1914 Wiring Question

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Junkyard4
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1914 Wiring Question

Post by Junkyard4 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:08 pm

This may be a dumb question but, I’m at the finishing stages of restoring a 1914 touring and would like to know where the ground wire from the battery was originally attached on the car. Was it bolted to the frame somewhere or directly to the engine and if so on what bolt? Lang’s does not sell the battery wires for a 1914 so I’m assuming I’ll just make up a set.

I asked this question on one of the model T Facebook pages and got nothing but people telling me that a 1914 doesn’t have a battery. So please, only respond if you know about 1914 cars and have the answer.
Thank you

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Mark Gregush
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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Mark Gregush » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:38 pm

Any point close to the battery that there is a nut and bolt that you can use, does not matter. Just make sure there is good clean metal to metal contact. 1914 did not come with a battery and if one had been installed it more then likely would have been in a box on the running board. If you are worried about interference with magneto, it will not.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Ruxstel24 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:46 pm

Correct in a 14 was not equipped with a battery.
Some people used a dry-cell "hot shot" battery for 6V for starting, without a starter. Usually hooked up under the front seat.
Are you using a starter ?


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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Junkyard4 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:51 pm

The switch has a battery position and the coil box has a post that was used to hook up a battery so I would say wether or not the car came from the factory with a battery install the car was certainly equipped to have a battery in it.
No starter on my car. I’m trying to make it 100% correct

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Mark Gregush » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:08 pm

Just because it had a spot for battery on the coil box and switch does not mean it came with one. In fact Ford specifically said it did not need a battery. It's one of those life's conundrums, why it's there if it was not needed. :?: No Ford came from the factory with a battery till 1919 and after.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by wayne sheldon » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:18 pm

It may seem bizarre, but YES, the coil box from the beginning of model T production had a post for the battery. And YES the switch does have a battery position for use of said battery. And also YES the Ford model T prior to 1919 was NOT sold equipped with a battery. All batteries on brass era model T Fords were after-market. As after-market items, there was no standard location or wiring or type of battery. Wet cell batteries were used, as were dry cell batteries (very common in the day as they were used on many home telephones!) On touring cars, Roadsters and runabouts depending on year and exact model may have the batteries under the front seat, in whatever trunk or turtle deck (if so equipped). Mother-in-law roadsters sometimes had batteries carried under the little mother-in-law seat. They also may have had a box added onto the running board, either side, and anywhere front to back.
The N/R/S and earlier cars did not have a magneto. They relied solely on a battery to fire the coils. Some people think that the "battery" position on the coil box and switch was a simple carryover from the earlier cars. Other people believe that Ford recognized the potential for future failure of the magneto and provided the battery position as a reliability measure. Maybe there is some truth to both ideas. I won't claim to know the answer to that one.

The model K Ford did have a magneto, but it was unlike anything that had ever been used before. It has been claimed as the first "capacitative discharge ignition system" ever used on a production automobile, something a few auto makers have claimed more recently as "new". The model K Ford also had a battery, and two full sets of independent coils.

So. I really hate to say this. But this time, the Facebook crowd was right.

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by DanTreace » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:19 pm

As others mentioned, Ford capitalized on the flywheel magneto, but Henry did put redundant systems on his T, so the coil box mounted switch does have BAT position and a battery terminal for the coil box.

This info is from publication The Ford Motor Car, by Harold P. Manly. 1917

Adding battery to early Ford.jpg
As mentioned in the page, ground the battery to any nearby place, using a bolt or nut on the engine or frame, just be sure it is a bright clean connection.

Location of a single or multiple array of dry cell or 'hot shot' non-rechargeable battery was up to the owner, and wiring it too. Nary a formal mention in the early Owners Manual.
IMG_0712 (306x600).jpg
IMG_0712 (306x600).jpg (116.85 KiB) Viewed 966 times
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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by D.Yoder » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:36 pm

Wayne the k had 6 coils used with a timer & battery 1 &2 , The Holly huff magneto was a CDI, and could also be switched to a battery-destributer, using A seventh master coil for CDI or destributer. The coil box has 8 positions one held the capacitor for the CDI.


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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Junkyard4 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:12 am

I was always taught to start the car on battery and then switch to mag once it was running.

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:40 am

You don't have to start on BAT and switch over. It's usually just easier than starting on MAG. If the battery is firing the coils you don't need to pull the crank fast. If you start without the battery, you need to pull the crank fast so the magneto will put out enough juice to fire the coils.
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by wayne sheldon » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:11 am

One of my long-time best friends is a master of tuning up a model T! He loves to demonstrate how a model T with a properly setup magneto, and properly tuned, can be slowly quarter-cranked and start the first pull after one choke. I suspect, that when they were new, before decades of use, abuse, neglect and bad repairs, most Ts started that way most of the time.
By the 1950s, people just came to believe that the old four coil and low voltage unreliable timer was just junk, made because they didn't know any better way back then. Truth is, a model T is a marvel of engineering and design. They were a great car for the masses then, and still a fine piece of machinery today if properly restored.

Dean Y, Thank you for the details!

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by KWTownsend » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:11 am

Paul-

It is a good practice to question what seems to be obvious.

Yes, what Everyone here (and on the FB) said is correct.

On my 1915 runabout, I have a 12v motorcycle battery tucked under the seat. On my 1911 touring I have small lawn & garden type 12v under the back seat.

On my 1915, generally I can prime the cold engine a couple of times and get a "free start" when I switch on the battery. I thin advance the spark and switch it over to magneto. As Steve mentioned, battery starting is often "easier" than starting on magneto. However, a car with a good carburetor, a good magneto with strong magnets, and properly rebuilt and calibrated coils will start very easily.

When starting the car on magneto, you will need to advance the spark about 3-4 notches.

A 100% correct car would not have a battery in place.
If you are wanting to do a 100% correct car with an added battery, you could use a modern dry-cell batteries and get some period correct labels for them like these:

http://radiolaguy.com/Batteries/Vintage_Batteries.htm

: ^ )

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Rich Bingham » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:29 am

Just a few thoughts on the battery as not OEM:
The coil box and switch were provided in 1914 by K-W, their system was used on other makes and in other iterations which would make the battery option a necessary feature on other applications.

When a driver inevitably experiences the need for correcting non-starting, missing, rough running and other hiccoughs, it's mighty handy to have the battery option to test the ignition system. It's much easier to identify some malfunctions without the motor running.

My Lizzie is pretty sound, and starts well on Mag, but even warm, requires one swift pull seemingly to "wake up" the mag, before a second quarter turn starts the motor. Possibly because rear main end-play has increased with mileage ?

Lastly, if your T doesn't pack a battery, you can't enjoy the exquisite pleasure of a "free start" ! :lol:

P.S. Good on ya Paul, for endeavoring to make your T as authentic as possible. We "purists" are much reviled though we hold no enmity with those who seek to "improve" their cars. There is no dearth of modified Ts, but there are few historically correct ones.
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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Original Smith » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:53 am

I have batteries in both of my 13's. They are 12 volts, and are about the size of a standard Model T coil. Yes, you have to wire it yourself, but it's no big deal. I use the old time cloth covered wire, so it kind of looks authentic. In my touring I have the battery under the back seat, and the roadster I have the battery in the tool box in back of the gas tank. The coils buzz much better with 12 volts than 6 volts.

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by George Mills » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:15 pm

As you have learned, the '14 came without a battery and no real provisions for one other than the post on the coil box and a switch that turns in 2-directions.

Does a car start easier on 6V than on Magneto? YES.

Does it care where it gets the DC volts from? NO.

In the era, the most common way was a dry cell radio battery set, generally placed under the driver side seat between the gas tank and seat frame. (My 15 still has the battery base support in that location). I'm not near that car at the moment, but here is a picture from George Clippner prior post that shows the same arrangement...
fullsizeoutput_3f4.jpeg
FWIW, you can still find radio batteries, even sleeve tubes where you can glue labels to, finding the base support is tough...but...I found the most convenient thing in the world...a standard 6V lantern battery from any hardware store or box store. I get a whole season out of it and give the '15 a treat each spring with a new one regardless. I set it in the same location as the dry cells went and it stays put. I'm a Larry supporter in that I used cloth covered wire. The ground is relatively short, there is a screw there someplace nearby to tie onto. As for routing of the positive, I just ran it up the body rails, used wax cord and surgical knots to tie it in place with the headlight wire, and then a service loop over to the coil box post.

FWIW2 Some folks think it impossible and imponderable t use a lantern battery but they do last a season if regularly run on magneto. I know many find a place to hide a 12V lawnmower wet cell battery and recharge it with a standard charger. When it's hidden, does it detract from authentic? Personal choice...

(Did you hear that some small town chose Tesla for their police cars and recently an officer was involved in a high speed chase? No fooling' or nuthin'...the battery died!)

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by brucesp » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:37 pm

Getting back to the original question... I couldn't tell you where the early dry cells were grounded, but do yourself a favor - run a ground wire from the battery to the body, then to the frame, and then to the engine. On my '15, the "connection" from body to frame to engine was intermittent. Before I ran the ground that way, my wife would have to stand on the passenger side running board and lean outward to get the car to start. On tour once leaving a dinner, we were starting the car that way. A bystander came by as I was cranking and asked, "I know what you're doing, but what the heck is she doing?"

I ran the ground wire, and it's been fine ever since. You can't trust ground connections between frame members, particularly if they're old, greasy, and rusty. FWIW, I had to run a ground wire from the center instrument panel on my pickup to a known good ground because both the air conditioning and the 4WD were intermittent. The downside of assembly lines...

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by George Mills » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:34 am

Era advert....
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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by TRDxB2 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:07 am

I think this diagram will help in answering the question as to where the battery ground strap was attached for cars with a battery & battery box. There are no other wiring runs to provide better ground connections to other parts of the T. Having said that, everyone has provided excellent advise on how to add a battery, where it can be located and the need to provide good grounding. But it would seem that, back then, if a battery was added one would ground it to the nearest chassis bolt. Since the cars were "new" the chance of a bad ground connection throughout the vehicle were much less than 100 years later.
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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by cwlittle » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:58 pm

What gauge wire should be used to both ground and run to the coil box battery post if you are using a 6 volt battery? A 12 volt battery?
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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Original Smith » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:22 am

Same gauge for either a 6 or 12 volt. I think I'm probably using 16?

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Quickm007 » Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:13 pm

Steve Jelf wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:40 am
You don't have to start on BAT and switch over. It's usually just easier than starting on MAG. If the battery is firing the coils you don't need to pull the crank fast. If you start without the battery, you need to pull the crank fast so the magneto will put out enough juice to fire the coils.
Agree with Jeff, that technic with magneto save me couple times. But you need to pull the crank really fast, could be rude for the back. :lol:
Super Mario Bross ;)

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Re: 1914 Wiring Question

Post by Junkyard4 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:10 am

Thanks for all the responses. I ended up running the ground wire along with the contactor harness and putting it on one of the front cover bolts near the contactor. I started the car for the first time today since rebuilding absolutely everything. Runs great!! Couldn’t be happier.

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