground works just fine on 6 Volts.
I use an 8-volt on one of mine. Works fine, issue was finding a charger for an 8-volt.
use two batteries. You can charge the 6 volt battery from the generator and the 12 volt battery with a battery charger when the car is parked. Use 6 volts for lights and starter. The ignition system doesn't take a great amount from the battery, so you should be able to drive all day on one charge.
Or change the ignition system to 6 volts or go back to magneto. Anything you do to correct this problem is going to take some work and money to fix.
Here we go again!
You have hit on one of the solutions I thought of earlier (two batteries)
Being I am somewhat electronically challenged (just plain stupid in that area), have you or anyone else got a schematic showing how to do that. (6volt for starter & lights, and 12volt for ignition) I could live with that setup!
I used an old bent, Bendix Spring. Hid it in an electrical outlet box painted Model T Black. Put some thick plastic sheet between the coils for a little insulation.
I wonder what kind of oil I should use.
I don't get it. Why is it that 6V isn't enough. 6V will start my T just fine, even if it isn't fully charged. It will for sure spin it faster than I can crank it, which works just fine too, although my back doesn't like it much!. JMHO Dave
All you need to do is remove the starter and rewire per the picture. It is not a bid deal. You simply need to cut in two places and add a jumper. The hardest part is getting an iron hot enough to solder the joints.
I also don't get it. Complaining about 12 volts is like complaining about the wind. Rod didn't start this threat to tick off the haters. he just asked a simple question and some folks have offered him a solution - like like many others threads on this Forum. The complaints provide no assistance to his query and can be done without. And isn't it quite possible that the reason for having a 12v system has absolutely nothing to do with the starter being s-l-o-w ?
There's really no dead horse here except the imaginary one you've self-created Steve.
Is the use of a coil of wire , copper tubing, or Bendix spring, a drop resistor or an inductor? If the resistance is measured, there in negligible resistance in ohms.
Doesn't the coil have a limiting effect on the amperage, not the voltage?
The starter still receives 12 volts, but the amperage flow briefly is reduced, slowing down the rotation of the armature?
Haters? No hatred here, except that I hate being accused of evil intent when I generously share my pearls of wisdom.
Sorry for the kinda off topic thread drift but I guess its kind of like this. Some are purists, some are customizers, some like to do a few things to make a Model T a little better in their own way.
To each his own I guess. Using a 12 volt system in some way, flat tube radiators, water pumps, distributors, painting a T another color than black in the 17-25 era, different timer types, and a few other things can be added to this list.
I left my new wood spoke wheels natural in color.
I hope I will be forgiven for that one!
Didn't mean to start a fire storm here, and I thought I explained how the 12 volt system on this engine came about, so at the risk of being redundant here's what transpired. I bought the engine with a Texas T dizzy that was already setup with a 12v pertronix ignighter and a 12v coil. I opted to keep that setup and installed the engine as is and added a 12v battery. Perhaps I labeled the title wrong. Should have said something like started too harsh on initiation. THAT is what I am really concerned with, much more so than the speed it is spinning. I thought there might be a simple solution to lowering the impact of that initial bang when starting and hence I started this thread. Personally I couldn't give a rip whether it is 6v or 12v, I just want the most reliable solution. I will try the dual battery suggestion first, just because I'm curious. If I don't like that I'll revert back to 6V.
Now those who wish to continue huffing and puffing can carry on
I appreciate your clear description showing how to convert a 6 volt starter to 12 volts.
My 19 ran on the mag and had no starter before I changed motors.
I used a 12 volt battery for the coils when starting, stoplights, and other funky accessories like my cell phone etc.
When I changed the motor I had a few issues so I put the starter in .
At first I was concerned about using the 12 volts but some folks on the forum said it was Ok as long as I watched the bendix, didn't crank it for long periods, etc.
Since it was not a "universal go for it" I remained a bit concerned and will make the change as soon as I have time.
From Model A Ford days in the late '20's, until 1955, 6 volts was just fine.
6 gauge welding cable positive and ground wire and like a 350 cranking amp battery. Low current battery voltage will dropped under hi current load
We have said this many times here before but it just keeps coming up again. So listen. Henry Ford knew what he was doing. 6 volts will start the car just fine as long as you have good clean wire connections and heavy duty battery cables. Do not use 12 volt battery cables they are too small. 12 volts will turn your engine over faster but it will also break or damage your Bendix spring and Bendix. !2 volts jams the bendix into the starter ring gear very hard which will eventually break the spring and cause the shoulder on the Bendix to break loose and flop around on the shaft. Is that what you want? Installing a series resistor to reduce the voltage will not work as the voltage will not drop before the damage is done. Current must flow before the voltage will drop so the initial voltage will still jam the Bendix in to the ring gear. This is simple Ohms law. Rewiring the starter for 12 volts is also worthless because the starter will have the same cranking power it had on 6 Volts. Just stay with 6 Volts and make sure you have the right battery cables and good connections.
Rod, you could accomplish your goal by using 2 6V batteries. Wire one battery directly to the starter circuit and both batteries in series to your ignition circuit. This would take a little ingenuity to simultaneously charge both batteries, but is doable. You did ask if it could be done! Maybe a bit more involved than you had in mind, and probably not necessary as expressed by most posters, but a solution nonetheless - (probably less).
Seeing a couple of references here to using twelve volts for the ignition system, I have a question. I've never run a T on twelve volts, so I wonder: Does it make a noticeable difference in how the car runs? Once the car is running I switch to MAG and I'm not using the battery at all. Is the brief run for starting on BAT so much better at twelve than at six that I would notice?
6 volts works the coils just fine with the Ford coils, provided they're set up correctly and a good timer is used, also set up correctly.
70-75km/h (44-47mph) is routine for my car with 6V and no magneto.
(Message edited by 26tourer on June 21, 2016)
I am really amazed at the way this simple thread has evolved, a few observation can be made.
1. it would appear that those who are repeating the same argument over and over and over again are the purists.
2 Those who have not offered any opinions or suggestions at all are probably refraining because they are occupied by uncontrollable fits of laughter over the seemingly endless and repetitive arguments put forth by the former.
3. Then of course there are the truly helpful posters who have actually taken the time to read the question posted and have offered truly helpful suggestions. To the latter I offer my heartfelt thank you.
In order to wire for two batteries, you would leave everything as is except for the connection at the back of the ignition switch. You would connect the 12 volt battery to the MAG connection on the switch. If there is still a wire going to the magneto, remove that wire.
Then the headlights will still work on 6 volts, the generator will still charge the 6 volt battery. When you run the car turn the ignition switch to the MAG position.
Thank you Norman!
Simple enough, I think I can manage that!
Rod, you only need the proper size 0 or 1/0 gauge battery to starter switch and starter switch to starter cables.
Most of the ones offered are 2 gauge 12 volt cables.
I use 00 or 2/0 gauge cables for about 10 % more current flow.
My T came with a 8 volt battery. After the Bendix spring broke, I put in a proper 6 volt battery with new cables.
It's amazing how many people either misread Rod's description of the setup on his car or decided to write a rant to the previous owner of the engine. Rod didn't switch the car to 12V, he bought it that way.
"I bought the engine with a Texas T dizzy that was already setup with a 12v pertronix ignighter and a 12v coil. I opted to keep that setup and installed the engine as is and added a 12v battery."
The way I understood his question is that he's looking for the simplest way to make the ignition system (12V) he has work with the starting system (6V I assume). He's not looking for a reason to change anything if he doesn't have to. Yes, a 6V system is good enough and there's no reason to change to 12V. I understand that. But he's not asking if he should change to 12V, he's asking how to make the 12V system that's already there work.
When I bought my car, it came with a 12V-ish system. What I mean by that is that someone, either the previous owner or the one before that, installed a 12V battery. However, since they used a 6V alternator to charge it, the battery was never fully charged. When I restored the car I switched everything over to 6V and replaced the alternator with a rebuilt generator. If I was installing a different ignition system like the one Rod has in his car, I would probably have the same concerns about damaging the Bendix drive on my starter too.
I'm curious about running 12V to the starter for another reason. My Grandpa owns a 1924 Cultor tractor, which is powered by a T engine. The previous owner installed a lawnmower battery (12V). Judging by the size of the battery tray this was added later. I'm not sure if this tractor is supposed to have a battery at all, and I haven't found anything to say one way or the other. Since I can't find anywhere else to put a battery, I'm wondering if it's supposed to be a hand crank and magneto setup only. But until I find out exactly what it's supposed to have, I'm running it as it is. It's not that I think the 12V system is better, I'm just going to run it the way I found it until I have a reason to do otherwise. I'm sure Rod feels the same way about his car.
Sorry about the long rant, but sometimes it just gets under my skin when it seems like people are too stuck in their opinion to help somebody else. Maybe I'm reading their intended tone incorrectly, as is wont to happen on the internet.
I think I've had enough computer time for the day. Time to go make noise in the shed.
Thank you Jared!
Finally, someone has actually read the question and understands what I was asking!
It would appear that if you just posted a thread titled 12V and no other wording, that you would automatically get every other response being against it. Some terms, it would seem, illicit automatic responses no matter what the intention.
I think I also answered your question, including pictures to modify your starter to run on 12 volts. My Depot Hack starter works very well with this modification to the starter windings.
By the way, I really like your car collection. I have a 23 T Bucket, 1910 Tourabout, 24 Depot Hack and a 2016 Hellcat.
Here is what I do....Reduce the size of the battery cables. Use a bendix coil as a dropping resistor. Turn the headlights on while engaging starter. Jerry.
Like Jerry said - I buy a 12 foot #2 battery cable from the Pep Boys store. It is small gauge and limits current to the starter. This is something my dad started doing 50+ years ago. Many people in the local T club do this the same way. No Bendix failures in my lifetime on any of our T's and no other problems with ring gears either.
I did some testing several years ago because I was skeptical of the use of a starter spring as a current limiter. I used a pair of volt meters and an inductive ammeter to show voltage at the battery and current at the starter from various combinations of battery and current limiting tricks. My tests showed that indeed an old Bendix spring worked well to reduce current, actually a bit better than the long small gauge battery cable. George's spring in a box is a very elegant solution.
Yes Rod B,
Yours was one of the suggestions that went into the library for consideration. as was Royce's,
James A, Jerry D, Norman K, James L, Robin P, George N, Ted D, Phillip M, Dick F, and Tony D.
If missed anyone, my apologies.
All the positive responses were greatly appreciated.
Also thanks for the car collection compliment, it is ever changing as I get the bug for something new. The problem is space, one has to go, before another can arrive. I am especially fond of "T" speedsters.
Royce, You do not understand Ohms law. The voltage does not drop , no matter what kind of resistor you put in series with the starter until the current starts to flow. The initial 12 volts jams the bendix into the ring gear then the starter starts to turn the ring gear , that is when the voltage drops. The damage has already been done before the volrage drops. Maybe your Bendix has not failed yet, but It will and I have seen hundreds that have.
If a Bendix lasts 50 - 60 years through several engine overhauls, when do you suppose my heirs will start to notice problems? I could put a note in my will.
Glen - I can almost say that I don't hardly understand electricity at all, and I guess that's why I don't like fooling with "things electrical. However, the human brain is weird! At least mine is, and at age 74,....it ain't gett'n any better! However,.......
Your explanation somehow "triggered" something that I must have learned about 60 years ago in school,......the term,....."back EMF" popped into my head. "Back electromotive force" or something like that,......weird! And all I remember about that is that it's something like a "back" electrical force that begins to build as an electric motor begins to turn and picks up speed. Guess it's good I learned that, even tho' I have no idea what good it'll ever do me! (;^).....harold
About the only thing I can see the 12 volts good for is brighter headlights, when all you usually have to do is clean your reflectors good.
My car is 6 volts, don't see any reason to change, the lights are bright enough to see by or be seen by. As for starting my car...I usually just crank it and forget about the bloody starter. Mostly because people don't expect you to stomp on a starter...sort of takes the old time flavor out of seeing a car like this if you stomp of a damn starter...they want to see you crank it, like their granddads told them these cars were started...sometimes I even let them do it after I show them how.
Royce, You've either been lucky or you hand crank your car a lot. I hope you last another 50-60 years. Cranking the T is good for your health. More than 80 percent of the new Bendix and Bendix Springs we sell are to customers using 12 Volts.
Found the problem!
It was the ground wire from the dizzy to the block.
The wire at the block connection had worked loose and was making intermittent contact, causing all the issues. I am now in the process of soldering all the crimp joints I can find, I'd advise this for everyone.
Thank you to all who made suggestions as to the problem.
as they say, sometimes it is the simplest of things.
I have also reversed the whole ignition system, it is now 6 volt and running on points instead of the pertronix. I do have a 6 volt igniter on order, but may just stay with the points. no need to comment one way or the other in that regard.
Hi..i am a new user here. I did some testing several years ago because I was skeptical of the use of a starter spring as a current limiter. I used a pair of volt meters and an inductive ammeter to show voltage at the battery and current at the starter from various combinations of battery and current limiting tricks. My tests showed that indeed an old Bendix spring worked well to reduce current, actually a bit better than the long small gauge battery cable. George's spring in a box is a very elegant solution.
I run dual 6/12 volt system. I charge my 6v battery with the mag-Diode/lite bulb rectifier. Run lights 12v, starter 6v. Ignition on Battery=12 on mag=6v. I use a Texas T alternator to charge my 12v Battery.
Works for Me.
Dean, shouldn't your ignition on mag say 0v? (No battery.) Or maybe 6-30v.
Steve, My mag position on the switch is wired to 6 v battery. Running E-timer works fine 6 or 12v.
I converted Rufus my 26 rpu back to 6v. Like Steve's video it takes almost nothing to start a T model or A model if they are in decent shape. Mine start very easy and hardly turn over before they are running. I have had them with bad wiring and starters and it was a pain.. Once you have them in good running shape they can sit for months and fire up easily. Or that how it has been for me so far.IMHO Tim
My inclination would be to leave well enough alone, but deal with the starter. I don't argue with what works. I would however pull the starter to check it for wear,and then use Rod Barrett's method of converting it to 12 volts as long as it is out. The job isn't difficult. I've done a couple in my spare time for guys I know. If you can't do it, you may be able to find an automotive electrical shop that can for a reasonable price. That way the problem is solved for good and done right. Personally my T is a 6 volt system. It came to me that way and works fine. Like I said: never argue with what works.
I have a 12 volt battery in my T because it powers my LED stop lights and my electrical gadgets.
I run it on a magneto but use the battery for starting because the the crank does not engage correctly.
I currently have a long small battery cable but am concerned about the initial power surge.
I plan on doing a starter rewiring like Rod suggests this winter.
It will get me a free cup of coffee or something stronger from Dave Dufault if I let him watch! ( Dave I may be old but I don't forget!)
Your Problem is very simple. Go to Tractor supply and get a 8 volt battery I use them for all of my T's you dont change anything but the battery your T will crank faster and have no problems.
I agree with Glen Chaffin on the starter engaging too fast. The only good way to fix it is to change the wiring of the starter to run on 12 volts.
I can only see two reasons to run a Model T on 12 volts: You are running some accessory which is made for 12 volts, or the magneto doesn't work and you want 12 volts to make the coils work better. I have driven on coils with 6 volts and when they are properly adjusted the car will run just fine. It is however a bit faster on magneto than on 6 volts.
If you convert to a distributor because the magneto is not working, you can use a 6 volt coil and still use a distributor on 6 volts.
So I would say that unless you have one of the two shown above reasons for 12 volts, it would be better to switch back to 6 volts and run the starter as Ford made it or rewire the starter to work on 12 volts.
Hey guys, he converted it to 6V on or about June 27, 2016.