Does anyone rebuild 1926 Model T ignition switches? Mine is intermittently working. Thanks.
This sounds like a very good DIY project for right now when the weather has you house-bound!
First, remove the ground strap or wire from the battery. Lay a towel on the floor of the car, from the dashboard to under your feet. This is to catch the screws and nuts you'll drop, so they don't get forever lost. Then remove the screws holding the ignition switch panel.
Label the wires on the switch and ammeter in some way you will recognize, and draw a diagram of how they lay and where each is connected. Then remove the wires, and you can take the panel to your bench and open it up.
Some ignition switches were held together with bend-over tabs. Some with pins sticking out of the sides of the insulator, sliding in slots. Figure out how to dis-assemble your switch and take the back off VERY carefully. All the internal parts will try to fly out before you can catalog how to put them back in!
Make sure to carefully note how the inside parts are arranged. I take pictures with my phone.
You'll see that each wire you removed was attached to a brass terminal, and the internals of the switch are brass "fingers" that contact those terminals in different configurations as they are rotated by the key or the light switch.
Sometimes the insulator has swollen, and needs to be sanded down by rubbing it on a piece of sandpaper lying on a flat surface, to give the fingers better access to the terminals.
Sometimes all that is needed is to bend the fingers out so they more firmly contact the terminals. In fact, do this anyway.
Mostly, the contacting surfaces will need to be cleaned, and maybe polished. A pencil eraser (the rubber kind, not the new plastic ones) do nicely for this.
Reverse the dis-assembly steps, and you're back in business.
Ben Martin 404-789-6350 and he does an excellent job.
Black powder coated light switch handle, rebuilt key tumbler and re-plated panel. I think he also supplies the correct mounting screws.
Peter is right on. These switches are simple and rugged. Likely all you need to do is slightly bend the contacts outward. Its not rocket science and you are not likely to wreck anything. Here is a picture of the switch with the contact plate removed.
The big problem with these switches is a badly worn key/tumbler assembly. To my knowledge there are no off the shelf solution for that problem. My switch had this problem and Ben Martin rebuilt the tumbler/key assembly making the switch like new. In addition to the subjects discussed above no more loose fitting key and tight positive key/tumbler action.
Lang's is currently back ordered on ignition switch repair kit clip type:
They offer a whole switch:
I bought mine from Gaslight Auto Parts a couple months ago. Works great.
Ignition Switch Repair Kit
Actually I bought this one with the pins.
Ignition Switch Repair Kit Pin type
I agree with Ron Patterson. I got mine rebuilt by Ben Martin and it looks and works like a new one and it cost about half the price of the new one mentioned above.
As Peter says, this and pulling out the contacts a little are often the only things required.
Thanks for the information. I took it apart last night and cleaned the spring contacts with a Dremel fine wire wheel and cleaned the other contacts on the fiber disk. It will go back in the car this weekend.