Model A distributor on a Model T

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2018: Model A distributor on a Model T
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 04:27 pm:

It was about 1972 and I was very frustrated with trying to tune coils by ear. I bought an Atwater Kent distributor but couldn't find parts for it. (cap, points, condenser.) The logical solution for me was to adapt a Model A distributor. With a friends lathe and his welder we made three of these units. It required a key-way on the camshaft but no other alterations. These are over built but have worked well. I thought while I have this one apart I would show some pictures of this one. It must have 30,000 miles on it and only now is showing a little wear on the driven gear.







This gives me all the advantages and problems of a Model A ignition. (Ugly things can happen under the points plate.) Since installing this I have learned enough about Model T coils that I can make my other "T"s run as well as this one. With no magneto on this car the A dist. is still a good choice. The bell crank assembly mounts between the head and upper water casting. This works well and the hose has enough flexibility to work with the extra thickness.

Off topic, I want to thank the forum for saving me the cost of a new lawn mower. I had intended to mow the lawn today. When the grass gets too tall I find a lot of forgotten parts and a few some have added to the yard. (Ya it happens.) 15 minutes into the task the mower blade hit a Hudson axle and stopped suddenly. I could not get it to restart with choking or not. I decided to take pictures of the distributor before changing clothes and going to the hardware store for a new mower. After cleaning the parts and taking pictures I tried the mower and it started right up.
I have always thought we don't spend enough time here on the forum discussing lawn mowers.
Anyhow, Thanks again as always.
Rich


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 04:36 pm:

Pressing the like button, LIKE! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By gene french on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 04:38 pm:

Richard:
you might try a Ford model B ignition or a single point Mallory model A ( combine ) ignition with centrifugal advance ...I used a B distributor on a TT truck with a similar front plate adapter ...worked great ...also used bevel gears that were a standard Boston gear item ...always an optimist...gene french


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 05:58 pm:

As to your mower: most (especially Briggs) have a flywheel key that shears on very sudden stops. The flywheel slips on the crank thereby preventing the crank shaft from breaking. The shifted wheel throws the ignition timing off so the mower won't start. If you're really lucky that is. It could also kick back and tear the cord out of your hand.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 06:21 pm:

I did picked up a couple Mallory's with that in mind. Since this works so well I haven't pursued them.
Thanks for the mower info. They baffle me. I did finish the yard.
I thought I would show a picture of the shaft bearing. It's a T spindle bushing. Use what you have on hand. ;o)
Rich


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Schreiber- Santa Isabel Ecuador on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 06:23 pm:

Great, great photos.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Pat Kelly Montana on Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 07:16 pm:

I like it! Nice work.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Doris, AZ on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 10:17 am:

Nice job with the A distributor retrofit. Like the bevel gear drive and the overall execution of the project as well as the utilization of off the shelf and parts that were on hand. I see you made provisions for lubrication of the gear drive and shaft. Very little wear for 30,000 miles.

What were the ugly things happening under the points plate?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 10:25 am:

The wiring to the points under the plate is notorious for shorting out in a variety of places. My Model A days were often frustrated by this. I took care and haven't had the problems with this one but much attention was given to preventing this.
Replacing the points and condenser occasionally has given years of trouble free service.
Thanks
Rich


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 12:10 pm:

The wireless point plates for Model A's that they sell now are a wonderful thing. I put a lot of miles on mine before they were available and spent some very uncomfortable moments popping fuses in city traffic before they came along:

https://www.brattons.com/modern-upper-and-lower-distributor-plate-set.html

Very nice conversion, by the way. It's easy to see a lot of effort went into that.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 01:47 pm:

Richard - I agree with those who have commented about the wireless point plates being an excellent upgrade. Not to discredit Henry and his engineers, but a short little pigtail wire connection between the upper and lower plates in the Model A distributor is just plain, very poor design in my estimation. This is because every single time the spark is advanced or retarded, even to the slightest degree, that short little wire has to bend, and it will do that just so many times and then there will be a problem. How soon that problem occurs is just a matter of how that little wire bends. If it's a gradual slight bend over a considerable length of that little wire, the problem may not occur for quite some time. However, if the little wire tends to bend at just one point, like where it attaches at one end or the other, well,....again,....it will bend at just that one point just so many times......or, besides bending, it may be continually rubbing the insulation off of the wire at just one spot,.....either way,......just not good design!

On a more positive note, I really like the bevel gears on your set-up Richard. As large as they are, with more than just a few gear teeth like many tiny little bevel gear designs, your gears look like they would last, trouble-free for a long, long time! Just over all, a really nice looking set-up,.....and it's all Ford, and almost,...."ALMOST"....."period correct"! (:^) .....harold


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 03:46 pm:

I was not aware of those wireless plates. They look like a good idea. I used a heavier wire and made insulators for the terminal connection.
Thanks for the comments.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 04:37 pm:

They also make another one with the additional description in the catalog, made with "extra long 100-strand wire for super flexibility":

https://www.brattons.com/distributor-lower-plate-with-long-wire.html


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Mc Willie on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 06:30 pm:

That is a great looking conversion. Great design and build quality. I bet if you could make these at an affordable price, they would sell like hotcakes. I would rather have a new Model A distributor than the VW conversions that are being sold today.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 06:54 pm:

Richard stick with original points and forget the wireless. Both are more problems then they are worth. Google fordbarn; model a wireless distributor


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Eagle Idaho Falls on Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 07:33 pm:

Thanks Mark. That is what I was going to do but I enjoyed hearing about the wireless. I am surprised someone hasn't done this for sale. I don't have time but it is good system. The time it took me was prohibitive. Mine would be expensive but a clever fabricator might get the build time down to something reasonable.
Rich


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