This is the terminal block on the firewall of my '23 runabout. It's made in two pieces of fiber material bolted together with two flush head bolts on the top and two external nuts as seen from below. Is this typical?
Mark...I'll trade you a brand new one from Langs for that old one.
Sorry, I want to keep as many of the original parts on this car as possible. So, I'm assuming that this is the correct terminal block for my '23 then.
I doubt if that is an original Ford terminal block. Whoever made it did a great job however. We make the current reproductions, and have sold over 1000 of them over the past 15 years. We used a NOS terminal block for a pattern, and we even use the original size #9X1/2 RH slotted wood screws, which are uncommon these days.
I made mine from linen base phenolic and tapped it for 10-32 screws.
It's amazing how little time it takes for repro parts to take on an original look under the hood of a regularly driven T. I replaced my terminal block and wiring a few years ago. It all looks thoroughly original already.
Those color coded wires are only good for installation.
The terminal block on my T is a very roughly constructed, farm-made thing with only 5 terminals....not enough for my 24 Touring.
I bought two of the reproductions. They're gorgeous, but do not blend in with my weathered car.
So...one will get placed on my "age-simulation-transmogrifier" (the roof of my shed) for a year or so and I'll use the other to wire up my car correctly so that it'll have lights.
I purchased the new repro block, changed the screws to brass screws and washers. It looks and works great. Just don't over tighten them . New proper wires and connections sure didn't hurt the appearance of my rusty old truck.
So are the originals for this year made from two pieces and bolted together? The screws for the wires are slightly dome head machine screws. If this is reproduction it must be pretty early repop. This car had mostly original parts.
Has anyone seen the NORS model T wiring harnesses in ebay. Are the wires still good?
I'm with Larry. I've never seen one like that but I am surely no expert.
Is yours made in two pieces or has it split like what's left of mine?
When I bought my '26 coupe, in 1970, it was in rough condition, but had all the original parts. I remember the terminal block was hard petrified rubber that was cracked and brittle with age, as were the tires. The terminal block was unusable, so I bought a repro rubber one that has been on there for 45 years and still looks as new and is as supple as the day I bought it. Funny that the original terminal block and tires were 45 years old when I bought the car but aged much more than the repro terminal block and the new Universal tires I bought in 1970, which are still on the car. We must have much better rubber these days. Jim Patrick
Here is s picture of it after cleaning with some fine steel wool. Made in two pieces of a very dense fiber material not rubber. It is bolted together with countersunk bolt heads.
If they're really bolts, and not screws, the block is in my opinion vastly superior to an original one.
The effectiveness of the electrical connection between two things like terminals depends entirely on two things - the cleanliness of the mating surfaces, and the tightness of the thing holding them together.
You can only tighten a screw so tight before it strips, and you are then left with a forever loose connection.
I understand you are interested in originality, and I respect that, but everything I can see from your pictures indicates there is a nut for each screw inside there somewhere.
I'd spray some black paint on it, or rub some black shoe polish on it, and use it.
If you're worried about the shape of the heads, take one to Lowe's or somewhere and figure out its size and thread, and buy some similar machine screws with round heads. Then paint the heads black.
Mark, those are "Cheese Head" screws, you likely won't find a match in a local store, though you might find some at a fastener specialty shop. They were originally finished in raven (a black oxide finish) or nickel plate, with a chance of Zinc plating. I'm guessing it's aftermarket, but a neat, well-made piece.
Maybe it is the truck-centric mindset I have that leads my mind to
agricultural use, or put another way: Down on the farm. Having grown
up on a farm, we have a phrase about "Farmer Brown fixes", where
the old farmer/rancher used whatever he could lay hands on to fix a
problem. Some of these can be pretty creative, and cool in their own
right. For my Model T interest, "period correct" is WAY more important
than FACTORY correct, and by extension, the historic value of period
fixes and other modifications done to a vehicle like mine in its original
use situation is as, or more cool than the commonly seen factory way
things were done. If it is period, safe, and well made, I'd be thrilled to
have such an added detail on my rig. Just one more fun thing to enjoy
about the history of these old vehicles and the times they represent.
Actually ... I was never really that interested in having everything original in my last T. It was a driver. I posted this just because I was curious about the originality of the terminal block since it came on a car that so far has had many parts correct for an early '23.
Maybe I didn't describe the construction clearly. The machine screws where you attach the wiring are simply threaded into the composite fiber block. There are no nuts for the wiring contacts.
The two bolts that hold the two composite fiber halves of the block are flush on one side (seen in the picture) and come out the other side where they are secured with two small nuts.
Surprised if there aren't captive nuts inside that block to hold the machine screws.
Most modern blocks are made that way with molded in tapped metal to hold machine screws.
Ford just used wood thread screws to fix the terminal, either into the wood firewall or the fiber like block.
Seems like those fine thread machine screws would just get loose in the fiber block holes, even if tapped. Perhaps your two piece block was sectioned to place nuts inside, so those Fillister headed machine screws could be tightened and stay locked for the wire terminals?
When buying any of the new reproduction terminal blocks from whomever may be making them be sure to check for continuity straight across the block with an OHM meter!
Check it straight out the package before its installed to avoid what happened to me 20 plus years ago with one on the repro blocks.
After I installed mine on my 1919 Roadster after a few week or so I would have a run down battery.
After replacing the wiring, checking and
rechecking this and that I happened to put an ohm meter lead on the end of the hard rubber material the block was made and a bare portion of the new wiring. Both were hot!
I pulled off the block and found the whole block had continuity!
I called the supplier and a week later I got a note in the mail that the vendor he was using was making them out of ground up tires.
The wire in the tires of course was in the molded rubber blocks!
He did replace the block from a new vendor. It was an interesting experience to be sure.
I have never seen, what I would consider as an original terminal block, made in two pieces. That construction does not look authentic to Ford. HOWEVER, I certainly am NOT an expert on the topic and there are definitely lots of things I've not yet seen.
My advice is; if the one you have works well, continue to use it. Otherwise, buy one of the reproduction ones that Larry Smith makes and sells to the vendors, as he describes above.
Do you have an old original terminal block that looks bad and the wood screws are stripped out or always loosen up? You can easily "restore" it and improve it.
Go to your local Ace Hardware store and buy 6 round head 8-32 machine screws 1/2" long, and 6 brass threaded inserts that will accept the 8-32 screws. You may want 6 little washers too, but that's optional. All of these pieces you will find in the trays of Hillman Fasteners.
Now, lay a piece of fine sand paper on a flat surface, and slide the terminal block across it to smooth it up.
Next, drill the 6 holes for the threaded inserts to turn into. A drill press with a 13/64" bit seems to work best.
Now, turn in the inserts. I used a piece of 8-32 with double nuts and a hollow shaft nut driver to turn them in.If the inserts are too difficult to turn in, you may want to drill 7/32" holes and use Locktite.
I restored my terminal block this way 7 years ago, and have never had a loose terminal again.
That's beautiful work!
Great job Jim. It's fun doing those little things to preserve an original part. I have an original terminal block on one of my cars, and when the screw hole stripped, I just stuck in a toothpick with some glue on it, and put the screw back in.
BTW, as I mentioned in an earlier post the #9X1/2 screws are uncommon, and we are about out of them. Well, I just ran across another 1000, so I guess we are good to go for awhile!
Jim...that is too cool!
I have a spare new block that I think I'm going to go ahead and modify like that as a preemptive measure.
Hi Jim, That's a very nice repair / restore job.
Thanks for posting it.