Has anyone used the Model T Ranch distributor conversion? I have had several people tell me the Texas T Parts conversion is the way to go, but I've heard nothing about the Model T Ranch's kit.
Forgive me for being obtuse, but why do you want to put a distributor on your Model T?
If your magneto is operating there is no reason to convert to a distributor.
Original Model T ignition coils are commonly misunderstood, but we can help you make your Model T run on coils just as well as any distributor.
Ron the Coilman
Lets see that distributor start the engine without cranking when I can do that I will buy a distributor. No more fun than shutting down the T and coming back a half hour later turning the key to mag and POOF the engine is running.
To answer the original question, The TTP distributor has a single linkage which is much easier to adjust than the two-link system on my distributor. That's what I would go with if I had it to do all over again. The only problem I ever had with the distributor was a misadjusted linkage.
And yes, if you have a distributor it is STILL a model T.
Most people are used to cars that start by themselves. Whenever I used to perform compression starts for people, they just assumed I was using the starter.
The reason I am considering the distributor is that the chassis I bought didn't come with coils or a timer. For what it would cost to replace these items, I could spend a little less and have a distributor. I have several friends who have T's and their ongoing gripe seems to revolve around the coil ingnition. I don't know much about stock T ignitions, but I do know that while the system is simple and can be very reliable, it can not be denied that the coils can be the weak point. One friend of mine knows someone who has adapted four 6-volt coils on his car. I guess that could also be an option. A modern distributor, however, seems to be the ticket to a consistant and reliable spark.
I understand the absence of the four coils and timer.
You will pay more for any complete distributor set than a set of properly rebuilt coils, quality timer and the wiring.
Your friends ongoing gripes about coils simply indicate to me they don't know how to make the coil system work correctly. They are not alone.
But, I am here to tell you if you have a good magneto, timer and rebuilt coils they are just as good as any replacement distributor made for Model T's.
Yes, I know.... they are all going to tell you the Coilman is wrong, but they are the one who are wrong. The problem is they don't fully understand how the original Model T ignition system works and get it running right.
It'll never run better with a distributor!
Remember, Ford did not make 15,000,000 Model T's with a ignition system that did not work.
Good luck whatever path you take.
Ron the Coilman
I should have worded the final sentence in my message above as follows.
Remember, Ford did not make 15,000,000 Model T's with an ignition system that did not work, but they sure as heck made 15,000,000 Model T's with an ignition system that was difficult to understand, hard to get working correctly if you do not have the right tools and much cussed because of that.
Ron the Coilman
I have to side with those who speak in favor of the 4 coil system, although I haven't used a distributor. I had a set of coils set up on an Allen handcranked tester years and years ago, and they are still working well (the fellow who set them up passed away long ago, but the coils he did for me are still alive!). My T is an '18 without a starter, so it is always run on mag, and it pops right off, and runs well.
I love the sound of a well running coil model t. Sitting at idle and hearing the buzzing of the coils is part of enjoying a T. You will miss it maybe even without knowing. One idea for thought. Speed drivers of new modern metal will pay big bucks for a computer system that will fire each plug 6 times on each stroke, you get that for free with coils, You will get a better flame off the tip of a plug with coils than you will with a Points system. Pull a plug out and watch it....
Tim what year is your T? If I have some of what you need to go with coils. I may donate them to you, but you pay the shipping. If you decide to go the other route I'll expect the stuff back. John
Tim, I was in a similar situation, i bought a t that wasn't running and missing the coils and timer, and went back and forth and finnaly bought the texas t distributor. my thought was that there were too many things that could be wrong with my engine, that this was going to be one thing i did not have to worry about, or learn how to handle. I only cost me a couple of hundred bucks and got my engine purring right away. I still want to convert back to a coil and timer , but the dist. got me up and running right away and now i can drive it around while i collect the parts i need to put it back to original. when i do convert, the distributor becomes a backup ignition system that i can swap out on the road if needed. i bought the electronic version (if i am going to sin , might as well go all the way) and it went in easy and runs great. good luck.
I only care that I like it to start on compression. Other people don't count I drive a T just for the fun of it. They make conversion transmissions for T's I don't want one they have overhead valves I don't need them I am not a purest but I like My T plain no milk no sugar
I am working on a 26 coupe,it has the coils, but they are in bad shape,the timer is missing,and i don't know about the magneto coils and magnets,to have all of thes replaced is in the $600.00 range,a distributor is around $300.00,so its a matter of funds,i am retired using "Old Mans"moneyso this could be a difference.After i get this pile of rust running i will probably get a set of Ron's coils (everyone says they are the best)and a Anderson Timer,the magneto is yet to be checked,i am pulling the drive train soon and i will know,if the mag is ok i will put coils and a timer if not it gets a distributor.
If the mag is not OK all it takes is a good set of magnets and a good mag ring (coil) and the right magnet gap and it will put out. If you have the motor out it's worth the trouble. I have a distributor because it was a simple answer to my problem. I have a demanding career and, though I understand the ignition system very well (and have made the other car run well with coils) I am just not that passionate either way and don't have the energy, is all. After designing the new ones all day, it all turns to mush, you see...
Slamming one or the other type of ignition is akin to having Calvin caricatures on my pickup. Both work well. Henry's engineers (probably constrained as automotive engineers are now) chose one over the others, and we have been armchair-quarterbacking the choice ever since. Let's keep it fun and not assume someone's ability is lacking because of the choice of ignition, OK? We are going to make people afraid to ask.
Someday I will figure out the "magic frequency" the vibrator needs to be set at, then I will be able to adjust them without a cranked coil tester. No way am I going to pay $800 for one. Also maybe someone can tell me the capacitance rating that is best for the coils. I have 600V orange drop caps available to me if I knew the value.
I couldn't hear the coils under the hood anyway.
Ron, the Coilman, says: "You need a film/foil polyester or polyproplene diaelectric capacitor with a value of .47uF at 400 volts. Use SB Electronics part number 418P47494. T-Nuts and Lang's carry the right part."
Be aware that other types of capacitors break down rapidly when used a Model T coil.
Tom & Stan:
Coils that are calibrated on a hand cranked coil tester will be set at optimum for magneto useage.
It will show the time/space relationship of the cushion spring & vibrator points for single sparking when coil is on the tester. Can't do that on a DC voltage buzz box...sorry. There are a few of us that have mag coil testers.........give a call we will gladly help!!
A 6V distributor/ignition coil is looking very tempting in my situation. Having rebuilt my coils and installed an Anderson timer, I find the magneto weak and the in car charge made no improvement. As I have never driven another T I have no idea how much better running on magneto is supposed to be...perhaps I mightn't have to drive in low gear most of time if I could run my coils off a properly working magneto.
Unlike the 'four coil' advocates here I don't have the facility to pull my engine out and extract the magnets and magneto coil assembly to send off to someone for rebuilding. This is why distributor ignitions will always be popular with Model T's, apart from the fact they always work and don't depend on annoying adjustments.
How long I put up with the 'four coils' running on 6VDC remains to be seen.
John and others, I admit that I am a purist and a firm believer that the buzz coils are the heart of a Model T. They are what set the T apart uniquely from all other antique cars. I actually find them fun to tinker with but I have to admit that I have been around buzz coils all of my 65 years. I have both a hand crank tester and a buzz tester that I built and I can set the coils within acceptable limits to that of the hand crank unit can but that is not the point I want to make. If you get a good hot set of buzz coils set correctly you can drive thousands of miles and never touch them. Keep in mind you also need a good properly set of Champion X plugs, a good magneto, a good carburetor, a good timer (I use an Anderson), good compression, and a good cam shaft but then of course one needs most of those things with a distributor. One of the real problems is finding good hot coils. One has to accept that the engine must function as a complete unit and not expect maximum performance from Band-Aid fixes. Good Luck, Keep drivng. Ken Swan
Follow Stan Cumming's advice for a source of the correct replacement coil capacitors and you won't go wrong.
Additionally there is no "magic frequency" for coil vibrator point adjustment. You need a correctly operating electrical portion of the coil and be able to correctly adjust the mechanical action of the coil points.
The former requires good coil primary and secondary windings, core and a good capacitor.
The later is where the hand cranked coil tester is indepensible. The vibrator tension and cushion spring must be balanced and the tension set so the coil internal electrical circuit draws 1.2-1.4 amps ac. You must adjust the mechanical action of the points in such a way that the coil provides one, and only one individual spark every 22.5 degrees of crank rotation. This spark will jump a gap of 3/8-1/2 inch in free air. You can view this correct time/space spark relationship of the correct mechanical operation at the spark ring of the hand cranked coil tester.
That is the key to making a Model T run well on coils.
I don't deny you can get part of that with a buzz box coil tester, but the missing part is what makes all the difference in the world.
Ron the Coilman
Has the quality of the coil points improved to the point where they are OK to order? I know there were problems with the alignment of the contacts and with the action of the follower spring. I have both videos.
Also I assume .47 microfarad, 630V capacitors (polyester film, yellow in color) will work, is that correct? I use them in antique radios and have plenty. They are a little large but will fit.
I have a set of four to rebuild, for my son's truck (he's 13). He refuses to entertain any talk of an alternate ignition system. He's got a stash of coils, too. I guess until I unlock the secret spring rate/preload/frequency question I'll have to borrow a hand-cranked tester.
In a word "Nope"
Follow the insructions I gave you several years ago for currently made points. If anyone want a copy send me a email.
If you don't follow my advice on replacement capacitors you will pay the price. If you want details send me an email.
Ron the Coilman
I am lucky that a fellow that has owned and restored t's for many years lives a short ride from here.He has the machine to set the coils. While we were working on them, I had replaced the points myself, he showed me just what a t coil could really do if adjusted up from normal. a 1 inch spark!. He said not to ever run 1 like that very long at all. But Wow that is a lot of voltage.
And follow the advice on the capacitors. I work on antique radios also and my first restoration needs recaping now becuase I used the cheap 1's.
Also I wondering about the 4 6 volt coil conversion someone mentioneed. May be something that could be done on a trip or something to get ya home....mack
Any good ignition system should be able to provide a 1" spark at atmospheric pressure, but testing it that way for too long can cause insulation damage of the coil's secondary winding due to excessive voltage.
Using 4 6v coils could be done simply by substituting them for the normal Ford coils and using a master vibrator (or Ford coil modified to function as one). A modern ignition coil is after all electrically equivalent to a Ford coil with the contacts shorted out.
Once agian there is no "magic or secrets to unlock". Just look at the MTFCA three part coil videos, it's all there in great detail for everyone to see.
Ron the Coilman
My original question remains unanswered. Has anyone used the Model T Ranch distributor? Perhaps in the future I'll see the error of my ways and switch everything back to coils. Posing this question always gets a big responce. I really appreciate everyone's input.
Tim, I built my own distributor set up for my T. I had the same situation as you did. My rolling chassis did not have the coils or timer with it and I did not want to spend all the extra money for an obsolete sparking system that I would be required to adjust the generator on to keep the spark strong. I took the points plate, rotor and cap from a mid 70's chevy vega, ground a small notch in the end of the camshaft to accomodate the proper alignment for the vega rotor, drilled and tapped two holes in the front of the engine block to mount the points plate, ground the lobes down on a square nut that fit snugly over the end of the cam shaft and pinned it in place, this positioning also had to be done in a manner to provide spark at the same time. The points plate had to be aligned in a fashion to accomodate spark at the right time as well. Put on some spark plug wires and the crazy thing worked! I eventually replaced the large square nut with one that a friend machined for me on a CNC milling machine...much better precision than eyeballing that I had done previously. I keep the cost down for sure. I had all the parts laying around. But it took some time and tinkering to figure it all out. I had a couple of model T enthusiasts ask if they could copy my work, of course I had no problem with that.
Have fun whatever you do.
It's frustrating when no one will answer your question. Been there. I have used the T ranch/Stoltz distributor, and and the VW/Bosch setup. The Stoltz was definitely a step up from the good mag and properly adjusted coils. It is also hard to get to without taking off the radiator. The Bosch is a step up from the Stoltz and my personal favorite.
I find it amusing that your being offered unbiased opinions on this by a person selling coils, and others that have never used a distributor. It sounds like you have made up your mind on what you want, my recommendation is to get a nice Bosch front plate setup and run with it.
If you want to be brave, try the new style that looks like something off a Taurus. It looks like a nice unit. I can't think of who makes it, I'm sure someone will post it for you.
Yes on VW unit but i recamend that you take the points out and go electronic. I have and have run trouble free for 8 Yrs.
Some of us like original stuff and some of us like to modernize.
If you retained the original($150)Model T ignition system of which they made 15,000,000 and worked well you would not have had to try so many alternative ($500) add on systems to get it to work correctly.
Understand how the original works, get it right and you will be much better off than experimenting.
Ron the Coilman
My choice, with electronic points.
Yea, buy how much better is it than original Model T ignion system and prove it?
Ron the Coilman
Here's your proof - Ford stopped using it in 1928 when they discovered a single spark system that offered more precise timing control.
Excuse me for interrupting...........
The '28-'31 Model A was Edsel's baby. He didn't want his father's car, he wanted a fresh idea that incorporated "modern" advances.
Single spark distributor was cheaper than 4 coils, magneto field ring, flywheel magnets & timer.
Try starting your Model A with a DEAD BATTERY.
Thanks Henry !!
"Sparky" Bob Jablonski
Please don't misunderstand, your statement is not proof, it is an opinion.
The Model T and Model A ignition syatems are fundamentally the same. The parts are just organized differently.
When they are both working properly as designed prove your statement that the Model A implementation provides "more precise timing control" over the Model T implementation.
Ron the Coilman
Its amazing how people love to drive in an antique car but they have to change things to make it run better and how many people have driven thousands of miles in cars that are just as they came off the line without a problem I wonder is it that each car has its own personality and just will not run right for some and run great for others.
As a marine mechanic it always amazed me how some boats never had a problem and others never ran right as told by there owners but when I get behind the wheel and go with them for a test ride the engines purr like kittens I get off the boat and go back to the shop and get a call the next day from the same owner that the problem is there again.
I guess some engines need more from some than others?
All I know is that the TT chassis I bought had everything worn out and cracked and so forth and it was dumped off in the woods long before the transister , so the point, coil stuff had to work some anyway.
I hear it everyday, people saying they want a old car or truck, but then they get on the soap box on how they are going to add a v8, power windows, and the list goes on, Heck if I wanted all the power options and modern gizmos I would think it would be easyer to buy a new car! So I will be useing the coils myself with the knowledge of how to fix them and extra points and stuff in the tool box.
I have heard of homemade distributars. no reason they shouldnt work. And to be honest I think it is good that people still want to learn and experiment. That seems to be a dying trait in this country. If you notice, there aint been no ground breaking inventions in the past 30 years it seems.You know, something like the lightbulb,? Everything I see is improvements over old ideas. Like over head valve lawn mower engines. That aint new. The first Briggs and Straton was over head valve. They bought Smith motor wheel and then decided to use the same platform on a stationary engine, the PB.
And pickup any old car book from the 60;s , there will be plans for solid state ingntion in there. So that aint new either..mack
Boy, some folks don't like to let a dead horse lie. Kinda like flies I guess. Just can't stay away. What I appreciate about the orriginal Ford T owners (those who were living and tinkering long ago, i.e. 1920's) was how the adventurous and tinkering kind were only striving to improve upon an affordable platform to go faster and get there with fewer breakdowns. These individuals weren't all caught up in thinking that they or anyone else had to be a purist in the process...talk about getting in the way of progress...it's the tinkering and modifying of those boys of long ago that put some real acceleration into the advancement of performance automotive history...There were thousands out there who had there own personalized Model T speedster or racer or hack or coupe or etc...All of us here love these machines or we wouldn't own them. Each of us has the liberty to enjoy them in whatever capacity we can afford or preffer. Mags, timers, batteries, or points or ???
Who says there's no action on this forum!?!? What a fun thread! As far as answering the original question, yes, the distributor works fine and has been on there for three years now. I have not had to adjust it at all except to reset the timing when I replaced the timing gear. The newer ones with a single lever are probably easier to adjust than mine.
Well, guess I am one of the "flies".
I am not part of the PC crowd who let's poor advice or incorrect information pass for well thought out ideas or facts.
I have no quarrel with anyone doing whatever they want to their Model T, but when I see criticism of one method over the other without supporting it, I will challenge them.
Ron the Coilman
In answer to the original question: In my humble or not so humble opinion, the drive system is the problem with most distributor conversions, the clip on style more so than the front plate type. I tried one from Reeder-the other guy, not TTP- and the drive looked like it was made in a junior high school shop in Mexico. There was no way to disassemble it to replace what would undoubtedly need replacing, the mating surface (that holds the entire distributor in line with the gear set) was not machined and the gears were so soft a nail file would cut them. I needed it so ran it less than 200 miles on a speedster run and the drive gear was worn to sharp points on the teeth. I sent it back and had quite a time getting a refund, got a nasty phone call, etc. I think he must have the whole drive setup made in Mexico, it looked like it.
On the Post Falls tour several years ago I spent part of the afternoon helping some old guy convert his coupe back to timer and coils after his new Reeder dist spit the gears all over the inside of the case and he had to be trailered in. I had a coil box and timer under the seat in my speedster and in an hour or so he was on his way. He had gone through two or three of the new Black Plastic crap New Day timers and thought the distributor from Reeder would solve his problems. I put a rebuilt roller timer on it for him and a set of decent coils and it ran the rest of the tour and is probably still running. As an aside, I still like the old roller timers, they are cheap and I just chuck them up in my lathe and turn the inside smooth and they are as good as new. Run for thousands of miles. The
Andersons are good and the old brown New Day are excellent as long as you chamfer the leading edge of the brush so it doesn't gouge the contacts and use a little vaseline for lube.
I have run a Stoltz distributor and it is trouble free and eliminates the gear set but is hard to access. The TTP runs a standard Bosch industrial type dist. I have an Atwater Kent front plate running a Volkswagon dist on my speedster. Never a problem but it does kind of take the fun out of the ignition system.
Unless you have a problem with the magneto or are running a speedster, my opinion is: No timer, No coils, No T. But it's a free country and you can do whatever makes you happy and keeps you under your upper level limit of harrassment from people like me who will hard-ass you every time I see you for running a distributor. Mostly just to see how big a rise I can get out of you. As long as you keep em running and don't try to turn it into a Volvo I don't care much what anybody does to their car.
I'm relatively new to this "hobby" and I cherish the good advice of the Coilman, John R., and Bob J. who have all helped me immensely. My problem with the magneto argument is that if your magneto is not putting out suffient voltage, you have a major wrenching job ahead of you. Is it possible to change the flywheel and magnets without pulling the engine? I know you can charge them in the car, but if you want new, fully charged magnets, you have alot of work to do. I would love to have everything original like Henry made it, but if a distributor would get me up and running quicker, I would use one too (God forbid!). My Speedster has a Bosch side-drive magneto and I've read that the magnets should be charged before every season of running. I'm currently trying to find out how to do this. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks, Steve
I'm also one of those who complained about the coil system and poor running of my '26. . . .until I had Ron rebuild my coils! It has never run better, or provided more pleasure. Altho I'm admittedly closer to the "purist" end of the spectrum, there is no greater pleasure than cranking, compression starts, and showing people the coils and letting them hear the "buzz". It's great for spreading the enjoyment of the T. I'd recommend "Ron the Coilman" highly. I still think a well running "original" T is unequaled. Thanks,
This is for Ron, Stan, my father, and all the other purists out there:
I personally feel that the distributor conversion for Model T's is not a good enough source for power to fire the plugs. What we have here is a Petronix ignitor equipped VW (chrome of course) distributor tied to an MSD-6A multi-spark ignition module and high-perf coil. It puts out twice the current a stock modern ignition puts out 6 times per firing.
I'll pause here for the purists to stop hyper-ventilating....
Above the engine you'll see that the stock carb lacks the power I require as well. A set of modified "B" manifolds hold up a VW bug carburetor that flow aprox 100 cfm.
Did I mention the electric fan and 30 amp/12volt generator?
-Tim's (the tool man) Lizzy
Eat your heart out Ron!
As the owner of numerous restored/unrestored VW's (from 1949 to 1970), and my vehicle of choice to drive if I don't want to take the T, have you ever thought about just buying a Bug???? *grin*.
I have always wanted a manx style dune buggy, are you offering a trade?
On the other hand, it is fun to see the looks on peoples faces just as the words "why did you do that?!?" come out...
My two year old daughter says it best: "My daddy's Model T has MORE POWER!"
I'm currently working on a fuel injection system to replace the bug carb.
I'd trade if you had a "real" T, lol. This reminds me of a car show I entered my T in last summer. While admittedly far more hotrods than antique cars, a judge approached and informed me that "kit" cars were not allowed. Apparently he couldn't conceive of a car as nice as mine as being "original"! But right next to mine was also a "1926 Model T". . . .Corvette engine, fiber glass body, all chrome, 12" slicks, etc. After looking at it for about 30 minutes, the only "T" part I could find was the motometer! Yet it was not considered a "kit" car. Thanks, but I'll stick with my stock T.
Your right repairing the original Model T magneto is not a simple task.
You hit upon the only reason I can see to install a distributor or high tension magneto, unless of course your afflicted with speedsteritis.
If your magneto is not up to running original coils install a distributor (my God did I say that!) or magneto and enjoy your Model T.
The next time you rebuild the engine rebuilt the original magneto and you can enjoy COIL bliss with Bob Bishop.
Regarding recharging the magnets in your high tension magneto. There are several fellows who advertise magneto repair in Hemming Motor News. Recharging the magnets is simple and no doubt they can do this for you.
Ron the Coilman
Ron, I must have the special touch. I got the Coilman to advise using a distributor! Just joking! What is meant by the term "high tension magneto?" I know that the points must be set rather narrow (0.016" to 0.018"), but I thought that this was due to relatively low output of this type of magneto. High tension sounds like high output. Steve
Don't take offense it's all in good fun.
Nicely color coordinated engine compartment, but was wondering if someone didn't drop a plate of spaghetti in there? Isn't the electric choke overkill?
Buy a Taurus, the wiring is very neat.
I am not hyperventilating, just waiting patiently for you to provide proof of your comment ".....Ford stopped using it (multi-coil igntion) in 1928 when they discovered a single spark system that offered more precise timing control", additionally I would like you to explain the role of "current output" on ignition systems?
I am not a purist and here is proof
Ron the Coilman
By the way.
That is a Ford Model B engine with a Miller-Schofield overhead conversion. It was dyno tested at 154 horsepower.
Watch it! Grin
Magneto's come in different types. The Bosch side drive is what is referred to as a high-tension magneto.
The original Model T magneto is called a low tension magneto, but in reality it is alternating current generator.
If you want to read up on this stuff get yourself a copy of the commonly available Dykes manual printed in the 1920's. They are a wealth of information on every aspect of early car systems from starting and lighting to steering geometry. They sell for $20-$40 and can be found on the on-line used book sellers. You will curl up with those books for days.
There is also a section on magnet recharging.
Ron the Coilman
High tension refers to the level of pain involved when grabbing the wire.
Ron, I bet my car in it's current state of construction will still outrun that engine stand! I think you'd do well with a fuel injection kit for that B. I'll let you know when I have them ready for sale. Should I put you down for one or two?
It also occurs to me that you don't have T coils on that "non-original" B engine. I swear I can see a distributor... If they are so perfect and wonderful, I would think you'd be running them on everything.
-Your comment about current (ohm's law), I politely refuse. I made my living until very recently as a telecommunication engineer. I know what they are and I know you do too!
As for the spaghetti under the hood, I'll take a photo for you next time I have the hood former off. I'm guessing there is a mile of #14 hidden behind it to run the fuel pump, 6 backlit gauges, ignition, and light switch. Someday I'll make a harness for it all.
That is a really pretty engine you have there.
I am curious, is that an O2 sensor?
In reply to your last two posts.
Your comments to Steven are very good, can you eloborate on the technical details?
The Ford Model B engine had a single spark coil ignition system (remember, the one you say is so better than the Model T system) so I stuck with the orginal system. Grin
Make a wiring harness, soonest.
Yes, it's an O2 sensor which can be connected to a rich/lean display. I was concerned about that new head combination and appropriate mixture.
From my old hot rod days in California I knew how to jett and make a Stromberg 48 carburator work.
Ron the Coilman
At Bendix-Scintilla Magneto Div. we defined a high tension magneto as one where the high voltage was produced within the magneto and was then distributed to the plugs. A low tension magneto was one where only a low(primary) voltage was generated which was distributed to a transformer coil located at each cylinder. This permitted higher altitude flying without flashover which occurred if distributing high voltage directly from the magneto. Thus the Ford ignition system is of the low tension type.
Coil man that is 1 wicked engine you have there!. I likes it. If you got 154 hp from it what could you get from a T engine?.Also a question. When you did this conversion work did you modify the oiling system and did you set it up with insert bearings? I am a little green on this type thing but I do know some about pouring babbit and uh if those are babbit bearings in that motor i fiqure you will be a busy man pouring bearings...:>).....mack another fly on the wall that is learning something usefull everyday....
Full pressure to the rod and main journals with insert bearings and a Mellings high volume V8 oil pump.
Ron the Coilman
Using overhead valves is CHEATING. Anyone can get big horsepower using overhead valves. A model T engine can produce over 100 horsepower with overhead valves. It takes a real man to get more power out of a flathead. I'm estimating the output on mine to be around 50 horse. That's more than double the original number without cheating!
I love this discussion! I have never dyno tested my motor, but I would bet alot of green that it puts out over 100 HP and it is a flathead. It was built by Vic Sala who is 90 yrs old! He was around when these cars were raced and he raced them. His brother said he put "all he knows" into this car. It can be seen at www.nwvs.org (car no. 16). Steve
Now I'm thinking. What does your car have that mine doesn't? Maybe I'm under-estimating mine? Please tell us what you get for compression (psi) and what mod's were done. Mine's been stroked and has a racing cam and 100 psi. Our carbs look like they are in the same ballpark, and both exhausts have been modified. Maybe I should find a dyno?!
A "stroked" Model T engine? There ain't much room "down there" for stroking the crankshaft. Who is stroking who here? Please explain?
Ron the Coilman
I have increased the stroke 1/2" by using an A crank and rods. With a slightly milled Z head, I have 100 psi compression in each cyl. Please don't tell us that you have never heard of this being done... Next you'll tell us that you've never heard of porting and oversized modern valves.
Sorry about the huge photo, I just upgraded to win2000 and I can't remember which program I used to resize the photo's on the old operating system.
I don't know much about Model T engine modifications, but have a few questions.
Are you sure you didn't increase the stroke 1/4 inch by using the Model A crankshaft?
Did you have to align bore the Model T crankcase journals very near the rod bolts to accomodate a Model A crankshaft?
That center main bearing cap looks a bit puny. How does it properly support it with 100 PSI compression?
Will this engine last?
Yes, I have heard of porting and polishing valve chambers, but I was always taught to ensure the load bearing lower end would support the increased upper end volumetric effeciancy.
Can you eloborate with technical details?
Ron the Coilman
You are correct, a Model T crank has a 4" stroke and the A crank has 4.25". Your the king of typo's and trivia and we all bow down to you.
I have grown tired of this. Your certainly entitled of your opinion on coils or whatever, but you've taken the fun out of the conversation and brought it far away from the original topic of this thread. If you have a problem with the construction of the mains, or the crank conversion, please feel free to give Layne Machine a call and tell them they are doing it wrong.
If I feel the need to argue with someone and my ex-wife is not available, I will certainly give you a call.
Folkes dont get mad at each other please. Alot of other folkes may be like myself, trying to learn new things from the forum. There is alot of good folkes on here and the knowledge base is HUGE. please for the sake of the new folkes trying to carry on the t into the future share your knowledge with us and help us learn and inspire us to try new things ourselves. I for 1 would have never thought that a Model A crank could have been fitted in a t engine. I also had no idea it could be made to turn 50 hp with the flat head on it. So this is new to me and I do have another t frame that when and if I ever get the TT dump truck finished I may want to do some of these things to....mack
Sorry your offended. I apologize.
Just trying to understand the details and have some fun with you.
Ron the Coilman
Yes folks, lets keep this going. It's been a great discussion. one of the best that has been on the Forum recently
I mentioned this before, but I drove a 24 coupe through my high school and college years. The first 10k miles were with Henry's coils and the later 20k or 30k miles were with a Bosch distributor system. I definitely remember having to do a lot more fiddling with the coils than with the distributor. When the coils were working well the spark was better. However, the distributor kept the car running for longer periods between fiddlings. I drove this car because I had to get to school or work and back and this was the cheapest way I could do it.
It did take me a while to put the distributor on the engine. Finally I did it, on a trial basis. After a month or so, I decided to keep it, and paid for it, ten dollars, a lot of money to me. I also got a real distributor coil at that time, 50 cents, I think. Before that I had run one of the Ford coils with the buzzer screwed down, and an old screen door spring for a ballast.
Right now I am trying to restore a 26 TT, and have decided to go Distributorless Ignition System. I came up with a DIS coil assembly from a V6 Chrysler product, made a driver using a couple of power transistors, and some logic circuitry to run the them, and stuffed the whole thing into the regular coil box mounted on the engine. With the lid on, no one will know there are no Ford coils in there. I even put a buzzer in it.
I still have the entire engine to go through, before I find out if they work. While it turns over with the crank, it clanks a bit, and I want to find out what is doing that.
Great story Bill. Is your system the same as the one I saw advertised a year or two ago?
I have noticed when you change from coils to a distributor is that you can chug along in high gear much slower without bucking. The high end is also affected, giving the car a faster top speed than it had with coils.
Given my preference to distributors it may shock a few of you to know that I do miss the syncopated buzz of the coils rolling slowly along a quiet road. I wonder if there is a way to backfeed the coils off a distributor so you still have the noise...
Please don't take this as criticism, but if the magneto and timer are working correctly, a Model T bucking at low speed and poor high speed performance are clear indication of improperly adjusted coils. Ask the guy's who run the Montana 500 at 3500 RPM all day long with coils. .
I can find no evidence that coils or distribitors are better (excluding original manufacturing cost) than the other when both are operating as designed.
Clearly a single point distributor is simpler in design, easier to understand and simpler to maintain.
Those elements goes right to the heart of the coil versus distributor debate and the devil is in the details. Few people understand how the original Model T ignition system really works and what is required to maintain it. It is a trap for logical people. Replace the points and set the gap and the coils should be OK, right? Wrong. Any timer will do right? Wrong. And it goes on and on... the engine front plate must be correctly installed and that pesky internal magneto must be up to snuff.
Model T owners try to get the car running better and don't understand the key elements to make the original four coil ignition system work. In frustration they install a distributor, which doesn't required those details be addressed and then it runs fine. In many cases they declare the original system defective in some perceived way. That is a false conclusion. Ford did not make 15 milllion Model T's with a defentive igntion system. Hard to get right and maintain, yes, but not fundamentally unfit for purpose.
I hope we are back close to the original subject of distributor conversions and I promise to try not to upset anyone.
Ron the Coilman
No Tim, if the one you saw is the same one I saw, I thought it was rather ugly. Everything was bolted onto an aluminum plate and it covered most of the side of the engine. Mine, I put into the original coil box.
It also featured multiple spark, like the Ford coil system. This makes me a little nervous. The DIS provides a waste spark, which is normally at the end of the exhaust stroke. I wonder if multiple waste sparks still could be going on as the intake valve opens and fuel starts showing up under the spark plug? This, of course, is avoided in a 4 coil system. I don't know if I'm right or not, maybe someone can tell me.
My system is totally homemade. I am an electrical engineer and making stuff like this is what I do for a living. The logic I use is very simple. An integrated circuit timer is used to build the primary current to 10 amps. This current is interrupted and a spark is generated for cyl. #1 and #4. A similar circuit is used for cyl. #2 and #3. A third circuit is used to make a buzzing sound in a small speaker in the bottom of the coil box
I don't remember much difference in coils versus distributor. When the coils were working well, the idle was fine, the speed range was good. Usually one of the coils would quit, and I was running on 3 cyl. Normally, I carried spares and would drop in a fresh one. I could do this without getting out of the car. My friends with their newer cars, '26 and '27 model T's, had to get out in the rain and change coils.
With either ignition my '24 would go 45 to 50 mph. I normally drove it at 30 to 35 mph when I was driving to college and back home again. It was a trip of about 90 miles, and typically took me about 3 hours.
I'm thinking your coils weren't set correctly. I remember I had to be shown. Getting them to run on the magneto was the tricky part. I think they ran at about an octave below middle C. It was quite awhile ago.
You system sounds interesting, I hope you will post it in detail when you get it working.
As for my experience in coil use, it was 15 years ago, I had 2+3/4:1 gear ratios in the speedster, no mag and 6volts battery. The coils had just been re-built by my grandfather, who now has over 60 years experience rebuilding coils and Model T's for a large number of the members in this club. I'm pretty sure they were right on at the time.
I am sure that if you took three T's and converted them to a distributor, the changes noticed would vary. Each car has it's own quirks.
No one that I know has taken the distributor off in disgust and put coils back on... Makes you think a little?
OK! OK! You have convinced me I will get some speed parts for my 24 T but can someone please tell me how to make the kids keep there feet off of the N2O bottle in the back seat.
You don't really let your kids sit in the car, do you?!
Regarding your comment above: No one that I know has taken the distributor off in disgust and put coils back on... Makes you think a little?
Reread my points as follows: Few people understand how the original Model T ignition system really works and what is required to maintain it. It is a trap for logical people. Replace the points and set the gap and the coils should be OK, right? Wrong. Any timer will do right? Wrong. And it goes on and on... the engine front plate must be correctly installed and that pesky internal magneto must be up to snuff.
Model T owners try to get the car running better and don't understand the key elements to make the original four coil ignition system work. In frustration they install a distributor, which doesn't required those details be addressed and then it runs fine.
Makes me think a little?
Ron the Coilman
I've got a distributer in my driver. I'll take it off and reinstall the original setup when I get around to it. When I bought the car the mag didn't work, a little inspecting found the culprit, there's no mag ring in the car! These things just won't run right on battery/coils, so, I installed a period Bosch clip on. The car runs great, but, I miss the tick tick of the coils and the compression starts. I'll keep the distributer for my speedster, which has neither a mag ring or magnets.
I have enjoyed your and everyone else's input into this thread. Great conversation with some folks who share my common interest in a grand old car. I wish there were some people like yourselves that lived a little closer to get together with and chat. But this will do for now. I took my T into the Colorado State Patrol today and they gave me three options for titling my old speedster. Since the body was not original to the car they could not title it as a 1921 model T, If I put an orriginal body on it I could title it as a 1921 model T, if I put a fiberglass body on it I could title it as a Hot Rod of that era, and I I left it the way it is now with my own preffered speedster body style I will have to title it as a 2003 home made car. What do you guys think about those options? Oh yeah, I just found a crack in the block between the two exhaust ports on each side of the freeze plug. Am I in for some trouble or will some stop leak save me for parades and short Sunday outings?
I don't know how much "body" you have on your speedster, but, you may consider "striping" it down more! I'd take Bruce's book, "The Model T Ford etc, etc," in and show them the numerous pages that have illustrations of what was available year by year, and convince them that yours was a "chassis" model with minor improvements. I bet if you put a cap on the back of a pickup, they still call it a pickup--not a sport utility! Good luck.
Sounds like Colorado is the place not to live. I personally think that your asking for trouble titling it as a 2003. Will you have to meet current federal and state emissions standards? In MA we have to have our cars run on a dyno setup for emissions every two years. Not to mention the thousand safety points, including turn signals, and on and on.
There is a company that can provide you with a title (for a fee), I'd look into it. Someone post the name and number for this guy?
As for your crack. I know only one way to fix that - bring the block to the machine shop and have them pin it for you.
This has been great. I love stirring the pot! Maybe next time I'll ask what kind of oil to use. Ron, I can see your point about people abandoning their coils because they don't understand them. They are hard to maintain and keep adjusted if you don't have all the propper equipment. Despite the fact that I am what you'd call a GEN Xer, I am not lazy or looking for a quick fix (please note that I have not taken anyone's oppinoins or comments in that context).
I started out in the car hobby by building my own hot rod. When I started, I was 22 with no money (now I'm 29 with no money). If I wanted a hot rod I had no option other than doing it all myself with help from friends. I started with a Model A "haywagon" for a frame and a fiberglass '27 body. It took seven years, busted knuckles, smashed fingers, late nights, about a million cans of pepsi, an untold number of pizzas, and a lot of research. What I learned through the prosses of my project is that guys have been doing what I've been doing in their garages since the 19-teens. Henry's lady was the car for the masses, but the Model T allowed an untold number of young men the oportunity to tinker, to modify, and to improve (even if only in their own minds). The Model T was the original hot rod. This is a fact that can not be denied. It doesn't matter if your a stone stock purist or if you run a speedster with fuel injection and electronic ignition. Running four buzz coils or a distributor, what we are all doing is keeping a piece of out dated, obsolete history alive. And I love history. Henry created the Model T and saw that it was good. Henry learned that people were modifying them and I'm sure he thought it was great.
If anyone gets a chance, I'd recomend reading the first artical in the latest issue of the Rodder's Journal. The story is about a Model T. The owner underslung the chassis, cast and machined his own overhead valve conversion, modified and installed a dual ignition from a Stutz Bearcat, and set up a manual octain boost... In 1920.
What this all boils down to is that I just can't leave well enough alone. If I was 29 in 1925 (probably without any money), I'm sure I'd feel the same way. I hope this thread keeps going because it sure has been fun. Thanks.
Ron will probably tell you that your reference to "Henry's Lady" is incorrect. That is the nickname for the Model A, not the T (which was actually the car for the masses). Well, you said stir the pot...
Back to the distributor argument. If your rod is long enough (and mine certainly is), it is possible to get a compression start. It takes the engine stopping at just the right spot, and moving the spark rod up and down far enough to open and close the points.
It's the Broadway Title Co.
Box 130303 Birmingham, Al 35213
Thanks, I will get some pricing on the titling. And I agree with Mike above, the T was released from the factory floor as a rolling chassis just the same as it was w/ a body. It was still a model T. I need to call the State Patrol and see if they will bend on this fact. Tim (Tims Lizzy). Since I set up my distributor advance and retard timing on the orriginal timing lever would I be able to start my engine as you are describing or does it require the continuous buzz of the orriginal ignition system?
And then on a side note. I found this great turtle deck on the back of an antique John Deere combine, I cut the deck down to a T height and look the lower half of the deck that I cut off, turned it over and it makes a great cab to put in front of the turtle deck!...Now I have a vintage aftermarket racing body for my model T speedster made by John Deere. (I am always open to improving the look and operation of my T since I only started off with a rolling chassis.) I have a fordor 26 or 27 with three of the doors and a couple of canopy pieces that I will not use since there is not enough there for "me" to put something together.
I had a 26 column in my car (I think?). I may also have made the cam lever at the bottom of the spark rod. The way it worked (and it did only once or twice) was by moving the distributor too far, you open and close the points, producing a spark. It will only work if you happen to fire a cyl that is full of fuel/air and already on the power stroke. The point was that it can happen, I don't think it's worth the effort trying to force it too.
I'm in England (not least beacuse I'm a Brit) and I've read most of this thread (well, some of it!. I see Coil Man stressing the need for a good magneto with coils. I have a '26 Coupe with NO magneto, just some oil splashers. I've had it 9 months and driven about 1500 miles - on coils, but off the 6v system. I got fed up with cleaning gray paste off the Tiger timer, and fitted a special roller with tiny sealed ball bearings, which I run 'dry', and it seems fine.
Is it worth fitting a magneto?
A guy called Buzz Pound in California seems to have proved that with a magneto you only get two ignition timing positions - tdc and advanced. Do the extra volts make up for this??
A good magneto is imperative when running original Model T ignition coils on magneto. Running original coils on 6 volt battery is problematic because they do not work well on battery at higher speeds.
If your magneto is inoperative and you do not have plans to rebuild the motor soon use a 12 volt battery or install a distributor kit. (DID I SAY THAT??)
I am no Model T dis$#%&*%or expert, thank god. Grin. Take advice from the fellows on the forum about the best distributor kit to install because there are differences in reliability and quality.
I don't know what Buzz Pound has "proved", but
I do know a recent in depth investigation of the Model T Ignition system by several of us has resulted in a complete understanding of how the original Model T ignition system works.
Stay tuned, the real story is on it's way.
Ron the Coilman
Wow, what a conversation.
Our old T has a tiger timer also, and seems to run not bad, even pretty smooth on the magneto while idling.
This is the first time I've seen someone (Chris) mention a tiger timer, and to my disappointment, he removed it.
Ours seems to be in good condition, no groves, roller rolls well, spring seems to have good tension, even the old felt seal doesn't leak much.
What improvment could I expect from installing an Anderson Timer? Like I said I'm new to this and was very happy when the Ford F-11 spark plugs made it run even smoother, and start a bit easier too.
Like you, I run my coils off the 6V battery but my reason is because of excessive crankshaft endplay. I have no problem attaining 70kmh on the flat and the engine or ignition certainly does not run rough. I'm not sure if 70kmh is a "higher speed" according to Coilman, but I wouldn't want to drive any faster even if using the magneto would allow me to do so.
I have driven a magneto powered car, and owners of magneto powered cars have driven mine. None of us notice any difference. I should point out that my car is stock standard unrestored so it's not built for, or meant to perform any better than what I get out of it.
In my situation I have simply adjusted coils by setting the correct contact gaps and then adjusting lower vibrator tension for 1.4A as read on an average reading moving coil meter. (The RMS is actually higher than this). Before we hear about points wearing out ,and having to use a hand cranked coil tester for setting coils that only will be used on DC, let us remember the Model N,R & S Fords. The igntion system of these cars functions exactly the same way as that of Model T owners who only use battery. I doubt a hand cranked coil tester was used for the N,R&S. It would be a pointless excercise as AC (ie. magneto) and DC operation are completely different.
Thanks for the replies. Just to set the record straight, I haven't removed the Tiger timer, only fitted a roller with sealed ball bearings (model aircraft) so that it doesn't have be fed oil which turns to gray paste in a few miles.
I want my Coupe to be complete and original, so sometime, I will fit a magneto. The crank end float is .008", which I think is OK. As for performance, my car (a fairly heavy '26 Coupe remember) cruises happily at up to 37 mph, and on a slight downhill will run up to 42mph (this according to a calibrated bike speedo). However, I don't think I'll go to the trouble of taking out the engine just to fit a magneto........
This was great. Even better than the great debate about anti freeze. I can't wait for the air debate, the one about filtered against non-filtered for the tires.
To be truthfull you can learn a lot by reading this forum, just like it is supposed to work.
It was fun reading the entrys from Ron and Tim
because i have met both of them.
Now if we can only get them togeather, with a referee of course, we could really have some fun.
It's not what we do to these T's as long as we drive them.
I'm looking for a wiring diagram for a distributor to use on my '18 Center Door. Can anyone out there help me out?
To answer your specific question the wiring diagram comes with the complete distributor kits you can purchase from all the Model T parts suppliers.
I know I sound like a voice in the wilderness, but please, bear with me.
May I suggest you read (my) the second post above and all this long discussion thread before making a decision.
If your magneto is inoperative (are you sure?) install a distributor with my blessing and enjoy driving your Model T.
But, beware not to let others convince you to install a distributor without understanding what your missing. If your magneto works you ought to try coils. Coils get a bad rap because many Model T "experts" don't know how to make coils work and install a distributor thereby declaring victory.
Nonsense. Henry Ford did not make 15,000,000 Model T's with a dysfunctional ignition system. Yes, the original Model T coil ignition system is a trap for logicians, buy it works well if you understand it and get it right.
Ron the Coilman
Sic 'em Ron! Don't let them convert to a dis@#$or!!! Ken Swan
Good grief. If he wants a distributor, why are you talking him out of it? Blah blah blah, 15,000,000 points of light, Henry this and that.. If Henry had computers and fuel injection, he would have used them and you know it. If Bob wants to better his car, let him do it. Just because you get paid to work on coils (I assume), does not make them better than anything else. If you made distributors, you'd be pressing him the other way. It's Bobs car and it sounds like he already bought one and needs help installing it. Know you're making him unhappy and second guessing himself. Very un-T like if you ask me. We should all support Bob and his new found part. Why can't we all just get along?
Bob, the "+" on the coil goes to your ignition switch, the "-" on the coil goes to your points lead on the distributor. I assume you can handle the plug wires. Someone can correct me if I'm steering you wrong, hopefully before you try it.
Your new distributor will make a big improvement in engine performance. Enjoy it.
Bob, if you want to leave all the other wiring intact, you can solder a jumper inside the coil box between the bottom strip and one of the spark plug posts. Externally, you then have switched power to that post, to hook up to your coil. I'll post a photo tomorrow.
Blah, blah blah, indeed!
I am not trying to talk Bob out of anything!
I want him to hear both sides so he can make an informed decision about converting from coils to distributor and not fall for that "big improvements in engine performance" baloney.
As to your personal attacks...more baloney.
Ron the Coilman
Maybe you're right Ron, maybe Bob should keep his coils. It's too much work, he'll have to change his user name if he changes over to a distributor. If he ever comes back on the forum that is! I think you may have scared him away.
I don't know much about T models but I do know about good spirited debating as this is what I do for a living. The point is to present The facts as you see them relating to the issue at hand without moving on to the slippery road of personal confrontation. This action is generally a cloaking device to hide ones lack of skill, knowledge or inability to articulate their thoughts or their wealth of knowledge in a clear and concise message. Stating ones position is an art and skill you have to work on as it is to easy to move into the personal arena and out of the subject at issue when your passions run high. Gentlemen many of us enjoy the vast knowledge that all of you have and read with awe and amazement in the demonstration of the a fore mentioned passion. As educated men we are able to read and decide for ourselves where our individual loyalties may fall without the need of personal attacks and the ramifications from those acts that may unfolded within our newest guest or our grizzled seasoned member. With that I'll close and say sic'em
Thanks for the feedback (and enjoyable debating), gentlemen. Appreciate your expertise in this area. Will keep you posted on my progress.
I'm so glad this posting has lasted six months. Here's a new twist... I got my hands on timer that's in good condition and I think I'm going to use it. I'm also going to try four conventional 6 volt coils. I plan on wiring them into the system just like the standard T coils (I have no mag). There's a older fellow in my area that did this 20 years ago on his T and I understand it works quite well. Has anyone tried this? Does anyone know if the Summit catalog sells chrome 6 volt coils? Four of those babies bolted to the firewall ought to look awsome!
Tim, You can get them from any Model A Catalog or any farm Supply that sells parts for the Ford 8N Tractor. Naturally, they will not be chrome plated!!!..Michael
Show us what you have planned, I think you'll need a capacitor in there somewhere.....
Where are the points and how is it timed?
Ron the Coilman
Ron; I think he is going to try to use the timer to set off the coils please tell him about condensers and points also about buzz coils how about a coil school class 101.
I think a master vibrator is going to be needed here if we're talking modern type coils
I think a master vibrator is going to be needed here if we're talking modern type coils
I was planning to use the timer as the points. However, I didn't think about the condenser. I am going to visit a friend tonight and I had planned to pick his brain on this issue.
TIM, JUST BUY ONE AND SEND IT BACK IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT. YOUR MONEY WILL BE CHEERFULLY REFUNDED.
Hi guys, its Derrick and I have a question on timing a 1920 T with a aftermarket dist that takes place of the timer, how do you set the timing? and make sure that its not to slow or fast? any input is wellcome thanks.
Remove the No. 1 spark plug and crank over until No.1 comes up on compression. Do this by hand. With your finger in the spark plug hole determine tdc. Select which cap position you want for No.1 and set the rotor there and install the distributer meshing the gears properly. The points should be fully open and the spark retarded. Before replacing the cap determine the rotation direction of the distributer since different versions turn clockwise and others ccw. hook up the plug wiring 1-2-4-3. Point gap 0.017-0.020, wider gap gives more spark advance. Good luck, Art in Pahrump
The reason I first used a distributer on a Model T was because the car had to sit outside in Zero weather and condensation in the timer would freeze and prevent contact so the coils would not buzz. A teakettle of boiling water over the timer would cure this, but if at work or elesewhere this luxury was not available. A used Atwater-Kent distributeer pruchased from Roy Call auto for $1.00 cured the problem. The T did have a Warford box so a true neutral was available and starting was easy even at zero and worse. The condensation did not seem to affect the gears which were well packed with vaseline. Both brush and roller timers weere affected. Art in Pahrump
Hi guys, its Derrick again the distributor that is in the T, does not have a place to hook up the advance rod, the distributor is locked down and not sure who made this one looks like the one that model T ranch has on there site looks like the cap is maybe datsun, maybe I should look at replacing it with the bosch?
The Stotlz used the advance rod, and had a idler pulley involved. I prefer the Bosch/009, but it's a matter of personal preference and budget.
Your distributor probably has a built in mechanical advance. Many of these early replacement distributors for Model T's did.
You might be able ro see it if you remove the distributor cap.
Ron the Coilman
On my distributor cars, after setting the initial timing as above, with no. 1 still at TDC, I put a small white mark on the engine block opposite the lower fan pulley and a corresponding mark on the fan pulley. Now, for on going maintenance just hook up a regular timing light and you can see exactly what your advance control is doing.
Hey guys, when you pull the front cover of how do you get the alingment of the front cover right, do center it off of the crank shaft or the shaft on the cam? Thanks Derrick.
Yes you must recenter your cam gear front cover. This picture is an original KRW fixture that was used for centering the front plate (cover). Back then KRW called it a locator. New locator are being reproduced and can be bought out of the Model T catalogs. I like this one better because it has the little handle to pull it out. I don't see why a person couldn't install a handle on one of the reproduction locators.
My 26 roadster has a distributor on it the previous owner converted it. I would like to bring it back to original but do not have the parts nor the knowledge for this. I know the magnets are on the flyweel in the trans because when I changed the bands I saw the magnets(I guess these are the magnets?.
Any help on this would be appreciated.
I like coils but I wouldn't change it. I would however restore the individual components so that it could be easily changed back on the side of the road if need be. I don't advocate doing anything to a good running car but drive it. If you have one running on coils that runs good there is nothing to be gained by switching to a distributor and vice versa. If it ain't broke....save the money.
Dave thanks for the pics, buy looking at the pic it must go over the crankshaft noise? or over the camshaft noise? PS your E Mail is not working,let us know how to use that tool if you will Dave Thanks Derrick.
Dave its Derrick, boy have I got a problem, when they installed the aftermarket dist they put the cam for the points on and pinned it to the shaft but they hammered the threads down flat on two sides so that the rotor would fit and be some what in time, so do I have to change the camshaft now so we can fix this problem? so much for aftermarket dist--------
I just have to put my 2 cents in here and say I had a 23 touring about 20 years ago. Had the original ignition with 4 coils and timer. Put lots of miles on that car and it ran like a top. I could start it at 30 below zero (it sat in the garage not outside ok) and I never had problems with the ignition after I put a new timer on it and rebuilt coils. I am going to look at a 1919 coupe on saturday and wouldn't even think of buying another T if it doesn't have the original style ignition. Much easier to trouble shoot and get parts for I think. And less expensive too. If your distributer needs parts are you sure you can always get them? I was always learie of the distributer setup for that reason. Also, when a non-t owner curious person wants a look at the motor you then have to explain that the distributer isn't original etc. etc. and originally they had a super simple system of a commutator and one coil for each cylinder. Personally, I think the whole Model T distributer thing is just a case of Model A envy! I have spent hours trouble shooting problems in my model A distributer! Wish I could put a timer on that thing.
Derrick, if you have enough threads exposed, you may be able to salvage the threads with a thread chasing file with the shaft in the engine. This is a file that is rectangular with threads on all four sides. There are different pitches on each thread area that will correspond with the thread on the cam shaft (or at least on set of threads will). You may have to take the radiator off if you haven't already to get to the shaft but it will actually save you time by removing the radiator. There are at least two different files that I know of on the market that will cover 99% of the threads found on the T. You can obtain the thread pitch gauge and files at most good auto supply houses. If you have trouble finding them locally, e-mail me and I will give you the address of a company that I know that has them. Take your time on the work, you will be amazed at how well you can master the filing and restoration. Good Luck, Ken Swan
Maybe you and old Henry have been right all along. The other day I got to looking at my wife's Mustang, and it doesn't have a distributor either, but it does have 4 coils. I guess the Ford guys decided the model A ignition wasn't all that great any more and have gone back. The Mustang sure goes better than any Model A I've known.
I think I'll toss the distributor and go look for my old coils. Wonder what I did with them.
Yea that post in regards to 4 coils on the mustang. Someone meantioned to me yesterday that the new cars and trucks by Ford use something like a piezo stricker for sparking. No wires, no distributar. How does that work????..mack
I mentioned above the possibility of using four modern 6 volt coils on my T project. There is a older gentleman who lives near me who runs his T with this setup. After several months of trying to arrange a meeting with this fellow, I was finally successful. The car is an early '23 touring. The four coils are bolted in a bracket to the head, each with its own modern condenser. All the negative posts on the coils are wired together to a common ground. Each positive post is wired to its appropriate post on the timer, which is used as the points.
The model T coils fire when the roller or flapper closes the contacts in the timer. The modern coils on this setup are powered when the points close and then fire when the contacts open. So he simply rebent the timing advace rod to rotate the timer further back than on a normal T. There is no mag.
He converted the T to this system in 1967 after getting out of the army. The car was originally his dad's and has been driven often since the conversion without any problems. He said it drives just like any other "conventional" T with no ignition issues.
I'm confused Timmothy? Where are the points? Is there a set for each modern 6V coil? Or did he put a set of points inside of the timer? Or did he use the buzzer points off of the orriginal wooden box coils?
I can see it. The points in a modern ignition use the breaking (opening) of the points to collapse the field in the coil which is what generatethe high secondary voltage and makes the spark happen. The coil charges when the timer first makes contact (just like when the points are closed) and fires - not when contact is first made (like on a normal ignition, T speaking) but as the timer *leaves* the contact portion, opening the circuit, just like opening the points. Your dwell angle isn't critical, as your coil is working once every second revolution of the motor, not 2-4 times per rev as in a "modern" ignition.
The timer would have to be timed way far off as compared to a normal T, and the timer would have to be pretty accurate as to the termination of contact, but otherwise... I don't see why it wouldn't work. The only caevat is you couldn't use the modern coils on the magneto - but as he says, there is no mag.
All in all, it's a cute trick!
Susanne, you've got it. Tim showed me photos of the setup at our club meeting last saturday. Seeing is believing. It looks as though the owner of the car just had an idea and went to the junk yard for a bunch of coils. I suppose scrap six volt coills were pretty common back in sixty-seven. It's amazing what folks will think up.
So you are saying that the timer actually serves as the points when it comes in contact with the wiper and then when discontinuity occurs the spark occurs. I can see how it works now. What would be the advantage with a T of having the buzzer points instead of just doing what this person did? Could Henry have done this with the original coils w/out the points?
AC current (like from the mag) won't fire modern coils. You could have a car that runs fine on battery, but won't run at all on the mag. Until 1919 (and even then it was an option) a battery was *not* supplied with the car, so you had to have a way to generate the spark - either with a low or high tension "impulse" (for lack of a beter term) magneto, like a Bosch or Dixie, or some other way to generate power. Ford's design generated AC - which happens to work well on the buzz-box coil technology of the 1900's (when the car was designed).
There is another advantage, tho few talk about it. In the 20's and 30's, gasoline was an almost non-flammable mixture, at about 50-70 octane - when it fired, it did so violently. The buzzbox coils, running on battery, gave you more than one spark per firing sequence on a cylinder - helping ignite the "gasoline" of the era. Can't do that with a HT "modern" style coil.
"Could Henry have done this with the original coils w/out the points?" Yes technically it is possible and was the way many early engines obtained ignition, it is called a "low tension spark coil", but you must have a battery to do so.
Henry Ford insisted the Model T have a independant self contained source of power without batteries to provide ignition.
Ron the Coilman
And let's not forget the cost (and royalties) to put a Bosch (or Bosch-style) mag on the car. To Ford's frugal mind, that would have been horrific! Plus they are pretty much complex and testy whirlygig type contraptions - the Ford magneto and vibrator coils are simplicity in themselves!
Personally, I like Ford's ignition system - Mine's run pretty much without problem since 1916, save for replacement coils... can still get one-pull starts off it most of the time!