Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

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Rich Bingham
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Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:59 pm

"Curiosity killed the purist" is an old saying often referred to on these boards. Here's my rambling tale:

Last summer, somehow (?!?) the radiator drain petcock came unscrewed and was lost while we were in the hayfield changing the irrigation water. I almost took a "spin" around the section after completing the chore, not knowing we had lost all the water in the radiator, then (fortunately) decided not to, which averted certain disaster. Quarter-mile to the home place, when I pulled in the yard, I discovered things were mighty HOT, owing to the lack of coolant. (Some of you may have experience with this phenomenon). To get to the plug wire question, I noted #1 plug wire had been fairly fried by the unusual amount of engine heat (it was a bit close to the manifold as well) . . . so, I ordered a replacement set stated as being corrrect for my '13 T.

When the new set arrived, I noted the cloth cover on the cables was a sort of plain, olive drab color and not lacquered. The wires I had been running have a cloth braid, a "tiger stripe" yellow, and are apparently coated. My question is, if authentic 1913 "purity" is an issue, which is correct ? Either ? Both ? Neither ? (I like the yellow tiger-stripe better).

To end the story, I haven't yet changed the plug wires. As Steve J. is wont to quote, having them wahrs "fried" didn't hurt the runnin' of it none . . . so I left them on. My nod to the fashion cult of "patina", as I continue to wear out my Model T while I enjoy using it ! (Plug wire photos below)
"Get a horse !"


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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Rich Bingham » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:01 pm

image.jpg
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Rich Eagle » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:43 pm

I can't speak to 1913 but your top photo looks awfully like the original wires on my 1923 White (left photo). These are other wires I have thought to be used in the '20s.
WWirezz.jpg
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Original Smith » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:53 pm

Hi Rich:
I believe Gail Rodda is the one making the closest thing to original spark plug wires. I have a few nos 26-7 spark plug wires laying around, and they have a tracer on them. The ones I use in my T's are all genuine Ford wires that I made from Ford V-8 wires, and have a tracer, and look very period, but are not correct.


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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Raoul von S. » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:23 pm

Most of us weren't alive to know the pre-WW2 America, but a few of us saw those
lingering tidbits and became intrigued, and we ended up the crazy "old stuff" collector
people on our streets today. I too am interested in what is an actual "correct" wire
or whatever, to whatever the subject might be, because I like things to not look
modern, or blatantly "wrong", but I tend to throw something of a "large blanket" over
the entire pre-war era as being "period correct" for the look I like, allowing for fixes
and early repairs/replacements by original-use owners of my cars and other old junk.
Much of these fixes are the very history of the car and times that attracts me to this
stuff in the first place. Sometimes making something exactly correct would erase a
neat part of that history, and rather than make it OEM correct, I prefer to leave the
change as part of a more desirable (to me) "period correct". BTW - love that you are
using your T as the tool it was built to be. 👍
"Working today, for a seamless tomorrow"


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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by George Andreasen » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:28 pm

Years ago when I was collecting/restoring hit and miss engines, I went in "havsies" with my brother in law on a 100' coil of plug wire. It's yellow with an orange or red stripe if I recall, and has a braided surface. We chose that combination simply because it looked "correct" on our engines.

Guess what's going on my '18 engine? If a purist objects........oh, well.

Here's the company. They have a monstrous selection of ignition bits and pieces to choose from.

https://brillman.com/

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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Kaiser » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:41 am

Don't know who's T these are from, but its a "period correct" fix in my book :lol:
image.jpg
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:43 am

I don't now if they would be the same for 1913, but I saw these 1922 wires for sale at an auction. I can't tell what color(s) the cloth covering was when they were new. The color faded long ago. I think the only way to know original plug wire colors would be to find original wires that were stored in a dark place.

IMG_1956 copy.JPG
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Rich Bingham » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:08 am

Thanks for the replies, and pictures. George, that's a good link ! Leo, I dunno about the "bob-wahr" - a guy could get hurt on the barbs ! Rich, Steve, thanks for the pix, I'm thinking most any cloth braid cable is "correct" enough. Years ago I bought a spool of black lacquered cloth cable, the alternative was that rubber/graphite stuff for radio suppression. It doesn't work on a T model ! Raoul, thanks for the kind words. It's most fun to drive the T with a "purpose". Like a good dog or a using pony, "Lizzie" is happiest when she's useful !
"Get a horse !"

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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Rich Eagle » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:20 am

Steve, what ever those you show are they are very prevalent. I have seen those on many, many coil boxes and magnetos. I believe the ones my first photo shows is a less weathered one of those. Someone may know when this was first used.
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:49 am

I'm another who years ago bought a roll of black lacquered plug wire. It may not be correct, but it works.

IMG_0254 copy.JPG
IMG_0253 copy.JPG
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Dan Hatch » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:56 am

A few years ago I bought out an older gents who cleaned out Ford dealers in the 50s/60s. It this 3 trailer loads of parts were a box of plug wires. While these were old and tried, they looked like what Gail Rodda makes and sells. Thanks, Dan


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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Sparknwire » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:11 pm

the brown wire (saddle color) is 9mm with a matt finish the 9mm Black with the double red stripes are also matt finish The 9mm oak with the black tracer is a gloss finish. We mfg these for Langs, Mac's Birdhaven etc.. www.rjlautofasteners.com

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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Rich Eagle » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:17 pm

FWIW the motorcycle restorers offer a wide range of wire types. This is just one site.
https://revivalcycles.com/products/revi ... -cable-kit
MCwire.jpg
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Sparknwire » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:59 pm

Rich alot of those wires are 7mm unless you are putting on a distributor


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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by R.V.Anderson » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:20 pm

Gail's are the closest, as Larry and Dan say, but you can make them just a smidge closer to Ford's by putting a coat or two of electric motor varnish on them. They come uncoated.


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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Rich Bingham » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:28 pm

Rich, those are pretty !! The offering looks like what is offered on the tractor restoration link George posted. 9mm is 3/8", 7mm is approx. 3/32" smaller. A thinner cable would work as well but the difference is noticeable visually.
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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Sparknwire » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:39 pm

Make sure the wires you are purchasing are soldered on


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Re: Plug wires for purists . . . a rambling post

Post by Sparknwire » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:33 pm

These are some of th e wire sets that we mfg. We also do custom wire sets.

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