What would the cost be for converting a car back to run on coils that currently has a distributor? Assuming the coils are bad or missing. Is there a plate that goes in plate of where the distributor is? Spark plug wires, am I missing anything else? This is a car for sale that I'm considering so, it's not before me.
More than likely the distributor was installed due to a non functioning magneto.
The engine will have to be removed to rebuild the mag.
If the magneto coil, magnets, coilbox and switch are good it's not expensive. Pretty much you'd need plug wires, a timer and coils; figure about $400 including the coils. That's if it's a 'clip on' distributor.
If it's the integrated front plate style there's a bit more to it. If you can post a picture it would help define it.
I've never had a T with a disturbutor, but I believe it attaches to the front plate with some kind of adapter. If that's the case, all you would need in front is the timer and the clamp that holds it in place, and the wiring harness. You also need coils, of course, and a coil box. I've never studied the plug wires on a distributor car, so I don't know if you need different ones. You can look at the catalogues for prices.
Most distributors are clip-on affairs that come off as easily as a timer. In that case, you'll need a timer & rotor, coils, coilbox, maybe a wiring harness (maybe not), and the timer control linkage. If your magneto still works then that's great. If not, you do not need to remove the engine and have it fixed unless you absolutely want to run that way. Unless you need absolute performance, running the coils on a 6V battery will be fine. They will run better on 12V, but that presents other issues.
If your distributor is any good you can sell it to recoup some of your expense.
I took the distributor off the coupe and went back to Ford coils, but with a twist. I used the electronic commutator. Best thing I ever did on the coupe. Ok it cost $400 but I had lots of old coils and coil box. All I needed was four plug leads and I didn't have to fix the magneto which failed years ago. (Accidentally ran D.C. thru it)
If you plan on driving, dump the distributor and those unreliable coils and use the electronic commutator.
First thing is to test the magneto. If you get good AC current at the magneto, it is easy to convert. Just take off the distributor and put on the timer, coils and wires. However like Tony said, you can use an electronic timer (e-timer). Or if the distributor is working well just leave it as is until some time in the future when you pull the engine for some other reason and fix the magneto at that time.
A T will run just fine with a distributor, I would leave it in place until I got to know the car and determined if there were other more pressing issues.
If the mag is OK, you will spend $60+ for a timer, close to $400 for coils, maybe $100 for a good coil box (or a fair one plus a rebuild kit) and $30 or so for wiring. Sounds like $600 to me. If the mag is bad, figure another $250+ for a rebuilt mag ring and then labor to pull the engine and install it unless you plan to do that yourself.
The engine will run OK on 6 volts with coils but not really very great. Coils with 12 volts are much better but still not quite as good as running coils with the mag.
The electronic timer works great on either 6 or 12 volts, does not use the mag and does not require the best coils. If your mag is bad, the less expensive option might be an e-timer, 4 OK coils, coil box and wiring. The e-timer only needs coils with good windings and capacitor as it is not sensitive to point adjustment. Oh, and nobody can tell you are using the e-timer unless you take it off or tell them.
Thanks for all the replies. You guys came up with some very good points, so to speak. I have a lot to weigh in on here. Two T's, both same year & model, to choose from and both have their pros and cons!
I'll trade you for your dist, I have a motor Im removing a complete mag/coils/etc
What's wrong with running the disy? I don't like how they look on a stock T but they will perform very good.
On the other hand, the mag probably doesn't work and you want a great running car that looks like a proper original why not consider a E Timer?
That would be about the cheapest way and you'd end up having the best performance available for a stock looking T And never have to touch it again!
I liked the coils so moved from a Bosch distributor to coils. (Coils make a much more interesting sound buzzing!).
Was not that hard, I found a usable box and reconditioned 4 coils, then put on a new Anderson timer.
Albert (my TT) does not have a magneto, so I run a second 12v battery just for the coils. It 1s connected to the "mag" on the switch and the 6V to the "batt". Works better on 12 v than 6
Actually, as Walt stated, why not use it as is. Especially if you are new to T's? Distributors are very common on T's and it's really not a problem. In fact you'll see no power/running improvement between one system and the other. A bad mag is a consideration but coils run on a battery too so it seems to boil down to keeping about $400 in you're pocket or not.
Chadwick & Others,
I have not yet decided which car I'm going to buy?
The two cars are both 1923 Fordor and approximately the same price. The bodies & interior are about the same nice condition.
One has a distributor, wiring that needs to be replaced and good stock clincher wheels/tires and a good steering wheel. Also, old dash plaques screwed to the dash(Ugh!). This car is 200 miles away.
The other runs on mag & bat, has very nice wiring and has good 21" wheels/tires. Also, has a small dent, quite a few paint chips in right rear fender and an aftermarket steering wheel/spider that will need to be replaced. This car is 1,750 miles away.
I basically like cars that look how they came from the factory.
So, both cars have their pros and cons.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the distributor car has no speedometer and the mag car has a speedometer that needs to be repaired (cable broken so, the speedo head is probably locked up).
So, which car would you guys buy & why?
If the price is approximately the same, go for the one with the best body. Check the fit of the doors. The fordor has quite a bit of wood in the body and if the wood is rotted, it is a very hard job to repair. Next would be the running condition. Listen for knocks in the engine and loud howling in the gears. Drive around and see how the steering feels and whether the car overheats.
Also does the car have an auxiliary transmission and brakes? That is a heavy car and will need extra gears for hill climbing. You can climb in Ford low most hills but your left leg will get very tired. The brakes are also very important for stopping a heavy car especially in traffic.
Anyway, try to get the most for your money. Most mechanical parts are readily available from the vendors but body parts are harder to find.