Is there any way to identify whether the wooden coil box on my '13 is a reproduction, or an original ? Either way, with 15 years of use after a full restoration in 2003, it seems there's a little flex in the front panel of the box, probably aggravated by putting in cardboard shims to insure the coils are firm against the contact points. There's a thin wooden baffle in the middle of the box that has come loose from the front of the box (side with the switch). Suggestions welcome !!
Pics would help. My thinking would be "when in doubt, change it out" with John Regan's Fun Projects Plastic replacement kit. Got it on mine and solved a lot of problems . Consider replacing the contacts Too. Old replica contacts were made of a wrong bronze and would not hold their tension. John's are correct makeup.
Thanks for the response George, you're right, I shod have put up some pix - here are some views:
Nice box with correct switch and coils. Not unusual to shim coils. I wouldn't do anything.
I could be wrong but I don't think the Fun Projects plastic replacement kit works in the all wood earlier style boxes. They're for the late '13 on up metal style boxes.
Not wrong Tim. There's nothing interchangeable between the early all-wood coil boxes and the later metal ones. The contact points are similar, later ones might be adaptable.
Look closely at the center of the second photo, you'll see the thin wood baffle has parted from the front of the box. Shimming to "improve" the contact between the coil units and the brass contacts in the box is flexing the wood front of the box.
I'd still like to know if this box is an original, or a reproduction if there are any distinguishing features.
Rich, since it has original coils , switch and looks original I would say it was. Repo coil boxes were made for the later more available coils. The repo box was made for the hobbyist. Back in the day I would think boxes were replaced with medal ones to accept better more available coils . May have read in Ford Owner about dealer replacement of these boxes.
I was told by RV Anderson that mid-1913 the switch was made to metal boxes. If your block number is under 25X,XXX it would be reasonable to assume the box is original. Especially if the box was made for the unique sized coils used in '13.
Looks like an original box with either a reproduction or a modified original lid from a different make box.
Warren, I make reproduction boxes for original coils. They are exact duplicates of the originals.
Just for a point of reference and not to make a statement of any sort...
40/45 odd years ago a guy named Austin Mitchell in Elgin Illinois was the "go to" guy for early coil boxes.
He'd find them at swap meets and it didn't matter if they were worm eaten, looked like busted driftwood, or even collapsed. He's scoop them up, and spend most of the year rebuilding them to like new/can't tell the difference/concours shape and then take a table at Hershey each fall with nothing more than 'show quality' boxes for sale. If he needed a lid or a back panel, he's use old furniture mahogony pieces he'd pick up along the way. I use to sit and have a soda pop with him at Hershey each year (I had bought one of my cars from him years earlier when I use to live in the midwest) and we would play a game annually. One of his boxes would always be 100% original and restored...one would be near 100% reproduced but with an original now rebuilt switch, and the game he'd play while sitting together was 'guess which is which'.
This is not to deter from 'original' as even a 100% repo wood box with old switch made be Austin would now be 50 years old or so itself
Probably an original box. The lids on the old reproduction boxes would most likely not have that fancy joint on the lower corners. My dad Robert Syverson made some repro coil boxes many years ago but they were simpler and had slightly bigger box joints. George Mills, I remember Austin Mitchell well also, as he was one of my dad's buddies.
Thanks for the response fellows ! Much appreciated.
That lower joint on the lid is typical of a Heinze, as is the depth and the taper on the sides and ends. A KW lid is shallower and has less taper. I'd bet it's an original Heinze lid fitted to an original KW box, with clearance cutouts for the ends of the KW vibrators.
RV, thank you for that detail. The semi-circular relief spots on the lid have been "dinked with" to clear the vibrators !
So . . . oh no !! I have a "bitsa" coil box !! (the horror !)
Rich, couldn't that divider be reglued? I've never seen one to see how they are made though. Just a thought, Dave
I'm thinking to re-glue it Dave, but the front of the box will have to be flexed a wee bit to mate with the center baffle. I'm thinking to remove it from the dash and use a Jorgensen clamp and epoxy - any thoughts ?
Rich, I do not know if this is one of those things that needs to be that rigid. You may need that give to move coils in and out. Ford as you know changed the coil box design by slanting the front( happened in 15 with the addition of a front cowl). Just a thought. Earlier mention was made of Fun Projects. I think they mfg the brass contact clips. Being new they may tighten up the coils in the box so that shims are not needed. RV should be better at addressing this.
The divider on that box is not glued! What is messing up that box is the shims. What needs to be done, is to take out all the contacts, and bend them a little. The glue they used back then isn't that good either, and all you are doing is causing the joints to loosen up. The upper catch for the snaps should have three screws, not two like the Heinze and KW master vibrators.
Larry's right; most of the "dividers" were never glued. On some early boxes, they were; the Heinze box used on the Model R is one example. The "dividers" should freely slide in and out but not have a whole lot of slop. A little slop is needed to allow space to clear the center switch wire. The Heinze box used on the T is the same way. Often they have dried out and shrunk a bit.
To address Warren's comment, I don't think F.P. makes the contact springs for the wooden boxes. I do, but this isn't an "ad." As Larry says, they can easily be sprung out a little to tighten up the coils' fit and improve electrical contact. You can do it without removing them. Just reach in the box and snag each one in turn with your forefinger. But if they're dirty, they should be removed and cleaned.
That used to be my coil box. If I remember correctly (at age 81, I might not), I put some bits of foam behind the copper contacts so the coils couldn't flatten them. The idea was to add to the "springiness" of the copper.
Just a word about the cut-off date from wood boxes to metal ones. Nobody knows the actual date, and my guess is that it was a phased-in deal with a window of time where some cars got metal and some got a KW wood box. My 1913 is engine number 299,995. It had a 1918 style box when I got it. RV or Larry can correct me, but I believe that is the style of metal box that you got on the dealer trade in deal. In any event, further supporting the theory that my late 13 had a wooden KW box is that in the firewall, you can clearly see the vertical dents and rub marks from the metal mounting hardware found on the backside of the wooden KW box. Lastly, Kim Dobbins original 1913 which was made the week prior to mine still has the original KW wood unit.
So, while the transition to metal boxes may have started around serial number 25X,XXX, it is quite possible that they continued to appear for several weeks beyond that period. Just my 2 cents from what I've observed after studying on it for a bit.
Gil, your remembry is hitting on all four cylinders. I noted the small bit of foam behind the brass contacts. No problem or complaint about coils, all was working well, all contact points were positive.
Good to know about the baffle, I won't glue it then. Shims and the spring pressure of the contacts become a catch-22. Keeping firm contact necessitates shimming if the box front "gives", which it has a little, we can't have coil units rattling around in the box. This on my quest to "fix things too good" perhaps. I'm trying to apply the Model T Hippocratic oath - "do no harm" !! ; )